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post #1 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 11:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Sparked by some of the discussion about how to handle IMAX in a CIH world, I've been pondering what an idealized, cost-is-no-object screen would look like. I am coming at this very much from a CIH angle, and I firmly believe that CIH is the correct approach easily 90% of the time. But there are outliers - IMAX, especially in its modern-day, variable AR incarnation, is one. Another is Ultra Panavision titles, which, being wider than 'Scope, wind up being letterboxed on Scope screens. There are only a handful of Ultra Panavision releases, but, on the other hand, there are only a handful of true IMAX titles best delivered at 1.89.

A very small thing to address as well is the fact that Super Panavision titles are not as wide as 'Scope, despite having much higher resolution in the original images - arguably Super Panavision should be displayed with a larger image area than anamorphic 35mm.

Here's what I came up with - building around a CIH paradigm, with a viewing distance of 2.0x screen height, almost all content can be viewed at CIH by adjusting the side masking. 1.78, 1.85, 2.00, 2.39, 2.55, 2.76 - all accommodated comfortably in the CIH area.

Then, on the day you pop in Lawrence of Arabia, you keep the same width as Scope but adjust the height to get you to the 2.20 AR of Super Panavision. And likewise, when you decide to watch some Christopher Nolan you keep that same width but keep opening the top & bottom masking all the way, resulting in an AR of 1.89 and a viewing distance for full frame imagery of around 1.6x.

Because the number of titles that *need* this additional screen area is so small, I think this exercise does show how valuable a CIH approach is - there's a lot of expense involved in accommodating 30 or 40 movies that need to be wider or taller than a ~2.39 screen CIH cinema can handle. But it's also an interesting thought experiment on how to build a screen that follows CIH guidelines while also accommodating some of cinema's most remarkable films, should you be lucky enough to be building a cost-no-object home theatre.

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post #2 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 02:04 PM
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This sounds essentially like CIH+IMAX. Buy a 16:9 screen but use masking to semi-permanently mask it down to 2.35:1. Adjust or remove the masking for the rare occasion when a movie merits a taller image, such as IMAX variable ratio films.

It seems like you want to limit the image height to 1.89:1 to emulate digital IMAX theaters, even though the home video versions are opened up to 16:9. If I'm reading you right, you also want the CIH portion to be 2.76:1?
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post #3 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 02:35 PM
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The question of what to do with 65mm films like Patton or 2001 is complicated. I can understand the argument that they should be the same width but slightly taller than scope. However, historically they were typically projected onto 2.35:1 screens, either zoomed down a little to fit the same height with pillarboxing, or often simply cropped to 2.35:1. I guess this comes down to whether you're looking to prioritize the historical precedent or the presumed intent.

Most people around here know that I'm a big advocate for 2.35:1 CIH and have gotten into more than a few arguments over the topic. However, I'm not so dogmatic about it that I think there's only one way to handle outlier movies like IMAX, or 65mm, or Ultra Panavision. Personally, I project everything onto a 2.35:1 screen, cropping IMAX VAR movies (which are composed to be safe for cropping). I live with a little letterboxing on the rare few Ultra Panavision titles in my collection. Everything else (2.0:1, 2.20:1) is zoomed to fit the height with pillarboxing. I have no problem with the concept of CIH+IMAX. It's just not what I choose to do.

What I don't like are the people who come into this forum to declare that they think CIH is stupid and 16:9 is the one and only proper screen size for home theater. "Becuz Avatar and Game of Thrones, bruh!" I find those people insufferable.
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post #4 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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This sounds essentially like CIH+IMAX. Buy a 16:9 screen but use masking to semi-permanently mask it down to 2.35:1. Adjust or remove the masking for the rare occasion when a movie merits a taller image, such as IMAX variable ratio films.

It seems like you want to limit the image height to 1.89:1 to emulate digital IMAX theaters, even though the home video versions are opened up to 16:9. If I'm reading you right, you also want the CIH portion to be 2.76:1?
Yes, effectively CIH+IMAX, but with a screen that can go wider than Scope to accommodate Ultra Panavision. CIH portion will be 2.76:1 (at its widest).

