Showing 51 - 75 of 81 comments found
From 1980 to 1987…I defy anyone to produce any picturs that show a curtain in that theatre. I couldn’t imagine anyone removing a curtained front-end to put in a shadowbox front end. I can guarantee that there was no curtain there from 1980 onwards. Just a blue screen wash (lights). I love curtains. There were none in the Fine Arts…in fact, there was very little fabric of any kind in the auditorium.
Hold on there Howard….I ran that theatre pretty extensively in the 1980s…installed 70mm there too. There was NO curtain in that theatre nor do I believe there ever was a curtain. The Fine Arts had what was referred to as a “Shadow Box” Imagine a trapizoid on its side so you are looking up its bottom. The sides were chamfered towards the screen. The screen wash was indeed blue. The walls were Alpro.
A big problem with the Shadowbox screen is the complete lack of masking…just a thin black boarder going around. Another problem is that it was fixed 2:1 ratio. We changed that when 70mm went in by adding more material top and bottom to make it more to the scope ratio but for 1.85…you still got the fuzzy sides of the aperture plate.
The K-B Crystal had the same front end but used an orange screen wash.
The Fine Arts could sound REALLY good with 70mm. It always seemed to have good crowds.
An oddity for the projectionist…s/he had to enter the booth from the FCC building as there was no path between the booth and the theatre!
From what I can tell…The was not a lot of money around for the Harbour when it was built…mostly of existing equipment in the projection booth. It has traditionally been a busy theatre though it is tough being 2nd bannana behind the Mall.
The Calvert 5 does not have really big theatres…one is in the 300 seat range. They are marked by as steep a slope as one could build in its day (you couldn’t do it today for ADA reasons). The sightlines are great.
As to how the Goldmans would run things with their theatres today is just speculation. It is a family business but Marvin has to be nearly 90 and Ronnie isn’t that young anymore either. I don’t believe Ronnie’s children have any desire to run the business so I think that would limit how they would decide to run a larger chain. The era of the small family run chain has past (with few exceptions). The Kogod and Burka families still own real estate.
You know…it is a funny thing about campaigns to save theatres…if these same people loyally came to the theatre…it wouldn’t close. They tend to get all upset when the prospect of losing their familiar landmark. However, it is a business and the key to the business is patronage. Now if these same people were to demand quality when the business is open, they would be more effective. It is cheaper to keep a business going than it is to open new ones. But when the business demands fall into non-profitability…how can you blame the owners of the business for leaving?
Yes, for meetings and such. I believe they are the current lease holder for the space. This is entirely speculation though.
As of DC Filmfest 2007…the 70mm projectors (Simplex 35/70s) still were there as was most of the “permanent” equipment. I don’t think the 70mm conversion kits remained though. I believe Fannie Mae has control of the space at this point. For the most part everything fired right back up after a little bit of TLC (and replacing some “missing” items).
I would not dispute that description. Compared to the Baronet it was not that phenominal at all. It never even had stereo sound. As for drab…it had the K-B carpet. The walls were Alpro in the theatres (think GCC of the day too). The theatre could do some business at times but mostly…a drab duplex fits the description pretty well.
Jeff, I think you have your theatres off…the Baronet West was a theatre unto itself. Its only connection to the Baronet or the Bethesda was the K-B chain and its proximity to the original Baronet.
It is Kogod and Burka…
The families still exist but they have nothing to do with theatres. The Goldman family married into the Kogod family. K/B was really a reality company that got into the theatre business on a forclosure, as I recall (The Princess Theatre). Anyway…Marvin Goldman married into the Kogod family. They formed Fremar Corp (based on the names FREd Burka and MARvin Goldman). If you looked at any of our paper work, we were Fremar Corp, Trading As K-B Theatres. I came into the company as the Burka family was exiting. At that time David Burka was still around but it was clear that Marvin’s son, Ronnie was coming up and taking over the day-to-day. Marvin and Ronnie ran/owned the company for my tenure there with Marvin handing over the reins just about completely by the time I left.
