Ziegfeld Theatre

141 West 54th Street,
New York, NY 10019

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khando on December 15, 2004 at 5:50 pm

why didnt you tell me about the Aviator premiere at the Zeigfeld yesterday ;[

rcdt55b on December 4, 2004 at 7:27 pm

I have been hearing that Digital Cinema will be at every theater for 12 years now. If you are telling me that it will replace every screen in every theater, it will not happen. Digital Cinema is not film. You will always be able to tell the difference. I have seen the real Digital Cinema. I am not talking about the cheap imitations.

longislandmovies on December 4, 2004 at 5:53 pm

movieboss you hit the nail on the head

movieboss on December 4, 2004 at 5:23 pm

Digital Cinema is HERE and like it or not it’s soon to be at every theater near you. In fact numerous theaters currently receive their digital fature and trailer files via satellite including the Loews 42nd Street E-Walk on two screens locally. the Ziegfeld is not satellite equipped, but receives their digital “prints” on a hard drive which is loaded into the media servers. The files are compressed, encoded and encrypted. They are protected by “keys” which prevent any other specific equipment from playing back a pirated or duplicated file.

Theater owners have never been seriously thought by anyone to be required to pay for the conversion to digital. Sometime soon one or more studio backed financing plans will be in place to provide the funds. While people may not flock to DLP vs. 35mm, they will notice an increase in light output, more even light distribution from corner of image to corner of image and a rock steady picture without any degradation after multiple showings. Also, since the distribution cost will be significantly reduced vs. film, more theaters and markets will be able to show a wider variety of movies that otherwise would receive only limited distribution.

An earlier poster mentioned sound … with a pristine digital sound file, the quality of sound will only be limited to the quality of the sound processing and speaker equipment in an auditorium.

There are limitations with the current 1.3K resolution DLP projectors in use. These will however, soon be replaced with newer 2K DLP projectors allowing screens the size of the Ziegfeld’s to be completely filled and not cropped and still retain light, brilliance and clarity at least matching if not exceeding that of 35mm “analog” film. Furthermore Sony has in the works a 4K projection system.

Before “assuming” the world of cinema quality digital cinema is anything like internet based movie downloads, or even DVD like quality, consider the massive file sizes required for a cinema screen vs. a computer monitor or even a large screen HD television. DO not confuse “digital” home entertainment media with Digital Cinema.

One final thought for now … those “pre-show” advertisements and mini-commercials shown at many theaters around the country are being projected via small NON Cinema grade projectors. They are low on light output and in most cases not designed to project the distances they are now being used for. On top of that, the source material is grainy and usually poor in quality as it was designed for use on television and has too low a level of resolution to be projected any actual distance and size.

The circuits using this pre-show technology to show “movies” are doing a disservice to the public and diminishing the quality of the experience. I suspect that the poor box office they have to date realized from their experiments may curtail it’s use in the future, but that may be giving too much credit.

dave-bronx™ on December 4, 2004 at 3:01 pm

What the Ziegfeld has is a stadium, which is the technical word that theatre architects used. Today the public thinks of that word meaning the entire auditorium on steps.

Years ago when big-splash premieres were done as a reserved-seat benefit with hard tickets at the Ziegfeld and Cinema I, the seat locations on the ticket were “Orchestra” or “Loge” and the row and seat number.

In the big old palaces where there was a real balcony (a cantilevered structure over the orchestra with the seats on steps), the seats were divided into loge (in the front), mezzanine (middle) and balacony (at the top), with the sections divided by cross-aisles.

RobertR on December 4, 2004 at 2:20 pm

Sound balcony-esque to me LOL

stevebob on December 4, 2004 at 1:28 pm

A number of entries here describe this theater as having a balcony.

There is NO balcony, only a rear area that rises at a steeper angle than the main orchestra level, and which is separated from the main area by a cross-aisle.

dave-bronx™ on December 4, 2004 at 12:14 pm

They want the theatre owner to pay for the equipment (last I heard, about $60,000. per screen, probably less now) that will enable the distributor will save the cost of manufacturing, shipping and storing prints – and that is not going to happen. Even if they get it to look exactly like film, the theatre has nothing to gain other than saving the cost of having an usher make up a show. Plus, they are going to have to have all the bugs worked out of it – theatres that got burned with the original SDDS unit, a $15,000. piece of junk, are going to be wary…

rcdt55b on December 4, 2004 at 4:36 am

I agree with Vito. One of the major problems with DLP is who will pay for it. If you make theater owner pay for it, you put all the independent theaters out of business. The theater owners definitely have nothing to gain because DLP is not going to attract more people to the movies. He is also right about possibly shared film and video. They will never replace film completely.

rcdt55b on December 4, 2004 at 4:20 am

Digital still has a very long way to go. Until I see some major improvements I won’t be preparing to switch over in my theater anytime soon.

Vito on December 4, 2004 at 4:16 am

Longislandmovies, When I wrote about the public’s lack of interest in DLP, I meant the theatre owners have little to gain here and therefore it will have to be up to thr studios to fit most of the bill to install the equipment. I suppose it’s possible some day it will all work out and we will see the end of film in the theatres but I for one do not believe that will ever happen. We will more likely see a shared film and digital presentation for many many more years.

