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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 248 (212)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 248
Page 248

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 248

ABOVE IS THE STRONG 3-D RECTIFIER. The increased light demands the additional power.

Noticeable improvement in theatre attendance has been reported in the six major cities where the TV market has gone soft.

The time is opportune, and producers are giving a choice of very potent magnets with which to pull back 25-million lost customers. This goal is attainable. It is as certain as death and taxes, but immeasurably more pleasant.

Representing the SMPTE I must refrain from favoring any one of the systems to be discussed, or from expressing an opinion on their relative merits.

The task of evaluation is yours.


Showmen, engineers and many others in the last half century have tried in numerous ways to improve the stage settings for the presentation of motion pictures.

Many reasons were advanced for the suggested changes: heightened dramatic possibilities, better viewing, removing the limitations imposed by a picture frame, even the reduction of eye-strain and its consequences.

These experimenters made little progress against the inertia of a highly standardized industry. But while they were getting nowhere, steady progress was made in every other field: equipment, methods, film, sound and color.

So today in most of our theatres we are displaying million-dollar products in 50-year-old show-cases: a rectangular screen framed and surrounded by a black border and background.

Our conventional black-masked screen has long been condemned as primitive and fatiguing by eyesight specialists and illumination engineers. Their research discloses that areas of high central illumination need adequate peripheral or surround brightness for seeing comfort. It results in less eye-fatigue, better perception of detail, and quicker response to the screen image.

The audience begins to feel a new sensation of being closer to the actionsomething of the feeling of an actual eve witness to the events unfolding on the screen. Contributing to this illusion is the absence of the black pictureframe. Lacking this yardstick, the patron is less conscious of his distance from the screen, even in the rear seats.

Illuminated surrounds are thus a significant step toward the goal of audience participation and heightened dramatic effects and emotional appeal.


Other innovators, working independently here and abroad to improve the showing of motion pictures, have for a long time been of the opinion that the standardized screen proportion of 4 to 3 is a mill-stone around the neck of the creative people in our business. Only on a large screen, they are convinced, can the motion picture display the dramatic force of which it is capable. Proscenium limitations7 however, prevent their use in the present shape in the majority of theatres.

Still other advocates of larger screens maintain that size alone is but part of the solution. They can give mighty convincing proof that the screen should conform to the shape of the normal field of human vision.

We observe the world around us, they say, by means of distinct central vision,

THIS WALKER HIGH INTENSITY SCREEN in the New York Roxy is good for both 2-D and 3-D.

and less distinct peripheral vision. The two eyes together take in a semi-circular field exceeding 180 degrees.

The more the screen can be expanded to the angular range of normal sight, the greater will be the illusion that the audience is within the scene of action. No longer will he be viewing a framed picture; he will instead be in. the picture, sharing the mental and emotional excitement of the characters on the screen.

To enhance the sense of realism and participation, the disciples of the wide screen strive to create a third-dimensional effect without resorting to stereoscopy and polarizers and viewing spectacles. First they take full advantage of our faculty to perceive depth or distance by image size, shadow effects, perspective, color shades, parallax and a moving camera, all coupled with visual experience. Then they augment our depth perception capacity with stereophonic sound. Speakers are arranged behind the screen, on the side walls and in the rear of the house. Sound follows action across the screen and travels around the theatre. Only those who have experienced the sensation of being surrounded by sound and picture can appreciate its spell-binding effect on the spectator.

Whatever else may fall by the wayside, stereophonic sound has made good; it is here to stay. And all wide-screen systems use it.

None of the wide-screen techniques, however, is a true stereo or 3-D picture. They are described variously as providing three-dimensional effects, illusions of depth, and so forth. All are directvision processes, employing neither polarized light nor polarized viewing spectacles.

Wide Screen Systems

Cinerama, introduced to the public in New York last fall, carries the concept of increased field of vision almost to the limits of normal sight. Three synchronized projectors throw a triple-sized picture image on a vast curved screen which provides a field of vision of 146 degrees in the horizontal and 55 degrees vertically.

Since Cinerama is non-standard from cameras to film-speed, it is a road-show, long-run presentation being adaptable in its present form to a very limited number of houses in the country.

It is of interest to you only as evidence that the public is enthusiastic about wide-screen projection.

CinemaScope, the Twentieth CenturyFox wide-screen system, is based on an optical development of Professor Henri Chrctien, of the University and the Optical institute of Paris.

lssentially the device consists of a cylindrical lens that acts as a sort of optical transformer. When mounted in front of the regular camera lenses, it usqueezes" a field two and one-half times normal width into the standard 35-min frame. The vertical dimension remains unchanged.

A similar optical device is placed b0f'ore the projector lens. This one spreads out the light beams horizontally, thus restoring objects in the scene to their original shape.

In short, the CinemaScopc procesS, using regular film, cameras and projec THEATRE CATALOG 1953-54
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 248