Comments from CF100

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CF100
CF100 commented about Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater on Jun 21, 2018 at 2:27 pm

Showcase Cinema de Lux Bluewater Unveils Four New State-of-the-Art Screens – Inside Kent Magazine.

According to the above linked article, all four of these auditoria are equipped with laser projection and Dolby Atmos, and feature recliner seating.

One of them is an “XPlus,” Showcase Cinemas' premium large format brand, with an approx. 64ft. wide by 27ft. high screen.

CF100
CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square on Jun 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

That was quick!

First performance is “Solo: A Star Wars Story” at 11:40am.

Maybe they’ve eliminated the back row as the licensing plans (for the original Empire fit-out) show 14 seats in the last row with no space to spare, whilst the new seating arrangement has 15 seats.

(The auditorium narrows to the back with an angled right sidewall, the space being used for access to Screen 5 (formerly 7.))

If that’s the case then were they to lose another couple of seats, this would enable the left sidewall to be altered, thereby creating a symmetrical auditorium. Alas, I doubt Cineworld are thinking in terms of symmetrical rear array speaker layouts in a small auditorium!

Look forward to updates on the “flies inside projector box” situation. ;–)

P.S. Forgot to ask — how was the picture and sound quality in the refurbished Screen 1?

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 17, 2018 at 4:35 am

“7 Dolby Cinema Sites to Open in the UK” – Forbes 13th June 2018.

“Dolby hasn’t announced yet where the seven new Dolby Cinema Odeons are going to be located (though an industry contact tells me that one is going to be the Odeon Leicester Square)…”

(Article author John Archer is well known as a contributor to various AV publications.)

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 15, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Following my comment earlier this week:

As far as I could tell from outside, the circle foyer’s false ceiling has now been completely removed.

I have now processed and uploaded a photo into the circle foyer taken externally to the OLS. It can be seen that the false ceiling has indeed been removed.

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 15, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Sure can:

Showcase Cinema de Lux Southampton.

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 15, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Oops—just realised the plan puts the curved screen on the wrong side.

Revised Possible plan of the Dolby Cinema curved wall feature as seen in the video linked to by LARGE_screen_format.

LARGE_screen_format:

I too thought the entrance would probably originate at the rear of the auditoria instead of either the left or right-hand side of the screen as often is the case in multiplexes I visit.

Hmm, I’m confused?

What the plan shows is an entrance from the lobby (typically a long corridor in multiplexes), which is labelled “ENTRANCE TO CURVED WALL FEATURE.”

The curved screen would then be walked past (the section of the video you linked to starts somewhere in the middle of this.)

In the video, there is a sharp left turn at the end of the curved wall section, then a walk along a corridor, followed by a right-angled turn down another corridor.

Some way down this corridor, there is a right-angled turn through doors into the auditorium, at the screen end.

Continuing straight down this corridor rather than entering the auditorium would lead to what appears to be a fire exit.

Notice the whole auditorium isn’t shown in the above linked possible plan; the dotted blue rectangle marks the area under the booth/rear seating.

Some interesting features of this layout are:

  • Instead of having a vomitory leading from the lobby heading into the auditorium, opening through the stadium seating, and emerging at the front of the stadium seating, there is a walled off corridor leading to the auditorium entrance and fire exit.

  • This enables a wall-to-wall screen which possibly otherwise would be impossible due to the fire exit location.

  • Between the auditorium entrance from the corridor and the assumed fire exit, there is a fair distance. I’ve marked the area to the right of the corridor, behind the screen, with “ASSUMED VOID AREA BEHIND SCREEN.” Possibly, the screen was moved forward if it was an existent theatre adapted for Dolby Cinema.

Odeon, Bournemouth (BH2) has been listed in my smartphone notes, that I’ve been compiling for a while, as a cinema I would like to visit at some point since reading about the opening of the BH2 Leisure Complex.

