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TOPIC: Reopening theater

Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 06:16 #9365

  • leeler
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Just thought I'd let everyone know I am reopening a small one-screen theater in rural Northeast Iowa. It is in the middle of refurbishment right now but I have commitments that all will be ready to go in a few weeks.

I have never been busier in my life. From booking movies (see my booking movies post) to buying concessions to making design decisions it is a whirlwind experience.

Thanks to everyone at bigscreenbiz for all of the help and advice. I'd never have been able to do it without you.

Check it out: www.elkadercinema.com
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 07:56 #9366

  • Roger
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That is great news! Be sure to go to CinemaTour ( http://www.cinematour.com ) and e-mail them your theatre's information and maybe even photographs so it can be added to the national listings!
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 10:01 #9367

  • Ken Layton
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Nice theater but no pictures of the projection booth? For shame!


I hope you keep the original projection and observation port hole sizes. Don't make the mistake of installing a 'picture window' for a porthole as it lets too much ambient light and sound into the auditorium.
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 10:45 #9368

  • leeler
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Ken,

There's no pictures of the projection booth because there's nothing in it as of yet. The new stuff comes in about four weeks. The old owner removed all of the valuable equipment and left some old stuff that I don't recognize behind. I'll post some pictures of the booth along with all of the old "equipment" and we can play a game of "What's my Line" with it.

"What a crazy business"
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 12:04 #9369

  • Ken Layton
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Your lobby looks very similar to the Chehalis Theatre in Chehalis, Wash. Your auditorium also looks similar. Check out the pictures of the Chehalis at www.cinematour.com
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 13:19 #9370

  • leeler
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Ken,

Great pix. I hope my theater will look that good one day. It's a big mess now, but getting a little bit better every day.

Thanks for the suggestions. I have contacted cinema tours and hope to be on their page soon.

Lee

[This message has been edited by leeler (edited August 30, 2003).]
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 18:25 #9371

  • outaframe
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HELLO LEE <> WOW!... If the pix on your site are anywhere close to current, you are up to your ass in alligators, right now!... Looks like all you're keeping is the shell of the building: is opening a month from now realistic?... I see a million things to do, and there are another million which can, and probably will, show up in the course of getting it done... I have been involved in several of these projects, and you ARE travelling "Ulcer Alley" for sure!... I sure hope you have LOTS of help... Here's a little suggestion for when you are ready to open: buy a flat rental picture for a week, and don't advertize, or promote it: just put your crew in place, and turn on the lights... You can shake things down and eliminate MOST of the potential problems which "Opening Night" will bring... A few ticket buyers will trickle in, and then build up to a "flood" as the word-of-mouth gets around... IF you are comfortable with how everything works, and that your crew knows their jobs and is competent, THEN start banging the drum that you're open and that such-and-such Starts Friday... Yes, I know this flys in the face of the traditional "Grand Opening," BUT those first couple of nights can turn into a nightmare, and something bad ALWAYS happens which could create a bad impression: just what you DON'T want happening with a house full of paying customers... Yeah, it'll cost a couple of bucks to do it this way, but smooth and easy when the "Big Night" DOES happen is MORE than worth it!... Gonna be looking foreward to your new pix, and your Grand Opening experiences... Best Wishes!...
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Re: Reopening theater 30 Aug 2003 23:09 #9372

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Lee,

Since you are opening a single screen, I hope you weren't sold on a platter system. You would be much better off with two projectors, 6000' reels and automatic changeovers.
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Re: Reopening theater 31 Aug 2003 00:42 #9373

  • outaframe
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Right on, ROXY, gotta agree with you about the two projector system, with 6k foot reels... I'm a bit more old-fashioned, and prefer to make the changeovers manually, but that's just my humble opinion... EITHER way, the dual projector system has LOTS of advantages...

