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State of the art

By Staff | Aug 2, 2013

The projection room at the theater was cleared out to make room for the new projector Chris Bieri/PCT

The difference will be night and day, according to Brian Vita.

Vita, president of Cinema Service and Supply, was in town this week to install the new digital equipment recently purchased by the Friends of Lyric to upgrade the theater.

Vita said the smudgy picture and muddy sound will be replaced by a bright, lively picture and razor-sharp audio.

“They had mono sound here and a projection system that had been neglected for probably 30 years,” he said. “The last time it had been worked on was 10 years ago when I was here. The picture was dark and dull and the lenses were old. The projector we took out of here was vintage 1930. Everything now is state of the art.”

Vita’s company specializes in installing the new equipment in small-town theaters and business has been brisk as the movie industry has moved almost completely away from film.

Volunteers helped install the new speakers as part of the theater's digital upgrade. Chris Bieri/PCT

“We do mom and pop theaters all over the country,” he said. “We’ve done Langdon, Grafton, Rolla, Bottineau, Harvey and this trip we’re doing Cooperstown and here. There’s no more film, there’s always seeing shortages in the delivery of prints. Certain movies just aren’t available or you have to wait longer for the prints.”

The installation of the new projector will not only allow The Lyric to have access to all the new digital films, but to hold a number of other functions and events.

“The projector we’re putting in is one of the newest models and it’s up to date with all of the latest technology,” he said. “The key phrase in the industry is alternative content. That means depending on what they want to do, it can be as simple as bringing in blue rays for birthday parties or live sporting events or streaming live plays. There are companies out there that provide theaters with live content such as the Metropolitan Opera or live fights, football games. It’s limited to the imagination of the people actually booking the theater.”

Vita was impressed by the historic theater and said that the impact of the new equipment should be immediate.

“It’s a very nice theater,” he said. “It’s getting a lot of love right now. It’s been neglected for 30 years of more. It’s being cleaned up and a lot of renovations being done.

Brian Vita, left, talks to electrician Dick Blomster, who has donated his services to upgrade the electrical system in the theater. Chris Bieri/PCT

“I would assume it’s going to be a work in progress for a period of time but you’ll see an immediate change with state-of-the-art 7.1 sound and digital projection coming in here. It’s going to be a very nice theater when it’s done. It’s going to be a marked difference in quality from what they had. They had basically a $100 public address amplifier for a sound system and now they’ve got a state-of-the-art digital stereo going in. They’ve got a state-of-the-art digital projector which is capable of all the new technologies.”

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Luke Schlag, left, and Reid Mundhal hang the new screen at the Lyric Theater. Chris Bieri/PCT