SMALL TOWN CINEMA- The Next Movie Revolution!

A forum for sharing views on the art of film, video and AV sequence making as well as on competitions, judging and festivals.
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FILM THURSO
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SMALL TOWN CINEMA- The Next Movie Revolution!

Post by FILM THURSO » Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:15 pm

Whilst running around the Playhouse Cinema, Perth, (large town) yesterday I suddenly thought about what was about to happen in cinema when the projectionist mentioned that they are soon to get a digital projector. This consideration was further enhanced by taking a look at the old Picture House in Tain (very small town) as I passed through on my way back to north.
There has been much discussion on the subject of digital cinema. Whilst there is a lot of competition from other entertainment mediums the digital cinema revolution is very likely to sustain the industry into a new era of motion pictures on the big screen. Whilst it is kind of sad to see film gradually being pushed aside it is still very heartening to know that cinema is destained to continue one way or another.
The reality is that most cinemas big or small, have video projection which is of a very good standard. Even our own little DLP system can put up a remarkable picture 35 foot wide in CinemaScope. It cost us £650!
What this brings us to is a point where it is very likely that we will see the rebirth of cinemas in small towns with film distribution costing less and new programming oportunities arising from equipment that is not restricted to one format or another.
So I hope that Tain will not be the only town restoring it's old cinema- yes the PICTURE HOUSE CINEMA, TAIN IS TO RE-OPEN!
population is below 8000 with catchment under 25 000.
It's a sign of the future.

Brian Saberton
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Post by Brian Saberton » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:52 am

I think one area where small local cinemas could set themselves apart from the multiplexes is showmanship and presentation. The multiplexes have excellent picture and sound quality but all too often nowadays you see a simple screen with no side masking for the non-scope formats and most definitely no curtains or screen lighting. The music played before the film sometimes leaves something to be desired as well!

There are cinemas that have curtains on the screen and I feel that it does lend more of a sense of occasion to going to see a movie when the house lights dim, the screen lights fade out and the curtains open to reveal the picture. I've been lucky enough to visit Hollywood a few times and on one occasion went to see a film in the El Capitan Cinema on Hollywood Boulevard where the presentation started with an organist playing live music and, as he finished and descended into the pit, the screen tabs (yes tabs, because there was more than one set of curtains) slowly drew apart. Sadly it wasn't a very good film but it was good to see that a bit of thought had gone into the presentation.
Brian Saberton

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FILM THURSO
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Post by FILM THURSO » Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:45 pm

I fully agree about the showmanship. Part of the problem is cost. Curtain racks require maintainance but overall the diffrence it makes to the show is worth it. Not all managers would see that in this profit era. If I were running a cinema I would most certainly be looking to make it profitable but all things have an initial cost which isn't often seen past. What lies beyond investment expenditure should be profit from investment. A set of curtains with colored uplighters makes a huge difference to the impact cinema has on the viewer.
I was drawn into movies and cinema not soley by what I saw on the screen but the visual impact of the lighting and decor of my local cinema. In a room it is the fireplace that makes the room what it is. A primeval focus of our attention, a fireplace in whatever design greatly transforms the charactor of a room.
In cinema the screen should be the fireplace. In modern cinemas the screen hangs blank and in shadow so when you enter you are attention is neither drawn nor commanded by the screen. It might just as well be a white wall.
If you compare this http://pic1.piczo.com/thursopicturehous ... c=22625450

to this
http://pic1.piczo.com/thursopicturehous ... 93591&cr=1

you can see what I mean.
Another factor is that in many modern cinemas is the point of entry to the auditoria. In our local cinema and the Phoenix in Kirkwall you enter high up looking down to the screen whilst in the old Picture House Cinema or the VUE multiplex in Inverness you enter looking up. The screen size in many cinemas is not as big as it could be as well. The old Phoenix could have housed a 50ft Cinemascope screen but instead it had a narrow stage set-up and a 30ft screen.
Our local cinema could push it a wee bit bigger if they wanted. The practice of dropping the top pelmit (which our local doesn't do, wey hey!)for scope movies also detracts from the excitment. It immediatly sets up a phsycological impression that something is being cut off the picture. Stragely some locations that do this actually have the room to go wider and show the different format properly.
My personal view is that the audience should never be higher than half way up the screen (75% up at max) so that the back rown is never looking down at the picture. Likewise that backmost rows should have a screen field of view filling 90 degrees horizontal. Below 60 degrees gives a view the same in scale to watching TV and that takes 75% off the visual impact straight away. The Perth Playhouse has a weird arrangement in one of it's screens where the project is to the rear right corner and the seating is angled from from the left rear corner. The Screen is also on the right corner at the front but the seating to projection are conflicting angles.
So in modern cinemas the big problem is no focal point in the auditoria, viewing angles the same as home TV viewing and Scope films not being shown correctly. In these areas local cinemas can take advantage but it depends on the architect. The All Star Factory has NO centre of house seating because the architect thought a centre aisle was a good idea!

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