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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Cell-phone "locker" pouches used at concerts might be just the ticket.... (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Cell-phone "locker" pouches used at concerts might be just the ticket....
Mike Blakesley
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 - posted 06-21-2016 01:34 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Found this article about what's happening at some concerts. People place their phones into these pouches, which lock when the person enters the concert zone. If they need to use their phone they can step outside of the zone and the pouch will unlock.

It's currently being used in concert venues to protect artists who want to perform "new" material but don't want it "leaked." But it could easily be adapted for movie theaters, I'd think.

In the words of the great Dr. Fron-kon-steen, "IT! COULD! WORRRRK!"

Article

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Frank Cox
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 - posted 06-21-2016 03:09 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nope.

People will put their phone in the pouch, then remove it again before entering the zone where the pouch locks.

Or they will "step out of the zone" and do the same.

Or just avoid the whole thing on the way in. "Phone? What phone?"

Do you really want to be issuing and retrieving pouches from your customers every night?

"Now see here" works fine as long as it's consistently applied, and you don't have to pay for and distribute and collect pouches.

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Dave Macaulay
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 - posted 06-22-2016 06:49 AM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Another "Nope". This still depends on cooperation from the patrons. People can be idiots. There are a very few people who actually do need to be contactable: these people - police, doctors, firemen, etc. - can generally be relied on to be responsible with their phones.
What's the big deal with cell phones anyway? They can definitely be annoying but so what? You should have staff and policies to deal with annoying patrons - whether the annoyance is being a loud drunk idiot, a loud sober idiot, idiots having indecent sex, idiots talking during the show whether on a phone or not, idiot teens who have to follow and add to countless text chains all the time...
Preventing "piracy" is not your problem beyond having signage forbidding it and having your auditorium checks include a look for people recording the movie.
For "sneaks" or test screenings the studio will provide extra security if they want it. Usually this just requires phones to be left home/outside and sometimes providing a "phone check" desk. I have never seen physical searches but I have seen security staff in the auditorium looking for phones in use - and ejecting idiots who use them.

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David Buckley
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 - posted 06-22-2016 06:57 AM      Profile for David Buckley   Author's Homepage   Email David Buckley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The bag has to be unlocked by an operative, it doesn't unlock itself by location. Thus once locked, the phone is in there until the operative lets it out.

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Scott Norwood
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quote: Dave Macaulay
You should have staff and policies to deal with annoying patrons - whether the annoyance is being a loud drunk idiot, a loud sober idiot, idiots having indecent sex, idiots talking during the show whether on a phone or not, idiot teens who have to follow and add to countless text chains all the time...
Agreed. Kick out annoying patrons without offering them refunds (and post a sign stating this), regardless of their reason for being annoying.

The bag thing would likely be used only by people who are basically polite and would not normally be disruptive. The problematic patrons are the ones who would not use it. Ill-mannered people will be ill-mannered regardless of attempts such as this to change their behavior.

That said, I am all for building movie theatres (and restaurants) to be Faraday cages (which is probably cost-prohibitive, but I can dream), and I do think that a cell-phone-check desk (like a coat check, but for cell phones) would be a reasonable idea. The latter could probably be promoted as a "charging service."

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Kenneth Wuepper
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Don't underestimate the power of peer ridicule.

In a jazz concert last week, during a pause in the music a cell phone ring was heard loudly in the room. The pianist, with a wonderful ear, duplicated the pitch and imitated the ring from the piano. The entire audience first laughed out loud and then gave the pianist a standing ovation.

The cell phone owner crept out quietly during the next number. Perhaps never to allow that to happen again.

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Mike Schulz
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I like the Faraday cage idea for movie theatres. There was a theatre somewhere in New York I read about a few years ago who put a Faraday around half of their auditoriums and then listed which showtimes had it installed when people were purchasing their tickets. They knew there would be a lot of people complain about needing their phone for emergencies whether it be a doctor on-call or parents wanting to be in contact with their babysitter if there was a problem back at home, so it was the best of both worlds. The people who needed access to their phones could buy a ticket to one of the screens without a Faraday, and the people who think about ways of violently removing others who look at their phones in the middle of a movie can buy a ticket for a screen with signal blocked. Win-win.