K-B did not sell to Cineplex though I can understand the confusion. K-B theatres sold to Ron Nadler’s company but they kept the K-B name enough (it wasn’t exactly the same…something like K-B Theatres Inc or LLC or something like that…it was a different company though…no more Fremar Corp). They bought most of what was K-B at the time except for the Annapolis, Calver, and oddly enough, the Aspen Hill. Not being with the company at the time, I have no idea about the politics behind what got sold and when.
The Goldman family formed Apex Cinemas. I have to think they were paying homage to their former crown jewel, the Apex theatre in Washington, DC (before my time as a projectionist but I did see films there as a yute…last film was Logan’s Run in 70mm…those projectors found their way to the K-B Cinema…but I digress).
The Apex theatres continued on until Crown Theatres bought all of them, except the Calvert. Crown closed the Aspen Hill and then built a new Annapolis Mall theatre and subsequently closed the older 4-plex that was built during my time.
Apex Cinemas continues to this day with the Apex Calvert…still owned and operated by the Goldmans
There is a good book on Washington DC theatres by Hedley (he also did one on Baltimore theatres) that will let you see the history of the theatres and the movie men in the Washington DC area.
I understand your dismay about the grain…but at least you could see it…nice and sharp. As I recall Star Trek II in 70mm…I remember noting that the image had a steaky feel to it…like it was not developed uniformly…I saw it in the gate and on screen. If you recall…the subwoofers for the MacA were on stage and visible. There was no more room behind the screen and it was believed when they were installed that the MacA’s days were numbered.
Here is another bit of trivia for you. The MacArthur had a notably narrow front-end. As such we cropped a bit too much in width. If we projected Paramount’s opening title card “Paramount Pictures Presents”…it would read “aroumnt Pictures Present” We opted to keep the curtains closed (and douser closed) for that card and then open the douser and curtain after the card passed so what you, the audience, saw first was the star field but you may recall the musical score started first. I actually really liked that progression…like going to a stage play with the orchestra starting it off first.
Another bit of triva…the last film to play at the MacArthur as a single was “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (reissue) in 70mm.
I did work the Langley from time to time in relief…it was never a permanent job for me. In fact, there were very few theatres that bore the KB or Circle/Showcase badge that I didn’t work at least one shift or two in. I was with KB from 1980 to 1987 and then Circle (and its successors) from 1987 until 2005.
Hey, you won’t get any arguement from me which venue brings you more into the picture…the Uptown can beat em all (and I’m not limiting it to the DC-Metro area). But in its present state…the Uptown is incapable of handling such shows. I agree that the AFI needs to expand its 70mm play list to be more like the Egyptian in Hollywood. BTW…add Playtime to your repeat list for the AFI. Lawrence is coming back to the AFI soon.
Yes the State Theatre is definately open and worth visiting. The current decor looks great to me. For a multi-purpose venue, the State Theatre can put out exceptional film presentations for both image and sound (with genuine projectionists). It has 2K video projection as well (not DCinema…A/V grade.
I have no doubt that their live events are exceptional too. The room has a really great feel to it.
If I lived closer, I know I would catch as many events there as possible. So if you do live near it…please support it.
Your best bet for 70mm in the DC area at this time is the AFI/Silver. As for the Uptown’s projection quality…I know the operator there and the equipment…it just isn’t likely that they doing a very good job.
While I don’t fault the church for seeking the venue, it is something that should never have been done to this theatre…it is yet another nail in the coffin.
I worked the MacArthur quite a bit and was its chief projectionist when it closed as a single (KB Theatre) in 1982. I woked with Nick at several theatres, including the MacA for REDS though the Silver was my theatre for that film.
As to politicians…having worked a great many theatres in the DC area…they all seemed to have gotten their share. I showed films at the KB Cinema to them and a great many films at the Uptown were seen by local and federal politicians.
I recall Arch Cambell (sp?) and Davy Marlin Jones (was the CBS affiliate movie reviewer of the day and my favorite) coming to see films there quite a bit too.
