Canada’s Famous Players Theatres

FP 1A trip to the movie theatre is full of expectations. Once the movie reel rolls, the world of fantasy begins.

Famous Players Movie Theatres in Canada is making sure that that experience doesn’t necessarily start when the reel begins to roll, but the moment you walk through the door – and even before that. As Famous Players themselves say, “Famous Players Theatres are movie palaces of the future, totally immersing today’s audiences in the cinematic experience, and restoring for them the glamour, excitement and fun evoked by those buildings of the past.

“Our aim is to provide guests with an environment that is unsurpassed in movie theatres around the world.

Martin Professional’s Canadian distributor, Martin Canada, is supplying Famous Players Theatres with a full array of automated lighting equipment for 18 of its 108 theaters across Canada. In the middle of a $500 million expansion program, the 80 year old cinema company is creating a full sensory theatre experience for moviegoers, an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation before the movie even starts.

Unique interior design using automated lighting.

A large part of the mix are the creation of themed lobbies and the use of automated luminaries. Communication Arts, a design firm out of Boulder, Colorado and commissioned by Famous Players to design the look of Famous Player Movie Theatres, developed a unique interior design concept for a movie theatre complex, Famous Player “Coliseum” in Kirkland, Quebec. .Famous Players has been using Martin RoboScan Pro 918 and RoboScan Pro 518 scanners to accentuate their lobbies for several years.

For the Coliseum project however the budget was considerably larger, approximately 500,000 USD, which gave Communication Arts the chance to establish a lighting environment that is the main focus of the theatre. Many of the features of the interior were designed specifically to take full advantage of the lighting gear. The idea was to completely surround the guest in an ever-changing light show, a facility that never stops moving.
FP 3 Constantly moving light show

The Kirkland Coliseum cinema is a 12 screen, 3,800 seat state-of-the-art complex. A large circular interior atrium, approximately 280′ in diameter and 60′ in height, is filled with a constantly moving light show and synched with an hour-long custom audio track.

Ten projection panels line the perimeter, arching inward towards the centre, each screen three meters wide at the base, four meters wide at the top and 14 meters tall.

In the centre, atop the concession, is a 24′ pipe-framed “Globe” painted in “Wildfire Blue” UV paint. Around the globe is a 44′ diameter circular truss. Some 30 MAC 300 and 10 MAC 250 moving heads are placed inside a valance below each projection screen and never stop moving. They are used to provide texture and movement upon the screens.

MAC’s used to create themes and project custom logos

An accompanying sound track was written specifically for the facility and consists of three “Main Events” which are repeated every 16 minutes. Between “events” a sound track plays one of three themes – Space, Time and Nature (A full hour of sound and lighting is time-coded to the music track). Each light show during the 16-minute segment reflects the appropriate theme, and also allows the projection fixtures to display custom gobo advertisements from the concession vendors.

The show is continuous throughout business hours, approximately 14 hours a day. Ten MAC 500’s, eight MAC 300’s and six MAC 250’s are placed on the circular truss that ring the “Globe”. They are used for a variety of effects around the floor area of the concession area, and during the “Main Event” are projected toward the centre to draw attention to the “Globe” at certain points.

The MAC 500’s are fitted with four full colour custom gobos (featuring concession vendor logos) that are projected onto the projection screens at various times during the ambient (16 minute segment) music.
FP 2 Entrance foyer washed in ever-changing space theme

A large entrance foyer reflects a “space theme” that is in constant flux. Six MAC 600’s continuously wash the entire foyer in an ever-changing colour wash of light while three PAL 1200 moving mirror spots provide consistently changing images of space, for example ever-changing and ever-moving nebulas and galaxies. Apollo Gobo provided gobos for the Pal 1200’s, MAC 500’s and MAC 250’s. Four Jem Stage Hazers are fitted into the walls to provide a consistent haze throughout the day and night.

Exterior 600’s and MAC 500’s introduce themed environment outside

The exterior is a reflection of what is happening in the interior foyer itself. Six Exterior 600’s, an automated colour changing Fresnel washlight designed for fixed outdoor installations, and four MAC 500’s in MAC Domes, allows luminaries to be used outdoors, yet remain in a protected environment (IP Rating: IP44), provide the nebulas and galaxies with saturated washes of colour. As the interior foyer lighting changes, so does the exterior entrance lighting, and as you drive down the main highway toward the complex, you can see the exterior show as far as a mile away. Lighting Programmer Paul Pelletier from Martin Canada spent seven days programming the show. Lighting design is by Clifton Rhodes of Design Solutions Ltd.

The entire system is controlled by a Martin Case Pro II, capable of controlling up to 700 fixtures and 2028 DMX channels – fast and direct access to all fixtures and functions at all times, with four links of DMX with a CD player. The sound track is run directly from the Case and triggers all of the events. The system also has two 3-watt YAG lasers, which are located in the centre of the “Globe” and are controlled by the Case as well. The lasers produce a total of 56 beams, all bounced off of 56 bounce mirrors located under each scrim and at the entrance doors in the foyer. All beams are directed to the top of the atrium with the exception of 8 beams that are directed toward the doors. The beams terminate into the hood of a Pal located over the ticket counter.

Famous Players Theatres are insuring that a night out at the movies is a complete entertainment experience.

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