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TOPIC: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<<

>>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 18 Feb 2004 15:38 #7505

  • outaframe
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I noticed that you will be hosting a one night showing of Robin D. Williams' "Biblical Treasures of Turkey, 2" on Thurs 2/19... I have a number of questions about this, which are more than just idle curiosity, but if you are uncomfortable answering, or feel that they are too intrusive, just tell me to butt out!...

All of us who have been around the biz for a while have been approached with all sorts of possible alternate programming: some of it worthwhile and doable, some impossible... This appears that it might be an updated version of the old fashioned travelogue slideshow/lecture, but with moving video images, and possibly a soundtrack... Since the producer is to be there, a number of questions come to mind...

Is this sponsored/co-produced by a religious group, or is Mr. Williams an independent?... Since this is "#2" have you shown his previous efforts?... Does he bring in the video projection equipment (ala roadshow?)... How elaborate is the equipment (as simple as a common DLP home/business projector, or more like a theater projector?)... Is the equipment located in your booth, or just in the auditorium?... Does he feed the sound through your system, or furnish his own?... How large is the projected picture, and how good is the light and resolution?... Does he use your screen, or bring one in?... Does this have a good following, and is it worthwhile for you?... Is it a theater rental arrangement, with you receiving a fixed rental, or do you have a boxoffice split agreement?...

Thanks, in advance, for whatever information you are comfortable sharing with us about this!...
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 18 Feb 2004 17:22 #7506

  • Mike
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I don't know about Roxy but we have done any number of things: recording room for a group, special films for various groups, special Xmas shows, teen nights, Chamber of Commerce freebie, hospital group speakers. etc. All fine..........But you gotta have movies!

Michael Hurley
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Michael Hurley
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 18 Feb 2004 23:44 #7507

  • outaframe
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MIKE <> You won't get any arguement outa me about the need for GOOD movies, but some of these extras you mention are a little frosting on the cake... I'm surprized that the travelogue slideshow/lecture program, which dates back more than a hundred years to lanternslides shown in a tent, community hall, or church, is still viable in this electronic oriented age... Not putting this down, I have seen some of these which were great, but it is truly an old fashioned entertainment/educational program... AND I am interested in the equipment and results of the video projection setup he's using...
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 19 Feb 2004 00:57 #7508

  • RoxyVaudeville
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and now for the rest of the story.

I just got off the phone with Mr. Robin D. Williams. What a pleasant and absolutely wonderful gentleman he is. I always enjoy talking to him, and being with him.

Although Mr. Williams doesn't like to use the term "Travelogue" for his programs, and for that reason I don't advertise them as such, they are for the most part just that. However, they are a new version, much more sophisticated then what was available years ago. He bills them as documentary feature films, and I believe that pretty much accurately describes what they are.

They are projected with a digital projector. It is a small unit that would fit into a normal size suitcase. I will find out tomorrow the make and model and post that information later. The projector can be set up in the booth if there is room. In my case we set it up on the production balcony above the lobby in front of the booth. That balcony is where we have our trooper followspots, and the sound and lighting boards for live stage shows. The image is bright and clear. It fills the height of my screen, but the width is not as wide as my normal flat picture... and yes it is projected on my screen. I'll also ask what the aspect ratio is tomorrow. He can either plug into the house sound system or use his own. His system sounds amazingly good. It is stereo, but only left and right on stage as he doesn't carry surround speakers with him. The soundtrack is excellent.

This is not a religious program, and is not sponsored by any religious group. However, since many biblical scenes are shown, it can be sold through churches if you choose to do so. Some of his other films have no religious theme or connection whatsoever.
In many locations the programs are sponsored by local civic groups, but not in my case.

This is not a four wall, but a percentage split. There is no minimum, therefore it is just like any other film we show. If no one came, it would be X% of $0.00 is $0.00. The exhibitor is responsible for all advertising. The % is what you can negotiate.

I did play Biblical Treasures of Turkay last year, so this is my 2nd effort to sell this sort of a program. We had modest success with that one. I'm hopeful that this year will be better. I do truly believe that there is a market for this sort of program, but that it takes a few of them to get the word out and to develope an audience. One thing is for sure... the people that come LOVE the program. I couldn't believe the long line after the show, of people who wanted to purchase tapes of his other films.

I received a number of e-mails afterward from people praising the show and asking that I continue it.

The one thing that I want to emphasize is that Mr. Williams programs are TOP QUALITY entertainment. Everything is top quality... the projection, the sound, and the film itself. I, as I believe you are, was most interested in what this digital projection system was like, and what it could produce. I was truly amazed. This is not a theatre digital system, but is amazingly good. Crystal clear and bright. If I ran a DVD movie through his system, I don't think the audience would ever think that it wasn't 35mm film. Of course they have no clue what it is anyway, but they would think that it was the regular system that they usually see here. The only difference being the image on the screen not being as wide.

If you have any further interest. He can be contacted at Robin Williams Films, P. O. Box 1806, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. His phone number is (949) 494-3307 and e-mail is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Of course you won't get him now as he is on the road with the show, but you will get his lovely wife who is his partner as well.
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 19 Feb 2004 05:13 #7509

  • outaframe
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Thanks ROXY, for the very detailed and complete answer... The projector sounds like a high quality home/business DLP unit with plenty of output lumens... The aspect ratio would be standard 1.33 to 1.0, which can be zoomed back to fill the height of your screen (with the correct lens), but would be narrower than your 1.85 to 1.0 flat screen width... I'd further guess that Mr. Williams also has the studio capability to edit his recordings and add the soundtrack and narration... I'm wondering if he uses tape or a DVD format to make his presentation copy to project on your screen...

