Believe it or not, people do go to the theater to watch movies in this day and age. I know I’d love to go more often than I do. Having the exceptional sound and the huge screen are tremendous pulls for me. However, I lately came across an article over on ComingSoon that I found fascinating, so I thought I’d share some highlights. The article talks about 4 things that many people don’t know about the mighty theater screens.
Scope and flat are the two main aspect ratios used by filmmakers. The flat is the commonly known 16:9 while scope is wider. In order to allow any movie in any theater without worries about showing pillar boxing or letterboxing which can be distracting for viewers, theaters use curtains to mask the black bars. These curtains are movable which allows easy adaptation for any film.
Did you know there are speakers behind theater screens? I didn’t. I always just thought the sound came from the sides and back and maybe even the ceiling. However, it turns out that there are speakers directly behind the screen. In order for the sound to be clear though, there are many tiny, unnoticeable holes in the screen for the sound waves to pass through easily.
Most theater screens are pearlescent which isn’t completely silver or white. Being pearlescent provides excellent contrast without the film being too bright. According to the article, a pure white screen isn’t reflective which makes the image too dim for good viewing.
Floating screens are more prominent in IMAX and other large formats, but that’s not their only use. The problem with floating screens though is that it’s next to impossible to use masking with floating screens. This means that you’re much more likely to see those awful black bars. The one advantage to a floating screen over a wall mounted screen is simply the physical boundary imposed by the wall.