A rare view from the digital projection booth

WPTV, the news leader in Palm Beach FL, showed a great report last night live from the projection booth of the Lake Worth Drive-In. Lake Worth has made the transition to digital projection, and it was the first time I’d seen what it looks like in there without the 35mm platters revolving.

This is one of the best drive-in news reports I’ve ever seen, but there are a couple of odd bits about it. The reporter quotes unknown “industry analysts” as saying that 90% of existing drive-ins haven’t converted yet, and the implication is that they’ll close as a result. I’d guess that as many as half of current drive-ins will convert this year, mainly because any drive-in that has survived this long is likely to continue.

The other odd thing is that we see Joshua Jordan, the guy in the Lake Worth projection room, say, “I think we’ll still go on for a couple of more years until we can’t go on no more.” That doesn’t make sense. The Lake Worth just shelled out an “estimated $70,000” to upgrade its equipment, which is now in place. The owners wouldn’t have done that unless they were planning to stay in business for the long haul. Let’s hope the Lake Worth finds a way to stay open for decades to come.