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Case Studies

Plaza Truro Screen 5 - Filling a Void.

The Plaza first opened in February 1936 as a single screen with a seating capacity of 1,176 in stalls and circle. It was designed in an art deco style by noted Bristol based cinema architect William Henry Watkins.

The proscenium was 34 feet wide, there were 3 dressing rooms and a cafe and ballroom above the entrance foyer. The cinema then passed through several hands, even fighting off the threat to turn it into a Bingo Hall, and WTW Cinemas eventually rescued it with an extensive reconstruction and refurbishment programme.

Sound Associates have had a long relationship with WTW Cinemas, headed by David Williams with four thriving cinemas in Cornwall. When they first took over the Plaza in Truro, in 1997, we worked with David and his team to transform the historic, local cinema, into an up market, state of the art, local venue.

The ‘new’ (at that time) 35mm projectors were further enhanced by the installation of Dolby Digital Sound in all four screens, making the Plaza the first multi-screen cinema in the west country to offer this.

There had always been a desire to create a fifth screen, and the ideal space seemed to be an unused restaurant area on the second floor, but this was not feasible due the space needed for the 35mm projection equipment so the project was dropped. Then came the conversion to Digital projectors and over time these have become more compact and the project was looked at again. So approximately 18 years after the idea was first mooted, Screen 5, now called the Lemon Suite, was opened in the summer, using a ceiling mounted Barco DP2K-6E in a custom-made pod.

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Vue Darlington - A multiplex at the heart of a new leisure destination.

The new Feethams leisure destination in Darlington is an exciting £30 million development on the site of a former bus station. It opened in June 2016 and is already proving to be an incredibly popular venue for food and entertainment in the town and beyond into the wider areas surrounding Darlington. At its core, is the 9 screen Vue cinema, which was equipped and installed by Sound Associates.

SA has had a long and successful relationship with Vue Cinemas, and when we were asked to tender for this latest multiplex, (their 85th in the UK) we knew that together we could create a cinema that was not only well designed but that was also innovative. Here Vue have installed their first Sony Double Stack R515DS projectors, this system delivers 30,000 lumen brightness levels for superb quality and definition in 3D and 2D on a 14m wide screen.

There are 9 screens in total, three of which offer 3D. We used state of the art Sony R515DS, R515 and R510 projectors and Dolby CP750 processors together with QSC amplifiers powering QSC loudspeakers for spectacular sound systems.

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Soho House Electric Cinema Shoreditch - From idea to reality in three weeks

Behind one of the UK’s most luxurious and advanced movie locations is a fascinating story. How the vision of an entrepreneur created a project that went from concept to realisation in three weeks.

It was two weeks into the re-development project for the Soho House in Shoreditch when Simon Munday, their Infrastructure Specialist, got a call from Nick Jones, the owner, about an earlier idea they had about using a small space for a luxury cinema.

“Let’s just do it” was the message. The concept was exciting... an oval but shallow space to make a unique environment, plush leather armchairs, footstools, cashmere blankets, great deli-bar, and the best sound and vision available. It was hailing back to the glorious past of cinema. But to achieve it at all involved ripping out everything including an old projection room, to open up the space, selecting and installing new projection systems, sound systems, controls, wiring and more. And to make it happen in the three weeks before the deadline of opening day was going to be a titanic effort.

Download Full Case StudySoho House Electric Cinema Shoreditch - From idea to reality in three weeks

 

An old bank becomes a luxury cinema - Curzon Sheffield

The imposing Grade II listed building that once housed the Sheffield Banking Company, has been transformed into a luxurious modern multi-screen cinema with the help of Sound Associates and is now the latest addition to the Curzon Cinema chain. As one enthusiastic inhabitant of the Steel City remarked, “It has made our dreams come true”.

The venue was derelict for over a decade, and while the integrity of the original building has been respected, Curzon have created a space that is modern and comfortable. There are three screens and, in order to create a neat space with more seating, Curzon and Sound Associates employed Pods to house the projection equipment.

But making this approach work in the context of an old Bank building was not straightforward and required a great deal of creativity and technical expertise. One pod has a telescopic hoist so that the projector may be serviced by removing it from the pod from below. The Pods in the other two screens use telescopic access from the side. The pods give a clean design and improve the sound insulation, reducing the echo and it is the “fantastic sound quality” that Manager, Jonathan Griffin, is particularly proud of. Managing Director, Graham Lodge added “Sound Associates have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with the Curzon Group.ect.”

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Four years in the making - The ancient town of Rye gets a cinema to be proud of

There was great excitement in the town of Rye in East Sussex in January 2015 when The Kino Cinema opened its doors. Sound Associates are proud to have been closely involved in this project which resulted in what the Rye Journal described as “a fabulous boost to the town”. The old library building was lovingly restored creating a state of the art two screen cinema with an additional function room and welcoming bar area.

But this story didn’t happen by magic. The Kino Managing Director Matt Breckon describes the project as a four year rollercoaster ride. The restrictions of working in the middle of a medieval citadel meant that cranes had to be used to deliver equipment, and that the back wall of a screen had to be built last, after all other major deliveries and installations had been completed.

Matt had previously worked with Sound Associates during the opening of his other cinema, Kino Hawkhurst, and was so impressed that he asked them to get involved from an early stage in the Rye project. “I didn’t want to waste time and I trusted them to come up with good, cost-effective solutions that were fit for purpose for each part of the project.”

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Fairfield Halls expand their audience with alternative content

A two year project culminated in November 2014 when Fairfield Halls launched their new cinema capabilities. The venue jumped two generations of technology by installing the latest 4k projectors, 7:1 surround sound and access to new content in their main auditorium, together with a new satellite dish on the roof.

Whilst they have captured loyal audiences with their regular recipe of classical music, rock and pop, they wanted to fill up the dark hours in their weekly schedule by introducing events, embracing programmes from the National Theatre, Royal Opera House (ROH) and live rock performances, and adding new live content to corporate conferences. Based on the soft launch, the plan is already working.

One of the first screenings was the live transmission of the Spandau Ballet event from the Royal Albert Hall on 15th September 2014. This would challenge the new system to its limits, since it required flipping back and forth between a live feed of an interview with the band, the European premiere of their movie The Soul Boys of the Western World and a live performance of their greatest hits. It was to be the first time the newly installed equipment had been used in anger. Fortunately, the evening went off without a hitch and the new system had been well and truly christened.

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Gibraltar goes digital - The 2 screen Leisure Cinemas complex in Gibraltar

Gibraltar had been served for many years by the 800 seat Queens Cinema which was equipped with 35mm projectors.

Understanding the need to modernise facilities, in 2008 they (Leisure Cinemas) moved to a new 2 screen development in the King’s Bastion Leisure Centre equipped with new Cinemeccanica 35mm projectors. With the dawn of digital cinema they soon found it increasingly difficult and expensive to ship 35mm film prints from the UK. They were also aware of the potential in 3D cinema and the exhibition of a wide range of live events.

The owner of Leisure Cinemas, Odette Benatar, contacted Sound Associates for advice on the suitable specification of her proposed digital capabilities. Given her long association with Graham Lodge (Managing Director) and his father before him at Sound Associates, Odette had real confidence in the proposals we put before her: the installation of two 4K Barco projectors and Dolby DSS220 servers – both with Dolby 3D playback capability.

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