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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Rocky Mount theater goes digital
Movie industry to stop using old-fashioned film
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Photo by Morris Stephenson: Dennis Shaver and son, Robert, of Shaver’s Sound Service of Mooresville, N.C., are shown with “Tee” Brookes and Wendy Smith beside the new digital movie projector that is monitored on a small screen, visible in the center of photograph.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post

It was out with the old and in with the new as Eagle Cinema in Rocky Mount upgraded from the old 35 mm film movies last week to a modern digital system in all five of its theaters.

Ammie "Tee" Brookes, president of Brookes Management Inc., said the switch to the new equipment took two weeks, installing new screens and digital projectors that replaced the old 35 mm film projectors.

"This was a huge upgrade and a major investment," Brookes said, but a necessary one because movie companies are discontinuing the use of film in favor of digital cartridges.

A regular 2-hour movie on film consists of two large reels, weighing about 30 pounds, Brookes said. The digital version is the size of a VHS tape and weighs about 3 pounds.

"Some of the longer movies on film required up to four reels of film," she added.

The upgrades also include 5.1 digital surround sound in all five theaters.

"Moviegoers who come to our theater are going to notice a major difference in the quality of the movies (screen resolution), as well as the improved quality of the sound system," Brookes said. "I can't wait to talk to the people after they've seen a movie and hear their comments about the new digital system."

"Personally, I am very pleased with what we now have, and I know those who love to go out and see a good movie will definitely enjoy the experience," she added.

Dennis Shaver and his son, Robert, of Shaver Sound Service installed the new screens and sound equipment. It was Shaver who installed the original projectors and sound system for Brookes' late husband, Sam.

After a trip to California to research the business, it was Sam Brookes who renovated the former Kroger store with Jones Architectural. Brookes owned the shopping center, naming it Eagle Plaza because Franklin County High School is just up the street on Tanyard Road.

Sam Brookes spent three years converting the building into a five-theater cinema. His oldest son, Sam, who was 12 at the time, was beside him just about every step of the way. Today, the couple's other two sons, Alex and Carter, are also involved in the operation. Wendy Smith serves as Brookes' assistant.

Nine months after Sam Brookes opened Eagle Cinema in March 2004, he was killed in a traffic accident.

"The movie house was his dream and was his special project," Tee Brookes said. "He did a lot of the work himself and subcontracted the special jobs that needed to be done. I'm so glad he lived long enough to see his dream come true."

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