Vue West End

3 Cranbourne Street,
Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7AL

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CF100
CF100 on July 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm

LARGE_screen_format: Indeed, a list of SRX-515DS equipped locations would be nice!

One of the SRX-515DS equipped locations is Vue Darlington (Link is to a case study from Sound Associates.)

I haven’t seen HFR theatrically, but at home I’ve been watching frame interpolated video for ages (Philips “Pixel Plus” on a 2004 CRT TV, these days “Intelligent Frame Creation”/“24p Smooth Film” on a Panasonic Viera.)

I know some people dislike the artifacts (which can look “plasticky”) with this processing but I’m willing to accept the tradeoff for generally smooth motion.

(Of course, there’s 60fps content out there, including on YouTube.)

All of this should provide a “canvas” which can be creatively used as desired, but personally… I don’t think movies need to look like they were shot on film at 24fps just because that’s what happened to be available for decades.

I think HFR hasn’t gained traction due to the very high overheads, for instance, (at 48fps) twice as many frames must be generated for CGI FX.

As interesting as this all is, I’m struggling to see how this fits in thematically with Cinema Treasures—perhaps we might consider another pathway for communication?

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on July 1, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Would have been nice if that article you’ve linked to above included a list of all of the PLF sites.

What happened to HFR, haven’t heard it mentioned for years? I watched The Hobbit (first movie) in HFR and did not like it. The movie looked far too well lit and more like a tv drama than a Hollywood movie imo.

All of these contrast ratio’s pale in comparison to Dolby Cinemas 1,000,000:1! :O

CF100
CF100 on July 1, 2018 at 4:24 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

The Sony SRX-R515DS dual projector system in Vue West End Screens 5/7 already supports HFR (48/60fps 2D/3D at 2K resolution per DCP spec.)

Sony also state that the R500-series projectors are all “HDR-ready.”

(Albeit “HDR” in cinemas is something of a minefield!)

Considering that Sony claim 4.5fL 3D brightness is achieveable for the the SRX-R515DS dual projector system on a 23m wide silver screen with 2.4 gain, and the screens installed in Screens 5/7 of Vue West End are Clarus XC 170s (1.7 gain), being slightly larger than 13m wide according to the licensing plans, even allowing for “optimistic” published specifications, they should be able to achieve satisfactory brightness levels for 3D.

Sony also claims 8000:1 contrast ratio for the R515 projectors.

I can’t see Vue being in a tearing hurry to upgrade… it’s already a very good installation that they can advertise as featuring “Finity Sony Digital Cinema 4K” and “Dolby Atmos.”

Also, there are a number of other Vue auditoria in whch the SRX-515DS dual projector system has been installed:

Vue International’s largest cinema screens go 4K.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on July 1, 2018 at 6:45 am

Wonder when and where Sony’s 4K RGB laser projectors (capable of HDR, HFR etc) will be installed in the UK? Vue, West End would surely be the most likely location?

https://celluloidjunkie.com/wire/sony-demonstrates-4k-rgb-laser-projector-prototype-at-cinemacon/

CF100
CF100 on June 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 on June 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 on June 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.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 12, 2018 at 12:19 pm

What changes, if any, have Vue made to the auditoria since taking over from Warner Village Cinemas at this location? Has the projector(s) used, sound system and speakers all be changed/upgraded?

Which row would you recommend when watching a movie in screen 5 or 7, both from an optimum viewing position and audio sweet spot. I’ve yet to watch a movie at Vue, West End but plan to change that at some point soon.

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!

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!

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.

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. Screens 1 to 4, the curtain would rise and in the two smallest screen (5 & 6) they would open from the centre outwards. All screens were scope and they had black masking on the left and right sides of the screen which would retract whenever scope movies were shown.

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

CF100
CF100 on June 12, 2018 at 4:30 am

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

CF100
CF100 on June 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 on June 5, 2018 at 3:06 pm

The only time I can recall seeing a presentation with an SDDS soundtrack used was “Bad Boys” in Screen 7 at the Warner West End.

I don’t think the film used all 8 tracks and I don’t think Screen 7 had 5 screen speakers for the left centre/right centre channels either.

