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Thursday, December 11, 2008


ARBOREEL is an environmental initiative for managing the ongoing operations and maintenance of existing cinemas, industry suppliers and service providers. Arboreel identifies and rewards best practices and provides a plan/template to:
  • use less energy and water,
  • improve the indoor environment, and
  • uncover and correct wasteful operating inefficiencies

Arboreel is about transforming businesses into an invironmentally sustainable building through the implementation of a compliance and certification process.


Arboreel helps reduce operating costs, saves on utilities' expense, reduces a business's environmental impact, enhances its marketability, and greatly improves customer goodwill - without the requirement of major infrastructure upgrades. Additionally, attaining industry-recognized Arboreel Certification ensures a business reaches its minimal sustainable potential and energy and environmental efficiency.


Arboreel certifies a business's sustainable operations and creates a plan for ensuring that performance over time. Arboreel evaluates the physical systems but, more importantly, the way it is managed and maintained. A rating and certification system specific to the Cinema industry, Arboreel is based upon and is a path toward attaining the globally-recognized U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) Certification.


Arboreel is a three level program. The prerequisites for each must be met before moving to the next level. Arboreel is unique in that it is entirely at the client's discretion as to what level of compliance they attain. They can stop or postpone the process at any time if they believe they have attained the level that meets their standard of environmental sustainability. The three levels are: Acorn, Sapling, and Oak. Participating in Arboreel is cost-effective and its implementation guarantees savings and efficiencies over the life-cycle of the building.


Arboreel was conceived and developed through the joint efforts of Screentrade Magazine and Entertainment Equipment Corporation and is based upon the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Rating System. USGBC is an affiliate of the International Green Building Council - the global authority on construction and operation of environmentally-sustainable commercial and residential buildings.


Register your project and review the start-up procedures with an Arboreel representative and arrange for a site visit to develop an implementation plan. It's that easy!

To register or for more information contact:

  • In the U.S.:

Jim Lavorato, President, Entertainment Equipment Corporation - 800-448-1656 - entequip@aol.com

Pam Stanton, North America Editor and Events Manager, Screentrade Magazine - 616-847-0144 - pam@screentrademagazine.com

  • In Europe:

Philip Turner, Editor, Screentrade Magazine -

+44 (0) 1689 833117 - philip@screentrademagazine.com

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


As predicted weeks ago the funding for the much touted Digital-Cinema rollout has evaporated and with it the misplaced hopes of many in our industry. The lethal combination of high investment/no return (in itself a reason to dismiss the concept outright) and the global economic downturn rendered the D-Cinema initiative a non-starter and hopefully puts it to final rest.

Funding reconsideration - if ever - will not occur for 3-5 years, so independent exhibitors can breath a sigh of relief and return to a normal business posture in managing their cinemas. Further, a 3-5 year hiatus will find the technology upon which D-Cinema is based to be completely obsolete. The studios will hopefully and finally dismiss this misconceived method of movie distribution and accept the fact that film - although burdened by huge logistical baggage - is still the best way to combat piracy as the ease and sophistication of digital copying strengthens by the day.


For 2009 CTC will be adding a new training workshop to its curriculum devoted specifically to helping cinemas with their environmental sustainability issues and initiatives.

The workshop can be attended by management and staff (at all levels) within the cinema industry - exhibition, manufacturing, distribution, and film production. Action-oriented with emphasis on immediate on-the-job implementation the training will be beneficial to the business, employees, and customers.


The new 2009 CTC Guidebook will be available in mid-January but contact us NOW to reserve a copy. This comprehensive booklet provides all the info. you'll need regarding the world's only training facility devoted exclusively to the cinema exhibition industry.


If you are planning to attend ShoWest in Las Vegas this coming April - mark your calendar now to join us for a complimentary breakfast or afternoon refreshments at the Billagio Hotel, Thursday, April 2, 2009 for the introduction of Arboreel.

Arboreel is an environmental initiative developed specifically for the cinema exhibition industry. Its purpose is to implement operating and management practices that enhance the green sustainability of a cinema and certify those initiatives. It is very important that our industry become more environmentally aware and institute day-to-day policies and practices which, at least, reach a minimum level of environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

In April, get introduced to Arboreel and begin "Building For The Future". Spending just a short time to learn and increase your awareness of Arboreel will be well worth the effort and could change the course of your business for years to come.

Look for more on Arboreel in the coming weeks!


In the United States, commerical builidings account for:

- 65% of electrical consumption
- 36% of energy use
- 30% of green gas emissions
- 29% of raw material use
- 28% of waste output, and
- 12% of potable water consumption

What are your cinema's consumption levels?