Of all the theatres I’ve worked and shown movies at…the MacArthur remains my favorite…there was just something about that felt like “home.” It was always the theatre that I requested to be my permanent theatre at K-B until it closed. I didn’t get it until its last year in 1982…just before Star Trek II opened. Carbon Arc, 70mm and reel-to-reel…how can you not like that as a projectionist? It could also pack em in too which was always nice.
First off…it is Kogod Not Kogat that was the K in K/B theatres.
As to the sound…sensaround was installed and removed in a great many theatres as they were often leased systems. Other K/B theatres had Sensaround as needed too.
K/B was not an early user of Dolby Stereo. Obtaining Dolby products was not always an easy thing. It is tough to judge a market that, in 1979 was just beginning to embrace the optical stereo concept. Even in the early ‘80s (prior to 1985) only about 20% of films were released in Dolby Stereo. Dolby only produced but so many units based on anticipated sales…which only come seasonally. When K/B would try to buy Dolby processors (in the early days) one might not be able to guarantee getting a unit (CP50 in those days for non-70mm venues). As such K/B had a number of EPRAD Starscopes in their theatres. In fact, the World Premiere of Star-Trek at the K-B MacArthur played on an EPRAD StarScope.
K-B outfitted their existing 70mm and 35mm magnetic theatres to be able to play optical stereo films by installing jackfields and switches. We then had optical stereo racks built up (complete with sound processor, monitor and amplifiers) that could be quickly plugged into any of those theatres. In this manner K-B could buy only a few processors and have them always working playing stereo movies. Outfitting a theatre for Dolby Stereo was not necessarily a cheap proposition and for but only 20% or less of the product you were going to run. If we ran out of enough racks to cover the films out in Dolby Stereo…we added more racks. It was really quite efficient for the day.
I bring this up because it is more than likely that Star Trek played in EPRAD stereo in the Langley. It would have been on one of our plug in racks though. As Dolby Stereo became more an more a standard, K-B had Dolby versions of those mobile racks too and in fact they became the predominate version.
Someone mentioned Kintek…yes K-B had Kintek. In the early days it too was in a mobile rack (separate boxes, KT-21, KT-22, KT-24 plus amps). This rack definately saw time at the Langley because I showed movies with it in place. I seem to recall showing a Dolby Stereo film via the Kintek rack because that was what was available (in the K-B stereo rack arsenal). I recall showing Hanger 18 at the Langley with the Kintek rack. Note, we normally used the line “Kintek-dbx” in the newspaper ads. The dbx name was better known with consumers than Kintek and at the time the companies were related. The K-B Cinema was the other popular theatre to get the Kintek rack if a stereo film was not playing there. The K-B Cinema though never had to share its sound system…since 1980 until closing, it had its own CP200 system that was part of the first batch of them from Dolby for “EMPIRE”…I want to say it was serial #25 or so.
As someone that projected at both the MacArthur and the Langley, yes, they were very similar in layout though not identical. The way they loaded in/out was the same and feel of them was quite similar.
The Senator can indeed project in 35 or 70mm. It can also project in 16mm if required. As to DLP projection, the Senator does have a DLP projector but not a DCinema one at this time.
With the Avalon, the theatre sizes are dramatically different and there are only two of them. The odds that a film might need to move about during the day is very small. It is easy for them to post what film is in what theatre.
At the AFI, that is not the case. Theatre 2 is 200 seats and not that small. Theatre 3 is notably smaller with only 75 seats. Theatre 1, despite being physically large is only 400 seats.
While all theatres can play silent movies at the proper speed, only theatre #1 has an organ permanently set up. So it is possible that a silent film will play part of the day in theatre #1 and the film with the most patrons will get bumped to theatre #2…but it might move back to theatre #1 after the “event” if business warrants. They are going to try and play the busiest movie in theatre #1 (Historic) unless theatre #1 has some capability that the other theatres don’t have (organ, 70mm or a more substantial stage)
Sorry…I didn’t start showing movies in theatres until 1980 so no help for you on a 1975 question.
The introduction of 2001 was improved upon after your viewing at the AFI…much mention of it being 70mm was made as well as preparing the audience for the tapping in the surrounds for the middle 1/3 of the film.
