Empire Cinema

5-6 Leicester Square,
London, WC2H 7NA

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davepring on October 21, 2014 at 11:10 am

The IMPACT screen has Dolby Atmos sound and is impressive.I dont understand OdeonNotFanaticals rants.The IMAX screen offers a totally immersive experience.Although the original 1960s auditorium has gone Empire have done a superb job on this conversion.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on October 17, 2014 at 1:11 am

I was there this week and saw ANNABELLE on their Impact screen. I was very impressed.

OdeonNotFanatical on October 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm

empire has lousy impacting liemax sound system. Pay good money to go to this waste of a space cinema again. NEVER!

CF100 on October 7, 2014 at 7:15 pm

This company appears to have been the acoustic consultants for the Screen 1 conversion. To quote from the linked page: “Cole Jarman are proud to have worked on this monumental scheme to transform the historic but ageing Screen 1 into two new auditoria… We provided design advice… [including] the technically challenging wall which separates the two new screens.”

On that page are also some more photos, or rather 3D renderings. The IMPACT screen is shown as having an architectural lighting scheme with strips of red lights on the sidewalls… which I did not see nor is shown in any photos so far…

OdeonNotFanatical on October 5, 2014 at 2:22 am

Don’t you mean LIEMAX? If its digital it = LIEMAX waste of time and money.

Oh this sound leakage I’m reading here on the posts. I knew right off that would happen. Playing it far too loud and they need to lower the amp level gains down on all channels so it won’t be distracting. But soon they do that. The LIEMAX and impact will sound rubbish but no rubbish, than what reading.

Glad I never went back as I would never would have gone back. I will not sit in ether of these screens for all the tea in China. empire can keep it!

CF100 on October 4, 2014 at 9:30 pm

“Behind the Scenes” article on the Empire IMAX installation, sadly lacking in detail but a nice hi-res fisheye shot from the rear of the auditorium:

Behind the Scenes at Empire’s Leicester Square IMAX

OdeonNotFanatical on October 3, 2014 at 3:34 am

Tell you the moment they ditched the JBL THX 1989 set-up around late ‘99 changed the curtains the style of the presentation was dropping the magic was slowing fading away.

CF100 on October 2, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Correction to previous post: The original THX guidlines were, AFAIK, for sound from adjacent auditoriums to be audible a maximum of 1% of the time.

(See p7 of http://www.diyaudio.rs/JBL/JBL%20-%20Cinema%20Sound%20System%20Manual%20(Original,%201990).pdf )

Of course this requirement is easier to meet with optical sound. Despite this, Dave Pring’s figure of 5 or 6 times for up to 30 seconds gives a maximum value of 1.6% of the time… which suggests good soundproofing.

OdeonNotFanatical on October 2, 2014 at 5:05 am

Liemax at Empire what a degrading end to this cinema that doesn’t deserve this liemax fad laser digital nonsense.

OdeonNotFanatical on October 1, 2014 at 1:39 am

Liemax lite is like a bad after taste drink that will leave you feeling hollow after watching a liemax film at the Empire.

CF100 on October 1, 2014 at 1:04 am

Wurlitzer in the Empire Leicester Square in 1933!


OdeonNotFanatical on September 30, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Liemax should have taken it lite-max digital and built it elsewhere around Leicester Square not ruin wreck and destroy the Empire into this abomination.

Lol so some have had bad experience with it lately with sound leakage. I knew that was going to happen. I saved myself the time and hassle of money and a 2 hour journey on the couch to London.

Local empire tower park spent millions on it refit and the sound leakage is a BAD! Not only is it heard it can felt in the wooden floor that lays across the original concrete floor and the auditoriums was designed for a peak 90db when I worked at the site as projectionists 25 years ago.

The SPL db has to be at least 100dbC plus. If I had taken my SPL db metre there last time was 2012 for that dreadful TITANIC(1997) cardboard 3d and the colour was dire! It looked nothing like what I saw 14 times and even projected myself at Warner village 12 screen, Cribbs Causeway 1998.

I was hearing leakage of that Marvel film? What was i? The Avengers (2012)I must have heard and felt that in the floor at least over 10 times. I should have gotten my money refunded. Well I won’t ever go back there again or any Empire cinemas in the UK.

Its no secret recipe for big sound in a cinema. Its failed when its heard more than 10 times leaking though its million pound cost.

Empire used to look and sound great in 1989. I never come across a cinema like it and I guess I’d never ever will again. It all gone now. It dust. That cinema is as good as demolished! CLOSED.

If anyone who claims to be a loyal Empire 1 fan would BOYCOTT this cinema now. I don’t care if they show star wars 7, at the empire or all 7 star wars again, most of them won’t be original theatrical, just tamped with sound mix and original picture I might expect. They can keep it. I have better things to do with £50.00 today.

davepring on September 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm

CF100 the sound bleed was a fairly noticeable rumble heard five or six times for up to 30 seconds..However the film in question was Lucy which has several explosive scenes.

CF100 on September 22, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Dave Pring, for what proportion of time was it noticeable during ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and was it a distant rumbling sound or was faint dialogue audible?

THX requirements were for STC 65 (at the top end of the American ‘Sound Transmission Class’ rating system) soundproofing and sounds from adjacent auditoria should only be audible something like 10-15% of the time maximum, recognising that complete elimination is impractical. I imagine those requirements were created before digital, which of course has much higher maximum sound levels than optical sound.

