We have kept the projection equipment as original as possible and still present a First Class show. This has meant adding some equipment over the years but always keeping the best of what we have. The results are a large bright clear picture with excellent sound. All of our movies are presented in the correct format without cutting the top or sides of the picture.

In the Byrd's booth there are 2 Simplex X-L 35mm projectors each lit by Carbon Arc lamps. Each projector runs up to an hour at a time requiring 3-20 minute shipping reels of film to fill one large reel for a projector. During the movie the projectors will switch back and forth several times depending on the length of the movie. At the Byrd this is still done by a projectionist watching the cue marks on the film in the upper right corner of the screen. Each hour of use will use up most of 2 carbon rods, a negative and a positive. These rods generate a very hot arc of about ¼ of an inch in length using 50-70 amperes of current. This arc generates enough heat to cause the face of the positive carbon rod to get as bright as the Sun. (like an electric arc welder does when welding) The light produced is gathered be a large mirror and focused onto the film as it goes through the projector. (Most theatres today use an enclosed xenon arc lamp that often changes color as it ages.)

To fill our giant 20 x 40 foot screen 110 feet from the projectors we use Bausch & Loumb lenses with a focal length of about 5¼ inches. We project the correct format of 1:1.85 for "flat" pictures (most movies) and 1:2.35 for "wide screen". We also can project the 1:1.33 picture format that was used for older films - this is the same as the TV format. "Wide Screen" is achieved by squeezing the picture horizontally onto the film and then stretching it back out when projected using an anamorphic adaptor on the front of a regular lens. The width of our screen is changed by using "legs" - small black curtains on each side of the screen controlled by an electric curtain motor from the booth. The effect at the Byrd is dramatic when we go from the regular size picture to wide screen at the begining of a movie. You will also notice heads are not cut off as is the case in many of the new theatres with one size "fits all formats" screen.

16mm Projector
The Byrd also has a 16mm Eiki silent/sound projector with a light source of a 1000 watt xenon lamp. The format 16mm uses is 1:1.33 and fills our screen when set to that format. The sound from the 16mm is fed in to one of our 35mm sound change-overs so that a 16mm short can be added to the show and switched in and out by the projectionist without the audience noticing pops or clicks.

SOUND SYSTEM At the Byrd we use a 4 channel sound system for most films. Three channels are on the stage: Left, Center, and Right (these 3 channels are full range) and a surround or "audience participation channel" as it was referred to in the original Cineamascope system installed in the Byrd in 1953.

STAGE SPEAKERS Our stage speakers are "Simplex" made by Altec. Each system has a fully loaded 12 cell horn with 2 drivers designed to cover the full width of the auditorium and a semi-loaded bass reflex woofer/sub-woofer using 2-15 inch drivers for a total of 36 horn cells and 6-15 inch woofers. No matter what seat you sit in there are 3 speakers facing you from the stage thus there are no LOUD spots in the center as in most of the new theatres that use single cell horns. (You get the feel of real power without the blast or screech heard in many new theatres!) Our 600 pound/each stage speakers are so sensitive that we rarely exceed a total 6 watts of power to the stage speakers on the loudest of passages! These speakers have a sensitivity of 115db/watt at 1 meter. Compare this to the average home or car speaker at <85db/watt at 1 meter. What this means is that to achieve the same level of sound with a home speaker when 1 watt is used at the Byrd you would need 1000 watts for your home speaker! (it would melt down) More power is used for the booth monitors than is used in the auditorium. Because the power levels required are so low the distortion is also very low thus true high fidelity multi-channel sound is heard at the Byrd.

SURROUND SPEAKERS Our 10-12 inch surround speakers were installed in 1953 as part of the Cineamascope system. These speakers are also more sensitive than home speakers but are not nearly as sensitive as the stage systems. (about 95db/watt at 1 meter) We often approach levels of 50 watts to these speakers.

ELECTRONICS The sound is picked up off the film by a pair of solar cells mounted together for left and right channel pickup. Westrex low noise pre-amplifiers (made in 1943) are connected to the solar cells and feed a left and right signal to a mixer circuit to derive the center channel. This provides the front 3 channels. The left and right signals are passed to a surround decoder to generate the surround channel. The left and right stage channels also act as sub-woofer channels. This is accomplished by the use of a special low frequency boost circuit on those 2 channels only. (This is very effective.) The Center stage speaker is driven by up to 4-40 watt Simplex amplifiers. We normally have 2 on for a total available power of 80 watts. The left and right stage channels are driven by a 80 watt/channel Sansui AV-717 professional DC/DC amplifier. We also have 3-80 watt Simplex amplifiers that are used for 35mm magnetic sound. (There are still some old prints of the great musicals with this magnetic sound.) A 60 watt Bogen amplifier drives the surround channel and is delayed 1/10 of a second so the listener will always hear the front channels first - as the sound formats require. Return