Odeon Leicester Square

26 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7LQ

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Lionel
Lionel on January 3, 2020 at 4:16 pm

I’m a foreigner occasionally coming to London for a short holiday, so I will let locals decide of the place for the gathering, as they must have a better knowledge of the drink/food scene in London. The “Montagu” looks fine and has a convenient location. I’ll post a message on this page to inform when I’ll be around.

CF100
CF100 on January 3, 2020 at 12:27 pm

Lionel: Would love to attend.

I am flexible on date as I live in London. Ken Roe’s suggestion of “The Montagu Pike,” having a relatively spacious interior thanks to its original use as a cinema, sounds like a fine idea too.

terry
terry on January 3, 2020 at 11:47 am

It would be good for contributors to meet in a convivial atmosphere. I live in the North but used to often stay at friends in Hampstead and Belsize Park. The latter has sadly recently passed away whilst the former is in the throes of moving to a larger property (currently undergoing renovation) in Beckenham where I have an invitation to visit sometime after March. If the gathering is proposed for slightly later in the year it would be nice to attend.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 3, 2020 at 10:32 am

Lionel; Your suggestion for a meet-up of fellow Cinema Treasures contributors in central London is a good idea. I would suggest meeting in Wetherspoons Montagu Pyke, Charing Cross Road, former Charing Cross Road Cinematograph/Cannon say an early afternoon on a date to be suitable for all who respond. I will keep any comments relating to this on this page until a result has been achieved, I will then delete them. Ken Roe, Volunteer Theatre Editor, Cinema Treasures.

Lionel
Lionel on January 3, 2020 at 9:58 am

Best wishes to all for 2020. May this new year be outrageously filled with festoon curtains, concealed lighting and adjustable screen masking!

I will propose again a gathering for some us who may be willing to know each other in real life around a drink or lunch in the West End. However I don’t know when I’ll be in London again. This site lacks a discussion board where we could discuss things that aren’t related to a specific theatre.

CF100
CF100 on January 1, 2020 at 6:45 pm

(Belated!) best wishes to all for 2020…

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on December 2, 2019 at 6:12 am

i wonder if the new james bond movie will have its premiere here…

Lionel
Lionel on December 2, 2019 at 5:47 am

As I’m not a regular follower of this OLS page, it is only now that I read about the passing of fellow contributor James Bettley. I greatly enjoyed some of his extremely detailed posts. Let me extend my condolences to those here who knew him personally.

d8rren
d8rren on November 7, 2019 at 10:31 pm

R.I.P James used to love your in dept info from the good old days

joeswin
joeswin on November 1, 2019 at 6:51 am

CF100:

Thank you for your reply, a wealth of knowledge and advice as always!

With regards to 2D/3D I don’t hate 3D but I just find it slightly annoying having to wear the glasses over my own glasses.

As much as I would enjoy the OLS, as a fairly recent graduate living in London I can’t quite stretch my budget to the £35 tickets in the stalls for the weekend i’m looking to go. I probably wrongly tend to compare ticket prices in cinemas to going to the theatre, and could probably get some alright seats to a West End show for that price.

I used to live in Greenwich up until last year and the o2 was our go to cinema, I however never liked the superscreen there. For every film we went to see the auditorium was almost empty, the sound was always too quiet, and I found it just generally not a nice place to sit for 2+ hours.

I’ll have to consult with the person I intend to go with and weigh up the pros and cons of our options using your great advice. Thanks again!

CF100
CF100 on October 31, 2019 at 9:20 pm

joeswin:

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.

joeswin
joeswin on October 31, 2019 at 11:27 am

I’m looking to visit either here or the Cineworld across the square to see Star Wars this December. Would a seat towards the rear of the circle of the OLS be best (row F for example). 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?

LoveCinema
LoveCinema on October 28, 2019 at 10:15 am

Hello CF100

Thank you for responding in comprehensive details on the subject.

I see your point in the shown videos (American Cinematographer). From my opinion the scenes still appear too ‘realistic’ to me.

‘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.’

I wonder why this procedere should be done?

I had never experienced end credits ‘jumping’ up our Cinema-Screens, they appeared always running smoothly. Could be a bit ‘tricky’ applying this procedere for end credits combined with movie – post -scenes or stills, as most of them are likely provided with.

As I have never been an ‘action-movie’ fan all my ‘cinematic background years long’ I can’t share your opinion about ‘Gemini Man’ being ‘boring’ or ‘sterile’ even in the ‘action’ -sequences, as I had not seen the movie in full-length.

And yes, there were people leaving the movie on other shows, too – as they ‘had enough of the hyperrealistic images (!) on screen’. I’m able to share their opinion, even having not seen the said movie: If I want to see ‘realistic’ images I only have to step outside my front-door.

Funnily and interestingly enough when ‘HFR 3D’ presentations were cancelled showing it in ‘2D’, the movie was nicely frequented and nobody left before it’s ending.

(By the way – this reminds me to refer to Admission Prices at the OLS and I’d like to add that if I’d (accidently) attend the ‘Odeon Luxe’ Main Screen finding obvious reason for complaining I certainly would insist on Re-Admission and getting it — no doubt about that :–)!)

