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TOPIC: Old Seating Plans

Old Seating Plans 25 Apr 2002 18:45 #27753

  • BECKWITH1
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My seats are 30 year old American Seating.I know that they are worth absolutely nothing to anyone. We have looked at bettering our seats but I am not sold on replacing something that works well with something that doesn't.

It took us a while to understand the pattern, but now that I understand why it works I would like to know what it is called and why they don't seem to do it anymore.

Our seats are all separate pieces - backs, side pieces and seat bottoms. Seat backs come in 18" and 20" sizes alternating rows. So the back row is all 18" backs and the row in front of it is all 20" backs. The rows are all curved so that every seat faces the screen at the best angle. The seat cushions come in 3 sizes: 16", 17" and 18". They are placed in the following order: 5 16" seats, 4 17" seats and 5 18" seats. The row in front of that is reversed: 5 18' seats, 4 17' seats and 5 16" seats. Combined with a 4 1/2 foot slope this seems to give everyone a great view of the screen without anyone sitting directly in front of anyone else.

I like this seating and my customers seem to also, but this doesn't seem to be how new non stadium theaters were built. Why not?
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Re: Old Seating Plans 25 Apr 2002 20:31 #27754

Because some exhibitors are trying to cram as many seats into the floor plan as they can and they don't care about line of sight.

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Re: Old Seating Plans 26 Apr 2002 21:12 #27755

  • Mike
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also: bigger rooms are more prone to the curving rows. On the other hand there's an immense theatre: brand new with stadium seating: 2 frigging balconies! at Pleasure Island and no curved seats. Maybe it just does not matter? I know at Radio City they're curved. Mesbur? Smith?

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Old Seating Plans 29 Apr 2002 09:46 #27756

  • mesbursmith
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Beckwith1

Your theatre conforms with all the rules that govern good seating layout. The variation in seat widths, correctly arranged, give you staggered seating which greatly improves sightlines. Curved rows are much better for directing patrons view towards the centre of the screen. Whenever we do conventional seating we always use both these principles. Even in stadiums, we always advocate curved rows and variable riser heights to achieve optimal sightlines. Our method allows for much better sightlines than conventional stadiums, and requires less overall height in the auditoriums. This also lowers projection room levels and reduces projection angles. So, not only can patrons see much better, but there is less distortion in the screen image.
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Re: Old Seating Plans 29 Apr 2002 16:34 #27757

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My husband and I talked after reading your message. We can't think of any curved seat theaters in our area that we have visited/worked in with the exception of 2 original screens that were split and the original seats were still there. My! Is it unusual to find a new install with curved rows?

Next question: I am concerned about the width of my seats. With the smallest seat at 18" back and 16" seat pinched in a bit at the armrest, I am worried about whether this is wide enough for today. I think Americans are wider than they were 30 years ago. What size seats are you finding that theaters install these days. Do they still buy different widths or do they buy all the same widths?
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Re: Old Seating Plans 29 Apr 2002 17:15 #27758

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All the new-builds we design are based on an average seat width of 21". In practice, the widths actually vary from 19" to 22" to achieve staggered seating, if required. The variable seat widths also allow the armrests along the aisle to line up, which looks really good. We typically don't use varied seat width and staggered seating in stadiums, as the sight lines are very good, but we do stagger seats in sloping floor theatres. Most of the larger chains don't use curved rows or variable riser heights, because it's too expensive. Most of our current work is in Latin America and South-east Asia, where labour is cheap and prefabrication is very expensive. Check out our web site at www.mesbursmith.com to see how great a full stadium auditorium looks with curved rows and variable riser heights.
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