My local theater is finally entering the 21st century!

Discussion in 'Movies' started by BrianShort, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. BrianShort

    BrianShort Supporting Actor

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    For years the local 2 screen theater has had crappy sound, old seats, and a blemished screen. Well, they're finally upgrading! All new seats with higher backs and cupholders are going in, they're replacing the screen, putting new wall coverings up, and the best part, installing a new sound system! Previously, I'm not sure what it was. I can't say it was stereo because I never really heard any stereo separation, though they did have surround speakers on the walls, which I would occationally hear sound from. Now they're upgrading to a DTS system. I saw one of the surround speaker boxes outside... JBL Professional 8330A... I checked out JBL Pro's website and it looks like the speakers are THX approved too. I look forward to hearing how it sounds once they are finished with the upgrades.

    They're keeping the old projector though, the manager who I talked to yesterday for a minute said it was still in good shape.

    Brian
     
  2. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    DTS? That's sooooooo 90s. [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  3. MitchellD

    MitchellD Agent

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    While I think theatre DTS conceptually is not the best way to go, DTS when properly installed with a good sound system behind it sounds quite good. If they install good amps and speakers, and make sure everything is adjusted correctly, it will knock your socks off, even in a big old theatre.

    /Mitchell
     
  4. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Would this be non-digital projector based on 19th Century technology?

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Just busting your balls!
     
  5. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Peter Apruzzese
    Still the best way to show films, now and in the foreseeable future. [​IMG]
     
  6. MitchellD

    MitchellD Agent

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    I have to agree with Peter on this one. As a matter of both cost and quality, old analog film has digital beat.

    High costs aside, digital projection for theatre applications still has a long way to go before it surpasses film projection. None of the existing units that are commercially available can match the resolution of 35mm film, and none of the existing units can match film for grayscale or color depth (shades of colors).

    There have been a number of very well publicized demos of digital projection where the digital looked better. Unfortunately, these demos which are usually funded by people who have a financial interest in digital, and are for the most part rigged. This is done by comparing scratched and poorly processed film, sometimes projected with inadiquite light and poor lenses against a brand new digital projector with a factory technician on site to constantly tweek the unit.

    One of the dirty little secrets of digital projection is lifespan. DLP arrays wear out eventually, and are very costly to replace. This is especially so for digital theatre projectors, which have high wattage xenon lamps (a 1960's technology) for a light source. I wonder what the picture on one of these digital units will look like after 5 years of constent use.

    Even if every theatre in country went digital, and used the same brand projector, there still would not be enough of them to bring the cost down on DLP arrays.

    /Mitchell
     
  7. Francois Caron

    Francois Caron Cinematographer

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    As long as the projector is in decent shape and the lenses are of reasonable quality, there's no need to replace it. Just slap the digital reader on the projector, calibrate the timing and you're done.

    Montreal's Imperial Theater still has both of their 35/70 mm projectors which I believe date back from the early seventies. And there's no way they'll replace those any time soon! I saw Lawrence of Arabia in 70 mm a few years ago and was astonished by the amount of detail in the image.
     
  8. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I worked at a theatre that was built in 1989 but the projectors were reconditioned units, from at least the 1950's. They're rather clunky but still put out a nice picture- lenses and sound systems were brand-new at the time of installation.
    The brand-new projectors are a lot more fun to work with though in my opinion.
     
  9. MitchellD

    MitchellD Agent

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    There is no reason why a reconditioned 35mm projector from the 1950's, or even the 1930's, with modern lenses should not put out a razor sharp and rock steady picture. They were designed from day one to do this. Of course, a projector that has not been properly maintained for many years is going to be less than satisfactory, but then so would a digital projector that is out of alignment or worn out.

    One of the more common problems I come across with film projection is old lenses. Unlike the projectors themselves, lens technology has improved greatly over the last decade.

    As to sound, any projector made after the mid 1930's should be upgradable to either analog or digital stereo sound.

    /Mitchell
     
  10. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Things I've seen go wrong in old projectors:

    - locking nut or whatever can't be tightened enough to keep the shutter mechanism in sync with the pull-down mechanism.

    - film transport sprockets wear, gripper-claws wear, pull-down claws wear, gate wears, et cetera. Image jumps around a bit as instead of matching the film sprocket holes to, say, 99.9999%, it's only 99.0% (and when you're doing a 10,000x magnification, that 1% adds up fast!)

    Xenon lamps aren't bad; they just need to be maintained and replaced on a proper schedule. Powersupplies, rectifiers, and ballasts also need proper maintenance.

    Next door at the Imax, they don't shut down the arcs except for over-night. Instead, between showings, they throttle down from 15kw to 7.5kw. I wonder how much that would improve some unstable arcs I've seen in the theaters if they did something like that... (instead of shutting it down for twenty minutes only to restrike it for the next showing.)

    Leo Kerr
    Lkerr1@alumni.umbc.edu
     

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