Don’t hold your breath on 4K digital coming any time soon…Sony is the only one trying it at the moment and they don’t have the best name in the Cinema industry…even Regal has publically stated it isn’t ready and feels very much like an experimental machine. My own personal view of SXRD with 65mm source material was very underwhelming.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m involved in some way with most of the presentation houses, especially the non-chain theatres…including the Senator in Baltimore. You may find it odd, but the Senator’s sound system and the Uptown’s are more similar then they are different!
Hmmm aside from the Ontario, I operated all of the theatres on your list and showed 70mm in all of them except the Embassy…which btw was actually a rather small theatre with an even smaller screen…it just seemed a bit larger with the “Aisle 1” and “Asile 2” signs! The MacArthur (before triplexing) was my favorite and I closed it as a single running “Raiders” in 70mm on a reissue.
I take issue with your statement about its “expense” because it just is NOT that much more expensive. In terms of production it doesn’t even add millions to the cost of film (though it probably adds to the cost of making things with enough detail since it WILL show everything). For the exhibitor it is relatively cheap…often just a different projector head and a 70mm kit for the platter, for those running platters (most). So as to venues, there are many still out there and any number of venues that could quickly and inexpensively run 70mm on short notice.
If you got my message from the previous post, it was YOU the patron have the ability to affect this sort of change. If you the PATRON demanded quality and such things as 70mm, it would be there in virtually no time. Exhibitors didn’t put in cup holders and stadium seating into their theatres because they wanted to spend more money and open themselves up to legal hassles….they did it because Patrons demanded it…it is pure business. The silly thing on stadium seating is that had architects done proper sight-lines on the sloped floor theatres, NOBODY would have complained about them…but once you start looking into the back of someone’s head instead of the screen, it becomes a serious problem. Sloped floors are absolutely safer in a darkened environment and don’t restrict mobility like risers do.
Digital IS the future. I don’t think there is any question on that. I encourage the better technology every time. Museums are for nostalga. However, digtal in 2007 is 2nd rate compared to film so that is why I’m not in favor of it right now and definately not in a venue like the Uptown where nothing short of 1st rate will do.
So I encourage you and others to become more informed about what is the best quality (not the advertising hype and often poorly researched news articles) and demand a better movie going experience at the Uptown and other theatres. The companies will listen to you dollars. You demand 70mm, they will show it.
Are you saying the whole THX trailer shakes or just before the beginning or end of the trailer?
Film trailers are spliced so while that taped piece of film is in the gate (less than 1 second), the picture will have a brief, sudden single “hop” when the tape hits the intermittent sprocket…ALL intermittent based projectors will do this. The extra thickness due to the tape will have the intermittent pull slightly more film which makes the image go slightly higher on the screen and then when the taped portion passes (it is about one frame in duration or 4-6 perfs of film, depending on tape size…the AFI runs 4-perf or 19mm wide tape to minimize this), the image returns to its normall height so this single Up, then down motion will make a single “hop.” It is slightly more noticable on the machines the AFI uses (Kinoton “E” series projectors) since the intermittent is a 32-tooth sprocket instead of the more traditional 16-tooth sprocket of a mechanical intermittent. The splice is in contact with the intermittent about twice as long.
If you are referring to the whole preview being shaky then that is the fault of the print itself and will probably vary from preview to preview.
As to the Uptown pay…I want to say it was $12/hour with something like a 35-cents/hour pension contribution…yes yes…with a 40-hour week, 52-week/year a full-time Uptown worker had about $728.00 put into a pension fund…why I haven’t retired from the working world is beyond me with all THAT money.
When I left in 2005, I want to say the pay went up to maybe as much as $13/hour but it might well have been $12.00 Yes it is more than the typical mall-operator might get but is not a living wage in the Metro DC area. I did it for enjoyment…when it stopped being enjoyable (and the time was interferring on my regular job as well has home life), I moved on.
