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Update: Looking at the new building externally a couple of days ago, the majority is obscured by scaffolding with fire-retardant sheeting.
However, it appeared that at least some windows have been fitted, and much Rockwool was at the ready on multiple levels.
According to a newsletter posted on the ground-level site hoarding, dated August 2019 (!), “facade works are in progress on all elevations”. Mechanical & Electrical service installation and fit-out are also “in progress on all levels.” Of course, it might well be expected that this does not include the cinema fit-out just yet…
There appears to be no Cinema Treasures entry for the newly opened Odeon Islington, so I am posting the following on the OLS page (and will then move it over to the Odeon Islington page upon its creation.)
This is the first Odeon “Luxe & Dine”-branded venue.
Interestingly—at least in terms of potential, ahem, finger-pointing!—it was planned to be a “dine-in” venue (along the lines of “The Lounge at Whiteleys”) prior to the AMC acquisition, per Odeon’s 2016 press release, in which the project was announced.
A rendering of the venue’s public external entrance shows a glazed frontage, behind which is a very small lobby and two elevators.
The cinema’s page on Odeon’s website includes several images, one of which appears to be a rendering of a seating area in the foyer, which looks very attractive indeed. There is also a photo of an auditorium, though I suspect this is in fact of Odeon Luxe Haymarket, given the low ceiling and limited rake of the seating.
According to an article, the menu includes “Wagyu Beef, Corn Fed Chicken and Moving Mountains Vegan burgers, Wild Boar Hotdogs and Flatbread Pizza.” Drinks are available at an Oscar’s Bar.
I can only describe the “dine-in” concept with “waiter service” as a nightmare, but clearly a suitable “hipster” location has been selected!
(Incidentally, Odeon say that food can be ordered via their smartphone app—as if there wasn’t already enough potential “activity” in the auditorium to ruin the experience?!)
Auditorium info. from Odeon’s site:
Screen 1 – 46 recliner + 2 accessible (RealD 3D)
Screen 2 – 30 recliner + 2 accessible (RealD 3D)
Screen 3 – 30 recliner + 2 accessible
Screen 4 – 30 recliner + 2 accessible
Screen 5 – 38 recliner + 2 accessible
Screen 6 – 28 recliner + 2 accessible (RealD 3D)
Total – 202 recliner + 12 accessible
Having recently paid a visit to the IMAX auditorium, the sidewall IMAX signs now fade in/out—however, the fade is extremely “stepped,” obviously sequencing through a handful of different levels, rather than smooth.
The sidewall signs were also (irritatingly!) turned on as the end credits started.
Would a seat towards the rear of the circle of the OLS be best (row F for example).
IMO none of the seating further back than the Royal Circle is suitable—just too far from the screen. The rear of the auditorium is about 3x the screen width away from the screen (c.f. max. 1x for IMAX and typical 1.5x in multiplex screens.) You are also having to look down at the screen.
In my view, the stalls would be a much better option. You do have to look up at the screen—however, at least in terms of comfort this is mitigated by the recliners. Row D or E would be a good choice (remembering that the recliners mean that the rows are deeper, so this is further back than it sounds!)—any further forward and the surround sound won’t be ideal, too far back and you’ll end up under the balcony.
Or would a seat in the superscreen be better? They are a similar price – around £20 but there is a much wider choice of seats in the superscreen. Does the tech in the OLS amke it a better choice overall, or would better seats be a wiser choice?
I have not been to the LSQ Superscreen in a long time now. The Superscreen has a top-of-the-line sound system (inc. Dolby Atmos) and it might be said is actually better specified than the OLS.
However, I was not impressed by the projection (2xBarco DP4K-23B with Xenon light source) installed at the time of the conversion of the old Screen 1 (2014.) These projectors were moved over from the old Empire 1. My recollection from the article on the Screen 1 conversion in Cinema Technology Magazine is that the long-throw lenses (~120ft. from the projection to the screen) were simply kept even though the throw is much less in the Superscreen. Empire Cinemas were queried about this in that article, and they claimed that they worked perfectly, but my experience was serious barrel distortion (curved like a goldfish bowl to the left/right sides of the screen.)
