Cineworld Cinema - Leicester Square

5 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

Unfavorite 38 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 497 comments

CF100
CF100 on November 15, 2017 at 9:06 am

Update: Referenced to my memory/photos/videos, both the IMAX and Empire 1 light colours can be matched; in the latter case, both “warm glow” and “super-luminous neon” hues.

By putting the LED strip in a deep aluminium extrusion fitted with a diffuser, it is possible to get something of a neon-style effect.

It would, therefore, seem plausible that the IMAX auditorium concealed lighting, by design, is not intended to produce the “strips of glowing neon” effect so much as a more subtle overall colour wash, with the colour choices themselves slightly “subdued” also.

CF100
CF100 on November 13, 2017 at 11:51 am

Integrated System Technologies – Case Study on the IMAX Conversion LED Lighting

Specifications (quoting from the above linked page where applicable) – IMAX auditorium:

–“151 x Serenity Lighting Prolix for the ceiling and wall ribs powered by 28 x iDrive Force 24…” (constant current drivers.)

–“3 x iDrive Thor 36 have been installed to power the RGB constant voltage LED lighting modules…” (behind the seats.)

-The iDrive Thor 36 drivers are connected to controllers/touch panels for programming, “which in this case is synchronised with […] the Serenity Prolix strips in the ceiling and wall ribs, creating a stunning uniform effect.”

IMAX/IMPACT auditoria:

–“52 x Serenity Lighting Illuceo 30W fully dimmable house lights […] also powered from the 28 x iDrive Force 24 LED drivers.”

-The iDrive Force 24 drivers are claimed to provide “the smoothest dimming in the market place down to less than 0.01%.”

The Prolix strips use selected OSRAM OSLON LEDs. Equivalently specified products are available at retail prices which are, needless to say, many times that of the typical low-end Chinese RGB flexible strips available via eBay etc.!

CF100
CF100 on November 9, 2017 at 8:52 pm

In case anyone is interested in “replicating” the Empire LSQ’s colour-changing concealed lighting, I have recently acquired two 5 metre lengths of LED strip tape, one a low cost unbranded 12V RGB type, the other a commercial grade 24V RGBW (4-in-1 SMD) type with Epistar LEDs, and the following are my initial observations.

Both use “5050” size SMDs (surface mount devices.)

The low cost device is pretty nifty for the price (around £10 inc. controller, remote and power supply!) but seems insufficient for lighting dark matte textured surfaces—and who knows how it will perform after 1000s of hours…

(Incidentally, the controller which came with the low cost strip does have a “FADE” function which cycles between colours, but it changes colour every 10 seconds or something at the slowest setting…)

The high cost device, on the other hand, has ample light output and seems to me to be quite capable of matching the system in the Empire’s IMAX auditorium.

(Of course, it has better colour rendering and consistency than the low cost one, too.)

Further testing required to see if it can “match” the cold cathode system in Empire 1, once the lights are properly installed and DMX controller added, albeit I only have photographs to go by!

Addendum: Looking at theatreofvarieties' pictures of the IMAX auditorium and other material, the behind seating lights appear to be mounted within a bendable extrusion attached to each step’s riser. As red, green, and blue light sources clearly are emitted by a separate “unit”, of the commerically available products, one possibility is that these are RGB strips with separate 3528 SMDs for each primary, and spliced (or supplied) in units of 3 SMDs (i.e. red, green and blue), spaced to yield one section per seat.

FAShaffi
FAShaffi on November 5, 2017 at 10:32 pm

perfect, I’m excited to check it out:)

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on November 4, 2017 at 11:55 am

Yes, it’s perfect for that and the Atmos audio set up is excellent.

FAShaffi
FAShaffi on November 3, 2017 at 11:28 pm

would the Impact/SuperScreen be a good place to see a 1.85 movie like “Justice League”? I would see it on the IMAX screen but I’m really trying to avoid the 3D

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on November 3, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Pleased to report the masking in Screen 5 is working!

CF100
CF100 on October 28, 2017 at 9:30 am

cultman1: Yes.