Surely Showcase Westquay first if you’re heading in that direction. ;–) Hmm, I ought to add that to my to-do list next time I’m in Hampshire…

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 15, 2018 at 9:19 am

Possible plan of the Dolby Cinema curved wall feature as seen in the video linked to by LARGE_screen_format:

https://ibb.co/h0CDjd

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 15, 2018 at 8:42 am

LARGE_screen_format: Very interesting, thanks for the links!

As I mentioned previously on Cinema Treasures, planning applications were submitted in relation to the refurbishment of the OLS, and these don’t cover the auditorium alterations as planning permission isn’t required for them (and all of the auditorium except the rear of the circle is cropped out of the floor plans!)

However, there is a large “Double-D – DOLBY” logo in the glazed area above the front canopy. The best place to see this is the facade rendering on p12 of the Design and Access Statement which can be downloaded from the main planning application under “OLS DESIGN AND ACCESS STATEMENT.”

As Odeon have already confirmed that it will be a “premium large format” screen and that it won’t be an IMAX (which is obvious anyway as it’s next door to one and the standard terms of agreement with IMAX include exclusivity within a certain area), I think there are enough clues to consider it a sure bet that it will be a Dolby Cinema.


Interesting that Odeon will be using Dolby SLS speakers from now on; AFAIK they’ve been using LW (Luis Wassmann) speakers in recent years.

I guess that means the screen speakers will be line arrays as plenty of output capability and directivity control is needed to cope with the large auditorium!


Regarding the curved Dolby Cinema entrance feature, in a typical multiplex, I’d guess the obvious layout would be to locate it under the booth/rear seating stadia structure; albeit if this space already houses a required use (toilets, for instance) then that use would have to be relocated.

I drew an “ASCII” text plan of a possible layout used in the video you linked to, but I can’t get it to format properly on Cinema Treasures!

Incidentally, some (not sure how many) iSense auditoria have a similar entrance feature—see p25 of the June 2017 issue of Cinema Technology Magazine as an example.

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 14, 2018 at 6:29 am

“First Dolby Cinema sites to launch in UK with Odeon” — Screendaily 13th June 2018.

(The article does not confirm that the OLS will be one of them.)

CF100
CF100 commented about Empire Cinema on Jun 14, 2018 at 6:04 am

On the opening date.

Apparently, the opening was postponed due to a delay in seating delivery.

CF100
CF100 commented about Empire Cinema on Jun 14, 2018 at 5:28 am

360° “3D” phototour.

Looking at these photos, the two IMPACT screens both use JBL 3635 rear subwoofers (one on each sidewall) and JBL 9300 side/rear speakers. Overheads are hard to make out but they might be JBL SCS 8.

Both IMPACT auditoria feature the same black stretched fabric with horizontal lines “inset” (as with the Leicester Square IMAX and the more recent IMPACT auditoria), a design which incidentally can be found in other locations using Eomac’s Pro-Stretch system—grey coloured in the “LUXE” auditorium, and blue in the “BLUE” auditorium.

Downfiring LED modules are fitted on the stadia risers behind the seating, red colour in the “LUXE” auditorium, and (surprise!) blue in the “BLUE” auditorium.

Seating: Rear two rows recliners, next two rows sofas in black/red/gold, all rows to front standard. (Again in both IMPACT auditoria.)

The “BLUE” auditorium has a angled “splay” section at the screen end with an exit whilst the right section is straight. As the screen is “wall-to-wall,” this results in an off-centre screen.

Suffice it to say that IMO it would have been a far better to have compromised on screen size to gain a centred screen and I’d avoid this auditorium on that basis alone. However, looking at the original planning application, the left wall was originally right angled to the screen, so presumably this was a “forced” compromise.

The “LUXE” screen is slightly off centre to allow for an exit on the front right, although the right sidewall angles out slightly to account for this, and it looks to be a far more marginal issue.

With what looks like a promising sound system and comfortable interior, the “LUXE” auditorium could be a good place to see a film.

CF100
CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square 4DX on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Zappomatic: I was surprised by your comment on the screen size as I’d previously estimated it to be about the same as the Leicester Square 4DX in width. I’ve just reestimated it from the licensing plans and it looks to be as much as 50ft. wide.