In addition, the lack of masking on the “flat” ratio screen is, in my view, not really acceptable for letterboxed material, as the projection cannot achieve sufficiently deep black levels for the disused parts of the screen.
It is, however, possible that Cineworld have, or will, upgrade to laser projection—Christie laser projection has been installed in Screen 1 of Picturehouse Central, and in the Superscreen over at the O2.
Laser projection allows for a wider colour gamut (i.e. more saturated, vibrant colours,) where the content has been supplied that takes advantage of this, as one would hope for a release in the Dolby Cinema format. The LSQ Superscreen’s screen is much larger than the OLS, but overall, as far as “technology” goes, I would recommend the OLS over the LSQ Superscreen.
I notice that Cineworld LSQ’s IMAX screenings will be in 3D, whereas both the LSQ Superscreen and the OLS screenings are 2D only. I guess that you do not wish to see “The Rise of Skywalker” in 3D? Otherwise, I’d say that the IMAX would be the best option.
Of course, it goes without saying that, if it is the venue/auditorium itself that you want as part of the experience, then the OLS wins hands down over the LSQ Superscreen.
Thanks for your response. :–)
A 120fps movie can contain 24fps content—e.g. all that has to be done is repeat each frame 5 times.
So, as a way of thinking about this, how about a whole movie at 24fps, with only the end credits at 120fps? There is no way this could “ruin” the experience; but it would stop the end credits “jumping” their way up the screen, scrolling smoothly instead.
Going back to the videos in the linked page on the “American Cinematographer” site, these, again, are both at 24fps.
Yet, the contents of these videos was captured at 120fps, and was converted to 24fps using the software’s “virtual shutter.”
The “virtual shutter” has settings which are based on the shutters of “classic” 35mm cameras. So, the software could actually be used to make 24fps content that looks more “classic” in style.
Or, alternatively, as the videos show, a different “virtual shutter” could be used for part of the picture, in one example creating less blur on the woman’s face.
Also shown in the first video is what happens when there is no blur on moving objects at 24fps—it looks awful! There has to be motion blur at 24fps or it falls to bits (end credits, of course, are an obvious example.)
The videos promote the software’s ability to create the “classical” look of 24fps movies… and it doesn’t have to be used to convert to 24fps, it could be used on HFR material, so that it looks more like “classical” 24fps.
That said, I don’t think HFR delivery of movies is going to replace 24fps yet… (or ever…?) But with the increased storage available today, shooting HFR is more likely.
You were wondering about audience leaving the movie-show (and even more leaving when the action-sequences were shown): Having some of them interviewed, the latter ones leaving told me, that even watching the ‘action-sequences’ was a boring, sterile (!) and emotionless thing to do. The first ones leaving shared exactly the same impression I was telling you about and were not complaining of any headaches while watching.
Funnily enough, I thought “Gemini Man” was somewhat “boring” and “sterile,” but thought this was due to the movie itself. Also, CGI “Young” Will Smith didn’t quite look real, so there was some disconnect there.
Have you experienced some of the audience leaving other shows?
Quite frankly I do not share this opinion: 24 fps might never be chosen on any optimal technical basis, but it’s been there for over 100 Years of cinematic presentation and one should think of the only reason being… because it has proven itself.
Getting the World to change standards is not easy! I don’t think 24fps is a “magic” number, after all 24fps movies have often been shown on 25fps TV simply by slightly speeding them up (which “no-one” even notices!)
When we think of 24fps movies, we are not really thinking of “24fps”—as the videos on the “American Cinematographer” page show, 24fps itself can look quite different depending on the shutter speed. Rather, we are thinking of how movies are stylised, and part of that is due to the limitations of 24fps—it has “proven itself,” but only because filmmakers (hopefully) don’t do things that don’t work at 24fps.