You make a good point about the home video versions of IMAX releases being 16:9 rather than 1.89:1. I'm gonna have to ponder that, and perhaps adjust my scheme a bit.
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post #5 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Most people around here know that I'm a big advocate for 2.35:1 CIH and have gotten into more than a few arguments over the topic. However, I'm not so dogmatic about it that I think there's only one way to handle outlier movies like IMAX, or 65mm, or Ultra Panavision. Personally, I project everything onto a 2.35:1 screen, cropping IMAX VAR movies (which are composed to be safe for cropping). I live with a little letterboxing on the rare few Ultra Panavision titles in my collection. Everything else (2.0:1, 2.20:1) is zoomed to fit the height with pillarboxing. I have no problem with the concept of CIH+IMAX. It's just not what I choose to do.
On this we are in agreement. What sparked my line of thinking was that there is lots of discussion about CIH+IMAX, to accommodate Nolan-style IMAX pictures, but very little discussion about how to handle Ultra Panavision and other wider-than-2.39 formats, even though there are just as many wider-than-Scope movies to be accommodated as there are IMAX-type pictures.
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post #6 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 03:50 PM
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The conversation always comes down to what you chose to view in your theater. If you are 100% motion pictures that were made for commercial venues and never watch any nondescript prestige TV or sports broadcasts etc. then it is a bit easier.

We are bombarded with thousands of what some would call premium content that were never intended for movie theaters and as such are kind of open IMO to how to best present them.

Just yesterday I read here in one of the forums where a member was ecstatic about a new streaming service that was providing both live and recorded plays. Some originating at the Royal Albert Hall. I haven’t watched them but have attended some simulcast to commercial theaters. Who knows what level of immersion someone might feel is correct for something like this, and having seen them I wouldn’t put sizing them like IMAX and having them 83% larger or maybe some other percentage larger an IMAX screen would allow for.

But getting back to actual cinema releases to not make this discussion “insufferable” and knowing there are just 40 titles that might dictate increased screen height. I will once again bring up Academy AR motion pictures where there are likely as many titles as there are scope titles out there. These movies were largely made before there was such a thing as CIH or such a thing as scope AR. They were mostly shown in movie palaces of the 20s,30s,40s some seating thousands of people and with immense Academy AR screens. Sure once scope and CIH was invented any that went into CIH theaters were played as CIH, but they were leftovers from an era before scope.

I have had conversations with Rob Hahn here who is a cinematographer and has one of the nicer HT showcased on AVS. He opted for a taller than scope presentation method more like CIA and one of the reasons he gave for doing that was the great Academy movies without a care in the world about IMAX. I remember reading him saying Wizard of Oz needed more vertical immersion than CIH would give it. Now we have these old titles being 4k re-mastered to a better quality than the day they premiered and movie historians all agree these re-masters only make these great movies even greater. If quality factors into presentation as it does for me then maybe that’s even another factor into this.

Of course Academy is just another personal choice as to presentation and the rebuttal will be framing used in one movie or another showing someone’s torso height in a scope movie and an academy movie. Then I can point out seating distances and screen heights in academy movie palaces that indeed will show IMAX+++ immersion could have been had in the 1930s all over the country.

IMAX now in theaters is 1.89 and at home 1.77 not to be confused with the 1.43 IMAX venues that shouldn’t come into the conversation here. But if you just take your average Scope theater and IMAX 1.89 theater and comparing seating distances to screen size you will find there is overlap. You can get the same immersion level in both places. The difference is and what makes IMAX immersion so awful in a regular theater is upward viewing angle. The OP mentioned 1.6 or what I like 1.5 screen height in a scope theater you are looking mostly straight up at the screen and that is a totally different experience, and one that is not normally talked about.

