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This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3 
 
Author Topic: Drive-In Construction
Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1063
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 11:52 AM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know many of you have at one time or another have worked in/or at a drive-in theatre.

As we are proceeding with the "initial" layout and design of our theatre, I've got a couple of questions I need some answers to.

We are contemplating building "either" a two story concessions/projection building with projection ports in the front and the rear of the second floor

... or...

one centralized concessions building (between the two parking fields) and building two free-standing 10' x 10' concrete block projection buildings.

Any preferences / or technical limitations that would keep us from from doing either one?

Also, as we have driven around the south east U.S. and "scoped-out" the latest "new-builds" (primarily in Alabama, Virginia & Tennessee), we have noticed that they did NOT incorporate parking ramps in their design or construction. With today's trend of "high-profile" vehicles, wouldn't ramping be a necessity?

Keep in mind that we want to build our theatre "cost-efficient"... NOT "cheap".


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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 12:18 PM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Put the booth on the second floor of a centralized building. It is safer from vandalism and keeps kids from making 50 foot shadow puppets. It should cost less as well.

Ramps serve the added purpose of keeping speeds slower in the field. Speed limit with kids running around in the dark should be just above a crawl - 15 mph absolute max.

Dirt or paved field? I personally like the grassed over dirt fields. Terraced or ramped? A location with a slope works better.

Be sure to include a way to have a flea market. Preston Henn's 12 screen drive in in Sunrise Florida does an incredible flea market business, so much so that the drive in is just secondary.


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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 12:32 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The single building to serve multiple screens puts the projection room behind the rearmost row of the drive-in. This may result in very long "throws" to the screen, requiring very long focal length lenses and being more subject to weather/airborne dust issues. Try to stay within the range of the most popular and efficient focal lengths available in today's modern lens designs.

IMHO, a drive-in without ramps is "cheap" and a poor design. It's hard to get good sightlines through the windshield (especially from the back seat) without tipping the vehicles slightly.

Radio sound is standard, but consider the "nostalgia factor" of having a few in-car speakers and poles.

With a 30 x 72 foot matte white (fresh paint) screen, 6000 watts should get you close to 8 footlamberts, which would be better than most drive-ins. Efficient dichroic heat filters and water-cooled gate are mandatory at this power level, unless you like burned fingertips, uncontrollable "focus flutter", and paying to replace heat-damaged prints.

------------------
John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Eastman Kodak Company
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7419
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
E-Mail: john.pytlak@kodak.com


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Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 737
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 02:18 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
That's awesome Barry! You know I'm no expert, but during my own research I've figured that the old ramping specs should be
reworked for todays vehicles (ie-so that a car could see OVER an SUV - no sense having segregated parking if you didn't have to.).
Also, if you opted for the central screens, what about taking advantage of having them back-to-back as part of the same structure?
Could save a few bucks, maybe even combine the concession as part of the same building. A canopy and strategic lighting would shield your screens. Make your screen, snackbar, playground the "place to be". Are those the railroad tracks at the bottom?

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1063
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 03:18 PM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You were correct in assuming about the railroad tracks, unfortunately that site is out of the question.

I had planned on "re-locating" a truss supported tower from a defunct drive-in somewhere. As many drive-ins that have closed, it shouldn't be that hard to find one. I know Selby still makes them, but I think they must be gold-plated - last quote I got was $55,000.00. I've estimated that it would cost about $12-15K to relocate and erect an existing tower, and add to that another $4k - $5k to prep and paint it. It's still way cheaper than new.

I too prefer grass instead of paving for the field.

6,000 watts ??? I was hoping to use my 4kw ORC, at least for the first year


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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7966
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-17-2001 03:43 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The best ramp setup I've ever seen is at the Fork Union DI in Fork Union, VA., which is located at least 30 miles from nowhere. It's worth visiting, though, just to see one of the better-designed DIs still in existence. The place is built on a hill, and the rows are terraced, much like a "stadium"-style indoor theatre. It's kind of hard to see how it works in these pictures (the first one taken from the road, and the second and third from a car position about mid-way back), but it really works well for a DI with a smallish car capacity. Note super-bright picture on screen in the third photo; the movie was "Bug's Life" being shown with Peerless arc lamps; the photograph is a time exposure, but the picture is still really bright on screen.