That being the case, I wonder if dual projectors are being used and poor alignment between them might explain the “ghosting” issue you identified? (Or perhaps they’re not using a suitable screen for the 3D polarisation.)

Regarding 4DX effects, I found that they were sometimes “glitchy,” and the timing wasn’t always quite right. (Could have been just bad programming or hardware bugs/limitations.) If my recollection is correct, after an intense sequence of “motion chair effects” the seats would stop moving and a few seconds they would then slowly return back to unity position, which seemed odd.

When I say beams I mean that the suspended ceiling is interrupted by an off-centre grid of solid sections around 75cm wide that sit flush, presumably supporting the floor above.
                

Looking at a high resolution photo of the auditorium (presumably reposted from Cineworld press materials) with some post-processing in Photoshop to pull out the low level details, so it is. Well spotted!

I think you are right that the ceiling has been raised, and—I can’t be sure but—above the suspended 4DX gear it looks like there’s an exposed concrete slab. They certainly seem to have used every last inch of space available and I can’t see that there would be much left space for HVAC ducting—it looks like there’s something boxed out above the right sidewall, just behind the suspended 4DX gear.

Many thanks for the Cineworld Unlimited code, I’ll use yours if I decide to proceed so that you also get the free month in return—it would seem to be a no-brainer if the Leicester Square Superscreen doesn’t incur an additional uplift charge. I can’t find the uplift charges for IMAX, 4DX or 3D at Leicester Square, though?

CF100
CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Wandsworth on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Reestimating the screen width from the above linked licensing plans, the 4DX screen is as much as 50ft. wide.

CF100
CF100 commented about Vue West End on Jun 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

The rest of my reply:

Back in the 90’s the cinema that I visited the most (UCI Wycombe 6, now Empire Cinemas 8-screen) had red curtains installed in all six auditoria.

Alas, I never did get there (in the early to mid 90s) as I was a teenager at the time and when I asked my Father “Where’s High Wycombe?” the response was “Miles away…”! (Read: “No, I don’t want to go for a jaunt around the M25 just to go to the cinema…”)

I suppose there might have been a window of opportunity that I missed after I’d learnt to drive.

Nowadays this seems to have become less and less the norm. Most of the auditoria that I visit do not have curtains or masking.

Alas so. I’ve told this story previously on Cinema Treasures but I might as well repeat it here: I remember the first time I went to a screen with no masking or tabs, it was an AMC in the American Midwest, where I was staying with some local people. When I complained about the lack of tabs, they said “Curtains? Aren’t they old fashioned?!”

In addition to looking more professional in terms of presentation, would I be correct in saying that the movable masking provides not only a cleaner edge to the projected image but it may also enhance the perceived contrast as it is a true black, unlike the very dark grey that is seen by most non-laser projection systems?

Digital projection will produce clean edges although if there is severe geometric distortion then those edges would be curved instead of straight. There can be a problem if the image requires “overscanning” because the side edges have unwanted content or aren’t always filled, which occurred with “Avengers: Infinity War” when I recently saw it in the Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square 4DX. But then this could be fixed by performing the “overscanning” digitally, i.e. slightly upsampling the picture and cropping it, although I have to ask why it wasn’t resolved in post-production?

It does enhance the perceived contrast and also removes light scattering from the unmasked screen area which return back to the filled out, causing a subtle “wash out.” An auditorium with black coloured finishes also helps in this respect.

CF100
CF100 commented about Vue West End on Jun 13, 2018 at 4:41 am

Corrections:

  • The suspended ceilings in Screen 5/7 appear to be the same as they were prior to the refurbishment, only with tiles removed where overhead speakers are hung.

  • “the bass and midrange drivers do use cone surrounds” –> “the bass and midrange drivers do use FOAM surrounds.”

  • “Not sure how levels would be adjusted in an automated digital projection environment?” –> “Not sure whether levels would be adjusted on the basis of auditorium fill in an automated digital projection environment?”

