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TOPIC: Stadium seating

Re: Stadium seating 19 Dec 2005 06:33 #29160

  • jimor
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Since all patrons want the most centered view of the screen possible, the architect will put the radius center point at the center of the screen or the stage, and the radius is usually figured from that point as shown on the blueprints. Sometimes the radius is actually back of the rear wall on the plans if they want a more shallow curve to the seat rows, if the rows are to be curved.

In most American municipalities, the degree of curvature of the rows as well as the spacing between them, is specified in ordinance or simply in buildng inspection department practice. They also often specify the width of the seats and the maximum number in a row, so the builder is often limited from the outset as to the maximum number of seats and their placement on a given parcel of land.

Likewise, the pitch or slope of the seating area is also often stated in a statute. One must consult local builders familiar with theatre construction to get the dope about the local ordinances, and how they are interpreted by local building inspectors. Sometimes one can get a variance on a statute to allow dimensions different than those listed.
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: Stadium seating 19 Dec 2005 21:42 #29161



This is the former FAMOUS PLAYERS Portage Place 3 [now the Landmark Cinemas Globe Cinema at Portage Place].

Probably Winnipeg's nicest theatre, but unfortunately downtown.

I think this theatre was done right. It has scope maxed screens, and 70mm in Cinema 1. It opened in Sept. 1987 (with a re-release of Apocolypse Now), so they made a concious effort to install 70mm.

As I was saying, the back wall of those theatres are curved. Is that what you were talking about?
Since 1987
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Re: Stadium seating 27 Dec 2005 05:47 #29162

I know that some of you might hate me for saying this, but from the theater-patron viewpoint, there's something to be said for looking up the screen rather than looking down towards it from a higher up angle. Remember, one of the most thrilling aspects of seeing a movie at a theater is seeing the stars and scenery and so on in a "bigger than life" sort of way. And that to me means looking up toward the big screen, rather than down towards it. Take the recent King Kong release for example. King Kong is supposed to bigger than life. So therefore you want to see him bigger than life. And to do that you have to be able to see him when looking up, NOT at a downward angle, as it is with stadium style seating. So before those of you theater owners who don't have it now rush to switch over to stadium style seating, please give some serious thought to this first.
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Re: Stadium seating 29 Dec 2005 05:45 #29163

  • SamCat
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Steve I disagree.
The experts say that the best and most comfortable angle to see a picture is with the neck at the same angle as you walk. In other words the angle of the neck when you are walking should be the same angle as when you look at the screen. With sloping floors It would be nearly impossible to have this angle. Also when the audience looks slightly down at the screen you want them in all their vision to see the screen only, the screen should take up all their vertical vision. This makes the screen seem bigger and is what gives them the audience the larger than life feel of going to the movies.
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Re: Stadium seating 30 Dec 2005 01:28 #29164

  • Ken Layton
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I still prefer well-planned conventional slopped floor seating. Senior citizens like sloped floors too because they have difficulty going up the stairs.

Don't forget the much publicized Regal Cinemas stadium seating handicap access lawsuit. Regal lost the case and must retrofit something like 2,000 stadium screens with wheelchair access to _any_ part of the auditorium. In some cases this means installing elevators.
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Re: Stadium seating 30 Dec 2005 04:54 #29165

I fully agree that viewing the movie shouldn't be a situation where you're constantly having to keep your head tilted upward all throughout it. But to be sure, there's other ways of looking upward besides that. Those who take the auditorium's frontmost seats, for instance, usually don't sit totally upright if ever, even if the seats are designed for them to sit in them in this way. Rather, they slouch in such way so that they can keep their head back in a relaxed manner, permanantly resting it against the seat's upper portion as it were throughout the entire movie. The big disadvantage of sitting this close to the screen is that it exceeds the viewer's range of vision, meaning that they might not see all they're meant to see or hope to see. The latter problem can be solved by sitting several rows farther back from the screen, but the farther back from the screen they sit, the less a case it becomes of their looking upwards towards the screen, most especially in the case of stadium style seating.

An alternative, therefore, is to have the auditorium floor be perfectly level, and to raise the screen itself to insure everyone throughout the theater has a clear view of it while looking up towards it at the same time. And to solve the strained neck problem, all seats throughout the auditorium could be designed to be much more on an incline. And the screen itself, rather than mounted perfectly vertically, could be mounted at a slant so that it arches out over the audience.

But, there is one trade-off that goes hand-in-hand with introducing that last detail. It would mean having to do away with curtains and thus the great feature of projecting the movie onto the closed curtains at the start of the film. And what could possibly substitute for that?
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Re: Stadium seating 30 Dec 2005 09:14 #29166

  • lionheart
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I've actually also had the idea of using a slanted screen with a flat floor before. It would be in some ways similar to a reverse sloped theater which I seem to remember has been mentioned on this site before as being uncomfortable.

Anyway, wouldn't an outward slanted screen create problems with projection angles, or projector placement? If the screen were slanted outward and over enough to bring a more reclined viewer to a position where he would be somewhat squarely facing the screen, you might have to bring the projector down to floor level somewhere in the middle of the room for the best picture. Maybe if you have a wide center aisle and some sort of turret in the middle of the floor? Then you would have to design the room so that nobody could walk in front of the projector and cast shadows on the screen. It doesn't sound like the most efficient use of space-- at least in my vision of it.

