The projection room at the Brunswick Moviebowl is like the control deck of an alien spaceship from a science fiction film.
It’s dark, there are some flashing lights and the only sound is that of the cool air streaming in from an air conditioning unit in the roof.
The seven projectors are state of the art and on first inspection it strikes me that flying a military grade fighter jet would be easier.
Eamonn McLaughlin is manager of the Brunswick Moviebowl and has been since the cinema opened to the public almost three years ago.
“We have around six members of staff who are trained at using the projectors. It might look difficult but once you’ve done it a few times it’s second nature.
“We are a state of the art digital cinema and when we are screening a movie we go the same rigorous checks from the lighting to the temperature inside the theatre, from the cleanliness of the theatre to the needs of the customer, we always pride ourselves at trying to deliver the best possible experience.”
Piracy is one of the biggest issues faced by cinemas and the movie industry so when the latest movies arrive at the Moviebowl they do so in top secret fashion.
The movies are placed into a small heavy duty protective suitcase. The come in the form of large hard drive and the staff at the Moviebowl then “ingest” the film into their computer mainframe.
“We have to ingest all of our movies in the morning times when the projectors are not being used,” explained Eamonn.
“If we were to ingest a film into our computers through a working projector it would take up to three hours but when the projector is not in use it usually only takes about 30 minutes.”
Inevitably, people lose or drop items belonging to them while watching a movie and as you’d expect mobile phones and wallets are amongst the most common objects found but he revealed that a member of staff was cleaning up inside the cinema when they stumbled across something unexpected.
“Umbrellas, keys, wallets and phones have all been found in the theatres but we got a bit of shock when we found a pair of socks - needless to say they were thrown out immediately,” he laughed.
It’s up to Eamonn and his team to decide what trailers should be shown before a film and this process is all done by computer.
“If we are showing a comedy we will show trailers promoting comedies - it’s that simple. It would absolutely ridiculous if we were to show a trailer for Rom-Com before a Science Fiction movie - the audience wouldn’t like it.”
Every seat in the seven screen cinema has its own under-seat cooling system and the temperature is checked eight times a day in each of the theatres.
“As soon as the film has started you will notice two ushers come into the theatre and walk up and down each of the aisles; that is to make sure that no one has their feet up on seats and there is no excessive talking.
“We recognise that there’s love of cinema in Derry and Donegal and we want to make sure everyone who comes here has an enjoyable and relaxing time.”
The Moviebowl also pride themselves on delivering the best pop-corn in the North West. All of the pop-corn sold at the Moviebowl is freshly popped.
“If you’re coming to see a movie at 8pm the chances are the popcorn has been popped at 7pm. We make sure to always have freshly popped pop-corn,” smiled Eamonn.
Eamonn is a self-confessed movie buff and when he’s not busy at work in the Moviebowl he’s at home in Buncrana trawling IMDB.com for the latest trailers for all of the up and coming movies.
“It’s imperative that we are as up to date as possible. ‘Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie’ is out later this month and tickets sales are going really well - it has the potential to become the most successful movie we have ever shown at the Moviebowl,” he said hopefully.
“It’s a pleasure working here everyday and I love seeing the reaction on customers’ faces when they’ve seen a movie or watched a trailer - the love of cinema and going to the movies is certainly alive and well in Derry.”
For a full list of what is currently showing at the Brunswick Moviebowl visit www.brunswickmoviebowl.com or telephone 028 71 371 999.