CF100
CF100 commented about Vue West End on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:42 pm

What changes, if any, have Vue made to the auditoria since taking over from Warner Village Cinemas at this location?

To be uncharitable—but not entirely unfair—it might be said the only thing Vue did to this cinema (other than a sale and leaseback!) for a very long time was gradually let it fall to bits…

…but then, in 2017, all “public” areas were completely refurbished at a cost of ~£6.7m (as stated in Vue’s publicity.) This was covered in a Cinema Technology Magazine article on p82 of the September 2017 edition and I also posted several comments in relation to this on Cinema Treasures.

To recap:

  • All auditoria were restepped with wider row spacing, new luxury black leather seating of which some at the front are electronically adjustable reclining seats.
  • New floor coverings.
  • Side/rear wall coverings replaced with black stretched fabric walls and acoustic wall carpeting (Eomac), all finishes now black including the art deco “stepped” coving around the prosenia which had previously had each “step” coloured in a different shade of grey.
  • Existing suspended ceilings in 5/7 were I think completely redone for Atmos but otherwise existing presumably kept.
  • Prior to this any changes made were very limited, possibly the carpets were replaced but I can’t remember if this was prior to the Vue acquisition/rebranding. The
  • Existing tabs kept.
  • LED-lit side fibre optic rods at the top of the new step risers in aisle locations.
  • Screen 5/7 have LED strip features incorporated into the sidewalls.

Here’s a couple of photos of Screen 7 as it was before the 2017 refurbishment:

Photo 1.

Photo 2.

Has the projector(s) used, sound system and speakers all be changed/upgraded?

  • Digital screenings – Sony 4K projectors added as with all other Vue sites. Not sure if there were any changes made but IIRC they were not replaced in 2017 at which point there were 2xSony SRX-R515DS in each of Screens 5/7 and Sony SRX-R320 in all other auditoria.
  • AFAIK celluoid projection no longer available.
  • Harkness Clarus XC170 screens were installed in Screens 5-8 in 2017.
  • Screen 5/7 JBL speakers were changed at some point for Martin Audio speakers; I think this was prior to the Vue acquisition, and the auditoria were still THX certified with the replacement speakers (they are on THX’s Approved Equipment list)—however, that reminds me—the THX certification was dropped from Screen 5 first, and only later Screen 7. Vue have themselves used Martin Audio in other locations, so it does get confusing!
  • Screen 5/7 sound systems replaced in 2017 with CP850 (Atmos) processors, Dolby Multichannel Class D amplifiers, and Dolby SLS speakers.
  • Not sure about the rest of the auditoria. Post-refurbishment, going by photos posted by DavidSimpson on Cinema Treasures, JBL 8330 rear arrays are still used in some auditoria. They’d possibly still be OK for smaller auditoria but they were never designed for discrete digital surround and the bass and midrange drivers do use cone surrounds (prone to “foam rot”), and electrolytic capacitors (albeit bypassed) are used in the crossovers.
  • All auditoria other than Screens 5/7 equipped with Dolby CP750 processors providing 7.1 surround.

Photo of Screen 6 towards the end of the refurbishment. A driverless subwoofer cabinet can be seen!

Which row would you recommend when watching a movie in screen 5 or 7, both from an optimum viewing position and audio sweet spot.

Good question. When I said that I sat “towards the front,” I really meant the front row—which I had all to myself!

The first row in Screen 5, going by the licensing plans, I’d estimate to be about 0.6x screen width distance from the screen. Relatively speaking, this would relate to about row E at the Cineworld (Empire) Leicester Square IMAX, which is a couple of rows ahead of what I’d regard as the sweet spot in that auditorium.

Trouble is that the stepping isn’t as steep as more recent multiplexes and as was pointed out by someone else on Cinema Treasures the seating isn’t staggered so you might risk the screen being obscured, but this aside I think Row D might work well. Recalling that IMAX calls for no greater a seating distance than 1x screen width, this is altogether too far from the screen (I’d estimate just under the screen width away) but better placed for the rears/overheads.