So, to my mind, it would be far more interesting to remove those limitations, and see how filmmakers adapt to HFR—just as in the last 20 years digital cameras have rapidly developed and creators adapted to get the results they want…
For example, an anamorphic “65mm” lens can be used with a new “65mm” 8K digital camera…
The last thing we need is to throw away 100 years of cinematic heritage, ending up with (say) a nightmare of hyper-“Michael Bay” chaotic action films. Storytelling, characters and performance always come first, presented in a cinematic way…
their some theatres that use Atmos in premium theatres, but it very few
Sorry, not quite sure what you mean…?
Whether “Atmouse” or not, i.e. the extent to which the extended capabilities of Atmos are used, see the Dolby Atmos Specifications document, which sets out the minimum system requirements and design.
Even if overheads are disused, there is still the option of using objects for directional surround, rather than the traditional use of the surrounds (IMAX excepted)—replicating the same channel over multiple surround speakers (producing a diffuse effect—desirable in the days of Dolby Stereo with mono surround only, and still can be for “ambience.”)
Additionally, the surrounds are “bass managed” with subwoofers thus providing an extended bass response. As I mentioned on the respective Cinema Treasures page, this was obvious during my last visit to the Odeon Leicester Square.
Given also that Dolby Atmos installations to date have tended to be in “premium” auditoria, entering a screen that has a Dolby Atmos-capable system should be an indication that, even for 5.1 or 7.1 content, the sound system will be of above average quality.
On the other hand, it is too bad that the Dolby Cinema trailer demonstration of Atmos is very impressive, whilst IME that “3D” soundstage is rarely heard in the main feature.
I am pleased to say that I have never seen a rodent in a Dolby Atmos-equipped cinema!
Terry: I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear about this. :–(
Whilst I never had the pleasure of knowing him outside of the limited confines of text-based communication on this site, his good manner, generosity and love of “real” cinemas always shone through.
Stored in his head, of course, was an irreplaceable catalogue of obscure information!
I will greatly miss his contributions.
moviebuff82: Yes, it will be (2D.) There will also be a triple-bill with the previous two episodes on the 18th December, “The Rise of Skywalker” performance starting at midnight.
Thank you for your comments on HFR, it is interesting to hear your opinion!
Certainly 24fps was never chosen on any optimal technical basis, it has simply existed for so long as the standard with cinematographic “language” and technique built around it, as well as strong association in the audience’s mind that 24fps = cinematic.
“Gemini Man” was downconverted from 120fps to 24 and 60fps using RealD’s TrueMotion software.
American Cinematographer – “RealD’s TrueMotion for Multiple Frame Rate Options”.
Check out the two video demonstrations (which show footage converted to 24fps!) on the above-linked page—with the “virtual shutter” provided by the software, there are all sorts of interesting options—by shooting at HFR at 120fps it can be decided how much motion blur to add—e.g. allowing for part of a shot to remain sharp (the woman’s face in one example) whilst allowing for a more traditional “flowing” look on other moving objects.
HFR does not mean that everything has to look like a “news bulletin”—the frame rate could even be varied within a film—one could imagine quiet character scenes at 24fps and then switching to HFR for fast action sequences? (Even possible to have different frame rates for different areas within a shot.)
If I remember correctly, “Gemini Man” was supposed to have more of a “documentary” look to it.
There is no need to throw away 100 years of cinema heritage, rather building on it with an expanded creative palette—even if HFR remains a novelty for distribution, the above-linked video demonstrations show new creative and post-production options at 24fps (when shooting HFR.)
Some people left the movie-show before I did.
I am surprised to hear this; I suppose given the ticket prices, no-one would want to leave the Odeon Leicester Square before the end of the film!
I wonder if it wasn’t something to do with the projection system used? Many single projector 3D systems alternate between projecting left eye, right eye, etc. in sequence—whereas 3D films are created so that both eyes should be seeing the “same” frame at once. It’s a particular problem with fast scenes, so perhaps a single projector system was used and some audience members were getting headaches?
Best regards (and solidarity in these troubling times!) from London.
