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TOPIC: Ceiling color

Ceiling color 05 Jan 2005 11:11 #22074

  • BurneyFalls
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The ceiling in my new theatre is white and water stained. We are going to paint it. Is black the preferable auditorium ceiling color?
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Re: Ceiling color 05 Jan 2005 11:38 #22075

  • muviebuf
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White is a no-no due to reflection.

I personally think that an all black ceiling makes an auditorium look like a tomb. I prefer a gray or green or blue - but that's me.
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Re: Ceiling color 05 Jan 2005 12:10 #22076

  • John Pytlak
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I agree, stay away from white or a light color which can reflect light back to the screen, killing contrast.

If black is too sombre, a dark gray is fine.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
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Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
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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: Ceiling color 05 Jan 2005 13:53 #22077

  • outaframe
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Black, or any other dark color... Mine is charcoal gray which is kinda nice... Just be sure to use flat paint...
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Re: Ceiling color 05 Jan 2005 14:54 #22078

  • rodeojack
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We have theatres here with white dropped ceilings... as others have noted, very distracting.

A couple others have dark blue tiles... much less distracting, and a little color when the lites are on. They didn't use flat paint though... a satin, maybe. It does reflect a bit, but nowhere near as much as white!
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Re: Ceiling color 06 Jan 2005 08:48 #22079

  • jimor
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If you are going to go up there anyway, why not be imaginative? Yes, white ceilings are too reflective, but why not make it a midnight blue? And then add a little something in the form of GLOW-IN-THE-DARK stars, or even constellations? There are kits sold from the source below, and possibly others if you do a web search.

1) 600 stick-on stars, planets for just $7: http://www.edmundscientific.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_3081935

2) A mobile of the nine planets of our solar system for $13; a couple or three of these might enliven your dark blue ceiling, perhaps suspended below the stick-ons above. Just don't put it too near an air outlet, else it might spin itself to death. It shouldn't spin like a whirligig! http://www.edmundscientific.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_3082623

You could make the color even more imaginative if you shade from dark blue to lighter blue at the rear, as by painting some panels very dark at the screen, lighter in the next row back, and so on. Our cinemas are too often dull decor anyway, and this is a cheap way to bring back some pizzazz. If you want LOTS of stars, why not buy or make up a stencil and spray paint it with luminous GLOW-IN-THE-DARK paint: http://www.edmundscientific.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_3031806

This may be a little more work, but, I would think, a LOT more fun!

And if you really want to duplicate the old "atmospherics" consider using a hidden projector to project 'stars' or 'clouds' upon part of the ciling and connecting it to the main projector switch to start and end with projection. One might even use a MIRROR BALL (out of the way of the projection beam) to add some sparkles, though you would have to experiment with this to make it workable. Such devices are available here and elsewhere.

Check with local wall paper distributors for the GLOW-IN-THE-DARK children's stars and nightime patterns. Maybe just a frame of borders of this could be around the edges of each ceiling panel. Penney's catalog used to sell this.

And if you really want to enliven those bleak acoustic panels, consider pushing BLUE L.E.D. lights through some of them so that they glow whenever the lights turn out. Those by www.HolidayCreations.com ("ForeverBright") cost $7 retail for a box of 35 and if turned on for 6 hours daily, they cost only 45 cents per month per set. They have a lifetime warranty of 20 years! They are epoxy plastic which means no glass! I have had ten sets of them running 24/7 since Nov. 1st, connected end-to-end, and have had only about three of the lamps fail while the others continue apparently unaffected. This brand of LEDs does not require transformers. Read their patent: 6,461,019 or read more about them at the LED MUSEUM: www.ledmuseum.org

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited January 06, 2005).]
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: Ceiling color 06 Jan 2005 09:47 #22080

  • Mike Spaeth
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I wouldn't recommend that. When the lights are out ... the attention needs to be on the screen ... I wouldn't appreciate glow-in-the-dark or LED distractions during the film.

[This message has been edited by Mike Spaeth (edited January 06, 2005).]
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Re: Ceiling color 06 Jan 2005 13:25 #22081

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Mike, I don’t believe that you understand what Jim was suggesting. He wasn’t inferring the use of large, bright obtrusive fixtures, but rather tiny imbedded lights or reflectors. And whatever you do, don’t go to a drive-in unless it’s a cloudy night as the star-studded sky above and behind the screen may ruin your show. I will assume that you are too young to have experienced the great atmospheric theatres with their (make believe) star studded skies overhead. Nothing was more relaxing then to enjoy a movie in one of those theatres while the stars blinked above.

