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TOPIC: refurbishing old theater need advice and help

refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 11:08 #7299

im trying to refurbish a 70s theater in manhattan,ks it was once owned by carmike cinemas untill they filled for bankruptcy and it has sit vacant every since 2000. it was once the westloop 6 cinemas. i am going to be going to take a look at it again here in a week or so to see what is left inside and so forth and what can be used and cant be and stuff. what i want to know is if i can upgrade what would be best dts, dolby digital , sdds, sds8? and is there anything you can do to help sound stay in the auditorium incase there is sound running through the walls? i want this to be a good theater i intend to make it something worth going to and not just another run in the mill theater. we are planning on opening it as a sub run dollar theater not sure what to charge on ticket prices yet but also we were wondering if its possible to bring back the star wars movies and show them on the big screen again like a few months before star wars 3 comes out next year? what the the difference in the platter and 2 projecter with automatic changeover? i know working at amc 30 we used platter systems. and there movies always went on without a hitch in the time i have been working there and going there. there is a theater in wichita,ks called the warren which i love its the nicest theater i have ever been in but i was curious if you could ask to get a tour of the theater or if they do that anymore? what should i estimate for costs if i want to put digital systems with good speakers in the theaters? is there a limit on speakers? i know on one auditorium we had at amc we had 25 speakers in it funny thats the auditorium # too. any advice anything you guys can help me with would be great. i am a novice at this stuff and i wnat to know everything i can if i am going to make this work. how do you work with film companies in getting thier movie there and trailers to your theater? i also heard you can get the govt of the city to pay for it via bonds and taxes? thats what they are doing up in wyondote county in kansas city,ks. any ideas any help on where to get funding. we have a loan from the sba so far. but i know we still need more. any ideas would be great. thanks so much. and anything i didnt ask if you think i should know tell me.
jason
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 11:32 #7300

  • dr
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Bigbad - Check out the Frequently asked questions under Starting A Movie Theatre. Here you will find many answers to the questions that you have.
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 11:49 #7301

  • jimor
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Jason, you ask a very big question (actually, many questions) and as I am sure you must have read, if you read any of the previous posts, that you MUST read through the Archived comments and especially the FAQs to learn a lot from the answers to many of your questions that have already appeared here. It is annoying to regular participants to have to time and again answer the same questions because people don't want to go to the bother of reading older posts.

Having said that, I will repeat some of what I, for one, have said in some previous comments under Cinema Design. About the matter of keeping sound from 'leaking' out of a cinema: the answer here is found in any textbook on acoustics: one must provide the maximum amount of mass to a wall to stop sound, proportionate to the strength (volume peaks) of the sound striking it. While you could hire an acoustician to measure sound levels and prescribe suitable amounts of sound barrier materials, you might just be much better off having a veneer of bricks put over the existing wall, since you seem to feel that there is sound leakage. Remember to tightly seal any holes going through the wall, and that the bricks SHOULD go up to the roof deck and be sealed against it, not just up to the suspended or plaster ceiling since sound will easily go over the ceiling and into the next space.

Also important to remember is the difference in creating "deadening" to stop sound reflection within a room, vesusu stoping sound transmission through a barrier into another room. Some sound deadening may help you if you have reverberation within a room, but it will not help much to stop it penetrating another space. There are sound transmission coefficients of different materials listed in the acoustics textbooks, in case you do not hire an expert. Beware that hiring a contractor to do the design as well as the installation may not be the best for you, since the contractor is interested in his profits, not yours. It's like the old saying: 'you never ask the fertilizer salesman how much fertilizer to use.'

Can you get the acoustics class at a local engineering school interested in using your situation as a problem for the students to solve (under the instructor's supervision, of course)? That might get you complete specifications at little or no cost, but you would still have to construct it, of course. If you approach an instructor/professor, bring along your blueprints, photos of the room, and some samples of any existing wall treatments -- and do an inspection yourself to make sure the prints are current and reflect the actual state of the building since alterations are often done without making revised prints. Your local building inspector should be able to provide you with copies of the plans last submitted or at least the permits taken out to do anything, but nothing takes the place of an inspection by you or someone you trust. And remember that if you add a layer of brick, there are foundation questions to answer too. Best Wishes. Jim
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: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 12:46 #7302

yes i went back and read alot of what was said havent gotten through all of it yet but i ddint mean to ask it all over again i didnt see it the first time around but thats not new sometimes i miss things. the one question i havent seen answered is what is the difference in first run, sub run, 2nd run, and move over run? where im opening there is 1 theater a carmike cinema that is a first run and they dont offer any student or millatary discounts in a town with a major univ and a major military base. so what are my options? if this has been answered im so sorry ;like i said i sometimes miss something so just point me in the right direction then.
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 17:26 #7303