It worked fine and I didn’t notice any dropouts, which was a major concern as the SDDS data was stored at the edges of the film strip. I did like the SDDS trailer.

As for how it compared to the other formats, it would be impossible to meaningfully compare subtle differences between lossy formats under those conditions.

The SDDS decoder was an interesting device for that time, e.g. it had onboard DSP processing including digital EQ.

SDDS used Sony’s ATRAC lossy compression system. I still have an old Sony MiniDisc (ATRAC was also used for MD) recorder lying around somewhere (probably at the back of the loft!) which I thought worked well at the time (late 1990s) but since then I’ve trained myself to be very sensitive to the artifacts of lossy audio compression systems. ATRAC itself went through various versions and the encoder quality is critical with any lossy compression system.

In the early days of online music stores and applications (e.g. iTunes), I installed Sony’s Connect store/software on my PC, which as well as selling ATRAC encoded content could extract (aka “rip”) audio off CDs and then reduce the file size using its ATRAC encoder.

No idea how this compared to professional encoders used for theatrical releases or the ones found in consumer MiniDisc recorders but it certainly couldn’t compete with a good AAC or even MP3 encode. Audible artifacts and dulling of high frequencies.

Indeed THX are still around in the home theatre world, although I haven’t really followed what they’re doing these days. The brand did get tarnished once it started being slapped on Sound Blaster soundcards and low quality multimedia speakers!

Alas my own home cinema (front projection with custom speakers—Electro-Voice subwoofers and satellites fitted with coaxial bass/mids using HF compression drivers) and the room it was in were destroyed by a leak a few years ago. You really don’t want to hear the rest of the sorry story, but it will be put back sooner or later. :–(

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 5, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Must say I was somewhat surprised when I read that Creative Technology had taken over ownership of THX some years ago and more recently in 2016 by Razor Inc.

THX still seem to be quite active in hi-end home cinema equipment. Back in the mid 00’s used to have a THX Ultra 2 system at my last house.

One sound system that I never managed to experience for myself at the cinema was SDDS which I believe was 8-channel? Have you and if so, how did you find it compares to Dolby Digital and DTS?

CF100
CF100 on June 5, 2018 at 2:08 pm

LARGE_screen_format: You’re very welcome, glad you liked my posts! :–)

I don’t think there are any THX-certified locations in the UK and there aren’t many left worldwide.

When THX was formed in 1983, there was a great need to improve sound in cinemas and get it closer to the then current state of the art.

Many venues had problems with excessive reverberation times (older ones in particular) and poor isolation (new build multiplexes or subdivided older venues (low cost “drop-wall” conversions and the like.)) Dolby Stereo had brought 4 channel matrixed sound to 35mm optical tracks but venues were just sticking in the Dolby Stereo decoder and adding surrounds with the old Altec Voice of the Theatre screen speakers still there, in whatever condition they were in by then.

THX venues would also feature baffle walls with flush mounted screen speakers (though there was nothing stopping non-THX venues from building them!) and the THX crossover/monitor unit.

Not only is the crossover/monitor unit a long discontinued product but it’s useless for modern 3-way screen speakers, let alone the emerging line array systems, and digital active crossovers that can be configured to do the same thing are available, so it’s not needed.

THX certification per se isn’t really an absolute guarantee of excellence.

Although the flagship venues clearly had attention to detail paid to them, that didn’t mean all THX venues sounded that good.

For example, there were 2 THX certified screens at the Hoyts multiplex in the Bluewater Shopping Centre (now a Showcase); they didn’t really sounded any different to any other run of the mill multiplex of the time (late 1990s), i.e. medicore.

Whereas e.g. the mid-2000s THX certified system in the old Empire 1 was amazing.

The IMAX Digital system has “21st Century” quality control included as the system is automatically checked and re-calibrated every day and the picture is constantly monitored by cameras in the auditorium, plus all installations are monitored by their Network Operations Centre in Mississauga.

Whereas THX only requires annual reinspections.

THX certification of cinemas didn’t really gain much traction in the UK; I heard that this was partially due to political reasons. On a worldwide basis I think operators started to drop it after the 35mm digital sound formats became commonplace—which makes sense since they could e.g. advertise “digital sound,” put the Dolby Digital logo above the entrance, and play the trailer. With DTS and SDDS out there as well, the average patron was probably confused by the “acronym soup”!

