The death of the drive-in was inevitable. Some may blame it on the land prices going up for those huge parking lots over the years, or simply T.V. viewing taking away that old tradition. Maybe it's a combination of both, but still we still feel the charm going to see cinema outside. There's a magic there that can't be replaced, that I think Americans recognize best.
Some may find it a twist of coincidence that the technology which made society turn away from the drive-in, come back again with powerful new projectors and state of the art audio equipment and bring the scene back, albeit with a few differences.
The 21st century saw an upsurge of the do-it-yourselfer going outside and putting up their own "drive-in,"-- not really a car park event (although this could be as you'll read further) as a picnic blanket lay down-and-view event.
Outdoor Movies and the Inflatable Movie Screen
In the 60's man landed on the moon. The computers they used were silly by today's standards. The amount of computing capacity could be found in a nice graphing calculator bought today. So based on what we know today, the experience the drive-in died out with, was taken up again by the do-it-yourselfer using the technological access who wanted the outdoor movies experience back.
Around the turn of the 21st century a new trend began where digital projectors and large screens posted outside were put to use using a receiver type movie player. Electronics and powerful digital technology became cheaper and processed more quickly and powerful. The iPod even made it possible to play stored digital movies.
The scene was often done at private parties or events where a nice white wall backdrop was used and someone rigging extension cords to power everything up. Now, the do-it-yourselfer system has even moved on to full fledged business models that employ portable inflatable movie screens.
The industry of outdoor movies has moved on and distanced itself from the home hobbyist. The professional outdoor movie DJ is distinctly different because of quality of equipment, which yield higher quality of experience, and level of professionalism. The cost of high-end equipment and ease of screen movement have made the business venture much less costly and portable.
So now the drive-in business is not necessarily dead. Using the same system, drive-ins have been hosted by the same set up as described. Inflatable screens are as large as military hovercrafts, reaching heights as tall as a two-story building. Take a random parking lot, a FM radio transmitter and a colossal blow-up screen and it's not much of change from those Grease movie drive-in days.
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