-Photos of the auditorium and foyer can be seen in the June 1963 edition of International Projectionist. (Thanks to Joe Vogel for the original link to this, although that one no longer works.) It looks like more padding was later added to the seating?

-The foyer/vestibule can be seen in newsreel footage of the “Wonderful Life” premiere from 1964.

-Photos in flickr user dusashenka’s album (at the bottom of the page) – these are from the mid-80s but it doesn’t seem too much has changed since the 60s—including the bar, chandelier, and mink/gold auditorium colour scheme—the “bump” tiles seem to be gold.

The internal access to Screen 2 seems to have been added; otherwise, I wasn’t alive in the 1960s, so someone else may be able to enumerate any changes!

cultman1
cultman1 on October 27, 2017 at 6:23 am

has anyone any photos showing the Empire in the mid sixties especially the foyer and the Empire screen as it was then?

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on October 25, 2017 at 5:09 pm

Customers in the cinema are unsurprisingly confused about the mishmash of signage and branding, particularly with the Impact screen being referred to by Cineworld as Superscreen in marketing, e-tickets and on some temporary signage, and Screen 1 on printed tickets (just yesterday I had to redirect a pair of people who somehow became lost in the corridor to the Superscreen even though it’s the only thing it leads to!).

CF100
CF100 on October 25, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Robert: I noticed, in my last visit, a printed stand-alone sign outside the IMAX auditorium saying something like “IMAX (Screen 3).”

Removal of the Empire signage seems to be pending the full foyer/lobby areas refurbishment, quite why Cineworld couldn’t just cover them up with stick-on signage or similar is beyond me…

I can only imagine patrons have to use Google Maps or similar to actually find the “Cineworld” in LSQ; there were a number of American tourists in the auditorium during my last visit.

Shame about the non-functioning masking. :–(

CF100
CF100 on October 25, 2017 at 4:18 pm

theatreofvarieties: Many, many thanks, once again!

NO, THE STADIA ONLY DATES FROM 1962 AND THATS WHERE THEY ARE FROM.

Ah… combined with your post saying that the 1927 circle went higher, the jigsaw puzzle of the 1962 conversion finally makes sense.

For instance, I could never work out why the old “tea room” seemed to be wider than the 1962 main foyer area, with the sloped ceiling implying that the stadia structure is encroaching on the right side of the 1962 foyer.

(Put that way, it seems obvious now; but the layout of the rear of the 1928 auditorium is similar.)

Overlaying redrawn section plans (which I’d previously assumed were simply in no way to scale) suggests that the original projection ports were higher, and the 1962 stadia lower and slightly less steeply raked.

The position of the original circle seems to be approximately at the top of the lighter coloured tiles at the bottom of the sidewalls of the Empire 1’s circle section?

IIRC, from the book “Empire Leicester Square – The First 100 Years” (David High) the original circle was formed by a continuous pour of concrete. The 1962 reconstruction must have been extreme indeed; I can’t work out where the primary girder for the circle could be.

NO, IT HAS BAFFLETTES AROUND THE STAGE SPEAKERS

Fantastic. :–)

It was the 1960 comfort deluxe model, there were 100 taken out and saved, the rest were scrapped.

What happened to the 100 that were saved, and were any other elements of Empire 1 removed and saved?

Also, I wonder about the specifications of the IMAX concealed colour-changing LED lighting, and the cold cathode concealed lights that were in Empire 1?

With the LED lights, I assume that flexible strip types are used, other than the ones around the screen?

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on October 24, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Masking also not operational in screens 4 and 9. No idea about 7 and 8, but the bottom masking in 6 worked last time I saw a film in there about a month ago.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on October 24, 2017 at 7:16 am

Just saw a movie in Empire 5, as it is still called, and I was surprised that they didn’t use their masking.

CF100
CF100 on October 24, 2017 at 5:46 am

Visited the Empire Leicester Square to attend a screening of “Blade Runner 2049” in the IMAX auditorium.