Sony Dynamic Digital Sound, a little known industry gimmick also know in the industry as “Still Doesn’t Do Shit”. SDDS.
Since laser came out, AMC doesn’t like to maintain the Dolby glasses that are needed for both IMAX and Dolby CInema.
If true, then that is pathetic! The glasses are more expensive than the polarised (RealD, etc.) 3D types but “maintaining” them involves putting them in a “dishwasher” (and I can’t imagine that attrition due to non-returns amounts to a significant cost?)
I don’t know if some of the former Loews theatres, if AMC replaced the SDDS processors with Dolby Digital.
Dolby Digital and SDDS were sound formats for 35mm film prints:
Photo of 35mm film showing DTS timecode, Dolby Digital and SDDS data and analogue optical tracks.
(DTS stored the audio on external CD-ROMs synchronized to the image, Dolby Digital and SDDS stored the data on the film itself.)
They were both “lossy” formats (like MP3); SDDS had the benefit of supporting up to 5 screen channels instead of 3, albeit in practice the number of titles and venues that supported this was probably limited.
Suffice it to say that comparing the systems beyond this is now academic; however, the SDDS decoders were quite advanced for the time, with on-board digital equalisation for system tuning.
Also, there was a “war” between DTS, Dolby Digital and Sony over reliability, with Dolby claiming that storing the data between sprockets instead of the film edges meant that their system could cope with more wear and tear.
In today’s age of digital theatrical distribution, all audio is lossless digital per industry standards; whether or not there’s a Dolby box around or not is irrelevant—except in the case of Dolby Atmos.
Therefore, for a regular 5.1 or 7.1 system, differences are to do with the equipment specified, room acoustics and quality of the installation.
2019 outline planning application has been “approved in principle.”
Summary details as entered on Bournemouth’s planning database:
“Development and re-development, including partial retention of building including main facade at three levels on the Westover Road frontage to allow for the construction of 1,197sq.m. comparison retail floor space; 67 apartments, 68 car parking spaces, associated servicing facilities, refuse and cycle storage.”
Several urban explorers have posted YouTube videos of the current state of this cinema (and the former ABC nearby.) These are particularly interesting venues; many thanks to them for their efforts, should any of them happen to read this.
In response to DrGuyWalker’s post (from 2007!):
I kid you not, the original Vitavox loudspeakers.
Odeon Bournemouth Westover Road urban exploration video.
The above links directly to the time in the video where the old screen speakers can be seen. I am not quite sure about the make/model (HF horns removed?) but this certainly confirms “dinosaur” speakers were still behind the screen. Ironically, these kind of speakers are actually “audiophile” collectors' items today!
(Other videos of the old Westover Road super-cinemas are easy to find on YouTube.)
Obviously, both the Odeon and ABC are in a less than pristine state, with pigeons having moved in. Although their condition is more intact than some other disused cinemas that have been “explored,” with crumbling ceilings and severe water damage—a word of warning—these videos are not for the faint of heart!
These are manufactured in the US by Tempo LLC.
what was the point of Ang Lee shooting the film the way he did if no theater can in fact show it that way?
Shooting at higher than the target fps can result in better output, basically “temporal oversampling.”
At 24fps, it’s essential to have some motion blur on fast action, otherwise “strobing” is perceived.
For “Gemini Man,” RealD TrueMotion software was used for the down conversion to lower frame rates. It provides a “virtual shutter,” allowing for different options in post-production, even varying by regions within a frame.
There are some video demonstrations on the linked page, including one showing what it can do with the old “reversed wheel rotation” problem, blurring the spokes of the wheels whilst reducing blur that would otherwise have occurred on background objects.
moviebuff82: Have responded to your query on Cinema Treasures' Odeon Leicester Square page. Also commented on the HFR aspect of “Gemini Man,” which might be of interest to you.
How is the Odeon’s dolby screen compared to the AMC in rockaway?
