History and heritage of the Bradford Student Cinema.

N.B. This document forms the bulk of the information surrounding the BSC on Wikipedia. it is published here on an official university website as factual evidence to support the encyclopaedic nature of the wikipedia site, especially whist the official BSC site is not live at present.

The Bradford Student Cinema is a film society operating as part of the University of Bradford's Student Union. It is one of three media groups at the union (the others being the radio station "Ramair" and the student magazine "Kinetic") who, historically are not considered part of the "sports clubs" or the "clubs and societies". In many respects they are run as a normal society with membership, however as they provide a service accessible to all students and staff (not just the societies members), they are treated differently and come under the jurisdiction of the Communications Officer.

The Bradford Student Cinema (BSC) is one of the oldest societies within the student union and can trace it heritage back to early days of the university. Formerly the Film Society, the BSC used to screen 16mm film from lecture theatres on N floor of the Richmond Building (Refurbished in 2000 removing the projection boxes in favour of additional seating). It later moved into the University's Great Hall, where it gained a portable 35mm projection system. This venue is still used today, on what is believed to be the largest student cinema screen in the country.[1]

The 9 metre wide solid steel-framed screen, complete with motorised adjustable masking flies down from the roof onto the stage and fills the proscenium arch of the Great Hall, making good use of the curtains to give a traditional cinema feel to the venue, in an auditorium designed as a multipurpose staged hall with good acoustics. As the projection box is situated three floors up from ground level, the projector has a steep rake, and the screen is angled back when dropped to remove any keystoning. For this reason audience for film showings are generally only invited to sit in the balcony circle rather than the stalls, seating up to 337. In the mid nineties the projector was replaced with a 1940s Westrex 2001 projector, a model still in common use around the country. In 2001 the student union funded an upgrade of the projection facilities, and the cinema was fitted with a Dolby CP55 processor, new amps and speakers including a subwoofer to bring surround to the cinema for the first time (Stereo is not commonly used in cinemas, as a central audio channel is required to centralise dialogue for any audience sitting off-centre). A red laser sound reader was also installed to future proof the projector for the arrival of cyan sound tracks, and improve the quality of intermediate high magenta sound tracks. The lamphouse and rectifier was also upgraded to handle 2.5kW lamps. Due to the cost, new surround speakers were not fitted, and have instead been formed using older speakers placed along the rear of the balcony.

In recent times the BSC has run the British Federation of Film Societies Student Group Conference and various exclusive preview screenings of the latest movies in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph's Movie Mania Promotion (circa 2001). Like many professional cinemas it screens cinema trailers and adverts from Pearl & Dean. Due to a drop in student numbers and the opening of a 16-screen multiplex in the centre of Bradford, the student cinema has suffered in the last four years. Ironically the size of the BSC has been part of its downfall - whilst smaller societies use video or DVD, the BSC's screen and throw distance (27 meters) means it cannot handle anything smaller than professional 35mm cinema films. The union has since stepped in and the BSC now shows a reduced number of showing throughout the academic year free of charge to staff and students.

In 2002 the BSC nominated Brian Blessed to receive an Honorary Degree (Doctor of Letters) from the university for his contribution to film, television and acting, which he received during the Electronic Imaging & Media Communication Department's graduation ceremony in July 2003.

Cinema-goers used to be able to buy drinks and snacks, including alcohol for cinema showings as the Biko Bar, in the Richmond building, but this was closed in 2005. The cinema's showings have been restricted due to the building of the new 5.3 million atrium and front entrance designed to provide a vibrant multi-functional space and form the heart of the University (Opened in October 2006 to celebrate the university's 40th birthday). A return to regular screening has been delayed by a long-awaited refurbishment of the Great Hall from January 2007. Due to the difficulties in fitting building work around exams, graduation ceremonies and registration, it is likely that showings may again be delayed in the future, although there are plans to screen films from September 2007 until the second phase of the Great Hall refurbishment begins. Plans are in the early stages to fit a digital cinema projector in the Hall alongside the existing 35mm facilities, lead by Informatics Technical Support.


Mat Overton
School of Informatics Technical Support
Past BSC President 2000 - 2003