I’m doing it at home and my At-Any-Cost scenario is ridiculously low, because I employ a stealth screen wall that is 50% gray and just do self-masking out of the projector. It might not be for everyone, but it shows it can be done on a budget. Or you can buy a $100k fully automatic 4way masking system.

@dschulz thanks for bringing the subject up I know it is one everyone likes to talk about.

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post #7 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by dschulz View Post
On this we are in agreement. What sparked my line of thinking was that there is lots of discussion about CIH+IMAX, to accommodate Nolan-style IMAX pictures, but very little discussion about how to handle Ultra Panavision and other wider-than-2.39 formats, even though there are just as many wider-than-Scope movies to be accommodated as there are IMAX-type pictures.
With my DIY stealth screen when The Hateful Eight came out with its 2.76:1 AR or whatever it is I was able to play it as CIH like I would scope height only wider. It did shove the image up pretty close to my R/L mains but I got it in.

Just as watching Dunkirk taller as full IMAX height and scope width watching Hateful Eight with the extra width made it special. I would have enjoyed both with fitting them inside a CIH window but both wouldn’t be the special treat to watch as they are now.

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post #8 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems like you want to limit the image height to 1.89:1 to emulate digital IMAX theaters, even though the home video versions are opened up to 16:9. If I'm reading you right, you also want the CIH portion to be 2.76:1?
OK, I've pondered this and I think you are correct: the maximal image size should be 16:9 for home vid IMAX. I have adjusted the graphic accordingly.

An interesting coincidence: the final screen size (which you would never see, as some masking would always be in place, either on the top and bottom for Ultra Panavision or on the sides for IMAX) is pretty close to 2.00:1. Maybe Vittorio Storaro was right all along!

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post #9 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 04:23 PM - Thread Starter
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But getting back to actual cinema releases to not make this discussion “insufferable” and knowing there are just 40 titles that might dictate increased screen height. I will once again bring up Academy AR motion pictures where there are likely as many titles as there are scope titles out there. These movies were largely made before there was such a thing as CIH or such a thing as scope AR. They were mostly shown in movie palaces of the 20s,30s,40s some seating thousands of people and with immense Academy AR screens. Sure once scope and CIH was invented any that went into CIH theaters were played as CIH, but they were leftovers from an era before scope.

I have had conversations with Rob Hahn here who is a cinematographer and has one of the nicer HT showcased on AVS. He opted for a taller than scope presentation method more like CIA and one of the reasons he gave for doing that was the great Academy movies without a care in the world about IMAX. I remember reading him saying Wizard of Oz needed more vertical immersion than CIH would give it.
With apologies to Rob Hahn, who certainly has forgotten more about filmmaking than I'll never know, but I think if you get your sightlines correct then Academy works perfectly well in a CIH environment. At 2.0x screen height viewing distance, Academy films won't seem small. Of course, if one invested in 4-way masking then there's nothing stopping you from making an Academy film larger than it would be than if you constrained it to the height of the rest of your CIH programming, but I feel that in my thought experiment in the end you would not really want to do that - the screen is sized so that every format feels comfortable as-is.

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post #10 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 04:23 PM
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However, historically they were typically projected onto 2.35:1 screens, either zoomed down a little to fit the same height with pillarboxing, or often simply cropped to 2.35:1.
In my experience as a professional projectionist, I don't believe I have seen a 70MM PRINT ever projected cropped to 2.35.

70MM projection used a totally different lens. No zooming would be possible. 70mm equipped theatres had adjustable masking to handle 2.20:1 and a few even had screens with adjustable screen frames to modify the chord (depth of the screen curve) for 70mm.

Now, if you saw that same film in 35mm, then, with one exception, it was either projected at 2.35:1 or 2.55:1. Any cropping would have been done in the creation of the 35mm print.

The exception was "Around The World In 80 Days" which had special 35mm roadshow prints made with a custom anamorphic squeeze that resulted in a roughly 2.20:1 projected aspect ratio. http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/wingto9.htm .