I’d expect the projection system to be the same, albeit off the top of my head the projection system is adjusted to suit the location (e.g. the number of laser modules needed to achieve the target illumination levels on the screen.) That said, I would imagine that, like IMAX Digital, Dolby Cinema projection will quietly (or not so quietly?) go through revisions/iterations over time—e.g. the original IMAX Digital (Xenon) units were equipped with Christie projectors; later they switched to Barco.
As with any Dolby Cinema venue, the OLS obviously supports Dolby Atmos, and the sound system (Dolby SLS speakers and amplifiers) is as highly specified as it could be. I understand that AMC have been converting their “Prime”-branded PLF auditoria to Dolby Cinema locations, and I’d imagine this means fitting a new projection system (and screen) rather than a total overhaul—if this is of interest to you, then e.g. you could always look at the rear or overhead speakers to see what brand/model they are.
The OLS is, of course, a classic 1930’s “super-cinema” (as they were branded in the UK) and thus does not meet today’s “technical” standards for cinema design. The screen is not large enough for the auditorium size, and due to the split balcony/stalls there really is not an optimal seating position. Also, although significant acoustic treatment was added during the refurbishment, the cinema is still “echoic”—whilst much improved, this is still clearly audible on dialogue, although not so bad as to render dialogue unintelligible.
In a nutshell, it’s a world-famous cinema that has “ambience,” “heritage” and “sense of occasion” far beyond the average local multiplex that happens to have a high-end Dolby Cinema system, rather than a clean sheet new build designed from the ground up.
Also, keep in mind that as a location that regularly hosts premières and other special events, there is a greater chance of proper technical upkeep and recalibration to ensure everything is functioning as it should—not to mention, Dolby themselves are nearby in London’s Soho district…
Visited the OLS today to see an early evening performance of “Gemini Man,” being a “3D + HFR” (high frame rate) presentation. More on this aspect later in this post…
I shall cut to the “TL;DR” chase to report that on this occasion, the tabs were NOT in use. Indeed, with the stage end dimly lit (“Odeon Leicester Square Luxe Cinema” logo projected on the screen) their existence could well have gone unnoticed—taking a photo from my (front stalls) seating position required severe overexposure of the screen!
Fortunately, all other aspects were fine, with well programmed lighting. (Certainly vastly better than many “typical” multiplexes today.)
The non-sync music selection included the “Star Wars” main theme, which is fine, albeit so familiar that it seems rather a “generic” choice—-as if no-one has bothered with to select material specifically to the mood for the main feature?
Briefly: “Gemini Man” has not received a favourable response from critics; however, it was said to feature “ground-breaking” special FX.
I cannot say that it was a good film, and IMO—given the ubiquity of CGI in high budget productions—there was no special FX or visuals of any kind—of note. (If “ground-breaking” means the “younger” Will Smith—an all-CGI character—I found “him” to be a character that can emote and relatable as “human”—albeit not quite convincingly real.) “Life of Pi”—which was outstanding over in the old Empire 1—it is not.
This leaves the “high frame rate” as the “only” reason (other than visiting the OLS, of course) to see the film.
The film was shot and finished at 120 frames per second; however, 24fps or 60fps versions have been supplied to most venues.
I say “only” reason, but the likes of Douglas Trumbull (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) have been trying to establish higher frame rates for decades, as a means of enhancing storytelling—with scientific evidence showing that the audience’s emotional responses are heightened.
According to an article, only 14 theatres in the US will be supplied with the 120fps version; and, to quote, “Dolby notes that several Odeon theaters outfitted with Dolby 3D in the U.K. will also project 120 fps.”
Presumably, then, the OLS was supplied with the 120fps version (which is limited to 2K, and, it certainly looked like 2K—noticeable on e.g. blades of grass and the end credits.)
(A “CINITY” projection system (developed for Chinese company Huaxia Film) was installed at the Chinese Theater for the premiere—providing full 4K resolution at 120fps, as well as 28ftL brightness, using Christie dual laser projection. Too bad that the OLS is effectively already “obsolete” so soon after re-opening!)