As to qualified projectionists…it really isn’t a union/non-union thing…many a union projectionist worked non-union for a period. However it is true that if you throw out the best of the union and non-union, throw out the worst of the union and non-union and look at the crux in the middle, you will more than likely get a better projectionist from the union pool unless the chain operating the non-union side actually train their projectionists, keep high standards and compensate their employees fairly. But heck, following those rules, unions wouldn’t be needed. Sadly most business deserve unions so an employee IS treated fairly.
The real problem is how the Uptown is being run…that is it is not being run like a showplace. The changes Loews made and AMC has continued were about downgrading the quality. The VP of operations for Loews on their last contract negotiations (just before the AMC take over) stated that they “were willing to loose shows and damage prints” they didn’t care about that. What the “union is selling is quality assurance” and Loews was “not interested in that.”
That is certainly a business' choice, it is their business. Customers may not choose to patronize such a business and employees, such as myself, may not choose to work under such circumstances…as was the case. They didn’t get rid of me, I was the senior operator and I worked on Saturdays. Saturdays were a day they were willing to pay for quality assurance. But to work in a theatre that mutiliates the film 4 out of every 7 days is like only changing one quart of oil in your car at a time…it is still filthy damaging old oil…the 1 new quart did not make it clean! Also, the platter, which was a beat up piece of junk was installed, not to improve presentation but to degrade presentation…you need to keep a sharp eye on the focus on the Uptown’s screen…a platter will just let the lens heat up and drift. However, it was just not enjoyable. I had other obligations so I made way for someone that may want to work under these conditions.
I do think that the union would have better served its members and community by making the patrons aware of this errosion of quality presentations (not just at the Uptown). I know a group of us from the Uptown tried to rally the Cleavland Park community, which did take the time to talk with us. Sadly, it takes like what the Senator in Baltimore just went through to shock people into understanding that something that IS important to them is being taken away. The downgrading in quality of movie theatres is not something that has just happened…it is an errosion process that has left the exhibitors in a position of not feeling like there is any money in the showing of the movie itself. They have gradually negotiated all of their boxoffice away (or damn near) and thus the ticket money is less important than the concession and advertising revenue.
However, you, the movie goer, came there to see the MOVIE and have the experience in a theatre. The exhibitor giving you that experience has no interest (since there is no profit in it) in providing you a good movie going experience so they will do the very least to actually show the movie since if they didn’t show the movie, you wouldn’t come to see their ads and buy their concessions. Believe me, if they could do away with the whole theatre building and just have the concession stand with ad revenue, they would do it in a heartbeat.
In today’s business world, the bean counters look at the spread sheets. If you spend money on the projection booth (anywhere, equipment or payroll), you can see that expense on the spread sheet. Nowhere can you see the return on that investment on a spread sheet. If you pay real close attention over time you might be able to pick out a trend on money in the booth turing into increased sales though improved attendance (comparatively with other venues running identical features with identical demigraphics). However, if you cut the payroll in the booth (or anywhere) you get an immediate boost to your bottom line.
If you do the same thing with say the concession stand employees, it is quite different. They study and study what the per-capita should be, what the yield should be and if you add people to the payroll at what point do you just end up spending money or if you take away from the stand at what point do you loose sales due to long lines….etc.
But good presenations? Where do you enter that onto a spreadsheet? It has to have what I call Marquee value. If you can boast something on the Marquee or in advertisement that somehow makes you seem superior to other theatres…they can track that on a spreadsheet…did the theatres runing the movie in 3-D do more business than those that ran it in 2-D and such. For awhile, Dolby Stereo, Digital sound…etc had Marquee value…now they are expected…so much so that some theatre STILL use mono sound systems since how do you know what they have when you are sold a ticket?
The Uptown is an oddity that the bean counters can’t figure out anymore than the record companies could figure out the Beatles. Why do people go to the Uptown over a closer theatre? Is it the Balcony?. The big screen?, The deeply curved screen?, the location?, the sound?, the presentation? the experience? How can you predict it? If you opened a chain of Uptowns with big curved screens and balconies would they all do well? The chains want a formula to follow. They are not good a original thinking. That is why when one goes bankrupt…just about all of them do…they follow the same game plan right over the cliff.
Check it out now…DCinema…this is the latest scam….