I agree that academy films look fine on CIH screens. Actually, screen height for the majority of Cinemascope installations was kept pretty consistent in relation to the previous 1.33 screen height. Some theatres has a proscenium arch that was too narrow, so the screen was installed covering the proscenium arch.



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post #11 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 04:28 PM
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OK, I've pondered this and I think you are correct: the maximal image size should be 16:9 for home vid IMAX. I have adjusted the graphic accordingly.

An interesting coincidence: the final screen size (which you would never see, as some masking would always be in place, either on the top and bottom for Ultra Panavision or on the sides for IMAX) is pretty close to 2.00:1. Maybe Vittorio Storaro was right all along!

When asked about stealth screen and wall area I have told people 2.0:1 and as tall as you would want IMAX.

That would also be a good thing to factor in with projector specs and the placement and the amount of zoom and shift needed. There are a lot of projectors that don’t even have enough to cover CIH. That is if you intended to use the zoom method of sizing.

Nice layout.
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post #12 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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When asked about stealth screen and wall area I have told people 2.0:1 and as tall as you would want IMAX.

That would also be a good thing to factor in with projector specs and the placement and the amount of zoom and shift needed. There are a lot of projectors that don’t even have enough to cover CIH. That is if you intended to use the zoom method of sizing.

Nice layout.
Projector specs I haven't thought about at all, mostly because this is a fantasy-land idea and I don't want the cold water of "can you get enough lumens" brought down upon it. Normally I am an advocate for fixed anamorphic lenses and using scaling to vary between 16:9 and widescreen, but for this particular setup you'd want either no anamorphic lens at all, and do everything via zooming, or maybe have a lens on a sled and use it only for widescreen material. Either way, projectors capable of pulling this off correctly are gonna be spendy.
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post #13 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 05:48 PM
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With apologies to Rob Hahn, who certainly has forgotten more about filmmaking than I'll never know, but I think if you get your sightlines correct then Academy works perfectly well in a CIH environment. At 2.0x screen height viewing distance, Academy films won't seem small. Of course, if one invested in 4-way masking then there's nothing stopping you from making an Academy film larger than it would be than if you constrained it to the height of the rest of your CIH programming, but I feel that in my thought experiment in the end you would not really want to do that - the screen is sized so that every format feels comfortable as-is.

I totally agree. As I mentioned above Dunkirk at least the IMAX parts look just fine at 2X SH also and you could say Dunkirk looks good and so does Saving Private Ryan at 2X SH. Academy films also look just fine at 2X SH.

All the above in CIH is a big improvement over CIW without a doubt.

The point I bring up and you also kind of are alluding to with your wanting to maintain a CIH height for ultra wide screen movies. With my example of Hateful Eight it looks very good with small letter box bars and shown the width of scope. But it is that little bit more immersion that we are talking about.

Academy movies in the 1930s shown in a movie palace, the seats of choice were about 1/3 back not in the balcony or the area under the balcony is my belief. Basing this around viewing angles and what I have been told as well as my going to these theaters as a kid in the 60s and experiencing them first hand. Screen ARs changed over the years but old photos and documentation clearly show the original screen sizes. Of course scope wasn’t around so it is speculation to a large extent. So then I default to having the ability to show them taller than your and my 2X SH and they play very well still. Not bad one way and correct the other just fine one way and a little finer the other.

People that like low levels of immersion I don’t think would care one way or the other and that is the case CIW is very popular. If you think about it most of the world is watching on 16:9 TVs say 60” and they are sitting 12-14’ from the screen. they are not unhappy they are just way low on immersion and could care less.
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post #14 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 05:57 PM
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Projector specs I haven't thought about at all, mostly because this is a fantasy-land idea and I don't want the cold water of "can you get enough lumens" brought down upon it. Normally I am an advocate for fixed anamorphic lenses and using scaling to vary between 16:9 and widescreen, but for this particular setup you'd want either no anamorphic lens at all, and do everything via zooming, or maybe have a lens on a sled and use it only for widescreen material. Either way, projectors capable of pulling this off correctly are gonna be spendy.
Normally there are 2 of us so I solved the brightness part by keeping even my IMAX image relatively small and sitting closer. I’m still 4X the screen area of a popular TV size. We have a single row of 4 seats so when we do have company we are ok, and all share the same immersion and no high risers for IMAX and all that. I solved the variable zoom / shift for myself in a unique way partly to prove it all can be done and done with pretty nice quality on an entry budget. All things AV of course have the sky as the limit on the upper end.

