Changing of the Guards for Movies by the Boulevard

Movies by the Boulevard crowd at Cathy Freeman Park

An outdoor movie season has been held in Sydney Olympic Park every year since the 2000 Olympic Games providing free entertainment to hundreds of thousands of visitors on a Big Screen in Cathy Freeman Park. But this year sees the changing of the guard in one crucial respect — this is the last year the films will be “on film”.

So come along to Movies by the Boulevard for the final shows this season and watch a movie the same way your grandparents — or great grand-parents did.

If not film, then what?

Film strip from Oz the Great and Powerful movie

Film strip from Oz the Great and Powerful movie

The cinema distribution and projection industry has gone digital, which means that the use of a projector threaded with 35mm film is quickly becoming a thing of the past, like steam engines, kerosene heaters or public phone booths. Movies now are distributed on a coded hard drive that is coupled to a digital projector such as the one in your home or office.

While the movie industry will continue going from strength to strength, the large, warm, whirling projector will no longer throw an analogue image up onto the big screen — an image composed of thousands of tiny photographs, which are played sequentially to give the illusion of fluid movement.

Projector at Movies by the Boulevard

Projector at Movies by the Boulevard

At the moment, we have a projectionist that spools nearly 2 kms of film onto a wheel for an average feature movie. The film contains not only the image, but an optical soundtrack that is read using a special light. This method has stood the test of time and dates back to the 1880s when celluloid film was introduced.

How will this make a difference?

For most people it will make no difference at all – the movies will still be the movies –  and you will enjoy sitting back, munching on a snack and being entertained.

Can you really tell the difference? There is only one way to find out….come along to Movies by the Boulevard for the final movies this season – it could be the last time in Sydney you get the chance!


Public Events Manager, Sydney Olympic Park

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