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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 239 (203)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 239
Page 239

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 239


The screen is masked on all four sides with a strip of material two to three feet wide which comes out from the edges of the screen at about a 45 degree angle. More simply, the screen is framed, much as you would frame a painting.

This masking serves several purposes. One is that it improves the artistic appearance of the screen in a theatre. Also, from a standpoint of audience enjoyment, it is important that the picture not be Fixed in space, as would be the case without the masking. Actually, audichBS arenit too conscious of the fact that the picture they are viewing is in a frame, so to speak. They merely have a sense of participating in the presentation.

Another purpose served by the masking, which can be of almost any textile material which is not coated, is that it reflects a certain amount of light back on to the screen, thus giving the extreme edges of the picture the same brightness as the center.

Screen lmprovemen+s

Experiments conducted up to this point indicate that the possibilities for improvements in screens are much greater than was first anticipated. In fact, it is very possible that future developments will permit the use of a less powerful light in the projector with a resulting sharper picture on the screen.

While this may seem incongruous, it nevertheless is true. The amount of light now used, which is necessary to make the picture sufiiciently bright, generates such heat as to cause a barely perceptible flutter of the hlm as it passes through the projector. Thus cutting down on the light and its accompanying heat would eliminate this hutter, thereby making the picture sharper. And the further improved screen would give the picture the desired brightness.

For the most perfect results, Universal believes that the new curved wide screen should be custom made for the theatre in which it is to be installed. However, since the cost of such installations would be too high for many houses, screens can be made in six standard types adaptable to the six standard types of theatres now in existence.


The 25 by 50 foot test screen made by UvI obviously was intended to accommodate pictures filmed on a two to one ratio. It also has proven very successful for already completed pictures shown on a 1:85 to 1:00 ratio. This means that the picture on the screen measures 23 and a half feet by 43 and a half feet, as against today,s standard picture measuring 18 by 24 feet.

Projection of these already completed films is achieved simply through equipping the projector with a standard lens of a. somewhat wider angle than that now used for normal projection. The value for such wide screen projection of already completed films is obvious.

In order to take advantage of the full two to one ratio of the. screen for future productions, it is necessary only to equip the camera with a standard Wide angle lens which will giVe this ratio 10 the picture at the time it is being filmed.


h I. 7

Stereophonic Sound

With pictures being expanded, the use of stereophonic, or directional sound will be available and perhaps desirable. Having a single sound source in connection with todayls standard screen is perfectly satisfactory. However, on the newly developed wide screens, tremendous realism can be given to pictures by having the sound appear to come from its source on the screen. In other words, if the action or the person speaking is on the left of the screen, the sound comes from an amplifier on the left side. If the action is center or right, the sound comes comes from center or right.

Stereophonic sound as such is not new. It was first demonstrated by the Bell Telephone Laboratories in the early 1930s, using a method developed by Dr. Harvey Fletcher. A few years later it again was demonstrated in Hollywood to the film industry, but nothing was done about it at that time because of World War II, and the lack of technical personnel and equipment.

Now, virtually overnight, things have changed. With the industry turning to 3-D and wide screen pictures, stereophonic sound has become an almost necessary adjunct.

In its simplest terms sterephonic sound means the recording of all sound in a picture on three or more separate sound tracks, each track being connected to a different horn strategically placed behind the screen.

Actual stereoplionic sound recording at the time a picture is being filmed is a Considerany more complicated process than that which has been in use. Past practice has been to have a single microphone connected to a single track magnetic recorder. Now it will be necessary to have three or more microphones, placed in diii'crent parts of the set, attached to a three-track magnetic recorder. The mixer, in addition to adjusting sound levels, also will have to determine which of the "mikes" should pick up the sound.

From a standpoint of showing pictures having stereophonic sound, it will be necessary to equip projection machines

THE PHOTOHAMA screen measuring 50 by 30 tee! in the Paramount. WilkeseBune, Pu" is seen.

with three-track or more magnetic reproducing machines that can be interlocked into the projection machines so that the sound will be synchronized. Theatres will also have to be re-wired for three or more horns, rather than one behind their screens.


Up to this point we have been discussing and analyzing the attempts of two of the major studios to evolve some method of bringing the advantages of wide screen presentation to ordinary 2-D motion pictures.

While it is true that most, if not all of the. large and important branches of the industry are giving a great deal of time and money in an eKort to solve this problem, it is also true that the small individuals, the cameramen, the exhibitors, the projectionists, and all the others who make their living from motion pictures, have also been at work.

One of these men, Robert Hanover, has developed a wide screen process, called Photorama, which appears worthy of some attention.

Until recently, pictures were taken through a single camera and were projected on a flat screen by a single lens having a focal length corresponding to the distance of the screen from the lens. In a picture so taken and projected, all the characters appear to be in the same plane. In other words the picture will have not depth or perspective.

Hanover, a veteran Philadelphia projrctionist and part-time inventor, set out to create a system that would produce an effect of greater depth with a picture taken by a single, conventional camera, and without the necessity of providing the audience with viewers.

Bulging Curve

After a great deal of experimentation, Hanover decided that he could create a wide screen that gave a feeling of depth to ordinary film by curving the entire screen about its horizontal axis, and then curving the center portion of the
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 239