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1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 447 (421)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 447
Page 447

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 447

certain requirements, such as service on sound equipment, which are more economically and satisfactorily handled by a service company on a contract basis.

The well-organized service company is able to do this job economically and satisfactorily because it has the resources and maintains personnel on a nationwide basis to serve the theatre industry. It has experience gained through the years since the inception of sound, it has trained personnel equipped with the most modern electronic test instruments, and it has research facilities to provide its personnel with up-to-date information on theatre sound equipment. Field engineers receive the benefits of continuous research in electronic sound recording and reproduction, acoustics, optics, and television.

The most efficient and economical procedure, as determined from years of experience, is to render service to theatre sound systems at regularly scheduled intervals. The trained service representative, on his call to the theatre, can thoroughly inspect the equipment, make overall checks of electronic circuits, and make any necessary replacement of parts. He also can check mechanical devices and make adjustments, where necessary, to avoid the possibility of a shut-down. Thus, month-to-month the exhibitor is assured of standard performance. All this work is carried out with no additional work on the part of the exhibitor. In other words. the service company sees to it that the sound equipment functions at its best, thus relieving the exhibitor of worry and permitting him to devote his time to the essential job of managing and exploiting his theatre.

In addition, the service company keeps its field staff available for emergency service. No individual can provide the efficient emergency coverage that is furnished by a national organization. Accidents, illness. or death in the service companyis personnel do not interfere with its normal and emergency service coverage.


In the matter of projection, the ultimate aim is to make the patrons become mentally a part of the story of the picture, with total absence of either conscious or unconscious strain. This depends. for the most part, upon proper screen illumination, the size of the screen and its condition. The entire projection system. being a combination of intricate mechanical and electrical units, requires careful handling. The various working parts 0f the system are designed to operate most efiiciently when adjusted and maintained within the limits prescribed by the manufacturer. Exhibitors know from experience that wear and tear on a projection machine is abnormally high. The condition of the intermittent mechanism must be watched closely, as worn intermittents not only reduce the life of the projector head. but the life of release prints, as well. While the exhibitor may see no immediate connection between preserving the life of release prints and his own efficiency, he must realize that. in the long run, he is


the one who foots the bill for the entire cost of the picture.


In the matter of sound reproduction, the problem is even more involved. While a picture is enlarged from the film to the screen a few hundred times, sound is amplified several million times from the initial impulse to the time it is projected from the loudspeakers. Consequently, any imperfections entering into the reproducing equipment, have a much greater effect on the quality of sound reproduction than they might have on the projection of the picture.

The sound apparatus is a highly specialized system, employing delicate electronic circuits and precise mechanical equipment, all of which require many accurate adjustments properly to reproduce the sound as recorded on the film. While such adjustments are normally made at the time of installation, the equipment nevertheless requires regular attention to be sure the adjustments are accurately maintained. Also, electronic parts such as tubes, resistors, and condensers are subject to deterioration, and mechanical parts are subject to wear, all of which contribute to poor sound reproduction if these parts are not replaced in time. Thus, the sound system, because of its complex nature, needs frequent inspection, preferably on a regularly scheduled basis, to insure peak performance and, in turn, satisfied patrons.

Probably the most important detail to observe in maintaining a high quality of sound reproduction is cleanliness. The tiniest particles of dirt, lodged in any part of the apparatus, may have disturbing effects. More insidious trouble may arise from defective loudspeaker units.

But attending to the serious defects in sound systems is only one phase of the sound engineeris job.

He may also be instrumental in obtaining finer over-all sound reproduction in a theatre where improvement was thought to be impossible-where architectural problems, for instance, hindered the efficient distribution of sound to all parts of the house. In such cases the sound engineer, through tests and manipulation, may adjust the sound mechanism to achieve proper balance of high and low frequencies as well as more uniform distribution of sound through the theatre.

Another phase of the sound engineer's function, while less dramatic, is immeasurably more important. This is the problem of guarding the .sound quality against subtle, gradual degeneratione a degeneration that sets in by imperceptibly easy stages. Curiously enough, while the exhibitor may be well aware of the hazards of such deterioration, he must guard against trusting the judgment of his own ears. Open-minded exhibitors recognize this danger, and realize, furthermore, that the experienced, acutely analytical ear of the service engineer is a genuine safeguard to them in this matter. The sound engineer, who comes fresh from other theatres on his routine inspections, and whose car has a yardstick of comparison, can detect the deterioration before it gains material headway.

By this time, it should be apparent that the job of servicing projection and sound equipment is far removed from the exhibitors sphere of capability. This levels no indignity upon the exhibitormanager. He should View his position as that of a hospital superintendent, and not the specialized surgeon. His is the job of efficiently managing the theatrea

SERVICING THE SOUND HEAD involves scientific precision and takes a trained technician to do if properly. While many proieciionis's may keep the apparatus in good condition, through routine maintenance and cure, the delicate balance and adjustment of circuits and various items of equipment demand accurate testing and precise adjustments. Port of this technical know-how is the correct interpretation of meter readings. (RCA photograph.)
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 447