A DCinema system costs roughly 4-5 times as much as a film system and has less than 1/10th the useful life. Why on Earth would a smart business man invest in that technology at this point (as an exhibitor)? The solution? Get somebody else to pay for it. Of the projectors going in for ordinary theatres, almost none were paid for by the theatre!
I have witnessed first hand how fast this stuff goes obsolete…the 1.3K projectors that Jodar liked in an earlier post are now not supported by Hollywood. Anyone that spent over $125K on them just as little as 3-years ago not have nothing more than a limited use A/V projector. SOMEBODY had to pay for that. So now we have 2K projectors, certainly a notable improvement but they didn’t make the 1.3K projectors worse…instead of moving the 1.3K projectors down to the smaller screens or sub-run houses…etc, Hollywood just threw a switch…no more 1.3K.
So 2K was pumping along now with MPEG technology and everyone is noting how much better it is than that old 1.3K technology. But wait, JPEG2000 hits DCinema…and now some studios will no longer release in MPEG format so you old (less than 1-year old in some cases) that only supported MPEG are rendered worthless (and these items are 10 of thousands of dollars). Some manufacturers upgraded their products other charged for it and others have you buy new again. Where is all this money coming from to blow on DCinema technology that is only in Betawear, at best?
I bring this up because of a comment about how AMC put back their old obsolete equipment when they had a current state-of-the-art DCinema projector (which they didn’t own) installed for a premier.
The problem with the comment was that 2K DCinema technology is really only about as good as 35mm’s worst format, 1.85:1 FLAT. It has far less resolution for Scope (DCinema actually uses fewer pixels for Scope than for FLAT while film uses substantially more film for Scope than flat such that on balance Film has more information per inch for Scope presentations than for Flat presentations).
The Uptown’s projectors (yes they still have two of them) are Century Ceneramas. They are 35/70mm machines. They are capable of out performing the best of DCinema (and can deliver twice the resolution of the 2K projector that was used for the premier) with their worst format (35mm) and can stomp all over the best DCinema if 70mm is shown.
Yet the movie going public is being offered this state-of-the-art technology as BETTER! Talk about misleading the public. Then again, with the way exhibitors present film, I guess there is truth in that…a 2K DCinema projector (running JPEG2000 now) will deliver an unscratched film with even the worst of “operators” running it…which is to say nobody is running it.
If you see a Dcinema picture that looks better than a 35mm picture, you got ripped off. The hard numbers say the 35mm film should win. The realities are that theatres get prints that are made mostly for their speed, not quality (they often now skip a step printing stage since contact printing is faster) which adds to the image movement and takes away from clarity. They show the film on machines now built for low cost and they don’t want to pay anyone to show the film because there is no perceived business reason to have a high quality presentation.
Without a doubt, the absolute best main stream cinema image format is 70mm. It isn’t even debatable…the numbers show it (resolution, color…etc). Hollywood should be shooting on 65mm almost exclusively for their big budget features and show place theatres like the Uptown should be showing 70mm exclusively. It is THAT much better than 35mm or DCinema. 70mm, even after 50-years remains the true State-Of-The-Art. That is the target that DCinema should be shooting for and that is what should be attained before the industry converts to DCinema. I’m not against DCinema. It is just silly from a financial standpoint at this stage and it is not there technologically either. It can be quite good but it isn’t 70mm and it isn’t quite 35mm either. I think when DCinema gets up to 70mm’s quality it will be truely a terrific medium deserving of replacing film in Showplaces.
So what endangers theatres like the Uptown (and really the whole theatre industry in general)? It is the lack of quality and attention to detail. I’m amazed by the talents of those that make movies and how they look with an EK print only, during the release, be subjected to a crap showing of a high-speed duped print, in dirty theatre running ads just like you were watching TV back at home…if DCinema gets forced onto the public and exhibitors at this stage…you really will be watching a movie on a TV that doesn’t even pause (when you want it to) to go to the rest room. Once upon a time movies had Intermissions.