For the most part, anyone under the age of 40 hasn’t had the opportunity to experience what it was like to go to the movies in the great movie palaces. The ambiance of the facility added to the adventure, making movie going more then just going to see a film. I prefer to call it theatre going rather then movie going. The excitement began with the anticipation of going, the bright lights of the marquee or front upon arrival, a friendly courteous uniformed staff, the luxuriousness of the carpet and decorations of the lobby, and the comfort and beauty of the auditorium.

Showmanship in presentation was just as important as well. The use of lighting and curtains, the pre-show music, all played an important role. A theatre auditorium should NEVER have any white light. Sufficient light levels can be achieved with colored lights, which will create a more pleasing and restful environment. The manner in which the lights are dimmed while the curtain is opened adds to the anticipation of enjoyment of the show. These are the things that make for a pleasurable and memorable presentation.

The addition of screen advertising is probably the most obtrusive addition to the movie going experience that has come upon our industry. It is often used as the argument for not having curtains. However, that is not the reason as most cheap theatre chains stopped using them long before screen advertising came about. If screen advertising is necessary to keep a theatre operating, curtains can still be used, and they add so much to the presentation. Simply finish the ads a few minutes before showtime, close the curtain, and then reopen it as the lights dim for the show.

What if the movie isn’t any good? If the theatre is attractive, comfortable, and the presentation top rate, the adventure hasn’t been lost. The experience of theatre going itself is enjoyable in itself. In my youth I went to many movies where I spent more time looking at the architecture of the theatre then what was on the screen, and left feeling very pleased with the experience.

The stars twinkling above didn't hinder the enjoyment of the show, but rather enhanced it.



[This message has been edited by RoxyVaudeville (edited January 06, 2005).]
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Re: Ceiling color 06 Jan 2005 15:09 #22082

  • mixerjv
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You might want to check with the building inspector or fire marshal- painting ceiling tiles removes their fire rating and can change them from "non-combustible" to "combustible" furnishings.

Armstrong #1729 is offered in a fire rating and black for theatres.

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Re: Ceiling color 06 Jan 2005 15:36 #22083

  • rodeojack
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don’t go to a drive-in unless it’s a cloudy night as the star-studded sky above and behind the screen may ruin your show.

Especially my place...
My main screen is directly under the ILS approach to our local airport (1 mile from us). At night, we might see 2 or 3 general aviation aircraft use the approach. The lights from our reader board light these planes up enough that they look pretty impressive as they pass overhead. Compared to glow in the dark stars (which we already have), this is a HUGE, occasionally noisy distraction... and one that helps define the personality of this place that people love so much!

btw... don't try this at your local indoor theatre... it might be difficult to get a low-flying plane into your auditorium... though I suppose it would define your place pretty well, too!


[This message has been edited by rodeojack (edited January 06, 2005).]
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Re: Ceiling color 06 Jan 2005 16:28 #22084

  • outaframe
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The atmospheric lighting that Jimor and Roxy are talking about is really neat, especially if you can turn it off when the movie starts... Sitting in a dark box (even with the lights "up") waiting for the movie to start can be really boring, even with a slide show and pre-show music... I have metal lath with sand plaster so some of Jimor's ideas weren't practical for this situation when I painted the original lighter colors charcoal gray, but I did add some art deco era movie stars and movie scenes as huge murals hign on the sidewalls... These are lit from below with blue neon, and there is glitter on many of them... I ended this about 1/3 of the distance back from the screen to avoid any distraction when the movie is playing, and fade out the blue neon (house lights) when the movie starts, but for the customers who arrive early it's quite a conversation piece... I had considered a mirror ball at one time as well, but decided it would be too much of a good thing... It's just a bit of the subtle showmanship that Roxy likes so well...
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Re: Ceiling color 07 Jan 2005 03:10 #22085

  • BurneyFalls
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Thanks for all the comments and ideas. The ceiling isn't tiles, it is that nasty sprayed on popcorn stuff.
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Re: Ceiling color 07 Jan 2005 09:30 #22086

  • jimor
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Whenever people say that one shouldn't use this or that decor element because it might "distract" from the film (and commercials!), then all I have to say is: Thank God that there then is something to look at if the film is so poor that people are that easily distracted! Let's face the truth: the absolute majority of our films are absolute trash and junk, with little or no redeeming social value for anyone with morals. True, the vast majority of the audience also has no morals, so they don't care how bad the movie is, but I maintain that there is always a minority that hope to find a good movie, and if they don't, at least they have something entertaining to some degree to look at, and thus not regret coming out to a movie. The point is to make the movie going experience DIFFERENT than what they will see even on a 60-inch screen at home.
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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