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John Eickhof
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 582
From: Wendell, ID USA
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 03:45 PM      Profile for John Eickhof   Author's Homepage   Email John Eickhof   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The ORC 4KW wouldn't handle the job unless you stay under 350-400 foot throw and a screen under about 25h x 60w....Newer lamphouses have far better optical designs, even taking into account that ORC set the standards over 20 years ago! I agree with
John, 6KW would be the best bet!! And the shorter the throw the better!

------------------
John Eickhof President, Chief Slave
Northwest Theatre Equipment Co., Inc.
P.O.Box 258
Wendell, ID. 83355-0258
208-536-5489
email: jeickhof@nteequip.com

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Darryl Spicer
Film God

Posts: 3250
From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 01-17-2001 07:19 PM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In the mind the idea of the projection booth being in the center of the twin drive-in is an interesting one. However, if the throws are going to be long ones I agree with the other guys that you do not want to get into these long focal lenses. another thing to consider that if your snack bar is going to be centralized also in the same area as the booth think about how far that customer is going to have to walk from his car down on the front row. You could lose potent customers because they do not want to walk that far. I think the booth and concession stands should be located in the central part of the ramp area. You can use a 4000w lamp and make it easier on your customers to get to and from the concesions area. Also if possable I would make the exits designed to exit cars behind both screens and back onto the main road with seperate exits that way you do not have cars bottle necked.

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Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1452
From: Olympia, Wash. USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 01-18-2001 12:29 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I tend to prefer the centralized booth/snack bar/ manager's office 2 story building because of less electrical wiring and plumbing that would have to be done. This all depends on throw and screen size. If the throw is too long, then I would have seperate projection buildings for each screen.

You must have a ramped field. None of this flat field crap. The theaters that have a flat field suck because you can't see the screen or over other vehicles.

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David Kilderry
Master Film Handler

Posts: 355
From: Melbourne Australia
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 01-18-2001 03:46 AM      Profile for David Kilderry   Author's Homepage   Email David Kilderry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Barry,

A ramped field is a must. In one drive-in field we built in 1995, the low ramping and a low screen cause problems. All types of vehicles obscure the view of other cars every time it is a full house, which is often. Having no ramps is not a problem if you never plan to have more than 40% capacity.

I too have seen new drive-ins with no ramps but they never fill so don't have the problem.

Our best drive-in field is steeply ramped with a high screen and even the biggest 4 x 4's can park and not block the view of a Ford sedan behind.

You must go for a central projection booth. If you cannot afford an on-top version, then at least one that is back to back. It saves in so many ways and enables you to keep an eye on the presentation!

With a 200 - 300 car field you will have a good throw with the booth at the rear. Use the biggest lamp you can we use 6k and 7k on some screens. You will only need a 70 footer - move the cars closer to it, at a drive-in people love the front ramp!

Our 100ft screen on a 150 car field is overkill and we can't light it like we would really like to. The latest Strong, Kinoton or Christie lamphouses are so much more efficient with big lamps. You can always use an older Strong X60 C or D and with the right blower, extraction and filters run 6k - do you agree Pat? We run some with 5k and they handle it pretty well. Our 7k's are Kinoton.

Don't limit yourself to 2 fields, allow room to go to four. Take a look at what Century did at Anaheim Stadium (finished as 8) or Pacific at Winnetka (was 4 went to 6) in LA. You can take all desirable first runs with these screens. With two you will miss some big films as you have to play out the seasons on others.

Fork Union is an excellent natural amphitheatre and a rare find. Always have at least two rows of speakers, in our drive-ins they are the first places to fill!

David


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Frank Rapisardi
Film Handler

Posts: 96
From: Methuen, MA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 01-18-2001 05:16 AM      Profile for Frank Rapisardi   Email Frank Rapisardi   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
About building a twin drive-in.If I could get land here in the Northeast;at the right price,I too would build.I would go with one building containing snack bar and projection booths. And YES;make shure that the field is ramped! When planning the buildings;make sure that you have enough room for the customers to be serviced in a fast manner.(They hate to wait) I would suggest cafeteria style(They take a tray and move along the snack bar,with a cashier at the end.Also;you shouls leave enough room in the snack bar area for an arcade(Those quarters and dollars add up fast)(Great way to generate a bit more cash!) If you can find a screen from another site;it may cost you more to relocate it to your site than what it's saving you.(This depends on how far it has to be shipped.I would go with new.We looked into relocating a screen once;buy the time we bought it,had it shipped,then erected and any damage fixed;it was actually going to cost us moe than new.Good luck,enjoy,have fun, and buy lots of aspirin!

