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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 251 (215)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 251
Page 251

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 251

standard for screen aspect ratio, for sound, for projection and so on. They think the producers should return to the old policy of making identical products. If this happens, you and the production people arenit as smart as I have been giving you credit for these many years.

The third group wants interchangeability standards for basic equipment and techniques. For instance, they expect stereoscopic sound standards that will allow them to present any stereo sound film from (my studio, at a reasonable cost in equipment and operation.

Beyond this standardization of essential equipment, they want producers to have every possible latitude in making pictures that will be irresistible magnets to straying customers.

Why dont the automobile manufacturers standardize production on one car? Why are they continuously improving their cars, year after year? To keep us constantly hungry for their products.

George Stevens, one of the industryis outstanding producers, expressed the opinion that studios should never sacrifice their competitive position or limit their freedom of dramatic expression by rigid standardization.

Paul Raibourn, Paramount Vice-President and motion picture and TV engineer, said that the industry has suffered from too much uniformity. He believes that showmen in the future must be equipped to use a variety of presentation methods to show films at their best in different techniques.

The SMPTE has been the champion of standards in the industry for 37 exciting years. Our work began in 1916 with extracting order out of chaos in equipment and methods through standard specifications and interchangeability. From these early efforts the 35mm film became the only standard product, along with time-pieces, common to all the nations on earth.


The purpose of standards is to foster the orderly growth of the industry . . . to make it stronger by broadening our markets . . . and by reducing the chances of economic waste in manufacture, production and distribution.

It has never been the Societyis policy to extend standards beyond the items which will help you and other segments of our business to function more efficiently and profitably.

Standards when carried to excess, can, like Government regulations, become straightjackets that curb developments and thereby jeopardize the future of your business and mine.

Standards for the production of stereoscopic pictures were proposed and agreed upon in a remarkably short time. Any theatre, equipped for Z-film stereo projection, can run (my and every stereo motion picture on the market. Yet manufacturers of screens and filters and light sources, for instance, have been free to continue improving their products to the advantage of all of us.

Basic standards for stereophonic sound are well along, and there is a good chance that a four magnetic-track, Single-film system will be adopted as possessing the attributes for standards ization. Two of the tracks will be out 1953-54 THEATRE CATALOG

side the sprocket holes; two inside. The process has flexibility and is compatible, at a reasonable cost to the exhibitor, with all existing sound-on-film systems. The use of standard projection equipment, plus a sound head and inexpensive modifications of sprocket teeth, will keep the cost within the capacity of the average theatre.

Standards on wide- and panoramicscreen are under continuous study. Late data are being collected on the dimensions, seat plans and screen ratios of every house in the United States. This information will undoubtedly be the key to any success in this field.

How far screen standardization can go, without limiting the technical and artistic developments essential to profitable operations,ethat is a question which must be answered correctly. Or else.

The Future

Theatre owners have reasons for their king-sized headaches. And they arenft helped by conflicting statements and claims to miracles. Yet the whole situation can be brought into better focus if they realize they are not sitting in on a penny-ante game. This wide-screen, 3-D scramble is a gigantic struggle for power, but at the same time having a common interest in revival of the motion picture industry. Hundreds of millions of dollars are involved. So are the fate of companies and the future of individuals.


Motion picture engineers are working hard to ease your troubles in a constructive and reasonable manner by establishing standards as quickly as possible. Other engineers, of course, are happily taking advantage of this big opportunity to make major contributions to the techniques and equipment for the presentation of pictures.

Things may be in a turmoil for a year or so, but I am certain that when the dust settles the film industry will be stronger than ever. And Iim equally sure that our lost customers will in the meanwhile have returned to the comfort and haven of your theatres.

I have been pressed for my personal opinion on the near future. With a potential audience of 90- to 100-million people a week, I think theatre owners will find it pays to be able to present any good show that is produced, whether 2-D, 3-D, wide-screen or theatre television.

There are of course practical limitations to your application of wide screen system. No apparent advantages can accrue where theatre dimensions are such as to limit screen dimensions to only slight increases over present.

I have heard considerable criticism of the theatre supply dealer, indicating the exhibitor is being asked to buy everything on the shelf. Investigations which I have been able to make indicate, in all fairness, that the supply dealer is honestly attempting to be fair and conconservative in this respect. There has been almost unsurmountable confusion generated through the sudden impact of these developments. This has been no less a headache to the dealer than to you. He has been torn between a desire to meet your requirements and recognition of the lack of information and engineering conclusions in respect to these developments. It is always costly to commercialize developments before all the facts are in.

It is reasonably certain that some form -or forms-of new projection is here to stay. In the meantime, much value is being gained through the front page interest in motion pictures.

IDEAL BOOTH SET-UP for 3-D proieclion is illustrated here. The equipment is from Monograph.
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 251