Midtown Movie Palace Page 2

A proper moviegoing experience doesn't stop at the screen. Sound is important, and the Ziegfeld can pump out soundtracks with the best of them. The theater uses a set of QSC amps to power its 8.1 audio system. Each amp can crank out up to 500 watts of power for a total of 4,500 across all channels, more than enough to fill the theater with sound.

Movies are distributed digitally, through encrypted hard drives. New theatrical releases are plugged straight into the projector's server, where the movie is uploaded and decoded. The theater gets a special digital security key which they load onto a USB drive to "unlock" each movie. Without the key, the movie won't play. The movies are also encoded so they can only work with each theater's specific equipment; even with the hard drive and security key, films released to the Ziegfeld can't be played on anything other than the theater's own NC2500S-A.

All of this gear is handled by Joe Micherdzinski, the Ziegfeld's full-time projectionist (above to the right, next to Clearview Cinemas production & sound quality manager Michael Arrigo). He controls the projector, the audio system, and the lighting from the projection booth. He's more than a digital cinema maven, though; Micherdzinski is well-versed in working with physical film as well.

In addition to the various cutting-edge electronics, the projection booth houses a full suite of film equipment, from a splicing table to huge film loaders. While it doesn't see nearly as much use now, the Ziegfeld has a film projector for older releases. It can handle anything from 16mm to 80mm film, which Micherdzinski chops, splices, and loads by hand. While digital releases come on a relatively puny hard drive, some older films came on massive reels the size of manhole covers.

Though it only has one screen, the Ziegfeld Theater has a style and flexibility not matched by cinemas many times its size. Whether it's a decades-old reel of Lawrence of Arabia or the newest 3D special effects blockbuster, the Ziegfeld can offer quite a show.