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Even simple on-the-job green initiatives carry significant environmental impact. Here are several easily implemented ones:

- Where possible print all documents double-sided
- Use recycled paper as much as possible
- Utilize paperless communications and save emails on line instead of copying them
- Encourage telecommuting by employees when feasible
- Provide indoor bicycle racks
- Have employees use non-paper cups, mugs, and dishes when at work vs. disposables
- Encourage the use of water fountains or coolers vs. single serve bottles


Starting with this article, we will be featuring "Green Tips". These are actions any business or person can adopt which will have a positive environmental impact - and keep us Eco-conscious.


- Use Cruise Control - maintaining a constant speed saves gas.
- Consider Speed Limits - speeding (as we all do) uses up more gas. Most vehicles maximize
fuel efficiency at 50 mph.
- Maintain Your Vehicle - change air filters and spark plugs on a scheduled basis.
- Remove roof racks when not using.
- Maintain proper tire pressure - low pressure costs lots in wasted fuel.
- Reduce Vehicle's Weight - remove heavy objects from trunk and rear seats, i.e. sand bags
used during the winter months.
- Consolidate Your Driving - organize your to-do list and plan ahead to minimize time and

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Make no mistake, every cinema must have a video projector for pre-feature presentations, for rentals and parties, for film festivals and gaming, but you must insure (and I can't stress this strongly enough) the projector that you purchase produces on-screen image that is equal to a high definition TV image. That means purchasing a projector with enough lumens (at minimum 75 - 100 lumens per foot of image throw) and the appropriate lens necessary for the image to fill the screen.

EEC sells Christie, Sony, and Panasonic video projectors each having a large selection of projectors suitable for cinema operation. Don't make the mistake of buying a small, inexpensive consumer model from one of the big box retail stores - it won't and can't do the job.


In the article above (published in Cinema Training Central Flash #5/08) it was brought to my attention from several readers that my recommendation on lumen calculation in determining what size video projectors would be best suited for a particular auditorium and screen size was not as accurate as other calculations. This is true. I recommend the use of a simple lumen calculation based on length of image throw. Simply, throw times 75. For example: a 50 ft. throw x 75 = 3750 lumens.

A more precise calculation, as was pointed out to me, would be image height times width x 14FL (FL = foot lamberts of reflected light). For example: a 12 ft. high x 22 ft. wide image would calculate to 264 sq. ft. x 14 = 3696 lumens required. The simple throw calculation will always be higher (which in and of itself is OK) but not as precise. Where the problem may arise is when you have a situation where there is a large image and a short image throw. Then it's best to use the more precise sq. footage calculation.

To receive the CTC Flashes, email entequip@aol.com and request to be added to the email listing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


As you are aware Entertainment Equipment is putting forward a concerted effor to address the environmental sustainability of the cinema exhibition industry. To this end we have partnered with Screentrade Magazine to put forth a program which will guide and asisst cinemas in improving their environmental impact.

Termed the Arboreel Program, it addresses the initiation of actions which will greatly improve the usage of energy and water, and the minimization of waste through recycling and reuse. We can all agree that improving a building's sustainability is a good thing and it's NOW time to act! Arboreel will be good for you, your family, your community, and your bottom line as it will foster significant saving on the spiraling costs of energy and water. In the future, the real estate marketplace will strongly favor and place a premium value on green buildings; therefore, it behooves every cinema owner/investor to build or upgrade to green standards and that is where Arboreel comes in.

You will be hearing more about the Arboreel Program and the many benefits it will bring to your cinema and the exhibition industry. Its formal introduction will be in April at the 2009 ShoWest convention. More information on the where, when, and who will be forthcoming. Plan on attending! It will be well worth your time and effort.


Providing valid information always helps to visualize a problem - so here are a few reasons why you should consider participating in the Arboreel Program and which demonstrate the enormity of the problems we all face:
  • According to the Consumer Electronics Association over 426,000 cell phones are "retired" in the U.S. EVERYDAY!
  • If every commuter carried just one more passenger the U.S. would save 600,000 gallons of gasoline and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 12 million pounds EVERYDAY!
  • PC screen savers DON'T save energy! - Turn PCs and Laptops OFF!
  • The average office worker discards over 175 pounds of office paper every year - use recycled paper - which takes 64% less energy and 58% less water to manufacture than new paper.

Friday, June 20, 2008


According to the U.S. Department of Commerce the number one reason customers stop dealing with a business is because of indifference, rudeness, or lack of service on the part of the employees (see inset).