It is possible to have a pretty great HT with full variable immersion on a shoestring budget. It will never be HT of the month on AVS but it can be HT of the block you live on for all times for many people.
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post #15 of 38 Old 06-02-2020, 07:45 PM
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In my experience as a professional projectionist, I don't believe I have seen a 70MM PRINT ever projected cropped to 2.35.

70MM projection used a totally different lens. No zooming would be possible. 70mm equipped theatres had adjustable masking to handle 2.20:1 and a few even had screens with adjustable screen frames to modify the chord (depth of the screen curve) for 70mm.

Now, if you saw that same film in 35mm, then, with one exception, it was either projected at 2.35:1 or 2.55:1. Any cropping would have been done in the creation of the 35mm print.
I stand corrected. I was confusing the cropping that happened with the 35mm reduction prints with what happened in 70mm projection. Thanks for the clarification, Vern.

Was that adjustable masking to make the screen taller, or to mask off the sides?

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Just yesterday I read here in one of the forums where a member was ecstatic about a new streaming service that was providing both live and recorded plays. Some originating at the Royal Albert Hall. I haven’t watched them but have attended some simulcast to commercial theaters. Who knows what level of immersion someone might feel is correct for something like this, and having seen them I wouldn’t put sizing them like IMAX and having them 83% larger or maybe some other percentage larger an IMAX screen would allow for.
So now we're saying that videos of plays merit IMAX immersion? If you really want to recreate the experience of being in the theater, you should probably shrink the image down really small to get that balcony view authenticity.

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post #17 of 38 Old 06-03-2020, 06:24 AM
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Was that adjustable masking to make the screen taller, or to mask off the sides?
Since most of the 70mm installations were initially done for roadshows which ran for a long time, the screen size was normally optimized for 2.20:1. (Unless it was one of the rare 2.76:1 Camera 65 / Ultra Panavision installations, at one of which I was fortunate to actually see Mutiny On The Bounty.) When 35mm was shown, the top masking was dropped or the bottom masking raised to get closer to 2.35:1. As 70mm became less prevalent, then side masking became more common.

The Cooper Cinerama theatres in Denver, Minneapolis, and Omaha Nebraska had adjustable masking on the top and sides of the screen, although they were actually designed for 3 strip Cinerama,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper_Foundation
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/824

I had the privilege of actually working at both the Denver and Minneapolis locations, but this was after Cinerama had abandoned the three strip process.


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post #18 of 38 Old 06-03-2020, 07:25 AM
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So now we're saying that videos of plays merit IMAX immersion? If you really want to recreate the experience of being in the theater, you should probably shrink the image down really small to get that balcony view authenticity.
I think you are on to something I do sometimes shrink some content smaller than CIH would allow when the quality of the media or the content of the media doesn’t improve being made larger.

But in the case of a theatrical play being live streamed you are absolutely correct. I see them presenting the material similar to a balcony viewing but then keeping in the feel of live theater the image could be immensely blown up and placed in an AR of two converging circles that would simulate the appearance of looking through opera glasses.

This would be perfect because even the folks in the balcony have always wanted a front row IMAX immersion and had to use opera glasses to get it.

Sometimes I wonder if you have ever compared scope to IMAX1.89 in terms of immersion. You say it like it is eye-straining immersion similar to the old IMAX1.43 in the really immersive 7 story tall theaters. This new level is a very tame in comparison level of immersion and even at a level like the OP speaks of 2X SH for scope and 1.5X SH for IMAX at home is not unreasonably testing of our vision. The other day I watched an IMAX1.89 movie at home and for fun we pushed the seating up to 1.0X SH and it still wasn’t what I would call unreasonable.

