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Arts and Entertainment

Ohio drive-ins get second chance at a digital projector
Honda extends voting to Sept. 21 for drive-in movie theaters to win a digital projector, just as film goes away

Kabir Bhatia
The Lynn Drive-In is billed as the second-oldest in the world, 2 years younger than one in Pennsylvania. Ohio and PA have spent years swapping back and forth the title of "state with the most drive-ins"
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
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Northeast Ohio’s drive-in theaters – and their fans -- are getting a second chance to “go digital,” an increasingly urgent need as film stock becomes a thing of the past.  WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Ohio drive-ins get second chance at a digital projector

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Until last week, people could vote for their favorite drive-ins in a contest sponsored by Honda. The five winning theaters get a new digital projector, worth about $70,000. That’s important because film studios are on the verge of abandoning film altogether, replacing multiple metal reels with a hard drive the size of a dictionary.

Northeast Ohio had two venues in the contest: Strasburg’s Lynn Drive-In and the Blue Sky in Wadsworth. Neither made the cut. But voting has been extended to September 21st, when four more projectors will be awarded.

Rich Reding runs the Lynn, billed as the second oldest in the world. He converted one screen to digital this year.

Earlier this month, he said converting his second screen is cost-prohibitive, but not life-or-death.

“We’ve been through the '80s, which were really tough on every drive-in when they came out with VCRs and people were just staying home. We’re always on a budget, so we’re used to living lean."

The other theater, Wadsworth’s Blue Sky, has only one screen and has yet to go digital at all.
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