I hope the new screens continue to do well but it seems that Empire aren’t getting IMAX bookings. No ‘Transformers 4’ and they are not advertising ‘The Equalizer’.

CF100 on September 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

High level sign is now up on the left side of the Leicester Square frontage, the design is shown in the following application, which was refused by Westminster Council. Presumably it went to appeal.


davepring on September 21, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Incidentally Oz was screened in the academy ratio and there was no light bleed which gave the impression that the huge screen was masked.

davepring on September 21, 2014 at 11:56 am

Just been back to the IMAX screen at the Empire..there is definite sound bleed from the IMPACT screen and very noticeable during Wizard of OZ (which looked fantastic) Both screens are doing good business in the evenings which bodes well for the future of the Empire but the sound bleed needs fixing.

CF100 on September 12, 2014 at 8:57 pm

There are two photos of the IMPACT screen on the Empire Leicester Square Facebook page.

michaelbrent on September 12, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Any pictures of the Impact screen?

CF100 on September 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm

The row A is about 0.45 screen width away, row M about 1.0. (Row AA and N are not used for IMAX presentations.) This gives minimum horizontal /vertical viewing angles of ~53/32deg, and maximum viewing angles of ~96/66 deg.

If you read http://www.lfexaminer.com/20090522a.htm, you’ll find then, that this, give or take, is exactly the recipe for a “classic” IMAX venue and a central seat is absolutely immersive and perfectly positioned. IMAX releases are transitioning to 1.9:1, so the ratio would be the same even in 1.4:1 venues.

The fact that this has been achieved in a conversion of a conversion, the building dating from 1928, and the shoehorning in of such a large screen, is remarkable. There is an operating Casino below and it is not as if they can dig a large hole in the ground; the project was delayed by months due to structural difficulties.

Empire Cinemas should be applauded for doing their very best in preserving what they could of Screen 1 and commissioning what must have been an expensive and difficult project.

I sincerely hope that IMAX will do something to differentate such “premiere” venues, perhaps once the “laser” projection system is installed, as there are a number of other IMAX venues now in London suburbs with smaller screens (typically 50ft. wide.) (The BFI, on the other hand, hardly needs it as it is well established.)

70mmbobbyj on September 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Digital is so good that a cinema owned by Quentin Tarintino in LA had had a digital projector installed by the person running it. When Q T took over full control he visited the projection booth and saw the digital projector he said “ I want that out of here, this is a 35mm house”. Also this so called laser projection it will still mean the the Empire is “lie Max” as the screen is wider than it is tall{1.9:1 not 1.4:1}

AlAlvarez on September 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

The LIEMAX element, digital or not, is most evident in New York City where one screen is eight stories high and the one down the street is twenty feet high. Both charge the same price and are branded as IMAX.

CF100 on September 12, 2014 at 4:32 pm

A more useful note: I can confirm that there is some sound leakage from the IMPACT auditorium in the IMAX auditorium. However, it was only audible when there was no audio playing (after the main feature had ended) and it was a distant rumble, which must have been at peak levels. I have heard similar in VUE West End Screen 7, so I would guess “THX” requirements for inter-auditorium sound leakage would be met.

CF100 on September 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

The critical feature of IMAX is not the aspect ratio, it’s the horizontal and vertical viewing angles. (Size as well, to a point—sitting up close to a 15" laptop screen isn’t the same.) The Empire’s screen roughly falls well within those requirements, the auditorium is about 1 screen width deep, and any central seat is certainly very immersive.

Also, the screen height is within the range of IMAX GT venues (albeit at the bottom end), and the width (87.5ft) is far greater than many, the smallest is 71ft wide.

As for the projection, the entire industry has transitioned to digital and IMAX isn’t immune to that transition; furthermore the use of film for shooting purposes is rapidly diminishing. IIRC they had a replacement digital projection system in development, but it didn’t work out and they ended up using DLP projectors. The other risk, of course, is that eventually the rest of the industry would have digital projectors capable superior quality to 15/70.

The DLP projectors do surprisingly well in the Empire, and are perfectly aligned, but of course we wait laser projection. The lack of masking isn’t an enormous problem as there’s not much light leakage, in 3D it’s almost black. (I did, however, find it to be a serious problem in the Empire’s IMPACT auditorium.)

The Empire (and Chinese) have been reconstructed for the laser system, DLP is only a stopgap. Even so, the picture and sound as it stands, as Dave Pring says, are both superb and the conversion is excellent.

So the real question, which awaits a definitive answer, is does the IMAX laser projection system match 15/70? If it does, then there’s nothing “Lie"MAX about the Empire. As for the resolution—the “real world” resolution of 15/70 as projected is not the same as the potential resolution.

If the IMAX laser projection is, as IMAX claim, superior to competing products, then surely Empire have actually done the right thing to ensure that their flagship auditorium is equipped with the very best?

There wouldn’t be so many “tentpole” IMAX releases now if they had not expanded via “scaled down” venues; the problem, I think, is taking it too far. Perhaps the laser projection system will give IMAX the chance to do some differentiation among between different venues, presumably they will want to shout from the rooftops about it.

rasLXR on September 12, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Business I suppose, great as IMAX films are I doubt the Empire or the chinese would have been converted to screen them. There were few IMAX screens around that were not associated with theme parks or museums a few years back. Now they are everywhere perhaps also diluting the brand.