  • outaframe
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HELLO JASON <> Well, you do have a BUNCH of questions, and as JIMOR points out, many of them can be answered by reading the archives here, and at Film-Tech.com... JIMOR also gave you some good suggestions regarding eliminating the cross-talk between auditoriums... An alternative which will be much lighter weigh, and probably less expensive is to build 16" thick division walls with the studs offset (not directly opposite one another) and filled with blown-in insulation... As he mentioned, the wall should extend up to the roof under-deck, and it would ALSO be a good idea to have a break in the floor under the wall... Deep bass is the biggest problem with cross-talk, and floor and ceiling surfaces are excellent bass transfer surfaces, so there should be a break between these surfaces from one auditorium to the next...
PROJECTION SYSTEMS: I favor a two-projector system with 6000' reels for single screens and twins, but if you intend to operate this as a 6-plex, the cost and complexity just about dictates that you'll have to use single projectors and platters...
SOUND SYSTEMS: Again, cost and complexity, and the fact that you intend to operate as a discount theater suggest that you'd be better off installing GOOD SR optical systems (which are up to digital specs) and pass on the digital, at least in the beginning... A really good SR system is hard to distinguish from digital, costs considerably less, and has MUCH less problems... IF you later feel that you MUST have digital, it can be added, so long as the existing system was set up to digital standards when it was installed...
MULTIPLE SURROUND SPEAKERS: I don't think you can have too many surround speakers... Multiple speakers eliminate localizing the sound point of source, increase the handling capacity, create a more even sound field, and reduce distortion... I have 56 individual speakers in my 2 channel SR surround system, and am very happy with the results... They need to match the timbre of the screen speakers, and be set up to digital specs... Most of the surround systems I have seen have fewer than the optimal number of speakers, and could be improved by adding more speakers...
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 18:04 #7304

  • lemonice1
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Outaframe..

If you don't mind me asking, what brand of SR surround system and speakers are you currently using? How much did you pay for all of your surround equipment? Thanks a lot in advance.
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 29 Jan 2004 18:50 #7305

  • outaframe
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HELLO LEMONICE <> No, I have no problem with your asking, but the answers may not mean much unless you are a DIY type... The sound system is one I built using a mixed bag of home hi-fi, home theater, pro-sound, and theater sound components... Essentially, the solar cell outputs feed a pro sound mixer, which feeds a noise reduction unit, which feeds a home theater pro-logic decoder, which feeds 6 channels of theater and pro sound amps... I built the screen speaker systems using a mixed bag of theater, and pro sound speakers... The surround speaker array is composed of 8 - 15" Emenence Woofers, 24 - Pioneer 5" midrange speakers, and 24 - Motorola Piezo horn tweeters, in custom built air suspension enclosures... If you're with me so far, and want model numbers and more details, I'll be happy to get deeper into it...
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 30 Jan 2004 07:54 #7306

ok what is sr? and how is that different then dts or sdds or sds8 or ultra stereo? and if its not digital then why on earth would you want it? isnt the whole point of going to the theater to see a film on the big screen in true digital stereo and not horrible analog? if im wrong then sorry but i just have a passion for great theaters that have great awesome sound and beautiful picture?
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 30 Jan 2004 12:03 #7307

  • outaframe
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Hmmmmm, well I don't know how "horrible" analog sound is, but for sure, ALL SOUND IS ANALOG, 'cause that's the only way there is to play it back... You can't amplify or hear digits... You can record, mix, re-mix, manipulate, and fool around with sound it in all sorts of interesting ways, digitally, but to hear the results, you need run it thru a digital to analog converter...
"SR" is Dolby Spectral Recording, the last incarnation of the optical stereo recording systems that Dolby "A" started... It is the most sophisticated of the optical formats, with the widest bandwidth, dynamic range, and most effective noise reduction... It is the "backup system" for Dolby SRD (Dolby Digital) and most other digital playback systems... And, I'd bet the family jewels that in a blind listening test on a really excellent sound system which was set up to digital standards and tweeked correctly, you would be hard pressed to distinguish SR from any of the digital playback systems...

Dolby SRD and Sony Digital both print the digital info on the film, while DTS prints a time code which is used to keep the digital info on CDs in sync with the film... Scuttlebutt is that Sony is quietly backing out of the digital theater sound business, so by the time you get your dream theater in operation there won't likely be any Sony digital prints to contend with... Ultra Stereo is a little used optical format similar in many respects to Dolby "A", and you aren't likely to see anything in this format, either...