THX Ltd. has gone through changes of ownership and various directions over the years; they are now launching a new system to compete with Dolby Cinema and IMAX (which on the face of it doesn’t sound like a sensible move to me but there we are.)

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 5, 2018 at 1:08 pm

@CF100

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your wealth of knowledge and answer so many of my questions.

Do you know if there are currently any commercial cinemas still in use today in the UK that are THX certified? They seemed to have slowly and quietly disappeared since the 90’s and early 00’s.

Greatly appreciated.

CF100
CF100 on June 5, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Re: The original screens 5/7 THX installations.

From my recollection from the “JBL at the Movies” publication referenced in my previous comment, the specification was:

-Usual THX-certified JBL speakers (4675C main screen speakers, 4645B subwoofers, 8330 surrounds [about 16 IIRC] -THX crossover/monitor. -QSC amplification. -Dolby Digital/DTS in both screens, SDDS also in Screen 7.

They did sound very good indeed (although I might temper this by saying relative to expectations at that time!) and there was some mention in that publication of specific work that had gone into the acoustics for the venue. In any case, I always thought the acoustics were very good and it doesn’t suffer from the parallel walls and very early sidewall reflections from the left/right screen speakers which happen with the typical “box” auditorium with wall-to-wall screens.

The only problem was that it didn’t really have enough LFE capability for the digital formats.

As THX certified auditoria, they also had to have good acoustic isolation—you could only hear leakage of peak LFE levels if the auditorium you were in was quiet.

The rest of the auditoria all had JBL speakers as well and they also all sounded good. Of course, many other venues were using similar equipment then, so it does demonstrate that getting all the details right (incuding system alignment/calibration and real projectionists to run film-based shows) makes all the difference.

CF100
CF100 on June 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm

LARGE_screen_format:

To clarify: The VUE West End in its current form opened as the Warner West End (the plaque from the 1993 re-opening post-rebuilt is still embedded in the pavement outside)—the “Village” name was appended later when there was a joint venture between WB and Village Roadshow Pictures.

I’ve seen a number of comments on the Web suggesting that the “Village” suffix was something to do with a “village” of multiplex screens, which wasn’t the case!

To add to MovieGeek2013’s comment, as a UCI operated location the Empire LSQ wouled usually get all the major UIP-distributed releases.

Not sure who makes the decisions on what movies can be shown by which cinema in Leicester Square

Some years ago, I went for a meal at a Garfunkel’s Restaurant just off the square, and a couple of individuals sat at the adjacent table were having an impromptu meeting about which of the West End cinemas to place a number of upcoming movies.

About every 5 minutes one of the waiters would ask them if they were ready to order yet (which they never did.)

I wish I could say that I gained some profound insight into the machinations of film distribution, but the level of discussion was more like “the kids will go for that one!”

That makes sense regarding how each cinema on Leicester Square, back in the 80’s and 90’s, would work out which movies they would be showing and why all cinemas were not showing the same movies at the same time.

As I understood it, at least for the opening weeks, there was some sort of agreement that only one cinema operator in Leicester Square could book each title.

Empire Cinemas had a hard time getting bookings for LSQ, even after the IMAX opened.

This no longer seems to be the case.

I must say how disappointed I am with the lack of information that can be found online regarding the actual sizes of cinema screens.

VUE West End Screens 5/7 were, IIRC, said to have 40ft. wide screens in the “JBL at the Movies” promotional supplement that was published on behalf of Harman (JBL’s parent company) by Dennis Publishing and came with an edition of “Home Cinema Choice” and also put out as promotional blurb by Harman. I have half a dozen copies of it somewhere!

Screen 5 has a screen width of 13.1m/43ft. (by the chord) according to UNICK Architects' current licensing plans. (Dimension is actually written on the plans = 13145mm.)

Presumably the same width for Screen 7.

Screen 6 I’d estimate from the licensing plans to be a bit under 30ft.

