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TOPIC: when to turn up house lights?

when to turn up house lights? 07 Sep 2003 21:26 #6778

  • ttroidl
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Hello,

I was just hoping to get some feedback from you all on when you turn up your house lights at the end of a movie?


At every theatre I have ever been to or worked at they come up when the credits start to roll...

Now on to my story,

last sunday after the show I was confronted by a woman who was pissed off that the lights came up while SHE was trying to read the credits! (how dare we) and that it was in her words "unacceptable"

She left a message at the headquarters of the Co. I work for bitching, and my boss called her and explained why the lights are turned on so people can see when leaving etc... he called my to tell me about the conversation with her etc...

Friday I get to work and find a "memo" saying that he reviewed the situation and has ordered me NOT to turn on lights untill "ALL OF THE CREDITS AND MUSIC HAVE STOPPED"

WTF?

personally I see it as a lawsuit waiting to happen when ONE person falls and ritely argues they could not see...

Not to mention in my opinion it is poor showmanship...

What do you all think?

and do I have your permission to show your comments to my boss?

Thanks!

Tony.
tony.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 07 Sep 2003 21:31 #6779

  • trackfood
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Sidelights should come up a little bit for people exiting, however any lights shining on the screen should not come up until after the credits have ended. This way you please both people.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 07 Sep 2003 21:39 #6780

  • ttroidl
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We have no lights that shine on the screen, overhead lights basically only hit the walkways and are Dim anyways...

I don't think she was bothered so much by the light, more by people annoying her as they left! so basically SHE wants to have her will imposed over everyone to MAKE them sit till she is done reading credits...

She made some dumb comment like " can't you train the people to sit and watch the credits?"

Tony.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 07 Sep 2003 22:33 #6781

  • outaframe
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You're not gonna please this woman, no matter what you do... Your main concern is for the safety of the customers who (for the most part) will rush to get out of the theater as soon as the credits start to roll... My proceedure is to slowly raise the house lights to half level as soon as the credits start, and then try to ease up to full brightness, hopefully to co-incide with the end of the credits... I have aisle lights which remain on at a low fixed level as long as the theater is open, and neon side lights which operate through a dimmer, but do not reflect off the screen, and are only bright enough to easily read a normal newspaper headline when fully up, which meets local fire codes... IF you have any lights which wash out the screen, these might need to be kept off til after the movie, othewise I would emphasize customer safety and let this woman complain... I would talk to your boss again, and mention the lawsuit angle... IF he still insists on keeping the lights off, then you are off the hook (get his orders in writing)...
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 07 Sep 2003 23:26 #6782

  • RoxyVaudeville
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During thirty eight years of operating theatres I have never had a complaint about the house lights being brought up during the credits, which I have always done.

In the old days, so to speak, when I first worked in theatres, which were all the downtown deluxe movie palace variety, the house lights always came up as soon as "The End" faded from the screen. Actually the curtain closed as "The End" was on the screen, and while that curtain closed the footlights came up from red to purple and finnaly to a full golden sunburst after the curtain was completely closed. Now to be fair here, I must mention that there were seldom credits at the end of the movie. The End was indeed the end. When credits became a regular part of the end of the feature it became the policy to only bring up the red or blue stage lights until the credits concluded, and of course the curtain wasn't closed then until the very end of the credits. As most credits are white lettering on a black background, the colored stage lights, both footlights and borders did no more then to change the background color from the black to red or blue or whatever color was used. It in no way hampered the readability of the credits themselves. The houselights which were still brought up completely were also always colored lights, usually amber, and did not interferre with the screen. Today theatres use white light as houselights which was strictly forbidden in the heyday of theates. White light makes everything look worse then it really is. It's cold and uninviting, and shows any imperfections. Amber light is warm and inviting, is soothing and tends not to show all the imperfections, doesn't hinder the ability to see well, and doesn't wash out the screen image if not directed onto the screen directly. When the credits lettering was done in a color then the stage lights were left off until they ended, but that represented less then 10% of all films.

I still adhere to this policy exactly as outlined above except when there are out takes, and then I leave the stage lights off until the out takes are completed and then bring up the colored stagelights for the rest of the credits.

SAFETY ALWAYS COMES FIRST. People must be able to see to get out safely. You should have asked that lady if she would sign an agreement whereby she would take responsibility for any injuries or deaths should they occur during the credits if you leave the lights off. And for her to think that people can be educated to stay for all the credits... well, she needs to become enlightened with reality. Most people could care less about the credits. On an average showing, 90% of the people get up and leave as soon as the credits begin to roll. There are many shows when no one stays for the credits.

Just as people vote with their pocketbooks, they also vote with their feet. The fact that nearly 90% of your patrons leave when the credits begin to roll should be a heavy influence upon your decision as to bring up the lights or not. Do you want to piss off 10% of your patrons or 90% of them? Most want to get out, and they want to get out safely. Which would you prefer, 90% of your patrons grumbling the next day at work with their coworkers about how they had to stumble out of your theatre last night in the dark, or 10% bitching about not being able to see the credits as well as they would like? I believe that the negative impression from the 90% would be far more damaging then the reaction of the 10%. Consider the fact that 90% of the people that heard the complaints of that 10% would disagree with them.

The best solution of course, in my opinion, is to seek a compromise... bring up the houselights but keep all lights off the screen if possible. If you are on dimmers, maybe you can get away with bringing up the house lights 75% of the way, or even 60% or 50%. I know many theatres today don't even have separate lights for the screen as there is no curtain or no time that an image is not projected on the screen.

When a decision must be made, and there is any doubt in mind as to what to do... ALWAYS side with safety.

