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Author Topic: MEGASOUND
Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9455
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-03-1999 05:00 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Remeber the movie Altered States
We will be showing it at the Music Hall in 70mm here in Toronto in October and I was wondering if anyone remebers how and what the megasound system worked.
I know it was made by eventide clockwork and at the old University theatre here in Toronto where it premiered in the 70's had a battery of Altec subs in front of the screen but I can't find any info on how it interfaced to the CP100 that they had or how it worked
anyinfo appreciated
gordon mcleod

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Robert Throop
Master Film Handler

Posts: 412
From: Vernon, NY USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-06-1999 03:29 PM      Profile for Robert Throop   Email Robert Throop   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gord,
I saw "Altered States" at Loew's Astor Plaza in NYC. I also visited the booth. I was under the impression that Megasound was just Warners' fancy name for the Dolby baby boom format.
Regards,
Bob

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5198
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 07-31-2002 07:06 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I use MegaSound now as our hype name for our sound system. Actually the full name we gave to our sound system is longer -- we present any format that we have (Dolby A, SR, DTS) in "6 Channel Total Surround MegaSound (tm)." The only time I don't use it is when we are running mono. We trademarked the whole text, and as far as we know, Warners didn't. We found no reference in the film credits or the posters for ALTERED STATES to the moniker. If Warner challenges us, sure, we will loose, but until then, MegaSound it is, and we got it!

The theatre sound guys say, but how can you say you have 6 channels when you run analog -- you only have 4 channels. Well, actually five channels come out of the cinema processor, if you count the subbass. And since we split the single surround channel and process it through an Orban stereo synthesizer, it is, in fact two channels. Yeah, but they say, the subbass is not a channel, only a .1 channel. I say, naw, that's Dolby's peculiar thing, but in the recording studio, it doesn't matter what is recorded on a channel, even if it is a single frequency tone, -- it requires a channel on the console....it requires an amp and a speaker system, that's a channel, just the same as any other channel. There isn't anything ".1" about it -- the amps don't cost 1% of price of the amps for the other channels; and the subbass speaker systems CERTAINLY don't cost 1% of the cost of the other speaker systems, if anything they cost more. The sound that comes out of it is different than the other channels, right? Well, it costs me the same as the other channels, I get to call it a channel -- Dolby can call it whatever they want; they are not paying for all the equipment. In fact, if Dolby was being consistent, by that same 5.1 logic, they should have been calling their analog optical sound "2.2" all along -- there are REALLY only two "channels" in that system, the others are no more real channels than the derived subbass channel in their 5.1 system. All of a sudden Dolby wants to change the rules?

OK, OK, I know theoretically calling it 6 Channel Sound is stretching it, but hey, when I have my Director of Marketing hat on, STRETCHING is the name of the game. Hype is what we eat for breakfast. Check this out, our 1.85 image has its own moniker; all cropped ws features at Brooklyn Center Cinema are "Presented in Wide Screen Dimension." You laugh? Be glad we didn't use the first one that we were toying with -- "Wide Screen Dimension 185"

We have paste ups that stick on every ad slick. We spent LOTS of money on these systems; we certainly are not about to hide them from the public. That's why we play non-sync music programs with that MegaSound system before every show -- to call attention to it....make sure the patron is away of how good the sound is in this theatre -- a good reason for them to come back. That's why we always start the show with a 1.37 cartoon and attractions, so we can then open the mask to our Wide Screen Dimension width (or scope width), so even if it is just a plane ole flat picture, the audience sees a screen size increase for the feature.

Overall, I don't think theatre owners take full advantage of their own technology and how to sell it to the public. I mean, the AMC Empire in NY put in really nice, big CURVED screens. Do you hear them crow about it? Nope. Foolish mistake. Same thing with everything else -- rocker seats, etc. They don't HYPE it. About the only thing I ever hear them promote is stadium seating, and when they do, they just say they've got it with no mention of its advantages. I don't know why none of them have noticed, but the words themselves don't really convey the advantages, in fact, I would almost think there is a negative connotation to "stadium seating" -- sounds much to much like those uncomfortable seats at basketball games. If *I* was lucky enough to have stadium seating, you bet there would be a better, hype-able, trademark-able name for them and I would put it in every add and on every 1-sheet in the lobby, proclaiming their superiority over my competitor's seats.