I share your passion for great theaters, awesome sound, and beautiful pictures, but digital sound is not necessarily the panacea that some believe, and Dolby SR is in the best circumstances, a damned good sound format... And the cost to play it back is cosiderably less, as well as being much less prone to cause problems...

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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 30 Jan 2004 16:44 #7308

wow sony is backing out? wow the theater i currnetly work for AMC studio 30 in olathe,ks all of our theaters use sdds except for 7 shows currently playing which use SR. so if i understand this SR is not digital? and sony is backing out so there wont be any sdds or sds8 prints? so that leaves SR or dts or dolby digital sourround? can you give me an idea of the difference in cost from SR to dolby digital to dts? i mean cuzz your saying theres a big cost difference. i have heard though that if you want to show anything george lucas does and some other directors too you have to have a certin sound system and it has to be digital or did i hear something wrong? id like to put at least in one auditurium a good deal of speakers and make it really good any ideas? another question of the topic of sound is what i am wanting to do is be a moveover or 2nd run theater in a big college town which i know it will go over i allready have houndrs of people asking when i will open and $2-3 a show is great around here people will flock to see it. anyway we want to show movies later then the only other theater in town but at the same time show first run prints that they pass on (which they always seem to choose bombs all the good movies the hits never come here unless its lotr or star wars) and maybe show some independent and art films and old movies that havent been out in a long time and have like a sat matinee or something and who some of these older films from 90s and back that are never coming to the big screen again. ok having said that is that feasable and how to you go about it and decide prices for older vs late run vs new run? any ideas would be great. thanks so much everyone
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 31 Jan 2004 00:56 #7309

  • lemonice1
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bigbad,

You sound like you are interested in owning a theater and that's great. But before you ask questions that have been answered several times, I would recommend that you take the time to read the archived material that is available on this site. There are tons of pages and thousands of posts that have been thoughtfully answered. Please click on a forum and then "show all topics". The Frequently Asked Questions forum is a must read. Try searching archived forums for keywords such as second run, move over, etc. Good luck and happy reading!
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 31 Jan 2004 03:31 #7310

  • Ken Layton
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i have heard though that if you want to show anything george lucas does and some other directors too you have to have a certin sound system and it has to be digital or did i hear something wrong?

Don't believe what that a**hole George Lucas says. I know several theaters that played his last two 'masterpieces' in MONO sound. I also know several other big city top-of-the-line theaters with digital sound that played those same movies to empty houses! When his next 'masterpiece' comes out he'll be begging theaters to play it.
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 31 Jan 2004 06:21 #7311

  • outaframe
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Cost of DTS and/or Dolby Digital -VS- SR optical: Actually you're talking about "in addition to" an SR optical system, because these are both add-ons which require an existing SR capable system... I last looked into this about 6 years ago, and the current model DTS setup, with one time code reader, had a MSRP cost of $5,000, at that time... There were any number of excellent quality single play CD decks available in the $100 range then, and even considering the 5.1 channel capability and time code reader function, it seemed like the unit was overpriced... Since then they have brought out a 3 disc unit, which would be a must have for some of the recent 3 hour plus films, and I'm sure it will be even pricier... I had looked into Dolby SRD even before then and found the unit more expensive than DTS, and that it required some expensive and complicated equipment to install and adjust it that I didn't have, and would have no other use for... So, to add DTS to your proposed 6 screens, I think you'd need to add at least $30,000 plus the installation cost, and Dolby SRD would cost even more... Takes a lot of discounted tickets to pay for it, not even adding the cost to maintain and service it!... Since you're working in a multi-plex why don't you have a serious conversation with the head of projection there, and do some looking around in the booths... Nothing like actually seeing the stuff and how it works!...
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Re: refurbishing old theater need advice and help 31 Jan 2004 11:48 #7312

  • Ken Layton
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A DTS sound system at current new equipment prices would be around $15,000 just for the equipment. Then you need to add on the freight charges (speakers are heavy) and installation charges. I believe a Dolby Digital system nowadays runs around $21,000. Keep in mind these prices are estimates (per screen) as every theater (and auditorium) are different and it depends on what equipment is already present and if it's in good repair.

I think you'd be better off and money ahead to just upgrade what is there now to a decent Dolby SR analog system. That way it would be 'digital ready' should business warrant the expense of installing digital sound later on.
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