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Author Topic: Return of Crying Rooms
Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2481
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 12-28-2011 09:46 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As we begin master planning to remodel and rehab our theatre (still years off) I would love to include crying rooms as many old theatres used to have. It seems this is one thing what digital could be great for. Rather than have a soundproofed room with a big window, we could have a sound proof room with maybe 4 seats and a widescreen tv showing exactly what's on the screen.

Has anyone tried this? Would the studios have a problem with it?

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Jim Cassedy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1661
From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: Dec 2006

 - posted 12-28-2011 09:53 AM      Profile for Jim Cassedy   Email Jim Cassedy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd like to see a 'twitter room', to put all the twits in.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2481
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 12-28-2011 10:05 AM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Only if it comes with a trap door;>

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12767
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 12-28-2011 11:39 AM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't think the film companies would allow you to use a big TV. If you do that you're just one cable connection away from being able to make perfect digital copies of the film. (I know, I know, people are already doing that.) But there's no way the film companies will allow you to add a "HDMI" output to a digital server. Maybe somebody in hack-land has already come up with one.

To get around that problem, you could also design a cry room in the back of each auditorium. Just build a little "box" with four seats in it, a picture window in the front, and as nice of a sound setup as you want to put in (for most moms with babies, one speaker mixing the front three channels would be enough).

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Andy Frodsham
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 238
From: Stoke on Trent, Staffs, UK
Registered: Nov 2006

 - posted 12-28-2011 12:16 PM      Profile for Andy Frodsham   Email Andy Frodsham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I cannot imagine there would be any possible way to extract an unencrypted video signal from a digital server!

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10973
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 12-28-2011 12:52 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just pipe a camcorder feed into the room, bootleg style!

I've seen a couple IMAX theaters with crying rooms up behind the back row of the theater. If I recall correctly, the IMAX dome theater at Dallas' Fair Park has one up in the back.

I have mixed feelings about theaters adding things like crying rooms. While it might be a good thing for parents dealing with screaming toddlers the rooms themselves don't eliminate the disruption that occurs when a bored 2 year old gets angry and starts having a shit fit in the auditorium. Unless the theater chain spends good money on sound proofing the room you'll hear that baby continue to throw its tantrum anyway.

Then there's the issue of security, sure to be a problem. I could see such rooms being misused for other activities if staff members aren't regularly checking them. Young couples may try to get a quickie in there. It's a guarantee at least a few smokers might try to get their nicotine fix in there. Drinking, drug use and other criminal activity is possible. I wouldn't put it past some piece of shit slob using the crying room as a makeshift toilet. Piss on the floor and don't miss a minute of the movie! Without security parents wouldn't want to take a child into such a place.

It's possible to incorporate crying rooms into a theater projection booth design, given the somewhat smaller space requirements for digital projectors. With the right layout, the rooms could be a staging point for theater staff to monitor the crowd and deal with the usual situations that constantly take place in the auditorium, like people fiddling around with their cell phones.

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Caleb Johnstone-Cowan
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 593
From: London, UK
Registered: Mar 2006

 - posted 12-28-2011 01:19 PM      Profile for Caleb Johnstone-Cowan   Email Caleb Johnstone-Cowan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I feel a Cinema is better off having a designated matinee each week for 'mother and baby' shows. Our locations turn the sound down and the lights up so it is more comfortable for the children and I guess the parents.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5305
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 12-28-2011 01:29 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Agreed. Crying rooms just encourage people to bring their age-inappropriate off-spring to places they don't belong. "Oh, it's OK to bring my sqirming, cholicy little bundle of snot and noise to a movie, a symphony, a chamber music concert, because they have a crying room."

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Jeremy Weigel
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1062
From: Edmond, OK, USA
Registered: Mar 2007

 - posted 12-28-2011 01:38 PM      Profile for Jeremy Weigel   Email Jeremy Weigel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The Warren in Moore,OK has crying rooms with seating in at
least a few screens.

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17775
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 12-28-2011 01:51 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
With the public's general level of courtesy, every auditorium in the country is a crying room!