Thinking about it, Row C might be a better choice, as (for the centre seating section) the next row are recliners, thus hopefully resolving the screen obstruction issue.

Also, Row C or D would probably relate to where I’ve sat in Screens 5 or 7 many times before the 2017 refurbishment.

But this is a somewhat arbitrary recommendation on my part—Dolby’s Atmos guidelines/manuals are likely to specify which location is to be optimised in terms of levels, time alignment, etc.

The Vue trailer that you linked to is one of two that have been shown each time that I have visited one of their cinemas over the past few years. Often the sound during this trailer demonstrates the surrounds and LFE far better than during most/all of the movie!

I’ve seen the Vue trailer at other locations (such as Vue Westfield London (Shepherd’s Bush)) and I wasn’t impressed on those occasions but it was certainly very impressive this time—and, yes, embarrassingly far better than the movie itself!

That was quite a detailed account of your visit, the only thing missing from making it a mystery customer report would have been commenting on the purchase of your ticket and food/drink including whom you were served by and how courteous etc they were!

LOL. Thanks, I like detail and precision. :–) Having said that, this “cinema obsession” is a curse—maybe it would be better if I could just “relax and enjoy the film” rather than report writing in my head for a later brain dump!

How full was the performance of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom that you watched? AFAIK reference levels are usually saved for peak times when the auditorium is full or near to full. Certainly, off-peak performances when auditoria are often almost empty are played at lower volume levels.

It was an early evening performance, when I entered the auditorium it was almost empty. There were other patrons in the row behind, so I didn’t want to keep turning my head around to see how busy it was but I did get out of my seat once the end credits started and it looked fairly busy though not packed.

Not sure how levels would be adjusted in an automated digital projection environment?

By “not reference level” I mean quite a bit lower, not just a slight adjustment down.

Incidentally, IMAX Digital systems do allow the operator to adjust away from reference level but this is presumably to allow for specific screenings. IIRC if it’s left there IMAX’s Network Operations Centre will soon be in contact to ask why it’s not been set back to reference level!

But I’ve certainly attended screenings in near-empty non-IMAX auditoria where the levels must have been well over 120dB peak with enough LFE level to shake teeth loose—although understandably that’s not to everyone’s taste!

Sleep is now due, so replying to the rest of your post is to follow.

CF100
CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square 4DX on Jun 12, 2018 at 5:27 am

Zappomatic: Interesting that you didn’t find the projection brightness to be inadequate; hopefully this has indeed been rectified as the projection seemed underspecified!

How did you find it compared to the Wandsworth 4DX, including picture/sound/4DX effects, and did you find that the 4DX effects had been programmed to work effectively with “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”?

It turns out that 4DX actually have several versions* of their system with “premium” variants for additional types of “Environmental Effects” and enhanced “Motion Chair Effects” options.

(*At the time of posting this comment, in the “4DX THEATERS” section of this page, with PRIME/PRO/STANDARD/ECONOMY options and respective “Motion Chair Effects” and “Environmental Effects” capabilities listed for each.)

Regarding the structural aspects of the conversion, I’m not sure what you mean by visible beams, save for those used to suspend the 4DX gear?

I suppose I’ll now have to consider getting an “Unlimited” card as seeing a film in all available formats is an absurdly costly proposition for a cinema trip—even allowing for inflation, almost 10x times the cost of a ticket for a weekday matinee performance at Empire 1 in the 1990s!

CF100
CF100 commented about Empire Cinema Ipswich on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:35 am

LARGE_screen_format:

As I alluded to in my previous post, I don’t think a lack of Auro 11.1 locations is overly concerning as it’s superseded and Atmos rollout is ongoing.

From my point of view, there are 3 Atmos locations within 20 minutes' drive of where I reside, plus getting to the West End is also trivial, even if in recent years finding the time (to go to any cinema) hasn’t been!

Regarding Dolby Vision, I’d guess there are political factors, pre-existing contracts, and so on to consider.