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Bobby Henderson
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For movie theaters it's just this simple:
No tolerance policy. People who use their phones during the movie need to be thrown the hell out of the theater. Simple as that. This rule needs to be applied industry-wide. Not just at Alamo Drafthouse or Warren Theaters (both of which already enforce such policies).

I feel like carrying a laser pointer with me into the theater to point at lighted phone screens I see in front of me. And that's a nice fantasy. It's too dangerous to use a pellet gun to shoot out the lighted screens of jackasses too selfish and stupid to keep their phones in their pockets or purses during the movie.

The Yondr pouch has potential for working in movie theaters, but it would take some serious adjustments. What will these pouches add to theater staff demands? How badly will messing with these things slow the ticket tearing lines? Many customers will already have their hands full of stuff they bought at the snack counter. They're going to have a hard time dealing with a phone pouch. One thing is certain, this Yondr setup would add some cost to a theater's operations due to staffing issues and whatever the cost is for the pouches.

quote: Frank Cox
People will put their phone in the pouch, then remove it again before entering the zone where the pouch locks.
quote: Frank Cox
Or just avoid the whole thing on the way in. "Phone? What phone?"
A metal detecting wand would solve that problem. As screwed up as the general public seems to be these days it probably wouldn't hurt to wand them just like people entering violence-prone night clubs.

quote: Dave Macaulay
What's the big deal with cell phones anyway? They can definitely be annoying but so what? You should have staff and policies to deal with annoying patrons - whether the annoyance is being a loud drunk idiot, a loud sober idiot, idiots having indecent sex, idiots talking during the show whether on a phone or not, idiot teens who have to follow and add to countless text chains all the time...
Here's the big deal about the phones: it's a giant pain in the ass for a paying customer to do anything about some fuckhead who won't stop playing with his or her phone. Staff members are rarely ever in the auditoriums while the movie is playing. So they're going to be incredibly lucky if they can catch phone users in the act and deal with such assholes immediately. So the chore of dealing with the problem falls into the lap of the customer. Doing so is not easy and not fast at all. You gotta get up, step over a bunch of people (disrupting their show) to get to an aisle, walk down the stadium seating flight of stairs toward the movie screen, then walk another auditorium length back to the room entrance, then down a long fucking hall and into a huge lobby where hopefully some human being staffers will be present. If you find a staffer you gotta give them chapter and verse of your story, which may fall on deaf ears since some of these staffers use their phones just as compulsively as anyone. All of that shit takes time. By the way, the movie hasn't stopped playing and you're probably missing some important parts of it while on the phone complaint quest. If you do manage to get a staffer to come along, by the time you got back into the auditorium it's not so easy to point out which asshole was using his phone. It's not like a phone user keeps his iPhone™ screen lit up during the entire movie. The activity is intermittent. He's not wearing a sign saying "kick me out" either.

In the end, paying customers have a choice: sit there and endure some jag-off disrupting the show with his Apple-branded flashlight or get up and demand a refund. Even getting a refund might be an adventure. They may only offer a pass for a return visit for more of the same anger inspiring fun, if they offer anything at all. You're sure not getting a refund on all that overpriced popcorn and soda pop.

By the way, the compulsive, selfish phone users are all too aware of this equation. So they're only too happy to laugh their asses off at anyone annoyed by their phone use during the movie.