If you really want to save places like the Uptown, you have to let the business know that IT matters. That is, they have to be able to see that how they operate the theatre WILL affect how many people will walk through the door (any of their doors, not just the Uptown, because the other theatres really are not being operated any better…you will only get theatre-by-theatre bright spots due to individuals). You really need to demand quality. In 2007, you SHOULD be demanding 70mm presentations…that is the best and the Uptown looks FANTASTIC with them. Movies that are presented in 70mm at the Uptown really ARE more enjoyable than most any other theatre. Exhibtors and Hollywood need to see on their spreadsheets that quality in the movie going experience affects how many people go into the theatre (profit and potential profit)
And to bring it full circle…so long as film remains the movie medium at the Uptown, it really HAS to be run by qualified projectionists that will handle it properly without damaging it regardless of the length of run. And finally, loose the stupid platter, it has NO purpose in the Uptown other than to give the patron a lesser show. It has ruined (directly and indirectly) enough shows already.
Okay…wordy enough? ;)
Man again I don’t know how anyone could consider the the 200-seat or the 75-seat theatres “Broom Closets.” That is just plain silly. Neither theatre is that small and their screens are quite large. The 200-seat’s screen is almost the same size as the Historic’s. Acoustically it is far superior. The Historic theatre is certainly pretty and a treat to see a movie in but technically it is not as good as theatre #2. #3 almost has an IMAX feel due to its large screen when running classic films in the 1.37 ratio.
As to the print of 2001:A Space Odyssey that was just shown…it definately has been “previously enjoyed!” There are some scenes when it looked just stunning and other where the wear and tear were not so gentle. Track 6 (surrounds) did suffer from a ticking by a previous user of the film (most likely a stuck piece of charged oxide on a roller zapping the track on each revolution (the speed was about right for that…quite fast). This film did have an excellent mix and the AFI’s sound system did deliver on all 6-tracks with wonderful panned dialog that I wish modern day mixers to do.
I am curious as the the shake that Jodar noted preceeding reel changes. The AFI does run changeovers so it is possible that if the prints were old, that previous users put splices in that would “telegraph” the reel change (the ends of reels tend to get beaten up by poor film handlers).
The Uptown has equipment in it that is suitable for a theatre of this size. AMC does not know how to handle such a thing so they plan on installing equipment suitable for a mall type theatre. They think of the Dolby CP200 as too old…never mind that it has been upgraded and is up to date. They plan on replacing the stage speakers…never mind what they put in will not have the ability to fill the room…and…they are only planning on 3-screen channels…the Uptown has always used 5-channels behind the screen since 70mm was installed back in the 50s. The Left and Right speakers are 20-feet beyond the 1.85 image and would be covered by either the curtain or the masking (not acoustically transparent). Left-Center and Right-Center would diminish a 35mm Scope or 70mm show if the full screen width is used and once again the speakers are 20-feet inboard from the edge. Classic 70mm films have 5-screen channels too.
What it amounts to is not knowing what they are doing…but that seems to be just par for the course in the last couple of years. You can NOT treat a venue such as the Uptown like a common multiplex theatre. That is dumb as expecting a multiplex theatre to survive by only opening its largest house.
While there are improvements to be had in the Uptown’s sound, removing the Altec A-4s or the Dolby CP200 is not how to do it. Better to update the A4s with Manatary horns and carefully aim them. The A4 are absolutely the right speaker for the job in this venue. In fact, A2s would be nice.
To the best of my knowledge, this happened while a “projectionist” was on duty…well asleep at the wheel is more like it. The problem is, no qualified projectionist is going to work this job as it presently exists. That is why we walked when Loews downgraded the theatre. Some things you just can’t make work. The change in the Uptown’s quality can be completely tied to its operating policy. Sadly, AMC has not improved things and in fact, I hear plan to make things worse with a downgrade of the sound system.
I would not classify either of the non-historic auditoriums as broom closets. Acoustically, they are far superior to the Historic theatre. Picture wise, theatre #2 has about as big an image in a better sized room. You may not like the design of the two smaller rooms but that is one of personal taste but the shows they put out are all of high quality (all three rooms). I do feel that the screen size in #3 is a bit big for the room though.