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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » How far do you dim the lights and when? (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: How far do you dim the lights and when?
Gary Davidson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 101
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 01-30-2006 10:20 AM      Profile for Gary Davidson   Email Gary Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As your theater moves through its sequence of slides, rolling stock, trailers, then feature, how far do you dim the lights and when?

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-30-2006 11:49 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There's at least a few threads on this topic. But as long as I'm typin' .... we go half-off during the previews, full off for the feature.

If there is a particularly important trailer that we're debuting at a blockbuster movie (like when we ran the Star Wars III preview during a Lord of the Rings movie, I think) I'll place that trailer last and turn the lights off at the beginning of that trailer for dramtic effect.

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Dominic Espinosa
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1172
From: Boulder Creek, CA.
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 01-30-2006 12:17 PM      Profile for Dominic Espinosa   Email Dominic Espinosa   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We do it the same as Mike. Here's a couple more threads that might be of use:

Regarding sconce lighting and the importance of dimmer levels and cleaning crew/cleaning lights policies

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Jim Ziegler
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: West Hollywood, CA
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 - posted 01-30-2006 02:02 PM      Profile for Jim Ziegler   Email Jim Ziegler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Half for trailers, almost - but not totally - off during the feature, back to half during credits.

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Gary Davidson
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 101
From: Santa Monica, CA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 01-30-2006 04:18 PM      Profile for Gary Davidson   Email Gary Davidson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you go half-off when rolling stock hits the screen, or just trailers?

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Anslem Rayburn
Master Film Handler

Posts: 476
From: Yuma, AZ, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 01-30-2006 05:44 PM      Profile for Anslem Rayburn   Email Anslem Rayburn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lights full during intermission (with slides). Lights half for trailers, down (not completely out, but close) during feature. Lights up during credits.

We have done lights half during credits, but received many complaints about it being too dark when exiting. Since 99.9999999999999999999999999% of our guests do not stay for credits, we erred on the side of caution with regards to injuries, etc. We do have a few guests that stay through credits, but have never had a complaint about the lights coming on.

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Jesse Skeen
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Sacramento, CA
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 - posted 01-31-2006 03:28 PM      Profile for Jesse Skeen   Email Jesse Skeen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They don't complain, they just don't come back.

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Anslem Rayburn
Master Film Handler

Posts: 476
From: Yuma, AZ, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 01-31-2006 04:36 PM      Profile for Anslem Rayburn   Email Anslem Rayburn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And the same would be said for those that try to leave during the credits but trip or run into walls for the sake of keeping the lights down for 1 person.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-31-2006 06:07 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Anslem Rayburn
We do have a few guests that stay through credits, but have never had a complaint about the lights coming on.
quote: Jesse Skeen
They don't complain, they just don't come back.
We put the lights half-up during the end credits. I haven't had one complaint about that in 27 years. Anyone who would "not come back" simply due to some lighting during the credits must not have a life to start with. In today's lawsuit-happy world, it just doesn't make sense to have 200 people tripping over each other trying to get out while two or three uber-fans sit and watch the credits in pitch blackness.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted 01-31-2006 07:41 PM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Anslem Rayburn
We have done lights half during credits, but received many complaints about it being too dark when exiting.
Well that must be lighting done wrong.
Never been in a auditorium with half lights where you couldn't see clearly. No offense but maybe 99.9999999% of your patrons have bad eyesight.

I might not be the lights coming on during the credits that bother those select few but rather that they come on as soon a the last shot fades or cuts. It's too quick and obtrusive. As i've seen at one location here where during the credits the auditorium was half lit but you hardly noticed the lights come up at all. I actually had to turn to the side to see if they were actually on. That's lighting done right. And yes you could see very clearly for exiting.

In any case the aisles should be lit enough to see where you going without been intrusive. One cinema chain here, if there is any kind of image during the credits for the first minute or 2 will keep all the lights off. But the aisles are lit and nobody has problems getting out. Actually people usually stay in their seats and talk about the film etc when this is the case.
I only do screenings for critics and film societies and I judge it how it goes. If I see people start to get up I bring up the lights softly (no automation here) but on most occasions they stay and the lights stay all off until I see say, a Dolby Digital logo or something like that. Although there have been times with a very emotional or imapctful film that the lights stay off until the dowser is shut. But again I don't work in a commercial environment so it's a bit different.

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Brad Miller
Administrator

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From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 01-31-2006 07:59 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Gary Davidson
Do you go half-off when rolling stock hits the screen, or just trailers?
Screw rolling stock and all ads! Lights stay FULL UP during that crap.

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Dan Lyons
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Seal Beach, CA
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 - posted 01-31-2006 08:29 PM      Profile for Dan Lyons   Email Dan Lyons   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
No trailers or ads. ever. [thumbsup]

Dim houselights,sconces, and curtain spotlights - completely off by the time the logo hits and curtain opens. Wall neon turned off after studio logo fades out when curtains are fully open.

At credits, sconces brought up to full, wall neon on, house lights to half.

For roadshow films, I follow the the guidelines from The American Widescreen Museum

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Anslem Rayburn
Master Film Handler

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From: Yuma, AZ, USA
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 - posted 01-31-2006 11:57 PM      Profile for Anslem Rayburn   Email Anslem Rayburn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: John Koutsoumis
Never been in a auditorium with half lights where you couldn't see clearly. No offense but maybe 99.9999999% of your patrons have bad eyesight.
Probably, but my patrons are the only one I'm concerned with. They don't like the lighting down when exiting during the credits, they outnumber the credit watchers by 200 to 1, their request does no harm to anybody, they get their way.

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 02-01-2006 04:09 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A well designed auditorium should have lighting that even when the main house is at "show" level during the movie, isles and crossover rows, step lights, etc. should all be lit well enough that patrons can move about the theatre safely. This is done with a variety of long-proven lighting techniques such as well-aimed down lights on the isle areas, LED tubes in the isles and on the step edges, etc., none of which impact the screen.

If this kind of proper lighting design is used, then even if no house lights are brought up during the credits, people should still be able to exit the room without any trip-and-fall issues (primary concern of the insurance companies and how sleezeball lawyers get their own home theatres).

Ideally, where houselights are brought up during credits, they should only be raised to a glow (and very gradually as John said) and never so high as to negatively impact image contrast. In addition, well designed house lights should be well focused so that they do not directly shine on the screen.

In lesser designed houses, patron safety should be the primary concern, and next a protocol of lighting changes before and after the show that interfers least with the screen contrast.

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John Koutsoumis
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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 - posted 02-01-2006 08:08 AM      Profile for John Koutsoumis   Email John Koutsoumis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Keep in mind that your eyes adjust to the darkness of the Auditorium by the time the films over, but since most end credits are black your eyes then adjust to that resulting in not seeing very well ahead of you, well I think that's how it works. Hence some people having a hard time removing themselves.

Just keep those damn cleaners lights off till everyone has exited.
I've had them turned on me a few times and one time the cleaners laughed and ran away, after turning them back off. I saw one of them after in the lobby and was going to suggest to him that he should change the name on his name tag to "dickhead" but I just kept walking and have not been back there.

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