For example, Vue uses Sony projectors in all auditoria, save for IMAX, and it’s only fairly recently that they’ve commissioned IMAX screens themselves, the first being at Cheshire Oaks (2015.)

Dolby Vision might gain more traction in the UK now that Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group has been acquired by AMC; I think it might have a UK launch at the remodelled Odeon Leicester Square.

Alas, I’m sorry to say that I can’t provide a more definitive answer than the above, but clearly operators are investing in UK sites.

P.S. You might like to read a feature on LED direct view cinema screens in Cinema Technology Today.

CF100
CF100 commented about Vue West End on Jun 12, 2018 at 4:30 am

Oops, forgot to link to the Vue trailer that was played yesterday.

CF100
CF100 commented about Vue West End on Jun 11, 2018 at 5:40 pm

Visited Vue West End Screen 5 today for a screening of “Jurassic World—Fallen Kingdom,” a film that might be described as well assembled but… that’s about all I can positively say about it.

However, I wasn’t there to see a throughly unnecessary franchise installment, but rather to attend a screening that would give the sound system to have a good workout, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I’m pleased to report that the tabs were used as was the moveable masking. The tabs were closed until a few minutes before the programme started, and on opening essentially a “slide show” was presented. (Vue marketing material etc.)

Alas, there was no non-sync music before or during the “slide show”, and at this time leakage, presumably from Screen 7, could be heard, predominantly LFE, although IMO this was considerably less irritating than the popcorn munching and other concession consumption-related activity by other patrons!

All “scope” format content before the main feature was letterboxed rather than full width.

All auditorium lighting was progressively dimmed/turned off towards the main feature, with the ceiling downlights ultimately at very low levels.

Unfortunately, all lighting was instantly raised to “house light” level as soon as the credits started! Perhaps 20 seconds after the main feature ended, the masking was moved back, and (IIRC) then the tabs closed.

The sidewall LED strips (presumably adhered to metal extrusions with diffusers attached) are, I think, amber-red rather than red; they do suffer from discontinuities as there were slight gaps between diffuser sections, and in my view they aren’t bright enough.

Despite having a dual projector system, the presentation was 2D, with a 3D screening over in Screen 6 (single projector, 7.1 audio only.) Perhaps that says something about the demand for 3D these days but most displeasing in my view as I would have preferred a 3D screening.

Sony Finity and Atmos trailers were played before the main feature, and there was also an audio announcement (blank screen) boasting of the excellence of the “All-new Vue West End!”

The picture quality from the Sony Finity SRX-R515DS dual projection system was very good, achieving good brightness, with uniformity across the screen as well as colour rendition, and the two projectors seemed to be perfectly aligned. Black levels could have been deeper and there was some clipping at low levels, and there was a very obvious barrel distortion towards the bottom of the screen, although it was only really noticeable with text (e.g. end credits.)

The Atmos system, with Dolby SLS speakers, which use ribbon tweeters, achieved very good sound quality. LFE was at times seat “shaking” and extended, and the sound was generally exceptionally clean and well balanced with extended high frequencies.

Stereo imaging was outstanding although I’m not sure whether the Atmos mix of “Jurassic World-Fallen Kingdom” used the overhead panning to the fullest extent, but Vue’s trailer certainly showed off the full surround capability (N.B. Unlike the version I’ve linked to, “DISCOVER DOLBY ATMOS” was the relevant caption used in this instead of “DISCOVER DOLBY AUDIO.”)

I should add that, in view of the relatively smaller screen size by today’s standards, I chose to sit towards the front, thus not being in the best location to experience the surround elements of the mix. On that subject, width-wise the screen size was fine in that location, although I have become used to the taller formats.

That said, I suspect the main feature was played at somewhat less than reference level. Peak levels were quite loud but did seem to suffer from headroom limitations; the LFE was never really visceral beyond “shaking” the seating, and when really pushed, mid and high frequencies became harsh, with an overall loss of clarity and separation.

Air conditioning was very good although the auditorium was slightly hot when I first entered, but filtered and dehumidified air was just what was needed today. (I don’t cope well in “warm” weather!)

