Welcoming a New Era for the Robins Family Forum
Anyone who knows me knows that I love movies. Among my favorite movies are Chariots of Fire and Goodfellas—how’s that for range? A number of years ago I organized a few film classes at the VHS, but at that time I couldn’t have imagined that I would ever be involved in the production of a movie. Virginia Voices was created during the past eighteen months and provides a snapshot of contemporary Virginia and its inhabitants through personal stories told by them and, in many cases, filmed by them. While fellow Virginians were submitting their responses, and our producer was traveling around the state collecting footage, back at the VHS we were busy upgrading the Robins Family Forum to prepare that space to provide the best film-going experience possible. It was really exciting when we premiered the film in the Robins Family Forum on March 17.
Today, the Forum boasts a 2K projector that provides high-definition images as crisp and clear as the best movie theaters, 5:1 surround sound so you hear rain falling and wind rushing around you, and an impressive 20-foot by 10-foot screen. Having watched my fair share of movies in the Forum over the years, the experience today engages one’s senses in a way that the previous equipment just didn’t allow. What you might not notice is that in the booth is a digital media server that frees us from relying on physical DVD and Blu-Ray disks. We also installed a 10,000 BTU air conditioning unit that will keep all of the equipment—and our projectionist—cool.
The feed from the Forum is also digitally connected to the Harry M. Bluford Classroom in the Carole and Marcus Weinstein Learning Center and the Halsey Family Lecture Hall, allowing us to send video and audio between the three rooms, linking the programming spaces of our entire complex together.
We’re looking forward to screening Virginia Voices on a daily basis later this year. If you’re interested in seeing all of the submissions to the film project, you can go to www.virginiavoices.org where they are archived.
Dr. Paul A. Levengood is President and CEO of the Virginia Historical Society.