Also, don't forget that people in wheelchairs probably won't sit in your reclined seats. Then they end up craning their necks even more than in the cases that have resulted in lawsuits against the big exhibitors who put them in the front row. In such a suit, you would definitely lose based on precedent.

As for the curtains, you could always have them on tracks at the bottom as well as the top, but that problem seems minor compared to the others that are created with this scenario.
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Re: Stadium seating 31 Dec 2005 01:23 #29167

Aside from the wheelchair problem you cited, I wrestled with all the other problems you touched upon, most especially projector placement. The wheelchair problem could be solved by having wheelchair seating at the far back of the auditorium where the seats would least needed to be on an incline for viewers to see the picture in full. As for the curtains being tracked along the bottom as well as the top as you suggest, they would still belly out from the screen between the bottom and top.

And as for projector placement, it could be similarly placed as it is with the Franklin Institute's Fels Plenetarium in Philadelphia, PA, where images are projected up onto the ceiling. The projection booth in that case is in the middle of the auditorium's flat floor. But, of course, that's in combination with a very serious-minded and well-behaved crowd. Soooo, what to do in a movie theater's case? And I thought, well what if we're talking about LED digital cinema technology, that is, where the screen in question is actually a jumbo LED TV screen such as now used in large sports arenas? For LED technology is growing more and more sophisticated and less costly with each and every passing day. And how far ahead before it can be classified as "theater grade"?

And in my saying this, this is not to say we should replace all existing theater formats with this new style format. If, indeed, it does prove practical. For there's many instances where you want the other style theaters and you wouldn't want this, or vice versa. But anyhow, that's how far I've gotten with this idea so far.
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Re: Stadium seating 03 Jan 2006 22:46 #29168

I believe I have solved the curtain problem while having the screen on a tilt at the same time -- at least in the case of a jumbo LED TV screen being used in place of a conventional theater screen.

The curtains in question would be tracked at the top only and flow straight downward therefore. Just as conventional movie theater curtains do now. However, they would greatly differ from normal theater curtains in that they would be semi-transparent. And when the movie begins they would be fully closed. Yet when the movie begins on the screen behind them, you'll be able to see it through these semi-transparent curtains. The effect should not be all that different from how it is now with the movie being projected directly onto the curtains at the start of the movie. And it might be perfectable to the point that no one could detect any real difference.

So does this sound workable? Yes or no?
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Re: Stadium seating 10 Jan 2006 01:08 #29169

  • Alan_G
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My prefered seat in an auditorium is based on three preferences
  • On the centerline of the screen (left to right).
  • Distance at which or just beyond where the full width of the screen is entirely within my field of view without moving my head or eyes.
  • Altitude that places my eyes just above the bottom of the screen.
Of course I often can't achieve all three at once.

[This message has been edited by Alan_G (edited January 10, 2006).]
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Re: Stadium seating 10 Jan 2006 02:21 #29170

That angling you describe sounds excellent to me, as it is such that for the most part you are looking upward toward the screen. And in my theater layout concept, I'm looking to broaden it so that more theater patrons have the advantage of seeing the screen from that angle you describe. And the way I've planned it out, with the floor for the most part being perfectly level, and the screen at a slight angle so it arches out over the audience, I believe I've come as close as one could possibly hope to get in achieving that goal. For gravity is a very critical when it comes to having a sense of looking up, and stadium style seating totally rules out the ability to make full use of it.
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Re: Stadium seating 26 Feb 2006 07:41 #29171

  • theBigE
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Question for Narrow Gauge:

How did your conversion to stadium seating go? I noticed you mentioned it in a previous post. Out of curiousity, could you possibly tell me:

How many seats did you lose from the previous seating arrangement?

How long did it take?

What sort of construction was used to create the stadium effect?

Ballpark - what did it cost?

Thanks!
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Re: Stadium seating 26 Feb 2006 17:31 #29172

  • Narrow Gauge
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Hello Big E
The screen we renovated was 10 years old and needed drapes, carpet, and seats regardless of stadium or not. The actual construction cost was about $25,000 for the stadium part. The renovation took about 4 weeks but the next one we do probably could be done in thee weeks. I would plan on a ten to 15 per cent loss of seating capacity.
We made our risers out of 2 x 6 steel studs with metal Q decking set on top. Concrete was then poured on top of the decking (approx 3-4 inches deep). We ended with 12 inch risers that are 46 inches wide.
The nice part of this renovation is that the entire theater is stadium as opposed to the part sloped -part stadium that many retrofits end up with. Customer feedback has been very positive.

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Re: Stadium seating 27 Feb 2006 12:06 #29173

  • theBigE
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Thanks Narrow Gauge! I appreciate the feedback. I'm looking at a theater and I want to redo it with stadium seating. I'll proably have more questions for you later.

Did you have to redo your booth when you went to stadium seating?
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Re: Stadium seating 28 Feb 2006 22:11 #29174

  • Narrow Gauge
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Big E
The booth stayed the same-same window elevation etc. The surround speakers had to be lifted in the auditorium to allow for the stadium risers. Good luck with your project!
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