Quibbles aside I must say I’m very impressed, Screen 5 is an excellent auditorium worthy of a West End flagship.

The foyer/lobby areas, as well as Screen 5, of the Vue West End look to be in excellent condition, and all parts of the cinema that I visited were absolutely spotless.

I’d better stop there before I collapse in front of my keyboard (!)—photos to follow.

CF100
CF100 commented about Odeon Leicester Square on Jun 11, 2018 at 3:51 pm

I spoke to someone outside the OLS today who informed me that they plan to reopen by the end of the year but this isn’t a certainty.

As far as I could tell from outside, the circle foyer’s false ceiling has now been completely removed. The front balcony structure has been removed, and the paving above the external area that had been dug up has been reinstated.

Signs for 8build (responsible for strip-out and enabling works) have been removed and signs for GF Holding can now be seen, who are, according to their website, “specialist fit-out and building contractors.” Other projects they have worked on include the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith, the Empire (Leicester Square) Casino, and the Plaza Stockport.

In other words, the project has, presumably, moved onto the next phase.

CF100
CF100 commented about Empire Cinema Ipswich on Jun 11, 2018 at 3:35 pm

LARGE_screen_format: From memory…

I’m not aware of any Auro 11.1 auditoria in the UK, although I can’t say I’ve gone to any particular effort to find them, and Barco now offer AuroMax which, like Dolby Atmos, is object-based.

As you may know, Irish chain Omniplex Cinemas are, like Empire Cinemas, an Anderson-family owned business. Omniplex Maxx, which is the subject of your second link, is their “premium large format” brand which might be considered to be a sibling of Empire’s IMPACT screens, albeit superficially different to reflect their own house style, but it’s easy to spot the similarities, including seating.

IIRC those Omniplex MAXX auditoria that had Auro 11.1 installations have been or will be upgraded to Dolby Atmos, and more recent MAXX screens are having Atmos systems installed.

Incidentally: Timelapse video of a MAXX auditorium build at Omniplex Banbridge.

(Can’t seem to find the Cinema Treasures page for that cinema to post the link on?)

CF100
CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Hemel Hempstead on Jun 11, 2018 at 4:47 am

LARGE_screen_format: Thanks for the link!

CF100
CF100 commented about Cineworld Cinema - Hemel Hempstead on Jun 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Thanks again for taking the time to share such a detailed reply.

You’re welcome, thanks also for your long reply. :–)

My friend who I visit in that area can’t stand trailers (I’ve always enjoyed watching them myself, after all, it is often based on the strength of a good trailer that I decide if I wish to watch a particular movie at the cinema or wait for the home release)

I do find it odd that someone would flat out refuse to sit through trailers? In my view there should be a whole sequence of “pre-show” elements extending from the entrance (or even before the entrance), through the foyer… and the trailers would certainly form part of that sequence. At least they’re all on YouTube in good quality these days…

That link to the Empire cinema in Ipswich is awesome. Wish all cinemas offered something similar online as it reveals so much more information than what can be found on the majority of their websites. Let’s face it most seem to merely be a portal for online bookings and very little else!

It’s great, I particularly like the “Dollhouse” mode where you can see the whole complex in 3D.

Empire Cinemas have generally been better than others at posting auditoria details on their site but they’re still very patchy. Their site used to have an excellent 360deg photo of Empire 1; I found the file from the page source and downloaded the software needed to view it. :–)

I’ll see if I can manage to take a photo of the very large rear IMAX speakers so you can perhaps identify the exact type/model. They are the largest surround speakers I can recall seeing in any auditorium recently, perhaps ever

Thanks, that would be great. :–)

I did walk into the IMAX screen at Cineworld, Stevenage after watching Justice League in 4DX there just to see the size of the auditorium. It is probably the smallest IMAX screen I’ve seen and certainly not one I’d pay to watch a movie on!

Not sure how big the Stevenage IMAX is? It does get into the difficult question of what makes an IMAX an IMAX. Obviously absolute screen size is part of it but it’s also about the geometry of the auditorium and in particular relative distance to screen width and height from seats.

