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TOPIC: Rules of cinema design

Rules of cinema design 09 Oct 2005 18:18 #28936

  • SamCat
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Out of curiousity does anybody have any rules/ guidelines for cinema design that they know about?
The ones that I have heard of are
(1) Have the auditorium length 1.5 times the width of the cinema. eg if the cinema is 10 metres wide have the length as a guide 15 metres long.
(2) Have the first seat in the auditorium half the screen width away from the screen. eg If the screen is 8 metres wide, start the first row of seats at 4 metres from the screen.
(3) The best projection angles are under 6 degrees.
(4) Have a minimum 15cm sightline clearance between heads.
(5) Tro not to have an auditorium width under 10 metres.
(6) The total size of the complex
in square metres is double the amount of seats plus projection box. eg 2000 seats= approx 4000m2 building area plus projection box.

Does anybody have any other rules guidelines or thoughts on the above?

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Re: Rules of cinema design 09 Oct 2005 23:44 #28937

  • outaframe
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More "rules of thumb" would be --

No concave surfaces...

Any pair of parallel surfaces would need at least one of them treated for sound reflectivity...

The "ideal" auditorium shape is wedge shaped, with the screen wall being the narrow end, and having the opposite wall 1.5 to 2 times the width of the screen wall... The seats to be arranged in parallel semi-circular rows, with the radius centered on the screen wall... (I suppose if you had enough of this style auditorium side-by-side in a multiplex, you'd end up with a circular building, the most expensive to build, and space inefficient type building you'd be able to build!)...
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Re: Rules of cinema design 10 Oct 2005 09:42 #28938

  • jimor
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The previous did not mention the rake or slope of the floor, but I assume that you know enough not to put seats on a flat floor, even though that is easier to construct and finance. If a cinema is small enough according to one's local building code, he need not go to the expense of stepped or 'stadium-style' seating.

In addition to the forgoing basic structurals, there are the systems to consider (HVAC, electrical, sound distribution, fire signals/emergency lighting, etc.) lavatories, concession areas and the hookups needed for them and the janitor's rooms that serve them, projection adequacies (including a Film Lift so as not to break your back lugging film cans until the day when they are outmoded --but then will you ever have changeover machines for revival festivals??), stage requirements if one intends even a small working stage (and space in the booth for a follow-spotlight for the stage?), exterior look of the place in conjunction with signage (marquee? attraction boards), adequate parking for at least one third of the number of seats (local code may determine this), distance of such from building and means of sheltered approach to the building for the more difficult climates and the security of such approaches in crime-prone areas, office needs (bookeeping on and off a computer, cash handling, supervisory closed circuit TV system for management surveillance of employees as well as unruly patrons by means of HIDDEN cameras, soundproofing so that the office is useable even during a rock concert), all the way down to providing such amenities as one or more drinking fountains in the lobby mounted so that they Do NOT project off the wall out into the stream of traffic, plus adequate seating in the lobby for the comfort of those waiting for restroom users and just to read some flims-oriented magazines that you have thoughtfully scattered about to encourage the love of film, which equates to your reason for being, a dedicated professional intercom to the projection room in case something goes wrong and you must speak to whoever is up there during an emergency, and a remote power cut-off switch for the movie and sound (called a Panic Switch) which also turns on the Cleaning Lights in an emergency or other panic, etc.

None of this addresses what your cinema will look like, and a word to the wise in this regard: don't think that just some concrete block walls painted will be all that is needed to draw the patrons; if they have the choice now or in future to go to a snazzier place, they will probably abandon yours to go there, as long as the movie is the same and the prices are not too different. Start out early with an ambitious decor; you can always implement it in stages or cut back if need be, but it is difficult to add more room as time goes on, so plan ahead. Think seriously about a Theme Decor, since that helps greatly to add your Identity in the minds of the public, rather than being thought of only as the local cinema, which is easy to dismiss from the public's mind when better competition comes along. You want to crate an EXPERIENCE, not just a screening room --there are already countless such. Start with every provision to make your place bright, clean and safe, and worthy of someone's fond memories. You may not be able to create a modern Movie Palace, but neither do you want to create by lack of planning the local 'Flea Pit!' (rent the video: THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH and you will see what I mean!)

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited October 10, 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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