Continued from preceding page
lateral projectors throw each to the side of the screen opposite, the importance of this ability to balance light is evident.SPECIAL SOUND PROJECTOR
The sound system and the speaker installation consist of five banks installed behind the curved screen, which are the ones normally used for most of the programs. In addition, there are nine others used as auxiliary speakers, mostly to achieve various special sound effects.
The sound booth utilizes the standard projection booth of the theatre, but a special Cinerama sound projector is installed. The film used for this purpose is standard 35mm film, with a magnetic coating activated for the seven sound tracks. The picture films used in the other three projectors, incidentally, carry no sound tracks and utilize the full width of the film for the picture.CONTROL TO CONSOLE OPERATOR
The standard theatre projector is also used for the prologue in the present Cinerama program. This projects a standard film on a standard screen to give scale to the Cinerama show.
Control of the house lights and of the curtain is handled from the usual position backstage. The stage installation required for Cinerama includes the curved screen, moving curtains, and masking curtains. The moving curtains are controlled to an approximate half position when the central portion of the screen is used for the prologue, and to full opening for the presentation of the balance of the film.
Control for the starting and operation of the show is transferred from the manager, who is usually the one to give the signal in standard theatre operation, to the console operator because of the intricate requirements of Cinerama. Overall executive control, of course. still remains in the domain of the theatre manager.
Pre-opening procedure may be reviewed briefly to indicate the sequence of coordination involved in this show. The individual projectionists start preparation by cleaning and checking their machines and threading up for the start. The console operator assumes his position, and checks through the intercommunication system with each station. For this purpose, the three picture booths are designated A, B and C - from left to right as one views them from the stage or screen position - and the standard code names of Able, Baker and Charlie are used.
"Are you ready. Able?" and so on will go over the communication system, until the console operator knows that all is in readiness for the show. The manager will probably check with the console operator, and when all is ready, the latter will give the actual signals to start the show. The projectors must first be switched from local to remote, as his lights will
Although presenting a solid front to the audience, the Cinerama screen actually consists of more than a thousand strips of perforated plastic tape arranged like the louvres of a gigantic venetian blind.
(Popular Mechanics photo).
established motion picture house in this department. Two shows are usually given daily, with a third show on Saturdays and Sundays in the present Detroit policy, for instance - all at stated hours. Every seat in the house is reserved and accounted for. The patron knows that when he comes to the theatre he will be assured of having a seat in a specific place in the house, and will not have to take the chance of having to wait for a seat.DELUXE TYPE OF PRESENTATION
Advance sales of seats with operation as a premium-type of roadshow is the policy that Cinerama management views as the only proper policy for this type of show. It is a matter of deluxe - style presentation - "a Cadillac quality of show," Latady expresses it, in contrast to the standard continuous performance policy of picture houses.
Future production plans for Cinerama product indicate a careful planning to make continuation of this policy possible. Only top quality, "A"-type films are to be produced, and it is expected that each will be of such wide appeal and boxoffice value that it will be able to run a minimum of six months in each city.TWO WAYS OF SELLING TICKETS
Actual Cinerama installations will be necessarily limited to selected theatres. Major cities, both in this country and abroad, will provide the logical locations. Cinerama does not appear adaptable to small town presentation at this time or in the near future. For this reason, it will be presented as an attraction which will draw patronage from a wide area into the major city where the show is presented.
Boxoffice policy includes two methods of ticket sales-through the boxoffice window itself, and by mail. The latter method is used for both local and out-of-town sales. No orders are taken by phone, since this method presents the obvious difficulty of people ordering seats and failing to show up for the performance to pick up the reservation. No passes are issued.
These operating policies are all designed to give the patron a higher quality of service and presentation. Assurance of a good seat is possible by this means, for instance. This is especially important to the many people who are drawn from a considerable distance to the big city to view an attraction like Cinerama.
General physical standards of operation within the house are kept at a high level. The price is considerably higher than charged for the ordinary first run theatre - in Detroit it is $2.80, compared to 95 cents - and the public is given added service features and comfort. The advertising, for instance, is unusually detailed in giving times of performances, prices, and other data for advance reservations. Within the house. the physical appearance is attractive. Neatly uniformed usherettes are employed. There are special features. such as the installation of a very attractive new concession stand, always banked with live flowers. All "This Is Cinerama."
|indicate. If a buzzer is used to signal the start of the show, it will be the console man, not the manager, who pushes it.|
FOUR PROJECTORS ARE STARTED
Signal is given to the house electrician to dim the house lights and open the curtain, and the show is ready to go on. By throwing a single switch, the console operator starts all four projectors in synchronization. From here on, his task is one of constant vigilance to check both sight and sound, and to make any necessary adjustments. A similar procedure is followed for the second half of the show.
The projectionists brought in for this task are given special training for a minimum of one week in advance of opening, and given an intensive course in the operation of Cinerama projectors. The two console operators required, since this is on a shift basis, are given special additional training for two to three weeks in their more involved duties. The console men must have a good background in electronics as well as in projection.
The actual installations of special equipment and the necessary special wiring and ventilation are made by local contractors and with local help, under the supervision of Cinerama engineers. As much of the work as possible is done by local firms. Thus, in the Detroit installation, the general contract work was done by the Krieghoff Co.: electrical work by M. Van Norman: sheet metal work by Splitzley-Rettenmier Sheet Metal Co., and the general architectural work, design and planning by William Lescaze Associates of New York, with the Detroit firm of Smith Hinchman and Grylls associated to expedite the installation.
Turning to the front of the house, we find a bonded treasurer rather than a cashier in the boxoffice. Operation is essentially more like that of the classic legitimate theatre or auditorium than the