I think about that equation too. So if I actually do leave my seat to complain about a phone user, chances are currently 70-30 I'll go complain to a staffer. But that 30 percent and rising side of knows it will take less time for me to go punch the living shit out of the phone user.

quote: Kenneth Wuepper
In a jazz concert last week, during a pause in the music a cell phone ring was heard loudly in the room. The pianist, with a wonderful ear, duplicated the pitch and imitated the ring from the piano. The entire audience first laughed out loud and then gave the pianist a standing ovation.
Jazz concerts draw a select demographic crowd from the general public. We're probably talking more highly educated, affluent, intelligent, possibly more considerate of others, etc. Peer pressure isn't going to be as effective on some of the kinds of idiots more likely to be found in movie theaters than jazz clubs. This country sadly has a rapidly growing segment of its society which seems to have no concept of shame.

quote: Scott Norwood
That said, I am all for building movie theatres (and restaurants) to be Faraday cages (which is probably cost-prohibitive, but I can dream), and I do think that a cell-phone-check desk (like a coat check, but for cell phones) would be a reasonable idea. The latter could probably be promoted as a "charging service."
I'm not sure if it would be cost prohibitive. Material like chicken wire can be pretty effective at blocking out radio waves. You can line the walls and ceiling of an auditorium with that stuff for a few hundred dollars. Modern theaters require a decent amount of acoustic wall treatment anyway. And that's not cheap, certainly if you do it to THX standards. Integrating wire mesh in with the layers of other stuff would add an incremental amount of cost to a new theater build. I think it would be far more difficult for an existing theater to incorporate a Faraday cage.

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Scott Norwood
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I disagree with the metal-detector idea. These things are obnoxious enough at airports. The concept inspires fear, and I would argue that the last thing that the entertainment industry should do to its customers is make them afraid to attend public events. We want people to feel happy and excited when they go to movies; metal detectors do the opposite of that, making patrons fearful as they are hearded like cattle through a machine that makes irritating beeping noises.

As much as I hate cell phones in movie theatres, metal detectors would be worse.

(And, yes, I realize that it is now more-or-less impossible to attend some events--even a major-league baseball game--without being metal-detected. This, too, is shameful.)

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Manny Montes
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I don't think this is targeted at movie theaters but I could easily see it being used for studio screenings where they are normally "bag and tag" events where the guests get wanded down if they claim they don't have a cell phone. It's nice in the fact that you aren't responsible for holding and ensuring no damage comes to their devices during the show.

The only issue I see is, what if a guest forgets to silence their cell phone and it goes off while it is trapped in the pouch? would that not cause more of a distraction?

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Jack Ondracek
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 - posted 06-22-2016 01:13 PM      Profile for Jack Ondracek   Author's Homepage   Email Jack Ondracek   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Bobby Henderson
For movie theaters it's just this simple:
No tolerance policy. People who use their phones during the movie need to be thrown the hell out of the theater. Simple as that. This rule needs to be applied industry-wide. Not just at Alamo Drafthouse or Warren Theaters (both of which already enforce such policies).

Couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, like the "no outside food" signs on many theatre doors, it's not likely to be enforced. In the case of a couple of the "big chains", the managers aren't allowed to confront the customers.

One of our local managers told me that the company wants to avoid legal problems at all costs, to the point they told him it was his job to take whatever an unhappy customer might dish out at him, rather than actually confront an offending customer. The resolution to most complaints was a roll of passes he kept in his safe. Unfortunately, some customers figured that out and found ways to complain as a matter of course.

Given success in the "complaint for complimentary passes" scam, some of them occasionally try it out on me. You almost immediately recognize the shock and confusion on their faces when they run into a member of our management or ownership that will tell them... sometimes very directly... how things work out here.

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Mike Blakesley
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quote: Bobby Henderson
For movie theaters it's just this simple:
No tolerance policy. People who use their phones during the movie need to be thrown the hell out of the theater. Simple as that.

It's not that "simple." For a big plex, you would have to have an employee or two in every auditorium, all the time, walking the aisles.

Even for a small place like ours or Frank's, it's still not simple. "No-tolerance" policy or not, I guarantee you there ARE people using their phones in every single auditorium unless, as noted above, there is an employee walking the aisles continuously. They're just stealthy about it. A lot of them are now at least courteous enough to dim down their screens.

A lot of teenagers probably consider it sort of a "badge of honor" if they can manage to use their phone in a no-phones theater and not get caught -- or even if they do get caught, it gives them something to yak to their friends about, sort of like getting a ticket for underage drinking.

A diligent no-phones enforcement policy will definitely help make everybody be more careful/stealthy with their phones, which leads to less distraction, but stopping the use altogether is nigh impossible.

