what awaits the audience in the theaters

Each cinema must appoint an energy referent to check and coordinate that the measures are in place. Natalia KOLENIKOVA / AFP

More air conditioning in cinemas below 26 degrees outside, 19 degrees maximum in winter, facades collapse in the darkness of the night, less dynamic performances… Many changes await the audience in the dark room.

Gathering at the congress in Deauville, the heads of about 2000 French cinemas took a series of radical measures aimed at urgently reducing their electricity and gas bills. On September 5, Emmanuel Macron asked all French people to reduce their energy consumption by 10%. In the field of culture, cinemas come first because “The art of cinema is light. We cannot project films by candlelight.lined up Marc-Olivier Sebbag, secretary general of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF).

“The cinemas are not soundproof and therefore thermally sealed, but between the projectors, the ventilation of the projection booths and the rooms, electricity represents between 3 to 5% of our turnover. With the explosion of prices, this rate jumps to 15-20%.” With the scissor effect due to a 30% drop in attendance, the situation is unsustainable.

For viewers, many things will change. “At night when the theaters are closed, their signs are turned off”, announced, for example, Marc-Olivier Sebbag, secretary general of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF). Both outdoors and indoors, digital signage can be limited. On the left bank of Paris, the giant screens with messages and film extracts above the Pathé Alésia like the two facades of the Fauvettes can remain in the dark. Ditto for UGC X designed in a moucharabieh style and designed to be the light of this new district in the north of Paris.

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Embrace the discomfort of the heat before a show

In the room, the air conditioning is stopped when it is below 26 degrees. A radical measure where it is necessary to study the feedback from the audience. The directors of Italian-style theaters and opera houses, most of which do not have air conditioning, readily admit it: when it’s hot outside, the comfort of their audience is clearly impaired and a very good program is needed to accept the discomfort of heat before a show.

In concerts such as theaters and cinemas, the most comfortable temperature when sitting in front of a show that lasts two to three hours is 19 degrees. This is also the new temperature chosen by cinemas for winter: 19 degrees is the maximum heating temperature. Air conditioning in the halls is also limited. Finally, another major change, cinemas will regulate their schedules according to the flow of the public. As has already happened in some multiplexes when cinemas reopened after the pandemic, morning and evening screenings may be cancelled.

Designate an energy reference

Some measures to reduce energy bills are not visible to the public. When there are no spectators, the lights in the rooms and in the halls are turned off. Like the Philharmonie de Paris, the cleaning and security teams have to do the security lights. They will no longer benefit from air conditioning. As in any business or private home, everyone should turn off the lights when leaving the room and unplug machines that are not necessarily on standby. Finally, each cinema must appoint an energy referent to check and coordinate that the measures are in place.

Here are the quick steps. In the medium term, ten years after the transition to digital projectors, cinemas are again considering the renewal of the entire stock. This time, it’s a question of investing in laser projectors, with cool light. So there is less need for ventilation in projection booths. It is not easy to change the park. The redeployment will be worldwide, there are only three manufacturers and these devices are currently very expensive.


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