Do movie theaters have any standardization?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by DanielKellmii, May 14, 2005.

  1. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know that there are some THX certified theaters out there, and more would be nice, but other than that, are there any standards that theaters try to follow? I just went to see "Kingdom of Heaven" and I was suprised at the low level of volume in some scenes. That reminded me of the commentary on "Fight Club" where it is stated that the opening track was never played loud enough in theaters. I think that DVDs with Dolby and DTS soundtracks have standards that they have to follow, why not something in movie theaters? I am not suggesting anything that is mandatory. Just something for the Directors (and all others involved) to have so they can "calibrate" there movies.
     
  2. Gary Burdick

    Gary Burdick Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's entirely up to the theater chain, and sometimes the manager if they want to upgrade.

    I did projection for a few years at amc and they come in and calibrate everything at least once a year.
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,282
    Likes Received:
    192
    If the system is properly set up, the volume should be set exactly at "7". However, I've very rarely worked with systems that WERE set up just right to allow that. 90% of the time 7 is just too loud. All the theaters I've worked for had different volume settings for each auditorium- some would be around 6, others as low as 4.5, but the overall level of sound on the same film would be the same. My rule of thumb was always to walk into the theater and make sure that the dialogue can be plainly heard- you shouldn't have to strain to hear it, and it shouldn't sound like they're shouting at you.
    Of course one of the FIRST signs of a badly-run theater is one that will automatically turn down the volume after ONE complaint that the sound is too loud.
    As far as DVDs go, my volume knob is all over the place depending on what movie is played. Most of the time it's plenty loud enough around 4, but some titles require it much higher. A few film prints would have unusually low or high soundtracks requiring a volume adjustment in the theater, but nowhere near the amount there are at home.
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ah, but the decision as to how loudly to play those DVDs is entirely up to each individual.

    Just as the decision on the sound levels in theaters. Theaters in suburban, middle-class areas may well choose not to have the same sound levels as those adjacent to a college campus. After all what theater owners do, is try to attract audiences, not drive them away--which would happen in some areas if the sound is preceived as too loud.
     
  5. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 1999
    Messages:
    3,277
    Likes Received:
    760
    Real Name:
    Peter Apruzzese


    Since it was just some scenes that had low volume, then it's most likely the intended sound mix of the film and not any issue with the theatre's sound system. If the whole film sounded that way, then the theatre would have been at fault.
     
  6. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    Messages:
    762
    Likes Received:
    0
    Could it be something with the sound mixing (proper term?) as well?

    A friend of mine was involved in making a movie which I enjoyed very much, but the problem I had was that the music seemed to overwhelm the dialogue in key places. I told him this, and he said he'd talk to the powers that be about the problem.

    As mentioned above, with DVDs, in the privacy of your own home, the volume can be all over the place. I usually have to hit mute really quickly when it first starts up, because the studio theme (?) is usually cranked up to earsplitting levels, while the movie itself seems to be much, much lower in volume. The added aggravations of jets flying right over my place (I live about 8 miles south of Sea Tac airport) is another story.
     
  7. Gary Burdick

    Gary Burdick Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0
    We always kept ours calibrated to "0" volume level, which should be around reference. Sometimes the dts tracks would get turned down.
     
  8. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1999
    Messages:
    1,004
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do any of the theaters have amps that go up to "11"? Or do they only go up to "10"? I think that, for certain movies such as This Is Spinal Tap, they should go up to "11."
     

Share This Page