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TOPIC: Constant width v. constant height

Constant width v. constant height 12 Nov 2008 08:16 #30331

  • dnedrow
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First, let me say that I really, really, dislike constant width screens. I don't think it yields as nice a presentation as constant height, particularly when transitioning from flat trailers, pre-show, etc., to a scope film.

That said...

The theatre I am re-opening was built in 1926 as a silent house, so it originally had a long, narrow auditorium -- 40' wide by 100' long. The original full aperture screen was set back abut 10 feet behind a proscenium arch. The screen would likely have been about 14' high, by 18' wide.

Sometime in the 70's or 80's, the auditorium was shortened from the back by 20', and a new screen was installed -- this screen was still behind the arch, but 8' closer to the front row of seats. This allowed the installation of a screen around 13' high by 24' wide. This screen uses eyelid masking to adjust for aspect ratio.

I would rather use side masking, but that would mean a constant screen height of only 10' for all formats.

Here are my options...

1) Keep what I have, constant width
2) Switch to constant height
3) Do four-sided masking, which would allow me to automate the transition between flat trailers and a scope film in such a way that it's clear that the scope image is "wider". Using this type of masking would allow for full height Academy and flat films.
4) Move the screen outside the arch, which frees me up to do a proper job of sizing and masking. I have plenty of distance between the original arch and the first row of seats such that I could have a screen that would effectively be the same height as the existing one, but would be 6-7 feet wider.

Thoughts? Recommendations? Criticisms?

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Re:Constant width v. constant height 12 Nov 2008 10:15 #30333

  • dsschoenborn
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Owning an old vaudeville house too I like the arch look. We have adjustable height masking and side masking. We stopped showing flat trailers on scope pictures etc and that has solved several issues in forgetting masking and people asking why the screen got shorter after the previews.

I would vote for what ever gives you the bigger screen size. Give people what they can't get at home a huge screen and fantastic sound.
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Re:Constant width v. constant height 12 Nov 2008 16:19 #30340

  • Mike
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we have constant width/ primarily due to desire for max width coupled with not wanting more expense for side mask movments. It's never bothered me for a moment.

The only thing I ever hear anyone complain about is sound: never picture.
Michael Hurley
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Re:Constant width v. constant height 17 Nov 2008 10:16 #30365

  • rodeojack
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Whether to move your screen in front or leave it behind is a personal choice, each with esthetic advantages.

I stopped running trailers in alternate formats when the industry moved away from curtains. Personally, I never cared for watching the screen change size. It always seemed (to me) a technical issue that was best executed behind a closed curtain. Even then, we never masked downward... always up.

Since then, whatever format the film was in dictated the trailers, and I left the masking alone.
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