Although HFR initially (after watching adverts and trailers at 24fps!) feels slightly odd, it is certainly a very large improvement over the old juddery/motion-blurred 24fps standard, almost like looking through a clear window into another world—with fast action scenes being far more intelligible.
Given just how bad the movie was, it felt emotionally intense—so it seems plausible that HFR is helping in this respect also.
With the 3D glasses off, the picture could be very bright, and illumination was decent with them on. I did, however, notice severe colour shift to the top left/right corners of the screen when not looking up (obviously this not being the usual position when making use of the reclining capability of the seating—talking of which, I ended up moving the seat slightly up from the fully back position, as I wanted to watch the movie rather than being so relaxed that I’d be at risk of taking a nap!) It goes without saying that, being shot natively in 3D, the this aspect of the movie was very high quality—and Dolby Cinema (or IMAX with Laser) is ideal to experience this compared to the polarised systems such as RealD.
The sound system seemed to be playing at around reference level and peaks certainly had “impact”—the film making full use of the available dynamic range to punctuate rather than being “wall-to-wall” loud—with the rear subwoofers being put to good use on occasion also.
HVAC made for a very comfortable auditorium, if perhaps slightly warmer than I’d have preferred; but there could be no doubt that you had left the (cold and damp, not to mention annoying “street performers” in LSQ!) “outside world” to escape into luxurious cinema wonder-land.
The “Dolby Cinema” trailer played before the main feature has now been localised with a British voice-over. I can’t be sure, but it felt truncated in length also.
“CINITY” projection system installed for the premiere of “Gemini Man” at the Chinese Theatre:
“GEMINI MAN Theatrical Premiere Will Utilize 4K 3D 120fps High Frame Rate Projection”.
The system was developed for Chinese company Huaxia Film, and uses Christie dual laser projection; it is capable of 4K 3D at 120 frames per second, with 28ftL peak screen illumination.
I assume that public screenings were IMAX with Laser?
Spanlite – Odeon Leicester Square feature wall.
Case study on the “feature wall” installed in the landing between the two sets of escalators to/from the circle lounge.
A “custom framing and mounting system” was fabricated for the wall, which is equipped with:
Include on the above-linked page are some high quality photos of the wall.
This feels like scaling the heights of trivial obscurity—but I may as well post since I stumbled on it…
Camden Council’s planning website lists an application from 1954 (!) relating to permission for neon signage. In the document titled “drawing,” the spelling shown is “La Continental.”
The letterheading on the “decision notice” document is the “Metropolitan Borough of Saint Pancras”—I must confess that it is news to me that such an entity ever existed! (Note that the “decision notice” is not the correct document—it is actually relates to signage over at the former Berkeley Cinema, 30 Tottenham Court Road.)
Lionel: Many thanks for uploading the video. Amazing that you brought an 8mm camera over here in the late 1980s!
Lionel: The flickr account holder “dusashenka” (your Eros Piccadilly link is to an album of that user) certainly does have an amazing and large collection of photos, and I’ve certainly enjoyed browsing through them! ;–)
I still get “goosebumps” in anticipation of seeing a presentation of a first class movie in a first class venue. I don’t think I ever took it for granted—as long as I’ve been old enough to go to the cinema unaccompanied, it was obvious that the largest auditoria were on “borrowed time.”
Less obvious were the coming changes to auditorium design, and, the move to digital photography and projection.
(In the former case, digital cameras, I remember suggesting to someone in the late 90s—that they would NEVER be good enough to match 35mm…!)
Even if we might not consider all the changes to be welcome, I don’t think it is necessary to get too nostaglic. This is an amazing time—ranging from dual 4K laser projection to the “immersive” sound formats to the latest 65mm sensor cameras from Arri, Panavision and Sony.
Select classic titles are getting digital re-releases with new full restorations from the original negatives, in some cases yielding far better quality than would ever have been seen from a release print. For example, just a couple of months ago “Apocalypse Now”—with a Q&A shown after the film.
I do hope you are seeking out the best cinemas in your neck of the woods and enjoy visiting them.