In 1987, Max Bell established Bell Theatre Services. His goal was to provide projection and sound solutions to the film and cinema industry in the UK where attendances were picking up following the adoption of the US multiplex model.
Max's experience in film production and as an engineer at Dolby Laboratories in Los Angeles helped make Bell Theatre Services the UK's main supplier of cinema sound systems and projectors. We equipped close to 1300 screens with 35mm projection and state of the art sound systems during the cinema resurgence of the late 1980s and 1990s.
The Rise of Digital Cinema
In 1999 Star Wars Episode 1 was showcased in Digital on 2 screens in North America. The entire film industry and the public were presented for the first with the future of cinema. Whilst many industry professionals were initially sceptical of the capabilities of digital projection, we purchased our first digital projector for rental in 2001. It was clear to us that the technology would be widely adopted by the industry sooner or later.
Our instinct rang true as demand for permanent digital cinema projectors and installations grew in the early 2000s. Post production facilities, preview theatres and some cinemas quickly began requesting digital installations which we were able to provide. Digital dailies were also very much in demand as the ability to screen film rushes at the highest quality on location became possible.
As we had built a reputation for digital projection and had expanded our relationship with exhibitors, it left us in a perfect position to facilitate their transition to digital. Since 2010 we have been responsible for the conversion of over 1300 screens in the UK from traditional 35mm film to digital with half being 3D capable.
As the film industry has grown and evolved, so has Bell Theatre Services. 2012 will be remembered as the year the cinema experience went fully digital in the UK, and we remain at the forefront of the revolution. Max and the world class engineering team he has built, regularly supply technical services and support to the major film studios. Clients include Warner Bros, Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and more. Our exhibitor clients include Cineworld, VUE, Showcase, Odeon, independent cinemas including Merlin, Scott and many others.
Our engineers are the best at what they do due to the fact that they all come from within film production and cinema exhibition and have a genuine passion for the industry. Digital conversion, installation and servicing are two of several phases in the evolution of cinema presentation, but there are still more to come. The ability to display films at an even greater resolution, high frame rates, new surround sound formats including Dolby Atmos and 4D systems are just in their opening phases.
Whatever happens, Bell Theatre Services are prepared and will continue to provide the very best in cinema presentation.