For those reading along at home measure your screen height on your computer monitor and distance to your eyes. Mine right now is at 2X. Compare that to your TV. Ours in the kitchen is a 32” TV and I just watched the news during breakfast and that was about 5X screen height. Plenty immersive for the news and weather.

This whole conversation IMO is about fine tuning, not day and night changes as Josh would have us think.

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As 70mm became less prevalent, then side masking became more common.
My experience with 70mm was entirely in that later period, when the prints were projected onto standard scope screens.

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I agree that academy films look fine on CIH screens. Actually, screen height for the majority of Cinemascope installations was kept pretty consistent in relation to the previous 1.33 screen height. Some theatres has a proscenium arch that was too narrow, so the screen was installed covering the proscenium arch.



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Vern

Thanks for posting it is clear you have a great deal of insight into presentation form a projectionist background and are obviously old enough to remember some of these transitional changes with evolving filming processes.

Before your and my time and before the days of qualifying and spec generating groups. Starting with silent movies in 1.33 and the move to addition of sound and 1.375 theaters were built with deep stages and orchestra pits and such even dressing rooms and basements below the stage to house equipment. There was the age of Academy Movies. No one knew of scope and all the rest and along with motion pictures these venues did live shows. They seated 1000 people maybe even 2000 like our Warner Theater in Erie holds 2250.

There is no record where people sat for what kind of shows live or movies. I know the first row was only a few feet from the screen but perfect for a stage show and awful close for a movie. The back row of the balcony was likewise a long way from the screen and not the most desirable of movie seats but for a live concert and the acoustics of the building it wasn’t bad at all.

My question is having watched movies in this movie palace as a very young kid and I’m sure some retrofitting was done prior to me coming to the show, but I remember stories also of the pure Academy era when my parents would go there. The potential for immersion even much greater than IMAX 1.43 was there without a question and as I mentioned above the prime seating seemed to me being about a 1/3 back as the theater was so expansive in depth. Is there any records you can point to that show Academy before scope was suggested to be the same height as what scope would eventually be in terms of an average or prime seating location?

True there are clues in the cinematography and framing that suggests this but then again the directors were composing for some really deep venues and wanting to provide the back row an ok image as well.

Of course it is all personal choice and if I was alive in 1929 maybe I would have just liked to sit close or not. But in today’s world given the constraint of a CIH screen I personally normally feel a little under-whelmed watching Wizard of Oz re-mastered as CIH. As do others. It is not at all ruined watching it there it is more IMO made more with additional immersion. I have the screen height to do it so I do. But I’m often told it is incorrect as it wasn’t intended to be taller than scope. How could intent be there if scope wasn’t invented yet?

So what I’m looking for is clues. I know when scope was invented they said from this day forward Academy will be scope height, but then again they were not promoting Academy they were promoting scope and when the 30 minute B&W Academy short finished and your brain was dialed in on that size and AR and then the curtains slowly opened to a color widescreen scope movie oh boy.

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But in the case of a theatrical play being live streamed you are absolutely correct. I see them presenting the material similar to a balcony viewing but then keeping in the feel of live theater the image could be immensely blown up and placed in an AR of two converging circles that would simulate the appearance of looking through opera glasses.

This would be perfect because even the folks in the balcony have always wanted a front row IMAX immersion and had to use opera glasses to get it.
That would be a product that serves a consumer base of precisely one person - you.
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Clues follow:

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/csb2-page00.htm

See page 20


Another factor that affects perception of size:
In the 1.33:1 days, many of the theatres had stages and the screen was relegated to the back of the stage. The front row of seats might well have been 50 feet or more away from the screen.