Screen 8 and Screen 9 also have screen dimensions marked on the plans, Screen 8 is unreadable (it’s a bit smaller than Screen 9) and Screen 9 is 7.7m (actually 7744mm!) or about 25ft. wide.

I wouldn’t bother with the four basement screens (1-4) as they don’t have adequate isolation and screens are off-centre, but FYI for Screens 1/¾ I estimate the screens widths to be about 25-26ft., Screen 2 about 22ft. wide.

Screen 5 auditorium — about 21m from screen to last row, or about 1.6x screen width. The auditorium is about 23m wide max., therefore its total area is about 5000sq.ft. (Again ditto or approximately ditto for its sibling situated above, Screen 7.)

Although it’s unlikely that an auditorium with between 350 and 550 seats will have an average sized screen, it’s not easy to gauge the size of the screen when it has a small number of luxury recliner seats and/or sofas etc as is the case in a number of different cinemas.

Indeed seat count doesn’t have a such a strong relationship to the auditorium size these days. It’s also about the auditorium geometry and relative screen size—I’ll discuss this further in another post.

Do they think that regular moviegoers are not interested in this information […]?

If they do, they would probably be correct. ;–)

Cinema operators have, at least as long as I can remember, almost always been dreadful about disseminating details of the audio/projection system spec. The fact that the information they do provide is often limited, sometimes erroneous or odd suggests technical illiteracy rather than a conspiracy!

If you can find the plans for the cinema (often available to download as part of their entertainment/alcohol license) then you can estimate the screen width for yourself (also relative to the auditorium size and layout.)

You will sometimes find more detailed specifications in Cinema Technology Today (formerly Cinema Technology Magazine) if a new or upgraded venue is the subject of one of their articles, albeit it’s undergone a change of ownership and revamp and only a limited selection of archived back issues are currently available on their website.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 3, 2018 at 4:17 pm

That makes sense regarding how each cinema on Leicester Square, back in the 80’s and 90’s, would work out which movies they would be showing and why all cinemas were not showing the same movies at the same time.

I must say how disappointed I am with the lack of information that can be found online regarding the actual sizes of cinema screens. Although it’s unlikely that an auditorium with between 350 and 550 seats will have an average sized screen, it’s not easy to gauge the size of the screen when it has a small number of luxury recliner seats and/or sofas etc as is the case in a number of different cinemas.

Whenever possible I try to watch a movie at the cinema on the largest screen possible depending on where in the country I am at the time or how far I am willing to travel. I could possibly count the number of times I have watched a movie in an auditorium containing less than ~355 seats over the past few years on one hand. Empire, Odeon and Vue cinemas seem to provide auditorium information which includes the number of seats, type of projector and sound system installed. Cineworld doesn’t appear to provide any such information.

Other than flagship cinemas such as Cineworld ‘Empire’ Leicester Square, Odeon Leicester Square, BFI IMAX the only cinema chain that I have seen provide the actual size of some of their screens is Odeon and this is mainly for their iSense screens. The size of IMAX screens in the UK can usually be found mentioned somewhere on the internet even if it’s not provided by the actual cinema chain, in question, themselves.

Do they think that regular moviegoers are not interested in this information or is it rather they don’t wish to put them off by advertising as having so many small screens?

I’ve spent many hours/days collating as much information as possible on cinemas I visit or plan to visit at some point with regards to the number of seats in an auditorium, the projection and sound system in use so that I have all of this information at my fingertips (on my smartphone) should I wish to watch a movie I would know which performances were being shown on the largest screens.

MovieGeek2013
MovieGeek2013 on June 3, 2018 at 11:39 am

These days both the Cineworld ‘Empire’ Leciester Square and VUE West End show the same films. They both are currently showing Avengers IW, Solo and Deadpool 2. Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the Empire mainly showed the big releases from Universal, Paramount and MGM who owned the cinema jointly under their UCI joint venture. Odeon mainly took the Disney, Fox and some Warner releases and sometimes Columbia Pictures (Sony) films and Warner took their own films, plus other movies not on at the other 3. Only ever had a chance to see one film at the Warner and that was Conspiracy Theory in Screen 5. The THX certified screen looked and sounded amazing and had a decent size screen for what is really a multiplex. The seating is now much smaller due to the new seating put in recently takes up a lot more space per seat.