Come on, this is the MOVIE business!!

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12418
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-31-2002 09:30 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We put a nice BIG DTS logo in all our ads (about 3/4" wide, compared to the teensy one that Carmike puts in their ads) and DTS logos on the marquee. A neighboring theatre manager I know was reluctant to advertise DTS when he got it, because he was afraid his older customers would equate "digital" with "Loud." But we get more sound compliments from older people than young ones, some nights!


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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1381
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 07-31-2002 09:52 PM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Megasound was nothing more than mixing dedicated sub info to the baby boom track. It just utilized banks of subwoofers below the screen to take advantage of that baby boom track. Other MEGASOUND titles included OUTLAND and Superman II (and a fourth, I think).

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David Favel
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 764
From: Ashburton, New Zealand
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 07-31-2002 09:57 PM      Profile for David Favel   Email David Favel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I worked once in a hosiery factory where all our products were "Maherised"

We had a guy in the wash room called Maher.

Mostly bullshit but some people were impressed.

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9455
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-31-2002 10:16 PM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Pail said"Megasound was nothing more than mixing dedicated sub info to the baby boom track. It just utilized banks of subwoofers below the screen to take advantage of that baby boom track. Other MEGASOUND titles included OUTLAND and Superman II (and a fourth, I think)."
You are slightly incorrect as there was a sub harmonic generator involved made by eventide clockwork and a second 1unit high box in the rack for it at the University theatre in toronto for altered states

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16164
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-31-2002 10:20 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have friends in the L.A. area that still talk about Altered States and Wolfen being presented in Megasound. I guess they used mountains of subwoofers in this installation....whereever it was.
Mark G.

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Bill Gabel
Film God

Posts: 3873
From: Technicolor / Postworks NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 07-31-2002 10:55 PM      Profile for Bill Gabel   Email Bill Gabel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"Wolfen" was not presented in Megasound in the Los Angeles
engagement. The only 70mm print in Los Angeles played at
Pacific's Picwood Theatre in West Los Angeles and a 35mm
print at Mann's Hollywood Theatre. The Picwood Theatre
played "Wolfen" in 70mm 6 Track Dolby Stereo. The Picwood
had the full 5 channels back stage and mono surrounds.
I worked the Picwood for the run of "Wolfen". We played the
same 70mm print of "Superman II" on the move-over from Mann's
Village Theatre in Westwood. The Village presented both
"Altered States" and "Superman II" in MegaSound.


On August 6th. "Wolfen" on DVD from Warner Bros.


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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10681
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001


 - posted 08-01-2002 01:11 AM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Anyone have any good quality "MegaSound" artwork? I remember seeing the promos for it on the posters for "Outland." If someone can provide a good high-res scan I can fashion together a really good vector version of it.

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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1381
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-01-2002 10:27 AM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gordon said

where it premiered in the 70's had a battery of Altec subs in front of the screen.

Here in the United States ALTERED STATES didn't premiere until December 1980, and, at least where the Village was concerned, they used Cerwin Vegas across the front of the auditorium. They were the same type used for the front units of Sensurround. The Village continued using these units for all 70mm baby-boom format films until they installed a THX system. Then they disappeared for a while, returning after the Village re-wired using Monster Cable (and presumably, when THX certified Cerwin Vega subs). They have disappeared again from view when the Village remodeled in the late 90's (as did the Bose surrounds, replaced with JBL surrounds). Now when I said "disappeared" I dont know if they were removed, or just placed behind the below-screen curtain.