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Bobby Henderson
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If a theater chain is going to have a policy of not confronting people who disrupt movie presenstations with things like bright mobile phone screens then they're asking to lose customers. It's already a pretty sad thing if the management at an individual theater doesn't have the balls to confront and deal with unruly patrons. But if they're getting orders to do nothing from on high then that's just a whole lot worse.

The Faraday Cage approach would be a passive way to solve the cell phone problem. But it could be a fairly costly solution when you multiply that wire mesh treatment on the walls and ceilings times the number of auditoriums in the complex. It would cost less to have a no tolerance policy and be willing to enforce it.

Theater staff needs to be monitoring what's going on in the auditoriums anyway. Cell phones aren't the only disruption. You'll have people talking, kicking seats, putting their feet on seats, vandalizing seats, making racket with their snack packages, engaging in sexual activity, smoking, farting, getting into fights and letting their babies cry. Crowd control must be a part of a theater's operations. If the theater or theater chain doesn't want to deal with that out of fear of confrontations or lawsuits then the theater probably needs to be some other kind of business.

quote: Manny Montes
The only issue I see is, what if a guest forgets to silence their cell phone and it goes off while it is trapped in the pouch? would that not cause more of a distraction?
Obviously staff handling these Yondr pouches would have to follow step by step checklists, with silencing the phones being one of those steps. I would hope those pouches could be numbered or something as well to keep them from being mixed up with other phones.

I think it's kind of funny how this Yondr idea was meant for concerts. That's one of the last places I would risk carrying a phone, especially if it's in some kind of standing room only situation. If you drop it there it's gonna be crushed immediately. If you have it in a back pocket it could get swiped by a thief.

The Yondr thing is still a good idea for concerts. It's annoying when there's people in front of you holding phones up in the way of your view of the stage.

quote: Mike Blakesley
A diligent no-phones enforcement policy will definitely help make everybody be more careful/stealthy with their phones, which leads to less distraction, but stopping the use altogether is nigh impossible.
That may be true, but an explicitly stated no tolerance policy on phone use would definitely convince the vast majority of audience members to keep their phones tucked away and quiet. It certainly makes a big difference at Warren Theaters locations. I rarely ever see a phone screen lighting up there.

This notion of just "asking" the audience members to be considerate with their phones, usually via some part of a policy trailer or slide, is just wimpy as fuck. All "asking" does is tell the audience that phone use during the movie is optional and there are no consequences for it.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
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This just might be the ticket to Palookaville.

Let's see...

It would piss off young people whom seem to think they have a right to be rude.

It would piss off older people who hate being annoyed by people using cell phones, but would be highly insulted by the implication you do not trust them to follow the rules.

Operationally, when the show exits, does that mean that everyone needs to wait in line at the "unlock" counter before they exit? How about loss? Does everyone return those 3D glasses? What make you think these won't just walk out the door. The fact that they are locked won't stop someone at home from cutting them open. Of course, you could require a deposit, but that would slow exiting even more.

This works for concerts because the venue is usually the only place to see the artist. There are lots of places to watch movies. This would scream to me, stay home and wait for the Bluray.

What really needs to happen is for congress to be lobbied to change the law to allow legal low power inside jamming.

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Carsten Kurz
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It's not such a bad idea for concerts, but I don't consider it necessary for cinemas.

People will be more compliant with such measures when it allows them to keep their phones with them instead of handing it out into a locker. This pouch also will not keep phones from ringing (but the act of enveloping offers a better chance for users to switch them to silent mode). In a cinema, it is much easier to control or sanction cell phone use IF it happens. Who would want to pay for another usher(s) to perform this procedure before and after the movie? And, if necessary, in-between?

I see this happening for press screenings, test screenings, etc. It still depends on wether people co-operate. You could easily carry a 'dummy' phone with you and keep your 'pirating equipment' secretly hidden if you're really after it. These pouches will still keep MOST of the crowd from routinely holding out their phones throughout the live show, which probably serves the purpose.

- Carsten

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