------------------

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1063
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 01-18-2001 08:19 AM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Great responses... but we're still left somewhat confused.

Our goal is to open the theatre with one screen, then add the second screen the second season. Although we do have enough projection equipment on hand to build both booths, we wanted to "test the waters" before we invested the money on the second field.

Both layouts do have their advantages and disadvantages.

The centralized two story booth will keep everything in a single location which will help the costs of construction (i.e. electrical wiring), and give us the ability to monitor the operation of both booths from the same location. However, like many have said, it's central location between the two screens will result in "long throws", higher powered lamping requirements, and longer walks for the patrons to visit the concession stand.

The second layout with the screens "back-to-back", puts the concession stand in the center of the lot(off-center, but closer to the screens. When we've looked at other drive-ins, we've noticed that many patrons park as close to the screen as possible. Given this as a consideration, if the fields fill up from the first row and work their way back, it would put the greatest number of patrons closest to the screens and the concession stand. It would require two separate projection booths, long runs of underground 3 phase wiring, and no ability to monitor the screens from the concession stand.

We visited the "Fork Union Drive-In" in Virginia in July of 1999, and also consider it one of the finest examples of "stadium parking" around. The grounds were well kept and clean, but we were there during daylight hours, so we couldn't comment on the presentation. We ran into the owner at the gas station up the street, and he said we could "go look" at the theatre, but do not go inside the fence.

Dave Bird mentioned re-working the ramp layout for todays vehicle dimensions. Any ideas as to "how steep is too steep" for ramping?

------------------
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Nashville, Tennessee
(Drive-In Theatre - Start-Up)

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Jerry Chase
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Margate, FL, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 01-18-2001 09:11 AM      Profile for Jerry Chase   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Your top drawing looks like it was done by a landscape designer, what with the frou frou in-between the two setups.

Shorten the distance to the screens by shaping the ramp areas like nested "L"s.

When you open as a single, the booth/concession will be in the middle of the field, but slightly off to one side. When you twin, cut the area behind and to the side of the building as shown. You will reduce the size of the first field, but that isn't always a bad thing. A full field might be used only two or three weekends a season.

This ASCII drawing looks bad unless you have fixed font size; cut-n-paste it into notepad to get a better idea of what I am saying.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Road>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
-----------------------------------------
..Entrance Que.........................
Flush----------------Gate----------Flush
......................x...............
.....................x................
I....................x................
I Screen 1...........x................
...........xx booth xx................
...........x...............Screen 2 I
...........x.........................I
.........x............................
.......x..............................
--------------------------------------

The _slight_ offset of the booth can be compensated for by a combination of twisting the screens slightly and possibly using one of the offset lens mounts that are available for keystoning problems. You would have to be careful of losing light.

The important part of the concept, as you can see, is that only one side of the field needs to extend behind the concession, giving better placement of the booth and concession.

Whatever. Greg says I have to get back to work, and he's right.



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Robert Throop
Master Film Handler

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


 - posted 01-18-2001 10:30 AM      Profile for Robert Throop   Email Robert Throop   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How long a throw are you talking about? A 30x72 foot screen can be used at a 396 ft throw with a 150mm lens for 1.85 and a 115mm backup with reverse anamorphic for scope.

------------------
Bob Throop

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1063
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 01-18-2001 11:58 AM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Actually - both drawings posted above were designed & drawn by me. I've got a degree in Architecture and have worked for an engineering office in Nashville for the last 11 years. I work with site plans, GIS contour mapping and site grading every day of the week.

The "frou-frou" stuff shown on the drawings is exactly that. The plans shown above were for a presentation we made to a local area Chamber of Commerce back in June, 2000. They wanted to know what type of facility we had in mind for their community. I added the landscaping items to the plans to "soften" the look of the overall site.
Sometimes what you show them and what you build are NOT the same thing.

Another "option" to be considered (however I don't like it), is to build a single story concessions/projection building in the center of the field for "each" screen.

There has to be a way to provide concessions service to the patrons without having to walk a mile to get it.

------------------
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Nashville, Tennessee
(Drive-In Theatre - Start-Up)

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