All businesses - but particularly service oriented ones, and certainly cinemas - must be constantly attentive with regards to practices that are what I term - "mildly hostile" - towards their customers. These are the small annoyances that by themselves may not garner sufficient weight to motivate a customer to cease dealing with your business but tend, over time, to compel customers to look elsewhere to satisfy their needs.


1% Die
3% Move
5% Buy From Friends
9% Prefer Competition
14% Judge All Like Businesses The Same
68% Indifference, Rudeness, Lack of Service By Employees

Examples of mildly hostile customer practices are fairly widespread particularly in the retail/consumer products and services areas and I'm sure each of you reading this are fully aware of what I mean and can recite horror stories from your own experiences in the retail jungle.

As cinema owners/operators, being aware of mildly hostile practices requires constant vigilance for, like wrinkles and graying, their precise beginnings are hard to determine until the day when their grim evidence is impossible to refute.

There are a myriad of mildy hostile customer practices, and include such things as:
  • Employing under-qualified staff
  • Poor & unfriendly service
  • Thoughtless policies, such as inconvenient show times
  • Slow response in resolving customer queries and problems
  • Inconsistent service standards
  • Messy, semi-clean facilities
  • Untrained staff

Many of these practices are derived from weak, ineffective management which usually emanates from a tolerance for poor staff performance. Others may come from a company's fuzzy notion of customer satisfaction or from inconsistent service fortified by a lack of corporate support and funding for proper staff training.

Remember; it's not only blatant mismanagement and major mistakes that cause customer dissatisfaction and defection, but also those practices that are mildly hostile but which over time cause customer departure.

Before ending I would like to mention a trend that has developed over the last several years in corporate America and is worth mentioning. That is the creation and staffing by large organizations of a position called Chief Customer Experience Officer or CXO. A CXO is a senior level executive charged with evaluating, directing, and overseeing the customer experience effort and its implementation throughout the entire organization. The CXO position started to appear in 2005, and now, almost 25% of the largest 100 U.S. corporations have a CXO.

Reporting to the CEO, the CXO's responsibilities cut-across all product, service, and distribution channels and they have significant input into the corporation's marketing, promotion, and advertising activities. The CXO position will quickly become relevant for both large and mid-sized companies, in both the services or manufacturing sectors, and you'll be hearing more about this new and critical position as time goes on.

Reprinted from Spring 2008 Screentrade Magazine

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Now that I have your attention, let's talk about something less provacative but, nontheless, serious and perhaps even dearer to an exhibitor's heart. Drop Your Shorts is one of over 25,000 film festivals held annually across the globe. Forget Cannes and Sundance. We're talking about Toronto's Hunk of Junk Fest, Tokyo's Short Shorts, Sydney's Homebrewed Fest, Hollywood's Scream Fest, and London's Food Film Fiesta. The list and topics are endless. So with all these film festivals why should I be writing about cinemas sponsoring their own digital film fest? Because - it's an easy way to make money and (perhaps more importantly) connect your cinema to the local community in a very positive way. Film festivals fall under my current pet business premise for cinemas: Think Global / Act Local.

  • Advertise locally that your cinema is sponsoring a film festival. Start the promotion at least 6 - 8 weeks before the Festival. You should be able to get free local press coverage before and during the event. Also use the Cinema's website and in-theatre notices.
  • Charge entrants a minimal submission fee - say $15 - $25. Limit all submissions to 10 minutes or less and accept only DVD formatted entries.
  • Shortly after the deadline submission date review each submission for integrity (you set the entry rules), and then compile the accepted works onto a single "Festival" DVD.
  • Form a 3 person judging panel (awards will be given). Staff the panel with people who know something about the cinema or have local stature - professors/teachers at local schools or universities are a good source, as are local media people (radio, TV, press). You'll find most are ready and willing to assist.
  • Determine where and when to hold the Festival (provide a name). Have it at least two or three presentation times over a two/three day period - preferably weekend mornings/early afternoons.
  • Produce copies of the Festival DVD which would be available for sale during the Festival and through your Cinema's website.
  • For the presentations, use a video projector that is putting out 50 - 100 lumens of light per foot of picture throw. This is your benchmark projector size.
  • Give out awards - trophies, certificates, cash prizes - and have a number of awards, by: age group, submission genre, length of submission, etc.
  • Sell concessions!


The key in having the community participate is to get the word out early and often. If promoted properly you'll be surprised on the number of entries submitted. Get local schools involved. Another good idea is to link up with a community arts group as co-sponsor - this will provide a promotional jump start and further encourage local participation. The trick in having a digital film fest is not to get too fancy or too complicated. This is all about reinforcing the link between the cinema and the local community - it's that simple but that imperative.