LARGE_screen_format
LARGE_screen_format on June 3, 2018 at 8:37 am

I’ve yet to watch a movie at Vue, West End. Each time I’ve ended up in Leicester Square without planning to watch a movie in advance and looked at what is showing there hasn’t been anything that either I haven’t already seen or didn’t fancy paying an astronomical price to watch. Not sure who makes the decisions on what movies can be shown by which cinema in Leicester Square but there certainly seems to be some type of agreement in place preventing any cinema from showing any movie. For example, a tentpole movie such as Avengers: Infinity War would most definitely not be shown in all of the cinemas at the same time. Warner Village cinemas, now Vue never seemed to be showing the big blockbusters like The Empire and Odeon, Leicester Square or Odeon, Studios opposite did when I’ve walked around the square to see what’s on.

Back in the 90’s whilst it was a Warner Village cinema, I believe screens 5 and 7 were THX certified. Now that Vue have taken over they are both listed as having Sony Finity Digital projectors and Dolby Atmos sound systems. They are the two largest auditoriums with 273 seats which doesn’t sound big compared to lots of other cinemas I visit across the country. One strange decision seems to be that leather recliners are only available in the front two rows. I never choose to sit that close to a cinema screen.

Can anyone comment on the size of the screens themselves in relation to any other cinemas please so I can gauge how big or small they are?

Thanks.

CF100
CF100 on February 24, 2018 at 9:42 pm

Oops! Maybe if they offered to pay out £1749 (that’s one thousand seven hundred and forty nine) I might consider seeing it. ;–)

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on February 24, 2018 at 8:39 am

Passed by here today and the large LED display is advertising Fifty Shades Freed for just £4.99 (still too much if you ask me!). Underneath in smaller text it says “At Vue Printworks and Vue Lowry” – oops! Actual price at this cinema is £17.49.

CF100
CF100 on February 3, 2018 at 3:52 pm

In response to Zappomatic’s post on another page:

A few weeks ago I passed by the Vue West End, and noticed one of the new doors was out of operation! Photo has been uploaded.

I have revisited Vue’s planning applications for the updated frontages, and hidden away in 16/06275/FULL is the “EXISTING SIDE CANOPY” drawing, which states:

“EXISTING CANOPY TO BE REFURBISHED.”

Some other information I stumbled across in the same application:

The “ELECTRICAL SCHEDULES” document has some vague details on the proposed LED strips:

–“Pro Strip” – 5W/m, 304 lumens/metre, 60 LEDs per metre, colour temperature 2700K (i.e. warm white.) –“Pro Strip RGBA” – 20W/m, 60 LEDs per metre. This one is interesting in that each SMD chip has red, green, blue and amber LEDs, “to achieve the desired RAL colour,” rather than the more typical RGBW types.

The “PROPOSED LARGE SIGNAGE” document reveals that the (IMO, horrid) Vue font is “Isonom Befop – Regular.”

It also details the proposed materials and fixings, as do the “PROPOSED FRONT CANOPY” and “PROPOSED SINAGE” documents.

Proposed materials include black lacquered steel and laser cut letters.

The canopy underside lights are specified as “1400mm warm white T5” fittings.

CF100
CF100 on December 13, 2017 at 5:55 am

It appears that the step lighting, contrary to my description the linked photos page, is not an LED strip but uses an LED-lit side glow fibre optic rod.

CF100
CF100 on September 26, 2017 at 10:00 am

When I went there last month, there was still masking in Screen 6. Tabs are still there as well, albeit left open. Was going to go to Screen 5 yesterday to check out the Atmos installation but couldn’t fit it in. :–(

PhilipWW
PhilipWW on September 26, 2017 at 7:20 am

After its 1993 refurbishment 8 of the screens were full Scope screens with side masking. Just one (screen 2 I believe) had a 1.85 screen necessitating Scope movies being shown with top down masking; this was due to architectural constraints.

Is this still the situation after the 2017 refurbishment? Is the masking still there. With 80% plus of movies now made in Scope, the current vogue is for cinemas not to have side masking and for 1.85 ‘Flat’ movies to be shown pillarboxed on the Scope screens.