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I was chief of projection and sound for both Consolidated and Royal theatres during the eighties. When the movie â€œAC/DC Let There Be Rockâ€ opened at the Cinerama in 1980 the studio arranged for a special sound system be installed. At the time we were still running the original Cinerama system which was an eight track channel system that did not provide the kind of power the studio wanted for the movie. My only complaint was that it was a mono system which surprised me but that is what they wanted. Opening night we received many complaints from our neighbors because the sound was so loud it could be heard all over King Street and was disturbing, we had to turn it down a notch. But my goodness did the Cinerama ever rock.
The Marina at the time had what I considered to be the best sound system on the Island, it originally had a very simple mono system but later we installed Dolby in both auditions with a sound system developed and designed by a fella by the name of Joe Schmidt. Joe was a very talented sound man who did one heck of a job at the Marina. New amps, speakers and Dolby processors were installed and the sound was magnificent. Later when we had a move over of â€œA Star is Bornâ€ from Waikiki #3 we installed a four track magnetic system for the engagement.
I have to mention that Oahu had many excellent sounding theatres thanks to the talents of Joe Schmidt and Wesley Inouye who were my sound techs, a couple of very talented sound people who knew their way around theater sound. Joe is retired now I believe Wesley still works for Consolidated. There were a few very dedicated people like Joe and Wesley along with another very talented projection technician by the name of Scott Bosch. Those three individuals made Hawaii theatres look and sound as well as any theatre could. I owe a lot of thanks for their help in making our theatres look and sound as good as they did during my time in Hawaii.
DVDs so I am not interested.
“Song Without End” played RCMH in four track magnetic sound
I found that story ridicules, for one thing, as mentioned here, their have been many threats to our industry from TV to pay for view bla bla bla. The bottom line is people need to get out of the house they will always go to theaters and not sit at home especially our biggest demographic of younger folks.
Film may be all but dead but movie theatres…never.
The same thing that happened in the 50s with 3-D two projector interlock and later in the 60s with split frame single projector 3-D The public got tired of it, and as it happened back then projection problems are taking it’s toll. In my day we had problems with
the 3-D interlocks and the 3-D glasses people hated to wear, but today it seems worse, with the digital 3-D many of the problems occur when the media is playing. The server will freeze up stopping the feature and it has to be rebooted. That takes from 5 to 20 minutes. Sometimes you have to reboot it 3-4 times. Of course this happens with 2-D movies as well and as you can imagine is very irritating to the patrons Ah progress, ya gotta love it.
rvd I just saw your post regarding Prudentional and the theatre’s neglect. It was, as you probably know, a fact that the company spent little to no money on those theatres. I was so happy when UA took many of them over and began fixing them up. The booths were one of the first thongs to get attention with upgraes and improvements in projection thanks of course to the one and only Joe Kelly.
Gotcha Bill, if only we could convince them to do that.
Would be nice to see the theatre run with all the bells and Whistles. See….I didn’t say curtains :)
I promise this is the last comment I will make about the curtains.
With all due respect to Al who has contributed so much to our forum and whose opinions I respect, the fact that they don’t use the curtains for fear of breakdowns is difficult to understand. In the 50+ years I spent in theatrical exhibition I worked in theatres with every possible type of curtain imaginable and NEVER heard of the kinds of things I read here about the problems they have at the Ziegfeld. I know enough about curtain riggings to know that the problem they are having are completely fixable. There is no excuse to not, other than their reluctance to spend the money, correct the situation. I also understand the need to leave the curtains open so that slides which generate revenue can be shown during intermission. However that should not keep them from doing a delux start by simply closing the curtains a minute before ShowTime and then starting the show properly. It would be nice to se the curtains close at the end of the movie as well and then during intermission reopen them to show the slides. A win win wouldnâ€™t you say
The Ziegfeld has IATSE local 306 union projectionists, as to why management does not demand use of the curtains is a bit of a mystery to me as well. The theatre does have a history of having problems with the curtains malfunctioning, perhaps that is part of it. But why donâ€™t they just get the darn things fixed. Itâ€™s a new world and people just are not all that interested in â€œputting on a showâ€ as we did in our day, I have just resolved myself to accepting that. No more curtains no more showmanship and for that matter no more film. I know there are quite a few showmen still left in California who go the extra mile to present movies properly but here in New York, not so much. One of the folks who run the Ziegfeld, a heck of a nice guy does comment here from time to time and I think his heart is in the right place on theses matters but seems perhaps to have his hands tied at times.