Having checked out the list of movies (long feature movies.. for the BIG SCREEN) being presented in ‘HFR’ or ‘HFR 3D’ finding not even half a dozen being produced in the last seven years.

This leads to the conclusion that Directors or/and Audiences seem most likely not prepared to adjust to the said presentation.

I do see profund possibilities and a future for the presentation being applied for thematically based documentary – films (nature, technics, science, medicine) as this basically be the optimal way for presenting these.

For the said reasons ‘HFR’ will never be estimated as `New Face of Cinema': The audience obviously is missing something very important within the presention – it’s simply called ‘Cinematic Experience’.

Best regards

CF100
CF100 on October 27, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Hello LoveCinema—

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…

Best regards.

Ian
Ian on October 25, 2019 at 8:06 am

Sad news indeed. His knowledge and inexperience were vast.

CF100
CF100 on October 24, 2019 at 7:45 pm

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.

R.I.P. James.

terry
terry on October 24, 2019 at 7:34 pm

It is with great sadness that I report the passing of one of this site’s most committed and prolific contributors, James Bettley (‘Fanatical About Odeon’):–

https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/announcements/deaths/deaths/17984020.JAMES_BETTLEY/

I believe that his last post here was mainly to express his delight about Odeon’s change of heart at OLS regarding house tabs (curtains) and the fact that they had – somewhat belatedly – been fitted after many months absence. He , like many of us, considered these features to be synonymous with Cinema.

I know that at the time of his last contribution he was due to pay a visit to his beloved Odeon Theatre, Leicester Square. I do hope that this materialised and that he was indeed fortunate to see the new house curtains in use during a public performance. He would, I know, be most upset to learn that their use was very short lived and that AMC quickly reverted to just having the bare screen on show, albeit with the nonsensical ‘Odeon Luxe Leicester Square’ image – as if people need to be reminded of where they are.

R.I.P., James.

CF100
CF100 on October 24, 2019 at 7:01 pm

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.

moviebuff82
moviebuff82 on October 24, 2019 at 2:16 pm

Is The Rise of Skywalker being shown in dolby at this venue?

LoveCinema
LoveCinema on October 24, 2019 at 11:43 am

CF 100 / from October 23

Thank you very much for responding and taking the trouble to attach the link from ‘American Cinematographer’ which was most interesting.

“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”.

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.

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.

CF 100 – there was nothing wrong with our projection-equipment.

I’d certainly recommend HFR and HFR 3D being creativly apllied for ‘Documentarys’ of any kind, but certainly not for most of the known film-genres.

Being applied to any film-genre it not only ‘lacks’ but ‘absorbs’ this proven `cinematic look' destroying ‘art’ of cinematography, because of the audience’s unability of connecting with and experiencing it.

Further more from my opinion it also destroys any Directors effort in filming: So should cinema-goers forget about the ‘Masters` of past and present times like Chaplin, DeMille, Whyler, Wilder, Welles, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Lean, Scorcese, De Palma, Frears, Scott….or recently 'Tarantino’ (Once upon a time in Hollywood) and most recently Todd Philips (‘Joker’) delievering artistically expressive ‘work’ on screen. Should they forget about qualified and talented actresses and actors who’s appearances in movies of past and present times will forever be in their minds and hearts? Pointing out most recently the work of Jaquin Phoenix, delievering an outstandingly performed character-study of the ‘Joker’.

The Core of cinematic experience was and always will be the interaction of ‘motion’ and ‘emotion’ and that includes the movie’s presentation resulting in audience acceptance ….at the ticket-booth.

Best regards from Germany (and solidarity in these troubling times)

CF100
CF100 on October 23, 2019 at 6:08 pm

LoveCinema:

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.

LoveCinema
LoveCinema on October 21, 2019 at 8:59 am

To CF 100
Re: HFR 3D

It most certainly feels very odd watching a movie presented in HFR or HFR 3D, as the presentation lacks the ‘cinematic looks’ experienced for many many decades by generations of movie-goers, completely.

As for me – moved by curiousity – and watching only 20 minutes into “Gemini Man”(presented ‘only'in 60 fps) in our Cinema I had the impression sitting infront of a shop-window which is installed infront of the screen or – sitting in a theater attending a stage-play. Further more I wasn’t able to 'connect’ with the movie or it’s plot – very much because of the “shop-window – experience”, covering every single moving image in sort of ‘documentary-like’ pictures.

Some people left the movie-show before I did.

Hopefully this cine-technical ‘garbage’ will not prevail in future cinema-industry. This is not progress – it’s retrogressive step!

From Germany

CF100
CF100 on October 16, 2019 at 1:40 pm

moviebuff82:

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…

CF100
CF100 on October 16, 2019 at 1:11 pm

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.

CF100
CF100 on October 12, 2019 at 12:05 pm

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:

  • Two-way mirrors (tinted in three different colours.)
  • Screens behind some mirrors.
  • Linear LED lighting on others (DMX-controlled.)

Additionally:

  • “Phase 2 works included specialist bronze mirror glazing, integrating the illuminated signage above the doors.”

Include on the above-linked page are some high quality photos of the wall.