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Thank you FanaticalAboutOdeon… I have just cobbled together a quick late-night test with colour-changing LED strips, albeit with kitchen foil in lieu of the festoon curtain (!); is this the sort of thing you mean?
Sky colours test
Addendum: Seems to work quite well with red curtains, albeit this is a sub-optimal setup with lights all on the floor.
Red curtains test
Update: Referenced to my memory/photos/videos, both the IMAX and Empire 1 light colours can be matched; in the latter case, both “warm glow” and “super-luminous neon” hues.
By putting the LED strip in a deep aluminium extrusion fitted with a diffuser, it is possible to get something of a neon-style effect.
It would, therefore, seem plausible that the IMAX auditorium concealed lighting, by design, is not intended to produce the “strips of glowing neon” effect so much as a more subtle overall colour wash, with the colour choices themselves slightly “subdued” also.
Integrated System Technologies – Case Study on the IMAX Conversion LED Lighting
Specifications (quoting from the above linked page where applicable) – IMAX auditorium:
–“151 x Serenity Lighting Prolix for the ceiling and wall ribs powered by 28 x iDrive Force 24…” (constant current drivers.)
–“3 x iDrive Thor 36 have been installed to power the RGB constant voltage LED lighting modules…” (behind the seats.)
-The iDrive Thor 36 drivers are connected to controllers/touch panels for programming, “which in this case is synchronised with […] the Serenity Prolix strips in the ceiling and wall ribs, creating a stunning uniform effect.”
–“52 x Serenity Lighting Illuceo 30W fully dimmable house lights […] also powered from the 28 x iDrive Force 24 LED drivers.”
-The iDrive Force 24 drivers are claimed to provide “the smoothest dimming in the market place down to less than 0.01%.”
The Prolix strips use selected OSRAM OSLON LEDs. Equivalently specified products are available at retail prices which are, needless to say, many times that of the typical low-end Chinese RGB flexible strips available via eBay etc.!
love the OLS but when it comes to 70mm, I miss Marble Arch. I was lucky enough to see the Lawrence of Arabia ‘89 edition there, among others. Look at this great picture from Thomas Hauerslev here: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2015/london/gallery/pages/06_000002000017.htm#
Thanks for the link to the photo. Wow, I don’t remember that coloured lighting, maybe it was dropped by the mid-90s?
Lawrence in 70mm at Marble Arch has been one of my most thrilling cinematographic experiences ever. The goose bump megadose. The only thing that makes me sad is that we shall never have films like that, and theatres like that, anymore
You might appreciate this passage from Mark Kermode’s book “The Good, the Bad and the Multiplex” (2011):
“You’re sitting in the Empire, Leicester Square, arguably the best cinema auditorium in the country, watching a reissue of David Lean’s masterpiece Lawrence of Arabia…”
Direct link to page.
“Goose bump megadose?” I like that term, that’s exactly it!
But it hasn’t gone away… I had it watching “Blade Runner 2049,” at a certain IMAX with Laser projection. (Unfortunately, it seems that the box office wasn’t sufficient to cover the cost of making and marketing the film.) Definitely a film with artistic merit, layers of depth and meaning, scale, and stunning visuals/sound…
It wasn’t long ago when shooting the majority of a feature film in 15/70 was inconceivable, yet it was done for “Dunkirk.” Also, the latest high-end professional digital cameras are incredible…
Operators are investing a lot these days to create luxury auditoria… Besides, the OLS is about to receive a very expensive overhaul!
The last film I saw at Marble Arch was Branagh’s Peter’s Friends in February 1993.
The last I saw was “Independence Day,” a brainless summer blockbuster but good fun! Alas, it wasn’t long after that it closed for the terrible subdivision… I remember calling the programme information phone line only to be hear an announcement that it was going to be converted into “5 new luxury auditoria.” :–(
red, green and amber reflector lamps
Is there a generic or specific model for these?
I could describe the foyer prior to 1998 in detail if you would be interested – could even cure insomnia for some on this site as well!!
I don’t think it will cure insomnia for me, but please do. :–)
Ian: Fascinating photos, thank you… Of course, my reaction is something stronger than “sigh!” :–(
In case anyone is interested in “replicating” the Empire LSQ’s colour-changing concealed lighting, I have recently acquired two 5 metre lengths of LED strip tape, one a low cost unbranded 12V RGB type, the other a commercial grade 24V RGBW (4-in-1 SMD) type with Epistar LEDs, and the following are my initial observations.
Both use “5050” size SMDs (surface mount devices.)
The low cost device is pretty nifty for the price (around £10 inc. controller, remote and power supply!) but seems insufficient for lighting dark matte textured surfaces—and who knows how it will perform after 1000s of hours…
(Incidentally, the controller which came with the low cost strip does have a “FADE” function which cycles between colours, but it changes colour every 10 seconds or something at the slowest setting…)
The high cost device, on the other hand, has ample light output and seems to me to be quite capable of matching the system in the Empire’s IMAX auditorium.
(Of course, it has better colour rendering and consistency than the low cost one, too.)
Further testing required to see if it can “match” the cold cathode system in Empire 1, once the lights are properly installed and DMX controller added, albeit I only have photographs to go by!
Addendum: Looking at theatreofvarieties' pictures of the IMAX auditorium and other material, the behind seating lights appear to be mounted within a bendable extrusion attached to each step’s riser. As red, green, and blue light sources clearly are emitted by a separate “unit”, of the commerically available products, one possibility is that these are RGB strips with separate 3528 SMDs for each primary, and spliced (or supplied) in units of 3 SMDs (i.e. red, green and blue), spaced to yield one section per seat.
