Up on the Bluff: Cinematic upgrades

Alan Duff

Almost four years ago, the state-of-the-art Warch Campus Center was completed at the cost of 35 million dollars, providing a cafeteria, dozens of meeting rooms, a mailroom and a fully operational cinema all in one convenient location.

In college time, that might as well have been a 100 years ago. In our competitive educational system-where college campuses must constantly improve and modernize lest they become outdated and obsolete when compared to other colleges-I would like to suggest a way to keep the WCC hip, cool and relevant to Lawrentians without bulldozing it down and replacing it with a bigger building.

Consider the Warch Cinema, a weak link in an otherwise useful building. I can’t even remember the last time I went to the cinema to see a movie. So in an effort to prevent it from being a meeting site for clubs that want an oversized projector for their PowerPoint slides, I would like to propose that we upgrade our cinema within the next few years to having 3-D capabilities.

There are many reasons for such an upgrade. First, consider the target audience. The cinema is competing with the internet, which just had its speed upgraded.

College students have a finite amount of time in their already blocked and scheduled days. Why go see a movie in the cinema on a busy Friday when you can watch it in your room on Tuesday?

This is especially true in the winter months, when you need a good reason to abandon the heated indoors and venture into weather that can turn you into a human popsicle. What does the cinema offer that a screen in a residence hall or a computer doesn’t?

If it’s a new movie, impatient students will go see the movie in theaters, long before Lawrence offers it. While students may be able to afford a trip to the movies, the extra price on 3-D can be off-putting and intimidating.

But it’s not something that can’t be accessed on your computer screen yet. By offering this option to students, it would give them a reason to go to the cinema because they couldn’t experience 3-D anywhere else at a cheaper price.

The rate of movies that are being offered in 3-D has also been increasing since the debut of Avatar, with 2012 offering a massive increase in 3-D movie launches and sales. Though not every movie is being shown in 3-D, it’s only a matter of time before most movies offer 3-D similar to the transition to color.

There are a few objections people may raise before Lawrence upgrades the cinema. First, 3-D equipment doesn’t come cheap. Times are tough, the economy is rough, but there’s no rush to get this done in the next few months.

3-D movies are only getting more popular as new filming techniques are developed and more studios decide to implement the technology. Waiting a year to purchase the right lens/projector would allow the cinema to have a wider selection of recently released movies to choose from as well as collect funds.

Another objection could be the problem of providing 3-D glasses to students. To avoid any unnecessary costs the cinema could sell any student that wanted to see movies in 3-D a pair for three dollars, the current cost of the glasses on the market. This would be a onetime inexpensive charge to see 3-D movies for all four or five years that students spend at Lawrence.

The cinema could alternatively provide a quantity of glasses equal to the room capacity that students would pick up as they came in, and drop off when they left the cinema. They would then be cleaned before the next movie.

There would be some costs associated with the maintenance, as well as replacing damaged glasses, but students wouldn’t have to pay anything, just like they don’t have to with regular movies.

Other liberal arts colleges have yet to offer anything similar to my proposal, a point for it if I ever heard one. So let’s make our cinema a place to be at again and celebrate our individualized learning-now in 3-D!