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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 264 (228)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 264
Page 264

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 264

Remodeling With Accent on the Focal Point

A Small Town Nebraska Exhibitor Tells How He ppModernized His House with a New Screen Front '

It has long been customary to surround the picture screen with masking frames of black, light-absorbing material to eliminate the fuzziness of the picture edges, to minimize the effect of mechanical vibration, and to prevent distracting reflections from the screen from striking auditorium frontal areas. In the early days of motion pictures, the low levels of screen illumination that the inefficient projection lighting of the time offered, and the poor sideto-center screen distribution which resulted, made advisable the use of such large areas of black screen masking. It was felt that the picture would appear brighter in contrast to dark surroundings.

Screen Masking Unsatisfactory

Dark screen masking is unscientific, and puts more strain on the eyes. Extensive tests made by optical societies and instrument companies indicate that the great majority of personsviewing a projected picture prefer that the area surrounding the screen be illuminated to-some degree. Most observers agreed that when the area surrounding the screen was illuminated so as to serve as a transitional space between the screen and the audience, fatigue from eyestrain was decreased considerably.

Maskless Screen Fron'l'

With the elimination of the old type black screen masking, the image seems to float in a field of light created by its own illumination.

This pleasing effect has been embodied in the new screen installation at the Avon, Elgin, Neb. Occupying the entire front field of vision of patrons, the new screen treatment permits a view from the front seats which is as easy on the eyes as was the view from the very middle of the auditorium with the old masking. The image is clearer, sharper, and does not appear distorted to persons seated in the front row next to the wall. The improvement is especially apparent when Technicolor pictures are shown, and beauty and contrasts never before attained lend striking realism to the projected image.

The effect of illumination surrounding the principal light source in lessons ing eyestrain was demonstrated to me many years ago in a Wyoming coal mine. The main shaft of the mine began at the bottom of a large hill and ran about 300 feet straight into the hill. While in this main shaft about 200 feet back, we stopped, turned out our lamps, and looked back at the entrance. The brilliant daylight at the entrance was hard to look at; it strained and seemed to pull our eyes, and the longer we looked, the harder the glare appeared. We lighted our lamps to con

By JOHN L. IRWIN Owner, Avon. Elgin. Neb.

BRIEF: The focal point of every theatre, the screen deserves prime consideration in any plans to modernize in accordance with latest scientific advances . . . By eliminating outmoded screen masking . . . and adding light-reflecting aprons to the top and sides of the screen . . . eye fatigue is lessened and the projected image appears sharper and brighter.

Cost of installing a new maskless screen front is small in relation to high quality projection it makes possible . . . At small theatres . . . where the remodeling budget is closely limited . . . an improved screen arrangenwnl is an effective, worthwhile innovation . . . which can give the house a new look . . . at small cost.


tinue our trip through the mine, and I then noticed that with the black coal walls illuminated, the light from the entrance was immediately softened and no longer hard on the eyes.

I nsl'alla'l'ion

Making use of the same principle to provide a more pleasing screen image, a new maskless screen front was installed at the Avon. The stage was removed, and the screen moved back about eight feet to the rear wall. Six twoby-fours, placed vertical from the main floor to the ceiling in a curved position from the screen to the side walls,

formed the framework for the curved screen aprons on each side of the auditorium. The framework was COVered with three sheets of Nu-Wood, each five-eighths of an inch thick by nine feet long, by four feet wide, running horizontal on the six upright two-byfours. A sheet of one-quarter-inch plywood, four feet wide, was used around the bottom of the stage and wings. The curved wing that runs horizontal across the top of the ceiling and the top of the screen was cut from one-inch pine planking, ten inches wide and 24 feet long. This piece was sawed at several points to make the curve, and the convex side was placed toward the auditorium. The bottom wing that runs across the bottom of the screen was made the same as the top wing, except that it has no curve on the outer end. Top and bottom wings were covered with quarterinch beaver board.

An emergency exit door formerly was in the center of the back wall. This was built into a speaker housing, and a new exit door was installed at the north end of the wall. The speaker housing projects out about three feet from the rear of the building, and with a foot-thick brick wall encasing it, is four feet in depth.

The whole screen front, from floor to ceiling, was painted a flat buff color. Light buff was chosen after trying a number of different colors. It was found that when that particular shade was used, the light reflected from the screen to the side aprons was softer, blending into the picture itself, and did not distract from the screen image.

THE SOFT ILLUMINATION in the area surrounding the Avon sereen is shown in this startling view taken from the rear of the darkened auditorium.

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 264