Lionel: I’ve noticed some “undocumented” features of the comment system before. The lack of any feature to edit existing posts is quite frustrating too! :–(
Still, this site is a fantastic resource.
I saw the IMDb “Dolby Atmos” listing. dts 70mm makes sense, and I see it was used for the “Dunkirk” 70mm prints, but I have no idea what equipment is still available (and working!) for 70mm engagements, and of course, 70mm prints carrying dts timecode don’t have 6-track analogue tracks. I assume the OLS is equipped for DTS 70mm, but considering the stories of old projectors being overhauled for various 70mm screenings…
In the long term, I imagine the digital sound formats on film will suffer from being obsolete proprietary systems—if film is still being projected in, say, 20 years!
Lionel: Oh! :–) I thought it was an obscure reference to Dolby Tone or similar (albeit Dolby Tone isn’t at 3756.5Hz!)
Talking of which, I assume the 70mm presentation uses a dts 70mm soundtrack?
Thanks FanaticalAboutOdeon, I hadn’t realised the entrances had been changed for the rear stalls with the wall added.
(Albeit my memory of the foyer before the 1998 refurbishment is non-existent.)
The 1998 refurbishment is the subject of a 3-part series (by Fred Fullerton) on YouTube:
The “bare” (i.e. mostly steel structure!) upper foyer can be seen in in Part 3, the following link goes directly to that section of the video:
Part 3 – time starts at foyer
FanaticalAboutOdeon: Thank you for the update. 9 months?! How many months of work were required for the late 90s refurbishment?
Wonder if the “Studios” will remain open during this period (albeit they may well have to be closed at some point to allow the foyers to be “joined together.”)
Last time I looked, the replacement building for the OWE had yet to make it above ground level and the hotel is not due to open until 2019.
Lionel: The Swiss Centre opened in 1966, so it seems reasonable to assume that the cinema was not conceived at that time?
Lionel: 3756.5Hz? Huh?
Thanks to CT for updating the page. :–)
Permission granted for 17/07604/FULL; it took a few days for the Westminster Council planning database to be updated. Wonder when the work will commence…
PhilipWW: The Empire Cinemas-operated venues with IMAX auditoria are/were Leicester Square, Basildon, Hemel Hempstead, Birmingham Great Park, and Swindon, of which the first three are now operated by Cineworld.
I’m flummoxed by the CT description* as, in 2008, Empire did not operate any locations with IMAX screens, nor had they launched their own “premium large format” IMPACT screens. (I would have said “PLF brand,” but the IMPACT geometry is actually patented.)
Maeve Contractors has published a case study on their work at this venue for Empire Cinemas (refurbishment/new auditoria.) They describe the project as a “Two phase strip out and refurbishment,” and state that the contract value was £5m.
*(“A full refurbishment was carried out in November 2008 when six small ‘Studio’ screens were added, and one of the screen was converted into an IMAX screen.”—Quoted so that this post still makes sense should the description be updated.)
SethLewis: Hmm, have they installed the same seats as the Vue West End?
I can imagine that Kinepolis Brussels is another contender for one of the highest grossing in Europe.
Of course, “gross” depends on ticket prices also…!
The IMAX screen has reopened and is equipped with IMAX’s laser projection system.
PhilipWW: I think the case study photo probably is of the auditorium, that’s the same colour of acoustic wall covering as Screen 5, albeit it’s also the same as other “Warner Village” venues built at that time.
It needs a full refurbishment to bring it up to standard; I doubt such a project is a priority for Vue…
-Photos of the auditorium and foyer can be seen in the June 1963 edition of International Projectionist. (Thanks to Joe Vogel for the original link to this, although that one no longer works.) It looks like more padding was later added to the seating?
-The foyer/vestibule can be seen in newsreel footage of the “Wonderful Life” premiere from 1964.
-Photos in flickr user dusashenka’s album (at the bottom of the page) – these are from the mid-80s but it doesn’t seem too much has changed since the 60s—including the bar, chandelier, and mink/gold auditorium colour scheme—the “bump” tiles seem to be gold.
The internal access to Screen 2 seems to have been added; otherwise, I wasn’t alive in the 1960s, so someone else may be able to enumerate any changes!
D'oh! Of course it’s the one where the seats are in units of fours…
Using Google Maps to get the cinema dimensions, that gives an estimated screen width of 30ft.
I see the seats are offset so that there is in fact a centrally positioned seat in each rows.
There appears to be two disabled bays, which I assume means they get a 4DX “lite” experience—no 4DX seat but the “environmental” FX only!
Toilets are under the rear of the auditorium, so they can pump in smells as needed… ;–)
Actually, there is a room behind the auditorium, to the right of the booth, which I assume contains the 4DX gear.
Plans within the premises licence – p12-14.
The scan quality is extremely poor.
Zappomatic: Which auditorium is the 4DX screen?
Shame that the picture/sound quality you describe is medicore. In particular 4DX would seem to me to be most effective combined with high quality sound including plenty of headroom, particularly for the LFE sub-bass) channel.
Doesn’t sound very promising for the LSQ conversion… ridiculous that operators spend a fortune on flashy foyers and systems like 4DX but the projection/sound, i.e. the most important aspect of all, isn’t properly calibrated (or possibly sufficiently well specified.) But then that’s the way it always has been…
…or not, although the “target date” is given as “26th October 2017”…
Sub-committee report from the 24th October is available in the main planning application documents, no objections, Draft Decision Notice is for permission to be granted. Expect approval to be issued tomorrow.
Here’s the planning application for the new signage.
A recent licensing application is also listed; alas the only information within is:
“A refurbishment is proposed at the premises involving the removal of existing fixed seating in each of the four auditoria involving the introduction of larger, more luxurious, fewer fixed seats resulting in an overall reduced capacity.”