Absolutely stunning film; one could say it’s exactly the film the auditorium was built for. Outstanding picture and excellent (12 channel) sound as well.

Auditorium spotless with very good air conditioning, lighting all well timed to match programme, “non-sync” music from the movie soundtrack.

Pre-show announcement by a member of staff began with “Welcome to the Empire… er… Cineworld Leicester Square…”

“Blade Runner” version of IMAX “Countdown” trailer played.

Foyer continues to deteriorate.

Photos uploaded: “Strictly No Cameras” notice at the entrance to the IMAX auditorium, HVAC extraction duct grille on the 1962 stadia riser.

CF100
CF100 on October 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Turns out that the American Seating Company has sold its architectural fixed seating business to the Irwin Seating Company, also of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

They still offer the following product from the American Seating Company range suitable for auditorium use:

Irwin Seating Company – American Seating Products – Stellar.

This seems to be the closest available new seating to the seats that were installed in Empire 1.

They also have a page showing an example refurbishment of old American Seating Company product.

Aspects of these seats are rather familiar.

theatreofvarieties
theatreofvarieties on October 10, 2017 at 7:40 am

The small grilles I think are visible in your photos of the strip-out—do these date back to the 1927 auditorium? NO, THE STADIA ONLY DATES FROM 1962 AND THATS WHERE THEY ARE FROM.

I hope you won’t mind if I ask a few more questions…

-In the IMAX auditorium, I assume the “boxing out” beneath the ceiling at the screen end and the “kinks” at the ends of the adjacent curved ceiling section cover up parts of the roof structure? YES.

-The IMAX auditorium I estimate to be 120x90ft. max, with the screen moved forward by 40ft. or so from its position in Empire 1? CANT REMEMBER

-I assume there is no baffle wall in the IMPACT auditorium? NO, IT HAS BAFFLETTES AROUND THE STAGE SPEAKERS

-In UNICK Architects' rendering of the IMPACT auditorium, it shows red LED strips on the sidewalls. Were these originally planned but later dropped? CORRECT.

-It seems that the American Seating Company no longer sell auditorium seating. Do you know the model of the seats used in Empire 1? It was the 1960 comfort deluxe model, there were 100 taken out and saved, the rest were scrapped.

CF100
CF100 on October 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

As part of my ongoing research into all aspects of cinemas, I stumbled on the following, which I found amusing:

“In the Towngate Theatre (Poole)… (there is a very) obvious echo (from the rear wall)… Acoustic tiles were installed (as an attempted remedial treatment) in 1978, but the NEXT DAY (my emphasis) (they were painted) the same colour as the adjacent walls… blocking the pores which made them acoustically absorbent.”

(From the book Auditorium Acoustics and Architectural Design.)

At least it took more than 25 years for the same blunder to occur in Empire 1!

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on September 27, 2017 at 11:34 am

CF100: Regarding non-Central Seats, on this occasion I was with a friend with a dodgy knee who needed the aisle to stretch into. The reclining seats don’t have anywhere to recline into (except for the knees of the person behind!) so that could have been pretty unpleasant. I do sometimes prefer an aisle seat myself but don’t book them in the small screens here due to the sound issues.

CF100
CF100 on September 26, 2017 at 7:33 pm

PhilipWW: Forgot to say—I did ask about the 4DX auditorium screen size, but I didn’t get a clear answer.

In terms of width, tricky to do much, e.g. there is a fire exit on the right side etc., unless the screen is moved forward.

4DX has nothing to do with the picture whatsoever, control data is added for the seat movements and FX (lights, smoke, scents, etc.)

According to the British Board of Film Classification:

“The 4DX DCP is identical to the regular DCP that we will have classified in the usual way. So, unlike a 3D or IMAX version of a 2D film, 4DX does not involve a different version of the film. In a 4DX exhibition, the classified DCP plays in parallel with a file containing instructions [for the 4DX seats/equipment.]”

CF100
CF100 on September 26, 2017 at 7:12 pm

theatreofvarieties: Thank you very much, your comments are clearing up a lot of questions that have been floating around in my head!

