When the lights went down on Friday, January 20th, for the UW Cinematheque’s first screening of 2012, viewers were treated to the best possible presentation of 35mm film to be found in the Madison region. During the winter break in December and January, new 35mm projectors from custom German designers Kinoton were installed in 4070 Vilas Hall, the Cinematheque’s primary venue. The sound system in room 4070 also received an upgrade, as did the masking surrounding the screen area. Widely regarded as the best 35mm projectors available, the Kinoton FP-30s are providing a dramatically brighter and steadier image. Their revolutionary electronic shutter will allow the Cinematheque to project silent films (such as Josef von Sternberg’s The Docks of New York, screening on February 11) at the correct speed without any flicker, providing a much smoother presentation.
The room’s sound system has received an overhaul: the speakers have been repositioned behind the screen and soundproofing has been added to attune the room for enhanced acoustic performance. The Dolby processor has received an upgrade that will improve the noise floor in the room. Finally, the masking has been replaced with non-reflective material, creating crisper, more defined edges around the image. The UW Cinematheque is an affiliate program of the Comm Arts department which brings free weekly film screenings to audiences from across the campus and the community. However, in addition to being the screening facility of the Cinematheque, 4070 Vilas Hall is one of the most heavily utilized rooms for teaching in Vilas Hall. It serves as a lecture hall and screening room for many of Comm Arts film and media classes, as well as a venue for lectures and presentations for the whole campus.
The new projectors and upgrades were made possible through donations from the Hamel Family, alumni of the Department of Communication Arts, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, and Drs. Daniel and Evelyn McMillan. Our sincerest appreciation to these donors for their generous gifts. More information about the UW Cinematheque, including the full Spring 2012 programming schedule, can be found at the Cinematheque’s website.