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TOPIC: Stadium seating

Stadium seating 19 Oct 2001 15:58 #29145

  • mesbursmith
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In most other countries, building codes allow variable height steps in stadium theatres. This method dramatically improves sight lines while at the same time allowing the auditorium to be developed with lower ceiling heights and better pojection angles. Most American and Canadian building codes also permit variable heights under certain circumstances, and we have been able do do this in some cities. When properly calcilated and constructed, variable height risers do not pose any safety hazard or other problem in these auditoriums. Please give us your thoughts on this issue.
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Re: Stadium seating 19 Oct 2001 21:57 #29146

  • Ken Layton
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Personally (in my opinion), I can't stand stadium seating. I'm always tripping or stumbling on the steps.
I've seen more broken chair backs in stadium houses because customers can get more leverage on the chair back when they stick their feet up on it. It increases building costs quite a bit on new builds for all that concrete.

Conventional seating that's well laid out with good sight lines and staggered rows on regular sloped floors is what I like best.


[This message has been edited by Ken Layton (edited October 19, 2001).]
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Re: Stadium seating 20 Oct 2001 13:40 #29147

  • Large
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I generaly agree with Ken on this one. But I do like stadium seating when it is done correctly. There is a theatre near us that has stadium seating but at a shallower slope than most. I like it better. If I were to design an auditorium, I would place stadium seating in the back 1/3 of the room. This way I could say that stadium seating is available in all our auditoriums. Seniors hate stadium seating.
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Re: Stadium seating 22 Oct 2001 08:32 #29148

  • mesbursmith
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Although most of our clients insist on stadium seating in all new builds, I do agree with Ken in some respects. The theatres I personally prefer are conventional sloped floor theatres, where they are properly designed. In most theatres where the front rows are sloped and the balance is stadium, generally the front rows are so close to the screen I get nauseous sitting there. If seniors can't negotiate the steps, or handicapped seating is provided in these front rows, those patrons can not enjoy watching a movie. It is very important regardless of the seating configuration, to assure that the first row is at least half the screen width or the screen height distance away from the screen.
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Re: Stadium seating 22 Oct 2001 08:54 #29149

  • Mike
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A rule of thumb I'd never heard: first seat should be half the screen width or the full screen height. Our front rows in 2 of our screens break these rules but no one sits in them unless they are desperate anyway and we're completely sold out or they're 11!

Mike Hurley
www.bigscreenbiz.com
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Stadium seating 22 Oct 2001 09:28 #29150

  • mesbursmith
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Mike: While we always use this rule of thumb when we design cinemas, it doesn't stop our clients from adding an extra row or two in front. In my opinion, if you are sold out and patrons have to sit in these obnoxious front rows, it might very well cost you business, because those people may not want to come back to your theatre if they hated the experience. Even though we never put rows that close to the screen, because of efficient layouts, we are getting excellent seats to square foot ratios in our stadium theatre designs (between 15 and 18 sq. ft./seat overall).
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Re: Stadium seating 23 Oct 2001 15:49 #29151

  • John Pytlak
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Standard SMPTE 196M specifies a preferred viewing distance of 2 to 4 times the screen height. Good 35mm projection usually has enough image quality to allow people to sit within 1 screen height without feeling the graininess is excessive. IMHO, seats placed closer than 1 screen height should be restricted to special venue theatres offering an "immersive" experience, supported by the superior image quality of 70mm prints.



John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
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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
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Re: Stadium seating 25 Oct 2001 16:23 #29152

  • mesbursmith
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John: Wouldn't it be great if all cinemas could have seating arranged according to best practice as recommended by SMPTE? Unfortunately, economics play a very big part in the design and construction of a multiplex. If the first row is back equal to the screen height, or half the screen width (in scope) These seats are acceptable to most of the public. In our experience, it shouldn't be necessary to add rows closer than this, if the theatre is efficiently planned.
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Re: Stadium seating 26 Oct 2001 10:57 #29153

  • John Pytlak
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We're on the same page.


