Questions about Movie Theater Setups

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ruben Zamora, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. Ruben Zamora

    Ruben Zamora Stunt Coordinator

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    I HAVE noooo Idea where to post this.


    But I was at my local movie theater the other day watching Spider-Man and I was just curious as to WHAT setups Theaters use.

    I would love to go see their equipment. Subwoofers, Centers, etc. And what AUDIO stuff they have up top.

    DO any of you know of any links that show pictures and stuff of whats behind the scense at a Movie theater.
     
  2. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    Well, I worked at a Landmark Cinema Grand 10 theater for 2 years. The speakers used were all JBL, using 15" and 18" subs behind the screen and many "effects" speakers surrounding the theater. The amps they used were all QSC, but I am not too sure which models were being used.
     
  3. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I know that the Warren Theater in Wichita, KS on the East side uses QSC amps and JBL speakers for sure (they had a grand opening and the Sunday paper came with a pamplet with pics). I didn't like the center channel when I saw Spiderman (too much sibilance from Kirsten Dunst on some of the "S") and the bass though plentiful didn't extend deep.
     
  4. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    Ruben:
    www.film-tech.com
    Browse around the site and join their forums, too. You'll get more information than you can possibly use... [​IMG]
     
  5. Tom Brennan

    Tom Brennan Screenwriter

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    Ruben---Pretty much standard today in a good theater are 3 sets of mains behind the screen; each main a 2-way consisting of 2 15" woofers in vented boxes below 500hz and a 2" throat compression driver on a constant-directivity horn above 500hz. Subs are usually 18" drivers in vented boxes with at least 2 behind the screen. JBL, EV, Klipsch Pro and others make such systems. Many older theaters still use Altec Voice of The Theatres, which IMO sound superior to the newer systems (at least when brought in the home and used for hi-fi or HT). The various VOTs were 2-ways with 15" woofs in combination basshorn-vented boxes up to 500hz, above 500hz were compression drivers, either 1" or 1.4" throat, on multicell or radial horns. Many VOTs were huge and very powerful, the A4 used 2 horn-loaded 15" woofs and sometimes as many as 5 A2s would be behind the screen for Cinerama, late 1950s 70mm roadshows and such. The most familiar VOT is the A7 which used a single 15 and a 1" throat driver on a radial horn, it was for use in theaters under 450 seats and is a popular speaker for home hi-fi. For more info look at the theater speakers at www.jblpro.com and www.voiceofthetheatre.com
     
  6. Ruben Zamora

    Ruben Zamora Stunt Coordinator

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    So how do they mix the sound with the film.


    The film reel just contains the movie correct? And the sound is on what?
     
  7. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  8. AlexKunec

    AlexKunec Stunt Coordinator

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    Theaters are more advanced now. They don't run on DTS encoded tracks. That ended about 3 years ago. Now they are encoded in a new format called SDDS, something like Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, which leaves DTS in the dust.
     
  9. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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  10. Chuck Stephens

    Chuck Stephens Stunt Coordinator

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    This is not quite correct. SDDS is by far the WORST of the digital systems in theaters now. The surround seperation is not nearly as good as DTS or SRD(Dolby Digital). Also the subwoofer channel does not go as deep as the other 2 formats. I know this because we have all 3 formats at the theater that i work at. We've had several instances lately when we've had the same film in all of the digital houses and there is no comparison. DTS and Dolby are WAY better than SDDS. Not to mention the fact that SDDS tracks are more likely to go bad from wear and tear of going through the projector after only a few days because it's on the outside edge of the film. Also SDDS is not installed in as many theaters as the other 2 formats are. In the 5 years that i worked as a projectionist we had the most trouble with SDDS and it's just a pain in the ass in general. Just thought i'd add my 2 cents.
     
  11. Mike Strassburg

    Mike Strassburg Second Unit

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    Another question: who is actually more impressed by the audio in a theater as compared to their HT set-up? I'm sure not. Mine is LOUD & CLEAN & shakes the walls.

    I recently saw Blade 2 & Spiderman at two of the larger/better theaters in town and the audio was lacking. The explosions sounded like firecrackers at best. To me louder makes a better impact on explosions, gunshots, etc...

    YMMV....Mike

    P.S. Once I get a projector or 65" TV theaters will be a thing of the past!
     
  12. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Not only have theaters not abandoned DTS/DD for SDDS, actually SDDS is the LEAST used digital format nationally. I think there might be more theaters still doing analog mag tracks than do SDDS!

    I cannot believe someone actually posted that...

    -v

    PS: Many theaters (specifically chains) use QSC amps, their DCA series, which are theater specific amps with an entire marketing department aimed at theaters.
     
  13. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    I agree Mike, all the theaters in Wichita, KS (some of which are THX certified) don't impress me that much as they sound harsh on dynamics and the bass seems to lack in depth (though good from about 40hz up) and in some cases I could tell where the sub was (I think this has more to do with a worker there messing with the system thinking to get more bass by boosting it's output). I couldn't wait to watch Episode 1's pod race at home because at the theater I could tell of it's potential but definitely didn't experience it there.
     
  14. Ruben Zamora

    Ruben Zamora Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to agree about the Theaters sounds.


    While my 2yr old Carmike theater sounds excellent, IT lakes in clarity of higher pitched sounds. I like to come home and watch movies instead because I get a cleaner sound.
     

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