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TOPIC: Outdoor signs

Outdoor signs 23 Feb 2006 11:14 #12255

  • Tom Watkins
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I'm looking into a new outdoor LED sign for shows, rating and times instead of the plastic hand placed letters.

The cost is high for one but I would have to imagine that it is far more enjoyable a process to change film titles from a computer, especially in sub-zero temps!

Anyone switched to an outdoor LED sign from the plastic letters and have any insight as to if it was a good choice to make?

Thanks

Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton, Maine
Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
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Re: Outdoor signs 23 Feb 2006 11:25 #12256

  • muviebuf
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Watch your local zoning with regard to such LED signs. Some areas prohibit them altogether and others restrict their usage.

Also you should check your local ordinances for sign sizage, materials, lighting, whether you are restricted to building only signs (e.g. can it protrude out into the street and/over the sidewalk etc.)

Even such a simple thing as a sign is now a major headache with today's codes and zoning!

[This message has been edited by muviebuf (edited February 23, 2006).]
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Re: Outdoor signs 23 Feb 2006 12:03 #12257

  • Tom Watkins
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Thanks for the info. I did check with the town. Our only restrictions are that the sign cannot "flash". Other than that I should have no issues unless they have changed the ordinace that is on-line.
Tom Watkins
Magic Lantern Theater
Bridgton Maine
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Re: Outdoor signs 24 Feb 2006 03:15 #12258

  • BurneyFalls
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I have one and am extremely happy with it. It takes less than a minute to change and that is in the comfort of my warm building. No ladders, no poles, no falling letters, no frozen fingers. It is bliss. If I had an internet connection at the theatre, I could even change the message from home.

I did get a few complaints in the beginning from patrons who said they couldn't read everything as they drove by. Obviously they were driving faster than the posted speed limit, but I changed fonts and the way the sign scrolls from page to page. The complaints stopped.

Initially the county did not want to approve my sign, but I took them pictures of me changing the old lettered sign in the snow. I had to crawl out a window, stand on an icy overhang, and reach out a couple feet from the edge of the overhang for the furthest letters.

We too, have a "no blinking" stipulation in the sign ordinance. I explained that the old sign blinked for 65 years and nobody complained. The LED doesn't blink anyway, it just changes messages.

They also tried to make me reduce the size of my sign after it had been approved--seems they changed the ordinance from the time I applied for the permit to the time the sign was erected.

I am still changing letters at my second location and it is a royal pain in the frozen butt. I will purchase another LED down the road for that location also.
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Re: Outdoor signs 25 Feb 2006 21:18 #12259

  • cat
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Another vote in favor of LED signage. Here's a real-world scenario where it would really come in handy: I was at the Narrow Gauge earlier this week and there was no mention of the school vacation matinees on the sign, yet I knew from the website that matinees were showing all week long. There were plenty of cars in the parking lot, but I was nervous for a moment because I had driven an hour and a half to get there. Stadium seating and LED signage: a marriage made in heaven. Heck, I'll settle for stadium seating...
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Re: Outdoor signs 25 Feb 2006 22:15 #12260

  • Narrow Gauge
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Welcome Cat. I've enjoyed your posts and insights on the mainetoday message boards. Its nice to have a passionate moviegoer that can tell us the good,the bad, and the ugly of Maine cinemas.
At the Narrow Gauge we used to have a "Matinee Today" sign we would hang under the marquee. However after the second time it was stolen we gave up. Our marquee out by the road is in the path of two bars and as such it is subject to a fair amount of late night abuse. I don't think I would like to have an expensive LED sign due to the vandalism factor. Also an LED sign is fairly modern looking, certainly out of place in a theater like the Strand and even to a certain degree the Narrow Gauge.
This past Friday we finished converting or second screen to stadium and hope to do another before summer.
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Re: Outdoor signs 26 Feb 2006 08:56 #12261

  • jimor
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I wonger if just running the word MATINEE as a chaser along the bottom of an LED sign would be enough to generate inquiries? Shouldn't cost anything to try.
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Outdoor signs 26 Feb 2006 14:50 #12262

  • BurneyFalls
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I agree an LED is very modern looking and may not be appropriate at some sites. My theatre is relatively old--built in 1940. It never had an ornate marquee that I am aware of. The sign was very old, ratty, and plain ugly. My new LED is encased in a very appealing metal cabinet shaped like my building. It is meant to look retro. It has a small clock in the center of the top portion and two layers of neon around the top and sides, just like the top of my building. My feeling is it tells passersby that my theatre is old, but updated. I hope they think, hey she has a digital sign, it must be nice inside, too. Then hopefully they look at the box office and see the dts sign. Maybe I'm just dreaming there.

I am able to put my show days and times, including the matinee show on there. I now also display what is playing at my other theatre, and the current temperature. I took the temp off once and got alot of complaints.
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