Jon if you haven’t already, scroll up to read many posts on that subject. We have beat that horse to death here and many agree with your position on this. No one more than I
It is truly a lost art in the projecton of movies
Indeed that is a beautifully executed curtain falling with the music to ad to the joy of it. I am glad Simon reminded us and hope all you curtain lovers out there who have not done so do your self a favor and watch “The Great Ziegfeld” if for no other reason but to watch that wonderful curtain desend. I promise it will make you smile
Of the eight full time managers I had when I left Hazlet in 2002 only two remain.The LED signs outside the auditorium where intended to be installed by NA, they were removed from another theatre that had just closed.
Rave intends to have the both converted to 100% digital very soon, as for the digital slides they were installed by NA along with DVD projectors for classic movies.
You are right about the design being the same as Berlin; the only difference is in the sloped roof which in Berlin is flat allowing additional storage room in the second floor booth area which Hazlet does not have. As a matter of fact while we were building Hazlet I visited Berlin to have a look-see.
Serving Coke is actually a throw back because NA served Coke until the late 80s when a deal was struck with Pepsi.
The Multiplex sign had to be removed because NA owns the copy write to â€œMultiplex Cinemasâ€ and â€œShowcase Cinemasâ€ and can not be used by any other company except under special conditions
My biggest concern is in the maintenance, I had a full time maintenance man who kept the building looking like new, and Rave has eliminated that. I would expect you to find more torn and broken seats now and less attention paid to the grounds, landscape and paining.
Rave also plans, if they havenâ€™t already, to have front of the house staff, (ushers etc) run the booth which concerns me as well, and hopefully they will be well trained.
I appeciate the update on both the ecreening rooms and “Sex in the City” screening.
I was surprised to learn that they have not installed red light readers in any of the projectors. I would have thought they would have updated the optical sound heads if for no other reason but to provide analogue backup to the digital track. THe Music Hall must have one of the very few projection rooms still using exciter lamps (do they still make those anymore?)
Of course it would be highly unlikely for both digital projectors and the digital sound on the 35mm to all go down leaving them to have had to cancel the show for lack of the red light readers.
Or would it, I mean seriously, can you imagine. :)
Thanks again guys I appreciate the feed back.
William, I read that back then but that was 5 years ago and I wondered what the satis of the rooms are today.
I have a question for REndres or any of the people currently connected to the Hall.
There were/are two screening rooms which were used during the movie/stage show era, are they still in use and in what capacity.
In fairness to the wonderful peole running the theatre now the decision to use DVD comes from the Festival organizers. In most of those types of festivals etc, DVD and Digital is the popular choice.
I believe there was some 35mm used at Tribecka and Sundance but most of the movies were not shown on film.
As to the booth at the St. George I wonder what has been going on up there. I left when the new owners took over and the booth was in faily good working condition, only some work on the #2 projector gear train needed work. Anyone know if the equipment is still intact?
Rob thanks so much for that, we can always count on you to articulate the facts and teach us so much. You are truly one of this sites greatest treasures
I understand what you are saying; times sure are a-changin. Things were a lot simpler in my time and I just think they have complicated things with Digital projection at Radio City.
I fully understand the industry wanting to make the switch to Digital, the cost savings are enormous. The initial expense for the new equipment pays for itself very quickly without the print costs, shipping and man hours required with film. Ad to that the fact that the new generation of film makers, and quite a few old timers as well, who look at the bottom line and the cost differential between film and digital. As time goes by more and more of the new folks who are unfamiliar with the wonders of film will think why would I want to use that? Like Vinyl records and video tape film is slowly disappearing, itâ€™s just very hard for many of us to let go.
