Bad News, Good News...and a Suggestion
Hi. I’m back after a several-week hiatus (caused by a car accident followed by a complicated recovery) and hoping to talk to you all more often now…but let's get straight to the marquee topic.
Conventional wisdom (and joke format) says give the good news first, then the bad news. This case, however, calls for a different order—and in any event is a light year away from a joke.
Due to the Corona virus and Covid-19, we have all (75% of America as of this writing) been sequestered in place. Many believe the scope will go to 100% soon. Enforcement is tightening with some cities threatening fines and imprisonment for violation.
We are all living a stir-crazy, bored-to-death life with no clear end in sight.
What if we all had the near-equivalent of a commercial theater to gather the family around nightly with different themes and genres of movies, music videos and other programs to watch? Truthfully, I personally can’t think of a more “tolerable” distraction. There are almost infinite sources of material to be rented, bought, streamed—all with a no-contact exchange.
Several months ago, when the economy was at an all-time high, I knew several families who did, or almost did, make the leap to a fully featured home theater. Those who did are now thanking me regularly for the little extra push. They are faring the quarantine more comfortably now.
Here’s what I have recently done to try and help in some small way. I have a disc library of nearly 4,000 DVDs, Blu-ray, and UHD 4K movies and concert videos. Even before the outbreak I used them as a lending library for current and potential clients.
Recently, I sent an “all points” invitation to a wide network of friends and clients welcoming them to come take a dozen or so and then swap for a different dozen when done. It's no big deal to wipe things down for safety on the way out and when they come back to the house. My neighbor took the entire Sopranos series. Doubt I will see him before summer.
My suggestion is that if you are a like-minded videophile, installer or collector, you might consider starting up a movie exchange club—and/or putting the finishing touch on your own home theater to complete that sought-after upgrade or finally get it up and running. There is such a wealth of historical information, color, cultural perspective, Academy-class acting (especially in the classics) available that you may never otherwise have a chance to see. What a great time to catch up. Who knows? Even when we can walk in the sun and congregate again, we might be drawn back to our sequestered days in our cherished theaters.
In the meantime, be well and be safe.
Terry Paullin, founder of Front Row Cinema in Livermore, CA, has built more than a thousand home theaters over a 30+ year span. He shares projector installation and calibration tips, comments on new projection and display advances, offers up suggestions on what you should be watching now on your rig, and generally goes off on whatever pleases or irks him about the current state of front projection.