Being a big proponent of cinemas offering up a full range of "alternative content" - be it a film festival or an in-cinema video gaming initiative, over the long haul cinemas will have to gravitate toward the use of non-movie entertainment to survive. Single theatre operation or chain it doesn't matter, sponsoring a digital film festival is easy, straight forward, and profitable - try it!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

3-D Cinema: A 2-D Perspective

Already faced with the problem of conversion to digital cinema, exhibitors now have the added worry of 3-D. Just as Cinemascope was created and adopted by theatres to get people away from that new gadget, the TV, now Hollywood’s newest lure is to give people that extra dimension they can’t get at home (yet).

On the distribution end, this concept will definitely float, because even if only a fraction of theaters are equipped with 3-D projection equipment, their film can still be screened on both formats. They already get the majority of the box office and nothing comes out of their pocket for the equipment on which it is projected.

However for exhibitors, it’s more sink or swim. If you’re not already equipped with 3-D (and chances are you’re not, since digital screens alone in the U.S. are only around 4,000 out of 38,000), here are your options. If you already own a D-Cinema projector, great, you only have to drop around $15-20,000 per screen to kick it up to the 3-D notch. If you’re looking to upgrade from your 35mm to 3-D, the sticker will be $100-150,000 per screen. For the big chains who are publicly traded, where’s that money going to come from, we’ve seen your numbers. And for the small circuits, good luck in finding the bank that’s willing to back you.

Once you have the money, here are some options. Real D, out of Beverly Hills, has developed software that upgrades your 2-D digital projector into the third dimension, but at a price of $20,000 per screen for the conversion and maintenance. The good news is you can gradually pay them back with a royalty fee of $.50 per ticket. After subtracting what the distributor takes off your box office, that $.50 can add up. And, just so you’re aware, with Real D you will need a silver screen. There’s good news if you don’t like the sound of installing a new screen, Dolby Laboratories has developed technology that uses your existing one.

To combat the bite of the price tag, exhibitors have been charging a higher admission for 3-D films over the boring old 2-D. So pose this to your average customer, would you pay $15 over $7 to see Indiana Jones come off the screen? Sure, but would you answer the same for Made of Honor, Baby Mama, and the rest of the 90% of releases that are not the heavy hitting blockbusters? Right now only ten films are slated to be released in 3-D in the next year, with possibly 20 following in the next. It is still a small number compared to the number of releases annually – over 450 for the year 2008.

And let’s not forget about the 3-D glasses. They’re not your parents’ glasses, they are special polarized ones, that, with Real D, will run you $2 a pair (recyclable yes, but they don’t have that environmental friendliness that more and more people are looking for), while Dolby’s glasses have a price tag of $40 a pair (reusable yes, but they will need to be cleaned by your staff and closely watched to prevent theft).

Let’s look to Hannah Montana for further analysis. “The Best of Both Worlds” 3-D concert film scored well, considering it only opened on 683 screens. $30 million was grossed in its first week in that handful of theatres, but Disney took 90% of it back before you blinked, and many of those $40 a pair glasses were damaged or walked off. It’s success could also be largely in fact due to that tweener demographic that has made Hannah Montana a sold out arena phenomenon. That, and the pressure of those little girls, “Well Kaitlin’s Mom is taking her to see the movie!”

With technology there’s always risk involved. The software and hardware you install today, could be replaced by the software and hardware they develop tomorrow. At least with 35mm, it’s the same device that has been used for over a hundred years, it’s mechanical, a belt breaks, you replace it. You oil its gears and it does its job. It won’t crash, it won’t require periodic system upgrades. Technology’s lifespan is somewhat short to that of something mechanical. Just as CD’s became MP3s and movies can be watched on laptops and iPods, it’s predicted that in the next five to ten years, 3-D will reach the home theater, at which point then, what will be the next fad to get people back?

- Tracy Janis

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The NextLEVEL: Video Gaming Phenomena Presents Business Opportunities For Cinemas

It’s difficult to assess the impact video gaming has had on global entertainment – its growth and universal acceptance is nothing short of incredible. According to the Consumer Electronics Association:

- Video gaming business for 2007 exceeded $32 billion globally with an expected growth rate of 30 – 40% per year through the decade.

- Upwards of 1.5 billion people participate in some form of video gaming on a daily basis – up from only 300 million in 2004.

- Gaming consoles and accessories was the strongest growing product category for on-line sales in 2007 up 130%.

Gaming’s glowing statistics arise from its’ universality. With the possible exception of television, gaming has the broadest reach of any other form of entertainment, as it spans age, culture, gender, and economic levels.