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2481
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 12-28-2011 01:55 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As we're an indie arthouse not a chain we don't get big enough crowds for Mom and Baby matinees (nor do we usually show anything they are interested in). My object is just to hold on to the few people we get of reproductive age. Once they get pregnant we don't see them again for another seven years.

I would prefer, of course, to just put the kid in a closet, but society frowns on that.

As for the security issues, would definitely have to take those into consideration. Maybe while wiring the place add a camera or two.

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Jim Henk
Master Film Handler

Posts: 364
From: San Diego, CA
Registered: Feb 2006

 - posted 12-28-2011 02:04 PM      Profile for Jim Henk   Email Jim Henk   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I cannot imagine there would be any possible way to extract an unencrypted video signal from a digital server!
Oh, naive man...

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

Posts: 8367
From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
Registered: Nov 2004

 - posted 12-28-2011 02:21 PM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jim Cassedy
I'd like to see a 'twitter room', to put all the twits in
..and the celphone users - designate one house that have light up half just for these idiots.

quote: Caleb Johnstone-Cowan
designated matinee each week for 'mother and baby' shows
Some theatres here in the States had at one time implemented a day as such.

Like "Mondays for Moms",or "B.A.B.I.E.S" - Bring A Baby In Every Show (whew!), Yet, most of these were early shows prior to regular performance scheduling.

I think they did flop though since morning times were usually nap times for the young-uns, thus it wasn't practical to open up early for one day and with very weak attendances.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4441
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005

 - posted 12-28-2011 03:55 PM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Every "cry" room I have ever seen has been locked with a special key that is not on the master. Likewise every theatre that has a cry room is also paying some amount of paternity because of the semi-sanctioned quickies.

Besides. . . wait for it. . . I have never seen a room cry. Louis

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Jeff Logan
Film Handler

Posts: 15
From: Mitchell, SD, USA
Registered: Feb 2002

 - posted 01-08-2012 11:41 PM      Profile for Jeff Logan   Email Jeff Logan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We've had cryrooms in several of our theatres over the years. They were all well soundproofed with double glass windows, etc. and we had no problems in that respect. But.....

We just closed the cryrooms in one of our complexes when we retrofitted stadium seating in those auditoriums. While many parents loved them, we weren't sad to see them go. Operationally, we did have a sign on the doors that said "Please obtain key for cyroom at the concession counter." A manager or available staffer would let the customers in and show them the room lights and volume control on the mono speaker. Keeping the rooms locked prevented almost all problems with hanky panky and teenagers. You do still have to keep staff out of them when they attend on their night off.

There were other problems. Ours were only large enough for one family. We ran them on a first come; first served basis. If a family wanted to use the room and someone else was already in that cryroom, the later family would usually opt to still come to the movie and sit in the auditorium. Their darling baby would inevitably cause a commotion. So the cryrooms purpose was defeated by its popularity.

The other problem was that about 20% of the people who used them would leave a total mess. The rooms would often look like the family had a popcorn fight and then did a tap dance to grind the spilled popcorn into the carpet. We purposely did not put changing tables or a sink in the cryrooms hoping they would go to the restroom for diaper changing. Nonetheless some people would change diapers in the cryroom and then leave the stinky diaper in the room. Once a family stuffed it between the cushions of the sofa. We learned to leave the cryroom doors open during non-operational hours to "air them out."

Not to stereotype, but a small but significant percentage of the people who used them were lower income customers who were too cheap to hire a babysitter and unfortunately had no respect for other people's property. Some parents would send an older teen or pre-teenager with all their younger sibling toddlers and babies while the parents went to a bar. Those "families" were the worst.

If I were crazy enough to put in cryrooms again, I would make them large enough that several families could use them at once. You would need seating for 10 or 12 plus a crib and playpen or two. I would install a private bathroom for each cryroom with a changing table. Cryrooms really need their own separate HVAC system as the body heat and odor can build up quickly in a small room. By the time you do all of this you have too much square footage and expense devoted to it to make it affordable or practical.

In my experience, cryrooms sound great in theory but in reality cause waaaaay more trouble than they're worth.

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