The attached photos describe a typical conversion.
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Originally Posted by Vern Dias View Post
Clues follow:

http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/csb2-page00.htm

See page 20


Another factor that affects perception of size:
In the 1.33:1 days, many of the theatres had stages and the screen was relegated to the back of the stage. The front row of seats might well have been 50 feet or more away from the screen.

The attached photos describe a typical conversion.
Vern
Thanks for the information. As far as I can determine our Warner Theater never had the screen against the back wall or anyplace other than just inside the proscenium. I don’t really know the amount of the opening that was filled with image though. My guess is the front row was about 25’ from the screen at most. The theater is located down town and with urban sprawl of the post war years people were leaving the city and moving to the suburbs. The old Warner did show scope movies and underwent some changes but nothing as structural as you show and movies were still shown into the late 70s early 80s perhaps.

Although all the buzz were the new theaters built outside the city limits closer to the people and anchored large strip malls. These went up in the early 60s. The old palaces were replaced with these atomic looking jet age scope theaters with no balconies but wide deep seating. In a way they looked bigger but only held 1000 or so people. By the 90s they were all broken up into Cineplex multi movie places. That was the end of anything really special in theaters here.

Fortunately The Warner was never changed and underwent a restoration 25 or so years ago and is going thru another right now. We are hoping not much of that 20s charm is lost.

Your information sure shows a desire by the studios to maintain height and increase width even though that never happened here in the dozens of Academy theaters big and small that were here. Only 2 remain and both are only now used for live shows. Going full circle.

Thanks again for the info.

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Yep, the only sure thing back then was that each conversion was unique, tailored to the architectural constraints of each venue.

I was 10 years old back in '53, and had the advantage of a Dad who was a theatre manager, so I watched first hand as a number of theatres were converted. I saw all kinds of conversions, but only one where the height of the Cinemascope screen was less than the screen it replaced. I think the attached photo speaks for itself as to the reason. (It was a 1300 seat theatre)



http://cinematreasures.org/blog/2005...tre-demolished
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Yep, the only sure thing back then was that each conversion was unique, tailored to the architectural constraints of each venue.

I was 10 years old back in '53, and had the advantage of a Dad who was a theatre manager, so I watched first hand as a number of theatres were converted. I saw all kinds of conversions, but only one where the height of the Cinemascope screen was less than the screen it replaced. I think the attached photo speaks for itself as to the reason. (It was a 1300 seat theatre)



http://cinematreasures.org/blog/2005...tre-demolished
Vern
Sad story for sure. We had about a dozen smaller Academy theaters around town and almost all of them found a similar fate. A few hung on as adult movie houses until VHS came along and ended even that. The Warner was a rare exception and it came very close a few times. I’m not a fan of what they are doing to the exterior now with this latest renovation. Taking out the old on street box office and the walk under marquee. Giving it a modern facelift rather than rebuilding and repairing it as it was.

If you had to take a guess at the immersion level of the Waikiki Theater first row and back row in terms of screen height to seating distance what would you guess? From the photo the back row looks to be about 5-6X screen height.

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If you had to take a guess at the immersion level of the Waikiki Theater first row and back row in terms of screen height to seating distance what would you guess? From the photo the back row looks to be about 5-6X screen height.
I remember it being a long walk from the back of the auditorium to the front. I'd say at least 6X, possibly 7X. I've attached an additional.picture showing version 2 of the scope screen that was installed in 1965.
Also, the previous photo of the projection booth was from a different theatre, the Waipahu.
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I remember it being a long walk from the back of the auditorium to the front. I'd say at least 6X, possibly 7X. I've attached an additional.picture showing version 2 of the scope screen that was installed in 1965.
Also, the previous photo of the projection booth was from a different theatre, the Waipahu.
Most likely that’s why I remember people sitting about 1/3 back as the best seats. From that first photo it looks like the front row was very immersive like 1X or greater.

We need to remember also as good as some film was back then there was limiting do to PQ also. I remember reading about IMAX getting started and how they had to invent the film process first to support their idea of immersion.

