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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Running a Drive In

   
Author Topic: Running a Drive In
Mark Huff
Film Handler

Posts: 69
From: Springfield, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 03-03-2001 10:22 PM      Profile for Mark Huff   Email Mark Huff   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Can anyone give me some specific differences of how a Drive In and an Indoor theatre are operated. Any point of view is appreciated. Management to Concession.

Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 03-03-2001 11:14 PM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well there are several differences in how they run besides the obvious 'indoor vs outdoor' part:

-Most if not all drive-ins run double-feature programs, usually both from the same distributor.

-Drive-ins can charge by either the individual or by the carload

-Consession-wise, the drive-in offers almost limitless possibilities, I have seen drive-ins offer everything from popcorn and soda and hot dogs to burgers, soups, various fried items, pizza, nachos, deli sandwiches, chili, and other unique food items sundry items such as cigarettes, lighters, insect repellent, condoms(!), T-shirts, soundtrack albums/tapes (back in the pre-CD days), the list could go on for days...

-Staffing is a bit different in an outdoor situation, the box offices in many D/Is are usually remote from the main concession building so a dedicated box person would need to be on duty, and if the place does well enough the concession staqnd would probably need to be heavily manned as well. Security might be necessarym, especially if the D/I is located in a high-crime area or there is a history of mischief among the younger people that attend the shows there.

Field maintenance is another issue, especially if you still run speakers, as they will always need servicing. Also cleaning the field will have to be done every day to control the garbage and critter problems.

Booth-wise, most standard projection equipment is useable in a drive-in, You will need to get the largest wattage xenon you can afford for a lamp, and the best lenses you can get your hands on for the maximum brightness on screen. Sound can be done with AM or FM radio as well as the old in-car speaker systems, You can even have stereo sound with some of the FM systems now if you add a stereo processor!


Aaron

Ken Layton
Phenomenal Film Handler

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


 - posted 03-04-2001 12:14 AM      Profile for Ken Layton   Email Ken Layton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You often rent out the drivein for daytime swap meets, car shows, church services, etc.

Also, water cooled projectors should be used.

Insect control is also a problem---mosquitos, wasps, hornets, ants, etc. Sometimes deer and bears have been known to prowl the field after everyone has left for the night.

Darryl Spicer
Film God

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


 - posted 03-04-2001 02:02 AM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In my opinion I would use 6000' reel to reel setups with automation for change overs. Platters are ok but if you really want things to run well and have that drive-in feel reels are the way to go. You can run a scope feature then change over to a reel of flat trailers and intermision countdown and then back to the next scope feature without the screen ever being dark. plus you do not have to worry about problems with platters brainwrapping on you or bugs getting into the film. Also makes those dusk till dawn shows easy to handle. Don't forget the coffee and doughnuts before the last feature.

John Pytlak
Film God

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


 - posted 03-07-2001 12:56 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with Darryl that reel-to-reel operation would have advantages for a single or two screen drive-in, especially regarding the programming flexibility. But it does entail the added cost of two projectors/lamps per screen as compared to a single projector and platter.

Keeping the booth and film clean is especially important in a drive-in. Lots of gritty dirt flying about, so use an on-line film cleaner to keep the film clean. A sealed or tile floor will be easier to keep clean. Use a door mat to clean shoes before entering. Use a vacuum cleaner and damp mopping to keep the floor and work surfaces clean. Fortunately, Kodak VISION print film has a conductive antistatic coating on the base side to greatly reduce static attraction of dirt particles to the film.

A freshly painted screen makes a world of difference for a bright image. For a matte white painted screen, figure 5 watts per square foot of screen area if you hope to get anywhere near the SMPTE aim of 16 footlamberts. Unfortunately, even a 6000 watt lamp will be lucky to light a 40x96 foot painted screen to only 5 footlamberts, so SMPTE Recommended Practice RP12 allows some flexibility for drive-ins.

Bugs and critters can be a problem too. In my drive-in days, rats were a constant problem on late night lot patrols, and I chased a few out of the booth too. Keep the lot clean and the dumpsters sealed.

------------------
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
Web site: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion


Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 685
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 03-07-2001 03:00 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Following the 5W/sq.ft. rule, would require a 19,200W lamp for a screen the size John mentions! Assuming everything else is good
(screen condition, lenses and alignment), is wattage constant? By that I mean, if a 4K lamp achieves 16 footlamberts (on a 18.5 by 43.5 foot screen lets say), does it follow that half the wattage (2K) gets us 8 fl,
1K - 4fl? And do we need more or less light for "flat" 1.85:1?

John Pytlak
Film God

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


 - posted 03-07-2001 03:34 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The 5 watts per square foot is a "rule of thumb" for lighting up a matte white (gain = 1.0) screen, and will vary with the efficiency of the system (e.g., shutter type, mirror collection efficiency, lens f/number, losses in port glass, alignment, etc.).

In general, light output will be proportional to lamp power (watts), but as the lamp gets really large, it is more difficult to focus the larger plasma arc at the 35mm film aperture efficiently.

The "flat" 1.85:1 format is less efficient than the "scope" format, because the (generally) circular beam of light from the lamphouse is "cropped" more by the smaller aperture:
http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/newsletters/reel/february97/pytlak.shtml

------------------
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
Web site: http://www.kodak.com/go/motion



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