And despite the fact that travelogues are one of the oldest entertainment/educational subjects, one that is well done is still an interesting and exciting thing to witness... Old is not necessarily bad, or dull, and you probably remember when travelogues were often part of the short subjects shown before features... Even as a kid, I often found them very interesting... What is surprizing is that there is still a paying audience for them, considering how many are available on PBS, and other sources...

Your praise for the picture quality is contradictory to what the naysayers keep shouting against theater video projection, but coincides with some of my own observations, and I think we will be seeing video replacing film within a much shorter time frame than many suspect... I can only hope that the system which is adopted is simple and inexpensive enough that it doesn't put all of us small independents out of business... So far, most of what seems to be proposed is far too complicated, prone to problems, and expensive to even consider for us little guys...

Thanks again for your candid answers, and the contact information... It's certainly something to consider for a future playdate!...
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 20 Feb 2004 00:37 #7510

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Here's the scoop on the digital projection system used by Robin Williams films. The projector is a Panasonic LCD model # PT-L6500UL using a long throw lens. It is a dual lamp machine with a maximum output of 3600 ANSI Lumens. The player unit is a Sony DSR11 DV Cam which will also play mini DVS.

We projected the image for a throw of 85' onto a screen 15' high which gave us a projected width of about 20'. I would guess that the top and bottom overlap combined was about 6 inches. Therefore, with an image height of 15'6", and a width of about 20', it does appear to have been an aspect ratio of 1.33.

Once again, the picture image was beautiful, bright and clear. If projected side by side with a 35mm print, I'm sure the 35 print would be better, but when there was nothing to compare it with, it looked great. I could watch a feature movie on that system and be very satisfied. Most people would never know the difference.
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 20 Feb 2004 05:27 #7511

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Hello ROXY, thanks for the tech specs of your showing... The projection setup is a higher output version of a similar setup I have put together in my livingroom at home, and your results agree with what I'm experiencing on a smaller scale... You're lighting a 300 square foot screen with 3600 lumens, which amounts to 12 lumens per square foot, and you're happy with the light output and the resolution... Your 15' high screen would be about 36' wide in Scope (540 sq. ft), so a letterboxed 2:35/1 DVD would need about 6500 lumens (and a longer lens) to achieve the same light level and fill that screen with the Scope picture... The pixelation would be somewhat larger, but not enough to seriously detract from the image... All this nails down the fact that the technology is ALREADY in place to make digital projection of theatrical release motion pictures a realistic and doable thing... The cost of LCD (DLP) projectors is falling as we speak, and DVD players are already very reasonably priced, so WHAT'S the holdup?... One thing is the fact that this setup has a limit as to screen size due to the available resolution... True enough, on an IMAX or average 70mm screen, the pixels would be the size of dinner plates, but how many of these sized screens are there, in comparison to the number of screens 40' wide, and less (many CONSIDERABLY less)... The biggest stumbling block is the studio's piracy paranoia... MOST theaters could be showing the very same DVDs the studios have been sending out as screeners to reviewers and academy members, except for the fact they don't trust US to not pirate them... They are concentrating their efforts to develop a system for theaters which is "pirate proof" and in doing so, they will end up making it so complex, trouble prone, and expensive that many of us will find it to be the final straw, and fold up the tent... How sad that we can't just take the DVD that comes in the morning mail and pop it in the player for tonight's showing... That would eliminate the ever increasing shipping costs and hassle of late, and sometimes non-existant delivery, the hours spent in setup and teardown of film, plus countless other headaches, AND it would save the studios the sizeable cost of making release prints... All of this to beat the 3 month (or less) window before that same DVD is available at Wal-Mart!... The average movie-goer could care less whether he's watching film or video, as long as it's a good picture with good sound... Exhibition is the weakest link in the chain, why cling to a 100 year old technology in order to gather the crumbs from the few weeks edge gained before home release of the same material?...
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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 20 Feb 2004 06:06 #7512

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UPDATE <> I tried to edit my previous post, but the system won't allow it???... Letterboxing would require 11,000 lumens to produce the same light level, due to the light lost clipping the top and bottom of the picture, but an anamorphic DVD would achieve the light level with the 6500 lumens, as stated...

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Re: >>> Some questions for ROXY <<< 20 Feb 2004 08:29 #7513

  • D. Bird
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I go to the screening of each year's Warren Miller ski "films". They are also now (sadly) projected via DVD. My complaints with it at THIS STAGE is the TV-like picture (lines) ,the unnatural colours and the squarish ratio. Granted, this is usually a quickie 1 night setup. The picture is always plenty bright enough, I find the blues and blacks very unnatural especially for a predominantly outdoor winter blue sky/white snow topic. Aside from the ease of popping in a DVD, I don't believe Hollywood will EVER have the security they do now with 35mm, how could they? As for convincing exhibition to switch - to me, they would have to lengthen the home video release dates, open up zones to allow all theatres big and small have product and let the customers decide who's better, AND cut back the percentages. Hollywood now only needs the buzz from theatres (or so they think), so if they are to save all this money on going "digital", then let the theatres share. Also, physical discs are the way to go, satellite data transmission is too complicated and prone to theft.
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