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Re: Reopening theater 31 Aug 2003 00:51 #9374

  • Ken Layton
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While the walls and ceiling are stripped, it would be a good idea to run some conduit from the booth to the stage for all your stage speaker wires (8 of #12 gauge stranded) and a conduit for curtains/masking control.
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Re: Reopening theater 31 Aug 2003 08:01 #9375

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Yes, I was talked into a platter system.

Roxy,

I read your posts on the subject and thought I'd go the two projector route too, but was talked out of it. I and a few volunteers will be running the entire show and I wanted something that would be as reliable as possible. I can't be hustling upstairs for a projector problem then going back down for a concession stand one. As you can see from the photo of me, I can't hustle at all anymore. Anyway, everyone I talked to said the platter was the way to go. I suppose I should have stuck to my guns but, being a newbie, I didn't have enough confidence to fly in the face of convention. I was trying to add up how much it would cost to go the two projector route and it is mighty expensive too, and I'm probably forgetting some stuff too.


In any case, here's my equipment list, but it doesn't get installed for several weeks yet:

All in One 35mm Projection system
Kneisly 1.6KW Power supply & lamp
Used Ballantyne Platter system w/Mut & wrap detector
Film break & center wrap detector interface system
Used Ballantyne Projector base
Dolby Digital film sound adapter
Dolby Digital sound track reader
Used Dolby CP-45 Processor
3 QSC 2 ch power amps
3 two way screen arrays w/4622 passive network
8 JBL 3-way surround sytem speakers
1 8 ohm 18" bass reflex subwoofer
plus lots of other stuff

Anyway, that's the highlights. I appreciate all comments but remember the budget is very tight and I'm going over the budget already on this stuff.

Outtaframe,

thanks for your comments. Yes, as you can see from my picture I've been pulling my hair out strand by strand lately. I don't really have a "crew" to speak of, just me and some volunteers (plus my wife on weekends). I plan a rehearsal or two but I wasn't planning on a weeks worth. Do you really think that's necessary? The company installing the equipment said they'd help with the first showing.

Ken,

I wasn't planning on running conduit for the speaker wire. Do you think that's necessary? The walls will, ultimately, be covered with fabric except for the beams which will be exposed and painted. I was just going to string it up behind the fabric.

I don't have curtains in the budget as of yet. The old curtains are rotten and musty so they're gonna have to go. I'll keep the tracks for them, though, and if I can swing it will be replacing them in the future. I wasn't gonna have masking control. Is that necessary? I was simply going to adjust it manually each week for the new picture.

Before the movie starts I am going to run a powerpoint presentation of local ads and trivia on a DLP projector and computer from up in the booth. I know this will be a different screen size than the film will be but I wasn't going to worry too much about it.

I also plan to hook up a TV tuner card to that computer to watch TV on my "free" nights whenever that might be. Do you think there will be any problems getting the sound from the computer to the speakeres?

anyway, thanks, everyone for your comments. We have pushed the opening out to October 17th. I hope that's enough time to get it all back in shape.

What makes it all the more difficult is that it is a two hour car drive away and they're refurbishing the upstairs as well (my future living quarters). Oh, and little things like selling my house and moving everything I own up there, too. This has been one crazy summer all right!

Lee

[This message has been edited by leeler (edited August 31, 2003).]
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Re: Reopening theater 31 Aug 2003 08:41 #9376

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Ken Layton is absolutely right about running the conduit, even if you don't run any wires in it right now. Not only will it provide a future path that you might need, but it also provides SHIELDING against radio waves using the wires inside as receiving antennas! While rural Iowa may not have the radio interference problems of bigger cities, it is possible for someone in future (or currently?) to broadcast right into your sound system during a movie. It is difficult to retrofit to reduce such interference, so prevention if worth the proverbial pound of cure. Earth ground the conduit at ONE end, and isolate it from any other conduit electrical connections in the building. Simply run a heavy copper wire from a copper rod in the ground (outdoors? in the basement?) where it is deep enough to contact moist earth and firmly clamp the wire to polished bright metal (and air-tight connection). This will create a nearly resonance-free earth ground that will provide low impedence to most any signal and ground it before it penetrates your speaker wiring.