I would like to ask that Rob and the rest of you connected to the Music hall continue to inform us when ever film is used in any form or fashion. I for one would appreciate that very much.
Hey Rob I have been thinking, it just seems to me that the Music Hall goes through an awful lot of trouble to present Digital projection. Dragging those projectors down to the Mwzz and setting them up there along with the potential for problems with such things as errors with the digital keys and the â€œrobustâ€ encryption, and the potential for trouble if the server is opened or connections are interrupted.
It just seems to me that the risks are high for failure. I know how many problems theatres are having with theses issues from my talks with the boys I know that are still in the business. Especially with Digital 3-D.
So here we are at RCMH with a rather important premiere and they are using film as the back up. My question is if why not just run the film and avoid any problems. Just deliver the 35mm print to the booth and let he boys run it as we did for so many years problem free. They even went so far as to mount the print on a platter which then made the film presentation subject to problems with speed control card failures and of course the dreaded brain wrap.
I can’t help but think since a 35mm print was used the movie could have simply been shown in 35mm, and if the people renting the space fearded the use if reel-to-reel projectuion they could have used a MUTT which is far more reliable than a platter.
Ask yourself this, how many people in that theatre even knew the movie was being projected digitally or would have noticed the difference had it been film.
A whole lot of nonsense if you ask me, between the use of the digital and running the film on a platter itâ€™s as if they wanted something to fail.
In my day (oh no here I go again) we ran premieres and previews in 35mm or 70mm film reel to reel, and we played pictures far more important than â€œSex in the Cityâ€ and we did it with very little problem. No fuss no mess.
What are your thoughts?
Rob,What a fasinating post regarding the handling of Digital media. My goodness how times have changed since I retired.
I must say I was not pleased to hear thet after all this time a platter finaly made it up to the Music hall booth. Somehow I did not mind the use of a MUTT but platters are the work of the devil :)
It makes an old mans heart feel good to know that at least the main booth was used and did not sit dark through the performance.
Please tell us more when you can I appreciate your info so very much.
I am curious about how it was handled.
Such as are the Digital projectors still set up in the 1st mezz and was the film handled via MUTTS?
Digital I presume.
How is the presentation handled, lights curtsin etc.
Thanks Bob, that is interesting.
Having seen the picture in 3-D I guess I must have enjoyed those close ups but at my age have no memory of it :)
Thanks JAlex, I completly forgot about all the fuss made over JR and “That Dance” as it was called. Jane’s “looking For Trouble” number was filmed mostly in long shot but the church would have none of it and said NO!
I was interested in hearing about Jane not going to the premiere.
I neglected to mention on my original ost about why 3-D died off.
Besides the projection proiblems peole wewere not happy with the glasses which were uncomnforatble in some cases caused headaches.
I think that may be how the CinemScope ad campain of “The Miracle you see without glasses” came about.
JAlex I wonder how long the 3-D version of “The French Line” lasted in St. louis before it was swithced to 3-D.
Do not be disapointed cause “The Robe” was never shown in 3-D and those green and red glasses were never used in major atudio releases during the 50s. Perhaps the ads for “The Robe” that read “The modern miracle you see without glasses” confused some.
The Robe was however shown flat in some areas, production had already started when Fox decided that this was to be the first film shot in CinemaScope. As a result filming continued in both scope and flat(1.37) for theaters not yet using Scope projection
As a been there done that projectionst during the 3-D phase of the 50s I can tell you the biggest problem and probably one of the main reasons 3-D died was the projection. Many pronblems plagued us breakdowns were frequent and people just tired if it all.
Point of fact, in 1954 “The French Line” premeird at the Criterian theatre in NY. It opened in 3-D (JR in 3-D need we say more)but as a result of the projection and print problems the 3-D was dropped and the theatre showed the picture in 2-D a few weeks later.
As somweone wrote there were too many 3-D pictures released, as a result 3-D equpment was improperly installed and there were not enough qualified projectionist to show the picture properly.