IMAX and OMNIMAX Theatre Design – March 1983 SMPTE Journal.

Looking forward to checking out the new IMAX screen at Cineworld, Watford in a few months. The only other two IMAX screens in the UK that I wouldn’t mind checking out at some point if ever in the areas would be Vue, Manchester Printworks (previously owned by Odeon) and Cineworld, Sheffield which is the only other current IMAX with Laser in the UK other than Cineworld ‘Empire’, Leicester Square.

Of the IMAX formats the only one you’re missing is OMNIMAX—I went to one in the US a couple of times.

According to an article in the Hollywood Reporter, the new IMAX with Laser system—aimed at smaller auditoria—costs $600,000-700,000.

Just stumbled across this article outlining the possibility of a new cinema/restaurant complex in Hemel Hempstead town centre:

http://www.hhs.herts.sch.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Article-on-New-Cinema.pdf

Couldn’t see any date mentioned or whether these possible plans have since been scrapped after Empire Cinemas spent £7m totally refurbishing what was old Odeon 9-screen cinema on the Leisure World (now renamed to Jarman Place) site?

Hmm, where was the £7m figure from?

Planning Application Received August 2017 (Granted.)

Having estimated a 90ft.+ wide screen for the Auditorium 1, with an almost 9000sq.ft. auditorium, I checked satellite imagery of the existing site, and based on this the scale on the floorplan I’m looking at (Proposed Second Floor—the third link marked “Proposed Floor Plan” in the planning application documents page) is out by a factor of 2!

With this corrected scale, the proposed Auditorium 1 I’d estimate to be a slightly more than 14m deep by 14m wide, giving a possible screen width of 45ft or so in a 2000sq.ft. auditorium. I counted about 140 seats, with larger seats in the last two rows.

Given that it doesn’t seem to have anything much in the way of a unique offer in an already well-served catchment area, it’s hard to see this scheme as viable at this stage?

Spoke to Andre Mort a bunch of times in the past as he often spent time visiting the UCI Wycombe 6 (now an 8-screen Empire cinema) site which was my local cinema for many years.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that Empire Cinemas had some technical facilities there for testing/configuring new gear, etc. Would you be kind enough to share anything interesting he said to you? :–)

CF100
CF100 commented about Pepsi IMAX Theatre on Jun 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm

“Across the Sea of Time (New York in 3D)” had the most stunning picture I’d ever seen—with the water in the foreground, it was almost like reality (as you’d have no chance of seeing in person) stretched out in front of you.

Of course, that was my impression relative to everything else at the time and I expect I’d now consider it disappointing!

I’m sure that I saw some other features there but I can’t remember which ones.

When the Pepsi Trocadero IMAX first opened, IMAX seemed to have sent over their own people, as the pre-show announcement was, IIRC, by a Canadian.

The active shutter headsets were superior to the polarised 3D system in the BFI and although the Pepsi Trocadero IMAX screen was smaller, I actually preferred it. Alas, it seems there are no pictures of the auditorium available anywhere.

It seemed ridiculous that, not even 18 months after the Pepsi Trocadero IMAX opened, the BFI IMAX was completed, having been built at considerable expense with Lottery funding. However, with hindsight it’s proven to be very successful and a lasting monument to large format cinema (even if it could now use a bit of a makeover.) The IMAX PSE active shutter headsets are long discontinued and I can’t imagine they are still being used in any IMAX today.

Empire Magazine – Dec 1997 – “IMAX Cinema Opens in London”.

Page with some information on IMAX’s 15/70 digital sound formats and the PSE headsets.

LARGE_screen_format: I never did visit “Alien War,“ but I remember a magazine article on it; they were using 21” Fane Collosus drivers for subbass!

I did visit “Imaginator” and some of the “rides” at “Sega World,” although I’m not really sure why I bothered. They were all very forgettable, but I think that they all comprised short features front projected with moving seating (à la 4DX seats.)