I do remember the Picwood ad in L.A. only advertised the film (Wolfen) in 70mm 6-track Dolby Stereo, with no Megasound mentioned. I was headed down to L.A. to catch it (as well as Raiders of the Lost Ark at the National and Superman II at the Village) when my 64 beetle broke down on the freeway before the Sunset exit. The Picwood was a good theatre that unfortunately was a little out of the first-run comcemtration to get top bookings, although surrounds were inadequate. As far as I could tell, there were only two surrounds in the back of the theatre, and these were covered by drapes (actually bulging out the drapes.


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Bill Gabel
Film God

Posts: 3873
From: Technicolor / Postworks NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 08-01-2002 10:51 AM      Profile for Bill Gabel   Email Bill Gabel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Picwood Theatre was a 950 seat single screen house with a
balcony. We had 8 surrounds, 4 on the main floor and 4 in the
balcony. Remember this is 1981, when "Wolfen" played here. We
were the 70mm move-over house, when films left the Westwood
area. The reason the Picwood got "Wolfen" was that Mann Theatres
had no room at the big houses in Westwood. So Mann subleased to
Pacific theatres "Wolfen" for the only Southern California
engagement in 70mm.


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Paul Linfesty
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1381
From: Bakersfield, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-01-2002 01:11 PM      Profile for Paul Linfesty   Email Paul Linfesty   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The two 70mm presentations I got to see at the Picwood were Fame (Fall, 1980) and The Dark Crystal (December, 1982). This theatre was VERY comfortable, with rocking chairs and lots of legroom, and even had free parking behind the theatre (a rarity for first-runs). This theatre's auditorium entrance doors were actually made of glass. restrooms had a curved entrance, without doors. The theatre was also one of several theatres I had been in in Los Angeles where the curtains actually opened over the exit doors (briefly blocking them). I remember this also happeing at the Bruin (for scope films only) and the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. I did use the disclaimer "as far as I could tell" about the surrounds. The two I could tell were there were the ones underneath the balcony, near the back walls. For some reason, Pacific liked to conceal its surrounds behind drapes. Their Hollywood Pacific had 6 large speakers sitting on wooden shelfs attached to the walls, and they even hung matching drapes over them. The Cinerama Dome's speakers must have been behind drapes as well.

Speaking of the Picwood, when i saw Fame, the 1.85 image was projected quite a bit taller than the "scope" image of Dark Crystal. Was Crystal an OAR 70mm print, (as Fame was for 1.85 OAR), or were different lenses used? I think for 35mm, this theatre used a COMBINATION of top AND side masking for changing between flat and scope (the only 35mm film I saw here was UNDER FIRE at 1.85). I remember FAME had beautful projection and very good sound. Dark Crystal was somewhat unsteady, and UNDER FIRE was very dim and pink. In those days, Pacific really shortchanged image quality with lack of proper illumination and projection alignment, unlike Mann Theatres, who always had exceptionally bright, steady images.


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Bill Gabel
Film God

Posts: 3873
From: Technicolor / Postworks NY, USA
Registered: Jan 2002


 - posted 08-01-2002 02:39 PM      Profile for Bill Gabel   Email Bill Gabel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Picwood had moveable side and top masking. As for the lens it
had 3 sets of standard lens: 1.85 , 2.40 and 70mm. We had a pair
of DP-70's and 4k lamps. So we ran change-overs. The last great
year for this house was 1982. We got the move-over from the Dome
of E.T. and to finish the year Dark Crystal. After that Pacific
let the theatre go down hill till the lease ran out. As for the
Hollywood Pacific, I was one of the last projectionists in that
house, before it closed. On every new studio release we would
have a Dolby sound call. So the studios would pay us a studio
call rate for the Dolby check. The head tech at the time would
go in the next day and reset the surround speakers down. So on
the next shift I would go in and turn them back to the Dolby
sound check markings I had in the rack. We would do this on
every show. The Dome's surrounds were behind the drapes to
give that streamlined look.


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Larry Shaw
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 238
From: Boston, MA, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-02-2002 05:30 PM      Profile for Larry Shaw   Author's Homepage   Email Larry Shaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Gordon,
The 3 sites I installed Megasound in for WB were lots of CV subs and amps only, no processor other than the CP. (one was a CP-100/SA-5)
Larry

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