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 'This is Cinerama!' at the Plaza, Sydney
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 Return to top of page · Post #: 1 · Written at 2:41:08 PM on 3 August 2016.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
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The Plaza Theatre on George St Sydney was equipped to show Cinerama.
http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/7065
Would liked to have seen "This is Cinerama" film in that format as those in Sydney could.
Did anyone see one of these ultra wide screen films there?


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 2 · Written at 3:13:59 PM on 3 August 2016.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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The first such movie that I recall seeing there was Windjammer.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 3 · Written at 12:06:08 AM on 4 August 2016.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
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I know someone else who saw Windjammer there! That film was originally in CineMiracle format in 1958, but was re-released in Cinerama (same visual experience) after CineMiracle failed to catch on.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 4 · Written at 10:51:40 AM on 4 August 2016.
Damien's Gravatar
 Location: Perth, WA
 Member since 27 April 2016
 Member #: 1916
 Postcount: 19

I believe the Plaza was one of, if not the only cinema in Austraia equipped to show this format. It was expensive to implement and maintain. It required the construction of two additional bio boxes (projection rooms) and two additional projectionists to man the 'Able' and 'Charlie' projectors. 'Baker' booth was usually the cinema's original bio box and had the magnetic dubbers that carried the sound. It required a specially constructed semicircular screen comprising of hundreds of specially angled slats and the addition of many speakers.

There are only a few places in the world left to see Cinerama films as originally intended.

If you have any questions about Cinerama or projection in general I was a projectionist in Perth for a few years, I was made redundant with the digital switch but still collect 35mm and run it at home.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 5 · Written at 12:52:39 PM on 4 August 2016.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 603

So with three 35mm prints running side-by-side, it would = 100mm resolution & aspect ratio up to 3:1 for peripheral-vision effect.
Apparently in early 60s they ran "This is Cinerama" preview on Brisbane's largest screen [Paris Theatre], but it was only in 70mm single projector (not extra wide or curved) - didn't see it - but friends raved about its "rollercoaster" sequence.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 6 · Written at 2:57:55 PM on 4 August 2016.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
 Member #: 823
 Postcount: 5262

I see that there was also a Plaza Theatre equipped for Cinerama in Melbourne:. This article has a photo of its projection room layout:

http://in70mm.com/news/2004/melbourne/


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 7 · Written at 11:08:51 PM on 4 August 2016.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
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Lots of interesting info in the Melbourne article link. It says they needed five technical crew to run a show! It also says Castro banned Cinerama in Cuba and replaced it with the Soviet equivalent, Kinopanorama Smile It says Cinerama abandoned their rented equipment in Australia and the special Altec Lansing speakers were replaced with Westrex A4 (although "A4" I believe is an Altec model number, the most popular large cinema speaker after Western Electric were banned from the theatre business by US antitrust ruling)


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 8 · Written at 11:38:36 PM on 4 August 2016.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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although "A4" I believe is an Altec model number

According to an Altec "The Voice of the Theatre" brochure I have, there was A4 (40 watts) and A4X (60 watts)..


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 9 · Written at 12:12:39 AM on 5 August 2016.
Samt's Gravatar
 Location: Hobart, TAS
 Member since 6 May 2013
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Three strip 35mm Cinerama was also screened in Melbourne in the Plaza Theatre which is underneath the Regent Theatre in Collins Street. The Melbourne Plaza was restored along with the Regent Theatre and is now used as a ballroom. The Sydney Plaza theatre is now a McDonalds outlet.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 10 · Written at 12:22:34 AM on 5 August 2016.
Samt's Gravatar
 Location: Hobart, TAS
 Member since 6 May 2013
 Member #: 1337
 Postcount: 72

A friend of mine told me about attending the Plaza in Melbourne when it was set up for Cinerama. The show would start in black and white in standard academy ratio of an announcer who announced "Ladies and Gentlemen, This is Cinerama" at that moment the side curtains would open, and open, and open to reveal a giant curved screen that wrapped around the front of the auditorium. It apparently was very spectacular. I would love to see Cinerama brought back, I am sure it would be possible with digital projection.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 11 · Written at 1:18:35 AM on 5 August 2016.
Brad's avatar
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 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
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Cinema is definitely not what it once was. It's just a licence to print money these days and you are ushered in at the start to watch 20 minutes of ads and shoved out at the end of the programme and the cleaners only have a few minutes to sweep up everyone's mess before the next feature begins. I also remember that at the end of a film the audience would show its appreciation to the projectionist(s) by clapping during the credits. There's no-one to applaud now as most cinemas have emptied out their projection rooms and installed digital projectors. In multi-cinema complexes all are controlled from one central location and are most likely automated to some degree.

By the time one has purchased a ticket, a soft drink, bucket of popcorn and a couple of choc-tops they've been pummelled up the jaxy for about $60.00. Multiply that by the number of people in the group and it's a lot of money to spend on 2 hours.

My only trip to the pictures in the last three or four years was Star Wars, Episode VII at Hoyts Chatswood. I used to like Greater Union's Gold Class cinemas back when there were more pictures that were to my liking, equipped with huge recliner chairs and the ushers would bring hot food to you during the picture. That service is VERY expensive now.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 12 · Written at 1:57:17 AM on 5 August 2016.
GTC's avatar
 GTC
 Location: Sydney, NSW
 Member since 28 January 2011
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 Postcount: 5262

I forget what the last flick is that I was dragged along to endure (because it was entirely forgettable), but I do remember that the sound was cranked up far too loud.

Protective ear buds are mandatory these days!


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 13 · Written at 1:59:54 AM on 5 August 2016.
Brad's avatar
 Administrator
 Location: Greenwich, NSW
 Member since 15 November 2005
 Member #: 1
 Postcount: 5505

If you remember how the Star Wars opening theme begins, yes, earmuffs are required.


‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾
A valve a day keeps the transistor away...

 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 14 · Written at 11:34:04 AM on 5 August 2016.
Samt's Gravatar
 Location: Hobart, TAS
 Member since 6 May 2013
 Member #: 1337
 Postcount: 72

How The West Was Won was also shown in the three projector Cinerama format at the Plaza in Sydney and Melbourne. It was the only feature shot and shown in the three camera/projector format. Later cinerama features were shot on a single 70mm camera and shown with a 70mm projector with an anamorphic lens. 70mm was recently revived by Quinton Tarantino for The Hateful Eight. Cinemas in Sydney and Melbourne had to re install 70mm film projectors to screen the 70mm prints.


 
 Return to top of page · Post #: 15 · Written at 5:14:09 PM on 5 August 2016.
NewVista's avatar
 Location: MilwWI, US
 Member since 10 May 2013
 Member #: 1340
 Postcount: 603

By the description, the whole process was very inefficient, but back in 1952 Hollywood was desperate to stave off the encroachment of television on box office receipts. The Melbourne linked article states that each Cinerama projector, running brighter than usual films?, was using 100-amp arc lights! Today, maybe they could re-create that unique 140-degree "surround" screen without projectors by making the screen out of ~ 4 to 8 million LED RGB-triads (using a fraction of the energy, and operated by one person or automation!)


 
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