Gamers classify games into deep or easy – the very most successful being both. Singular play still dominates but social and multiplayer gaming is rapidly increasing (be it on-line or in physical group interplay as the Nintendo Wii gaming platform encourages). Additionally, unlike most other entertainment, games are easily accessed having the widest variety of user platforms: PCs, consoles, on-line, hand-helds, cell phones, wireless networks, etc. Easy access, coupled with its recent emphasis on self- improvement and social interaction make gaming the most versatile of all recreational activities.

The couch gamer is now getting up and socializing with an activity that can be compared, contrasted, created, and communicated with others. For example, Activision’s Guitar Hero, introduced in the fall of 2005, is an interactive and social game now in its third version. Since its launch over 14 million units (valued at over $1 billion) have been sold in North America alone. But Guitar Hero is more. It is a media distribution platform as songs to play are downloaded for a fee from the Internet. The latest version, “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock” generated over 5 million song downloads in the first 10 weeks of its debut.

The Guitar Hero franchise’s broad appeal confirms that video games have reached the status of a true mass medium.


More so than viewing an event – be it sports, music, concert, T.V. program, or movie – video gaming offers an enhanced adrenaline high, as it fully engages the consumer. When viewing a sporting event, for example, there is a lot of boring space between exciting moments – in contrast video games offer full-time engagement.

Consumers are becoming players vs. spectators. They are interacting with and controlling much more of each activity they engage in, be it working, traveling, playing, or shopping - at home, office, or wherever they may be.


The movie and gaming industries have had a symbiotic relationship for quite some time – movies inspiring game creation, games inspiring movie creation. Now, that relationship is triangulating: as content, gaming, and advertising/marketing merge, each mutually benefiting the other.

With the socializing aspects of gaming, with competitive gaming on the brink of going mainstream, and with the existing link between movies and gaming, a cinema offers a logical platform to fully enjoy the gaming experience. The local cinema provides a convenient, safe, and familiar venue, and one (with little effort) that is “gamer” ready.

To address this phenomena Entertainment Equipment Corporation created NextLEVEL. A stand-alone, turnkey, day-one revenue generating business resident within a cinema. The concept of NextLEVEL is simply to have movie exhibitors tap into the gaming phenomena in a meaningful way by filling a need – offering a place where people can go to play video games and interact and socialize at the same time.

The goal is the utilization of available space within a cinema for a business tied to a social activity that is growing exponentially and linked via the common thread of entertainment. Requiring small investment, NextLEVEL has significant and evident benefits:

- Play Time Fees

- Increased Concession Revenues

- Sales of Games and Gaming Accessories

- Cross-fertilization with Box Office Attendance

NextLEVEL offers a great opportunity for those exhibitors that want to expand the entertainment scope of their cinema and broaden its’ business reach.

For more information on NextLEVEL please contact EEC at entequip@aol.com or call 716-855-2162.

Friday, January 04, 2008



MONDAY 4.14.08
Primary Technical Training (Day 1 of 2)
Advanced Technical Training (Day 1 of 3)
Marketing Your Cinema (Day 1 of 1)

TUESDAY 4.15.08
Primary Technical Training (Day 2 of 2)
Advanced Technical Training (Day 2 of 3)
Pre-Feature Entertainment & Alternative Content (Day 1 of 1)

Managing a Cinema (Day 1 of 2)
Digital Cinema - Present & Future (Day 1 of 1)
Advanced Technical Training (Day 3 of 3)

THURSDAY 4.17.08
Managing a Cinema (Day 2 of 2)
Intermediate Technical Training (Day 1 of 2)

FRIDAY 4.18.08
Intermediate Technical Training (Day 2 of 2)
Modern Theatre Design & Planning (Day 1 of 1)
Concessions: Where the Money Is (Day 1 of 1)


MONDAY 9.15.08
Primary Technical Training (Day 1 of 2)
Advanced Technical Training (Day 1 of 3)
Marketing Your Cinema (Day 1 of 1)

TUESDAY 9.16.08
Primary Technical Training (Day 2 of 2)
Advanced Technical Training (Day 2 of 3)
Pre-Feature Entertainment & Alternative Content (Day 1 of 1)

Managing a Cinema (Day 1 of 2)
Digital Cinema - Present & Future (Day 1 of 1)
Advanced Technical Training (Day 3 of 3)

THURSDAY 9.18.08
Managing a Cinema (Day 2 of 2)
Intermediate Technical Training (Day 1 of 2)

FRIDAY 9.19.08
Intermediate Technical Training (Day 2 of 2)
Modern Theatre Design & Planning (Day 1 of 1)
Concessions: Where the Money Is (Day 1 of 1)