I watch a lot of academy movies from the golden era and some copies are fantastic as digital and some haven’t weathered the storm of time as well. The bad ones I have no choice sometime to watch them at a lower immersion to help improve the image. nothing like 7X but more like 3X or 4X. it is amazing how by shrinking it like you are in the back row helps a poor movie transfer.

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Most likely that’s why I remember people sitting about 1/3 back as the best seats. From that first photo it looks like the front row was very immersive like 1X or greater.

I am a full immersion fan, always sat in the first few rows at any Cinerama Theatre I attended. My home theatre's first row (and preferred) seating is about 1.5x screen height. With a 2.70:1 curved screen, my full field of vision is involved.


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I am a full immersion fan, always sat in the first few rows at any Cinerama Theatre I attended. My home theatre's first row (and preferred) seating is about 1.5x screen height. With a 2.70:1 curved screen, my full field of vision is involved.


Vern
You make a great point about immersion and you are someone that without a doubt like max immersion. Many others here are similar maybe not quite to the degree you are but I have often read where the recommendation for a scope screen is to select the height based around the largest you would ever like to watch Flat movies or 16:9 content and then make the screen wider to 2.4 or what ever your widest format would be. Because you have set things up based around maxing out your vertical immersion then what possible could be gained with going IMAX.

I can’t really argue that logic other than for me say a 1.5 SH CIH would be too immersive for me and I like what I think is on the highly immersive side at 2.0 SH. Then adding in the extra height doesn’t go out of my vision it then just fills it. The cinematography works for IMAX because it is scope safe. That scope movie is always right in the center there so I guess it wouldn’t hurt the fully immersive guy having more extending above and below where their max is but on the same token it doesn’t do much if it is outside your vision.

Maybe IMAX framing and cinematography is better suited for the average to less immersive viewer in some ways. Of course that is what TV viewing of movies is for most people. But even me a 2.0 SH person is now driven by IMAX out to 1.5 SH and I agree with you that’s about my limit as well as yours.

A big part of why I do a variable immersion presentation method is I have a single row of seats and most of my family and friends don’t have the same passion for immersion as I do. I imagine when you used to go to your Cinerama and sit in row one or two you had friends that may have wanted to sit back a bit more. Variable does that for me at home and when I watch alone or with another immersion buff I can get that 1.5-2.0 SH immersion other come over I can dial it out to 2.5 SH for their needs. That’s what makes it “perfect” for me.

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You make a great point about immersion and you are someone that without a doubt like max immersion. Many others here are similar maybe not quite to the degree you are but I have often read where the recommendation for a scope screen is to select the height based around the largest you would ever like to watch Flat movies or 16:9 content and then make the screen wider to 2.4 or what ever your widest format would be. Because you have set things up based around maxing out your vertical immersion then what possible could be gained with going IMAX.

I can’t really argue that logic other than for me say a 1.5 SH CIH would be too immersive for me and I like what I think is on the highly immersive side at 2.0 SH. Then adding in the extra height doesn’t go out of my vision it then just fills it. The cinematography works for IMAX because it is scope safe. That scope movie is always right in the center there so I guess it wouldn’t hurt the fully immersive guy having more extending above and below where their max is but on the same token it doesn’t do much if it is outside your vision.

Maybe IMAX framing and cinematography is better suited for the average to less immersive viewer in some ways. Of course that is what TV viewing of movies is for most people. But even me a 2.0 SH person is now driven by IMAX out to 1.5 SH and I agree with you that’s about my limit as well as yours.

A big part of why I do a variable immersion presentation method is I have a single row of seats and most of my family and friends don’t have the same passion for immersion as I do. I imagine when you used to go to your Cinerama and sit in row one or two you had friends that may have wanted to sit back a bit more. Variable does that for me at home and when I watch alone or with another immersion buff I can get that 1.5-2.0 SH immersion other come over I can dial it out to 2.5 SH for their needs. That’s what makes it “perfect” for me.
Yes, I agree. I do have a second row of seating at about 2.5 SH for those who find the first row a bit "too immersive"


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