PS. to Tony. Yes you have my permission to use this in any way you wish.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 09:38 #6783

  • John Pytlak
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Since most of the audience starts to exit during the credits, some level of auditorium lighting should be used to ensure safety. I do agree that you should not turn on any lights that flood the screen image with light, but a safe level of lighting on the walls, and over the seats and aisles is certainly appropriate during credits.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
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John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Customer Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: +1 585-477-5325 Fax: +1 585-722-7243
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Website: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 10:25 #6784

During the toronto international film festival and at most of the art theatre it is posted and printed on the tickets that no lights are brought up until the end of the last credit and exiting earlier is at your own risk
This is also the contractual requirement on many of the large format Imax films as well

Personally I like that method but If the raising of light to a safe level must not interferre with those watching the film until its end especially if there is a scene at the end of the credits

At one theatre they switch the cleaning lights on when most of the patrons leave flooding the theatre with light.
Needless to say there is now a lawsuite pending against the theatre since the persons who had bought tickets (and had worked and credited in the film) did not get to see the entire print they had bought a ticket to
A happy balance is what one needs to achieve

[This message has been edited by Gordon McLeod (edited September 08, 2003).]
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 11:35 #6785

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I think that you have one of those situations that make you feel bad but you should not make any changes in what you are doing now. I put it in the category of "it is impossible to please all of the people all of the time."

Yes, we also raise the house lights back to 1/2 when the credits start to roll. Anything less and you will get a million more complaints from people who are leaving at the "normal" time. Unfortunately you cannot stop people from talking, standing up, running around the theater and all sorts of other unacceptable behaviors while the credit watchers are trying to watch the credits. You can only help them to exit quickly and safely thereby giving the credit watchers peace and quiet. We often close the theater doors back down in after the main body have left so that the credit watchers get as much peace and quiet as we can give them but we do not turn the lights back down. Full lights are achieved only after the tail of the film has run through the projector. Credits are important and I have lots of experience watching and enjoying them as our jobs require us to be in the theater until the last patron has exited the theater. Then and only then are the cleaning lights permitted to be turned on (after the doors are closed again of course).

No one has yet mentioned that light levels of your existing lights can probably be adjusted up or down so that your automation at 1/2 lights can be brighter or dimmer than it is now. I don't know if there are any codified standards for light levels upon exiting a theater but we do our using our best judgement. In fact we have been adjusting our lighting levels this weekend in celebration of having every bulb in all theaters working. It is a pleasure to see corners and seats that we haven't been able to see since we came here.

BTW - I got the opposite complaint this weekend. A group coming in 15 minutes late to Spy Kids complaining about not being able to see to find seats after the lights were down to 1/4 and the 1600 watt projector over their head was projecting a 13 foot X 24 foot image less than 35 feet away. Interestingly, nearly all the seats were empty including the ones they were closest to and I was carefully directing them to the seats. You can't win.

[This message has been edited by BECKWITH1 (edited September 08, 2003).]

[This message has been edited by BECKWITH1 (edited September 08, 2003).]
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 13:14 #6786

  • Mike
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1/2 way up slowly is the way to go. Fact is: many people/ not most/ care about who-what-where-when and sit waiting. They apid for their seat and if they are sitting watching then out of respect we wait. We also do not start any cleaning (well maybe some very quietly) until the last credit has rolled.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 20:39 #6787

  • muviebuf
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One thing that I have started doing in those instances where there is an extra scene after the end credits is to edit it and move it up right to after "The End" but before the credits start to roll. This lets everyone see the scene (not just those who know about and stay to the end) and after the scene you can bring up the houselights. It also has the bonus of then getting the people out instead of having some just waiting for what is usually just a small scene.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 22:01 #6788

  • ttroidl
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Thanks guys!

I spoke to my boss tonight about this, and he said he based his decision to keep all lights off on a call he made to "Regal's quaker crossing" and the manager there told him they leave all lights off untill all credits and music are done...

B.S.

I pride myself on always showing the best presentation I can with what I have to work with... I personally took this as a slap in my face...

I too always keep the lights down for out takes, though I usually turn them up just enough to notice the way out, and for normal movies, they come up SMOOTHLY to a minimal setting... never do ANY lights hit the screen untill the curtain closes and they click on automatically...

This is a no win situation I am sure but I feel it is VERY unprofessional to make people walk out in the dark...

I will show your replies to my boss tomorrow!

Thanks!!!

Tony.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 08 Sep 2003 23:10 #6789

Moviebuff I hope for your sake I never watch a show in your theatre or get one of your prints down the line
Editing or in any way altering the integrity of the print you recieve is altering a copyrighted work and you could be in for very serious financial damages and you have also violated your exhibitor license with the releaseing company
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 09 Sep 2003 11:42 #6790

  • BECKWITH1
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Gordon is correct. Editing (i.e. moving a scene) a film is a major violation or your license. If you are caught you will pay. Don't think that you won't get caught. The previous owner of this theater had a problem with a movie being too long for his showtimes. He was apparently given the wrong times. His solution - cut off the credits so that he could run within the scheduled showtimes. He was caught and paid.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 10 Sep 2003 13:28 #6791

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I gave my boss a printout of your replies to mull over...

we will see what he says.

Yup, you sure don't want to be "editing" someones film for them! though I agree it is stupid how they put something at the end of credits sometimes NOBODY ever see's...

it's not up to US to edit to correct THEIR mistake.

Tony.
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Re: when to turn up house lights? 10 Sep 2003 17:37 #6792

I don't think it is a mistake I personally like it
There was a mystery film years ago that the solution wasn't revealed until the end of the credits
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