Long forgotten – The Drive-In Movie Theater

drivein3This past weekend I went to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine with my son at a nearby drive-in movie theater. That’s right, a drive-in movie theater. If you grew up in the late 70s and early 80s you have probably been to one of these classic venues before they all but disappeared. The drive-in movie theater offers you a unique experience and if there is one nearby, you should try and get to one at least once during the Summer.

Drive-ins let you see movies on a big screen, a really big screen. With the dawn of multiplexes, theater screens have been getting smaller and smaller. Not so with the drive-in. These screens are huge and the images are larger than life, literally.

If you’re a penny-pincher like I am, drive-ins are more affordable, too. You get 2 movies for the price of one if you choose to stay for the double-feature. Even if you only watch one movie it’s still cheaper than going to the mall. A brief survey I’ve conducted shows that the price of admission is about $1-$2 cheaper than the multiplex for adults and the concessions are cheaper too. Some drive-ins charge a “tax” if you bring your own food, which is understandable. At the drive-in I go to regularly, if you bring your own food you’re only charged $5 per car. Bring your grill and have some burgers and dogs during the film.

You also get to enjoy the movie at your own volume since many use FM transmitters for the film’s audio. No thunderous booms coming from the neighboring theaters or audio that’s too loud or soft. Some drive-ins still offer the nostalgic squawk boxes that hang from your window if you want to go really retro.

Drive-ins in my opinion are more comfortable too. If you’re not comfortable in your car you can always bring along a lawn chair to chillax in rather than the stinky, sticky chairs you find in theaters. Got a pick-up truck? Back that puppy up and sit in the bed for an even nicer view. The staff at the drive-in is very conscious of larger vehicles and will even ask if your view is blocked by that SUV in front of you. If some freakishly tall person sits in front of you in a regular theater, you’re stuck. Have fun looking around their huge head.

Granted, there are some down sides to the drive-in. There’s always some inconsiderate person who turns on their headlights during the movie or stomps the brake in front of you. Occasionally someone will drive in front of your view but it’s only for a moment. If it starts to rain your picture is ruined but most drive-ins do offer rain checks in the case of really bad weather.

I think that overall the drive-in experience is exponentially better than going to the multiplex. Being involved in a time-honored tradition of blowing your horn to get the movie started and grilling before the start of the movie is a great way to spend some quality time with the family.

For more information about drive-ins in your area, visit these sites:

Weekly Twitter Digest for 2009-05-02

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A Review of Qik

I recorded this using Qik on my BlackBerry Bold.

Qik allows people to upload and stream video from their smart phone. It’s another one of those “life-sharing” tools the Internet has become flooded with. Qik has a number of features that sets itself apart from the noise of all the other life-sharing tools.

Qik works with multiple phones, it’s not tied to one specific device. You could have any number of people posting to the same account. This would be great for missions trips or other church functions. Participants could install the software on their device and then upload their videos and impressions about the trip. You’d then have a montage of videos for people to view and get a feel for how it feels to go on a missions trip.

Qik works in 3 modes: disconnected, 3G connected or wireless connected. The disconnected mode allows you to record videos for upload later. The 3G connected mode works fairly well but there is a considerable lag. One of the things that I didn’t like about the Qik client in this mode is that I have to enter the APN settings for the network I’m using (AT&T). qik-connectionsI thought it would just automatically use the 3G network to stream the file to the Qik server. Looking through the Qik Wiki it seems that is because I’m using a BlackBerry so if you have another device that’s a hurdle you won’t have to deal with. The wireless mode gives a user the best results, for obvious reasons. The lag isn’t so bad and it appears to provide a better quality image. Wireless isn’t always available but if it is, this is the preferred method of connecting. The only area I could see for improvement here is if there were an automatic connection manager allowing the software to switch between modes based upon the connection options (or lack thereof).

Qik also integrates with a number of other social networking and life-sharing sites. The list includes:

  • Ovi
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mogulus
  • 12 Seconds
  • YouTube
  • Blogger
  • Seesmic
  • Tumblr
  • WordPress.com

This allows you to stream your video and upload it once and let Qik do the work of distributing it to various outlets.

Overall, I think Qik is a really nice tool. Churches and ministries could really benefit by using Qik to instantly post video about events or report from the field when on a missions trip or some other outreach program. It’s a great way to let people know what’s going on “right now” and give them a sense of being right there with you.

Digital ramblings of a Christian husband, father, and geek