Vito on December 4, 2004 at 4:04 am

The equipment installed in my theatres is run by a computor with the media (called platter) loaded on to the hard drive. So you might have one or two movies loaded as well as an array of trailers, both for upcoming movies and house specials, such as advertisements, which you would click on in order to show them. The “script” which contains the info you have programmed is them run each time you start the show. The movie is projected thru a lens either flat or anamorphic by means of the same type of Xenon light source, approx. 6000 watts, as film. I have not seen the system which is transmitted thru satellite as yet, I am not sure if that is being used yet.The entire operation is run by computor.

chconnol on December 3, 2004 at 5:32 am

Can I ask a question about digital? What exactly is the “medium”? Is it a DVD or something? How exactly does the movie get projected?

A few years ago, the NYTimes ran an extensive article about theaters that would receive the movie through a satellite transmission beamed from a source location. The issue was how to prevent hackers from getting the signal and sending it to some other place. Movie piracy of the highest order.

With digital, do the theaters receive a DVD or something of the movie to be shown?

longislandmovies on December 3, 2004 at 4:30 am

Vito the public does not have to care about it the theater owners do , and as SOON as digital is perfected you will see it in all your chains..

Vito on December 3, 2004 at 3:52 am

I would have to agree with RCDTJ, Digital projection may grow some, but it will be a long time, if ever, before it replaces film completly. Digital is flat and dull and yes it does have problems with breakdowns, and as I mentioned in another thread, the public just does not care about it.Automation and platters was the reason 25 years ago I switched from projection to management. I can still dable in the booth if I care to, but it is so boring now without lights, curtains and changeovers. I miss “putting on a show” The guys at the Ziegfeld have a platter which has to be, after the Maytag repair man, the worlds most boring job. Threading a projector once every two hours or so has to be dull. Even worse is digital, with nothing to do but babysit the thing.

br91975 on December 2, 2004 at 9:23 am

The next two bookings at the Ziegfeld are ‘Oceans Twelve’, beginning December 10th, and, starting December 22nd, ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera’.

rcdt55b on December 1, 2004 at 7:23 am

Automations and platters were the begining of the end for projectionists. I’m talking about the quality of the picture. Cost is an issue too. It will never look like film. There have been too many issues and problems with digital projection. Yes it looks good, but will never be as good as film. The whole transition to digital was supposed to start happening years ago. They were so up on doing it in the begining. Now I hear less about it then before. I,m not saying this just as a projectionist. I am saying this as a service tech, projectionist, and someone who has worked with and worked on digital projection. I do not see it being widespread any time soon.

RobertR on December 1, 2004 at 6:38 am

At Loews Raceway they run the promos before the film on video and the quality is very good but it does not have the kick that film does.

longislandmovies on December 1, 2004 at 6:05 am

Projectionist to not want digital because it is the begining of the end for them..

rcdt55b on December 1, 2004 at 5:48 am

Most people that I deal with as a projectionist do not want digital projection. They have been trying this since I started in the business. It will never match the effect of film.

Vito on December 1, 2004 at 4:59 am

DLP may have a place in cinema today but I want no part of it. When I go to the movies I want to see a 35/70mm motion picture film projected. I will admit film does show signs of wear like scatches and focus drifts but DLP has it’s flaws as well. In some of the theatres I am connected with we have DLP projection, and in a most cases a multipex theatre will be a showing a movie in DLP as well as a film version I have watched both DPL and film versions of the same movie and much prefer the film. As a matter of fact the theatre going public does not know or care about DLP. I remember when “Jurrassic Park” was released in DTS. In every location where a multiplex had two or more prints, it was the theatre showing the film in DTS that was always sold out. The public wanted the big sound. That is not the case with DLP, mainly because the public seems to see little or no advantage to movies projected that way. CConnolly hit the nail on the head with respect to cost, since there seems to be no real advantage for the theatre owners to install the very expensive equipment, it should be the studios who will have to pay at least a part of the expense. The studios of course save a ton of money on film costs and shipping and have the most to gain. By the way, silver screens are only installed today for 3-D engagements and IMAX.

chconnol on November 30, 2004 at 9:26 am

Face it: digital is the wave of the future. The only thing that’s keeping it from sweeping through all theaters is who will pay for the upgrades? The theater owners or the studios? There was an aritcle in the NYTimes a few months ago about this. From what I’ve heard, the image is pristine but lacks the “glow” that comes from the celluloid and the projectors lamp.

I have mixed feelings about it. As much as I love the celluloid, there have been a lot of theaters where the image is not what it should be. Yes, it could be the theater’s management trying to save a few bucks but it also might be because of the film’s poor quality after having been run through so many times.

From what I understand, the term “silver screen” came from the projector’s light source which produced a kind of shimmer to the image. With digital, we’ll get that pristine image but without that special shimmer.

br91975 on November 30, 2004 at 7:57 am

DLP is O.K.; I’ve never been particularly blown away by it – I personally don’t have any issues with celluloid, I suppose due to my familiarity with it and the vast majority of the 150-170 films I see per year in theatres which AREN’T presented in DLP – but that’s just one man’s perspective.

RobertR on November 30, 2004 at 6:26 am

I have never seen anything in DLP, how does it compare?

mhvbear on November 30, 2004 at 6:14 am

I had the pleasure of seeing a couple films in DLP at the Ziegfeld and did not see any problems with it. Seeing that 70mm seems to be a thing of history I don’t see a problem with viewing an unscratched print of a film.
I am hoping that the Ziegeld will be showing ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ during the Christmas holidays. This would be the perfect theater in NYC for this engagement.