Suffice it to say that spending £4 million on it wasn’t done whimsically and without very good reason.

Of course—I was just curious. :–)

Sintered tiles http://www.rpgeurope.com/products/product/reapor.html

RPG… I shudder to think of the cost… Alas, I can’t find anyone selling them online.

two decorative brass ones under the projection overhang in the back wall (only decorative part of the 60’s auditorium to survive albeit now sprayed black) in addition to about 300 small grilles under the seating at every level.

I noticed that feature remained—that solves what was another mystery for me. As a teenager, I had thought they were “hatches” that could be opened to sell concessions!

The small grilles I think are visible in your photos of the strip-out—do these date back to the 1927 auditorium?

I hope you won’t mind if I ask a few more questions…

-In the IMAX auditorium, I assume the “boxing out” beneath the ceiling at the screen end and the “kinks” at the ends of the adjacent curved ceiling section cover up parts of the roof structure?

-The IMAX auditorium I estimate to be 120x90ft. max, with the screen moved forward by 40ft. or so from its position in Empire 1?

-I assume there is no baffle wall in the IMPACT auditorium?

-In UNICK Architects' rendering of the IMPACT auditorium, it shows red LED strips on the sidewalls. Were these originally planned but later dropped?

-It seems that the American Seating Company no longer sell auditorium seating. Do you know the model of the seats used in Empire 1?

CF100
CF100 on September 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Zappomatic: Interesting point, might be because the high frequency dispersion of the screen speakers doesn’t work with a relatively wide auditorium with seating that close to the screen?

Having a quick look at speakers for small auditoria, the specification sheet for the JBL 3678 gives 90deg as the nominal horizontal coverage for the high frequency horn section. So based on that, the side seats in Screen 7 would indeed be outside this for the centre speaker.

Albeit the screen perforations will cause some high frequency spreading, which might help.

OTOH, why would you sit off centre, if you had a choice…? Where possible, I always pre-book centre seats.

I haven’t been to the IMPACT/SuperScreen for a while, but IIRC the picture didn’t have perfectly straight edges, some “barrel” (like a goldfish bowl) distortion.

Whereas the IMAX seems to be perfect in this respect.

Zappomatic
Zappomatic on September 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

The trouble with screen 7 (and some of the other wide but shallow auditoriums) is that with the way the audio is set up and balanced, if you’re not sitting in the middle you end up so close to one of the left or right front channels that it almost drowns out the centre dialogue channel.

Screen 6 still does have bottom masking. It’s a slightly claustrophobic auditorium.

I can’t say I’ve found the Superscreen to particularly suffer from its lack of masking as there’s a good level of contrast and sharpness from the current projectors. Conversely the masking isn’t working in some of the smaller screens and they definitely do suffer for it.

CF100
CF100 on September 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm

PhilipWW: Empire Cinemas gave the screen sizes as:

IMAX: 26.5mx15.6m = approx. 1.7:1.

IMPACT/SuperScreen: 20.5mx11m = approx. 1.86:1.

I don’t think the IMAX projection quite reaches the top of the screen, but IIRC almost all of the screen was filled for the segments of Dunkirk shot using IMAX 15/70 cameras. The IMAX laser projectors can do 1.4:1.

BTW, Screen 1 is actually the IMPACT/SuperScreen, Screen 3 is the IMAX.

When I spoke to someone from Cineworld (who has worked at the Empire since the UCI days) last month, they told me that the 4DX conversion and foyer refurbishments were the first priority. I walked past the Empire yesterday, I couldn’t see any sign of foyer refurbishment. The 4DX is definitely underway as a month ago progress was at least up to the point of completing the strip-out.

Screen 7 is definitely impressive for the size of the auditorium, I think it’s as big as those much larger auditoria in some other nearby venues, almost the same width as VUE West End Screen 6, if I’m not mistaken.

The IMPACT/SuperScreen definitely needs masking and I can’t understand why it wasn’t installed in the first place.

An upgrade to laser projection would also be good.