I prefer to sit at about 2 screen heights. With good 35mm film projection, I can usually tolerate as close as 1 screen height before the graininess becomes objectionable. (With smaller screens, you also start to see the screen perforations sitting that close). With current digital cinema projection, the pixels and "jaggies" become objectionably obvious closer than about 1.5 screen heights.

With 70mm prints, I sometimes love to sit really close for the "immersive" experience that high quality image can support.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services
Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Eastman Kodak Company
Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Telephone: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
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
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: Stadium seating 28 Oct 2001 07:01 #29154

  • mesbursmith
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We have just invented a very inexpensive method for constructing stadiums (not prefabricated) which allows for simple construction of curved rows and variable riser heights. Our new method also maximizes the useable space under the stadiums. With our new method, stadium theatres can incorporate all the features which make for the best possible movie experience for your patrons, without blowing the budget!
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Re: Stadium seating 28 Oct 2001 12:01 #29155

  • RoxyVaudeville
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Mesbursmith

Can this new design for curved stadium be used as a retrofit in existing older theatres or is it only for new construction?

My theatre built in 1920 with a wood floor over a crawl space of about 3 to 5 feet has curved seating that I wouldn't want to eliminate if I were to make part of the auditorium stadium. Can this system go over the current floor, or would a new structural system need to be created below on the ground level?

I believe you have seen my theatre pictures at our website, if not check out the picture page @ www.roxytheaternorthampton.com and let me know if you believe that it is something that is adaptable to my type of theatre?

Thanks
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Re: Stadium seating 29 Oct 2001 08:01 #29156

  • mesbursmith
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Roxy: We tested our new method in a renovation to a 1937 theatre in Cleveland, where the auditorium was split into six auditoriums, all full stadiums. In that case, we didn't try to utilize the space under the stadiums. I've checked out your website, and, as I said, your theatre is gorgeous. Our construction method uses all light weight framing. Provided you can confirm from a structural engineer that your floor can support a certain amount of additional loading, I see no reason why our method wouldn't work. Come see us at ShowEast and we'll talk.
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Re: Stadium seating 02 Nov 2001 13:34 #29157

  • poppajoe
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I have heard from older persons that stadium seating is a bother for them, making it hard to get up and down the stairs. Some of them have even said that they get dizzy when they are in the higher levels.
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Re: Stadium seating 06 Nov 2001 17:17 #29158

  • mesbursmith
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I know many older people who find stadium seating difficult for several reasons. Some have difficulty walking, or experience dizziness, as you said, or many cannot see well enough to negotiate the steps, as we tend to keep the lighting levels in cinemas too low. Also, with center aisles, you can't have continuous railings to assist them. I think the best theatres have sloping rows in the front, and stadiums in the back third up to two thirds. It is important that the first rows are far enough from the screen that these are legitimate, comfortable seats. Many patrons want to have choices of seating position and style.
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Re: Stadium seating 18 Dec 2005 21:55 #29159

I don't understand why everyone says that stadium seating allows you to have alot lower ceilings. Every stadium I've been in has used oversized screens and large heights, while slopes have had lower ceilings. In all of these slopes, I've pictured stadium retrofits, allowing for space below the porthole and I just don't see it working.

Also, one of my pet peeves is how everyone says they prefer slopes if its done right, but no one says how to do it right. Some of what I've got so far is:
1. Throw should be 2-4 times the screen's height, and the seats should start one screen height away.
2. Max it in scope with atleast 16fL of light.
3. Gain (1) screen.
4. Curvature of screen should be "Screen Radius = ((Projection Distance + Distance Between Screen and Audience Center) / 2)".

What I need to know is:
1. How do you determine the radius angle for curving the seats?
2. How do you determine the pitch of the slope to place the seats?
Since 1987
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