Leeler, you want to live above your cinema? That can be mighty convenient, but have you thought of the risks? It is tragic if a fire should destroy your cinema, but catastrophic if it should also destroy your family's home. It may be more expensive to maintain your home elsewhere, but with time, the risks to your cinema will increase, and the odds will increase that something will happen. Or am I being too cautious? Best Wishes.
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: Reopening theater 31 Aug 2003 13:05 #9377

  • Ken Layton
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The reason I mentioned the conduit is that the electrical inspector won't allow you to just place the speaker wiring behind the wall drapes. In many jurisdictions it's now ILLEGAL! Look around the ceiling area of the projection booth as there may already be an existing conduit. We were lucky when we did the sound wiring at the Chehalis Theater as there was already a 1 inch conduit from the booth to stage. We pulled eight different colors of number 12 gauge stranded wire easily thru 150 feet of conduit.

A suggestion: when your walls get sheetrocked, put insulation (fire resistant!) up then cover that with your wall drapes. If you don't do this you'll have a nasty echo and your sound will be tinny (not enough bass).

If you're over budget on the projection/sound equipment, then forget the digital sound for now and just go for a nice sounding analog stereo system. You can add the digital sound later when you get some money coming in. If you want digital sound now, then go with a good used DTS Digital system as it's alot cheaper than Dolby Digital and (in my opinion) sounds better.

What's the "All-in-one" projection system? What's the make and model of the projector and soundhead? Does the projector have a lens turret? Is the soundhead using an exciter lamp or has it been converted to LED reverse scan? What make is the automation unit for the projector?

Regarding the Ballantyne (Balco) platter: does it have all the upgrades like drop-in (removable) control plates (a.k.a. centerfeeds)? Has the original "brake cable" style variac box been replaced with the new "Alpha" style variac?

Check your local health dept regulations regarding sinks/handwashing. At the Chehalis, the health dept. required a handwashing sink (with hot water!) installed in the snack bar. The health dept was satisfied with a single 12" x 12" stainless steel sink with a small under-the-counter hot water heater. Some jurisdictions now require you to have a 3 bay sink just like a full service restaurant. Also you might have to install a sub-electrical circuit breaker box in the snack bar for just the snack bar electrical equipment (it's a requirement here in Olympia, Wash.).

In some areas single screen theaters can use a single double-headed emergency light fixture mounted to the outside (auditorium) projection booth wall or front of the balcony with both lamp heads pointed at the screen. You'd be surprised how one single light fixture pointed at a white screen lights up the auditorium when the power goes out! Check local regs always.

[This message has been edited by Ken Layton (edited August 31, 2003).]
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Re: Reopening theater 31 Aug 2003 14:31 #9378

  • outaframe
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LEE <> No, a week's worth of "dress rehersal" would be overkill, and you seem to have something in mind along the line of what I mentioned... The 1" conduit for your stage speakers that KEN & JMOORE mention is a MUST... It may not be requied to meet local electrical codes, but having it in place in case of wiring problems down the road, or some possible future screen sound format change, plus the RFI shielding and the fact that it's so easy to do NOW make it manditory... There are lots of good suggestions in the rest of what's been said, as well... KEN's suggestion to hold off on the Dolby Digital would probably pay the additional for a two-projector system, or help out with your budget overrun, but you are the ultimate judge of what's best for your situation... As long as the rest of your system is "digital ready," which it appears to be, you're on the right track... Living in your building has a LOT of advantages, cost and convenience wise, as well as security for the place, but be sure that you have a fire escape route in place, as well... You are off on a life changing adventure, for sure!... Enjoy!...
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Re: Reopening theater 01 Sep 2003 13:45 #9379

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WAY TO GO LEELER!!!

I don't care what anyone says, rural one- screeners rule! That's where you are most likely to find "showmanship" still alive.

GOOD LUCK!!!

Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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