The Best Seat In Any Movie Theater

Megalith

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The best seat is probably your own living room, but if you do get dragged out to a cinema, you should probably aim for two thirds of the way back (and center, obviously). That would be where primary audio calibration takes place. The more you know…

…it's based on how engineers typically calibrate a theater’s sound system. According to Steve Martz, director of global technology at audio company THX, technicians will take microphone measurements at several locations throughout the theater. “These measurements are averaged together in order to better evaluate what each person hears when they are watching a movie," he says. This bundle of microphones includes a “primary microphone” that is used to set playback levels, speaker timing, and other parameters that require a single location for measurements and calibration.
 

Exavior

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I had already figured this out on my own and is normally where I select to sit. Although not so much for sound but for the best view. Too close and you have to look around to see everything, too far back and you have lots of dead space around the screen. I have been in a few oddly shaped theaters that made me select a different starting location but normally I do aim for about 2/4 - 3/4th of the way to the back.
 

Chapeau

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A sound engineer friend once told me that sitting in the same position described but even off center was just as good.

The balance of course is less ideal but the stereo effect is easier to discern. Most cinemas are so damn loud I don't think I've ever noticed a difference either way...
 

Spidey329

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Figured this out as well. They're going to calibrate towards the optimal seating position to the screen size. Where the screen fills your view but doesn't make you turn your head.
 

Quartz-1

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I try to sit right at the back, at the top of the stairs so I have more legroom.
 

nightfly

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Leaves out two things: 1. once the picture is >35% of your field of vision, it becomes 'real' to you, and 2. Your mind already puts the sound where it thinks it should be coming from, as evidenced by stereo speakers to the side of your picture, yet once you get absorbed in the show, you 'hear' the voices coming from the mouths on the screen, even though the sound is actually coming from the sides of the auditorium.

Sit wherever you are comfortable. if it's a good movie/show/sporting event, you won't notice. If the show is crap, it won't matter where you sit, it will still be a crappy experience.
 

sfsuphysics

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That would be where primary audio calibration takes place.
and by audio calibration, does that mean the loudest spot? Because I can't fucking stands movies (not just movie theaters) where sound effects deafen you, but then if you try to listen to spoken dialog you almost need to read lips.
 

tybert7

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The sad part is that is not enough for me anymore. I am in the Los Angeles area and the ONLY theater I bother going to now is one of the two AMC theaters in the area with laser projection and dolby cinema. First, the seats are plush and comfortable and you are not stacked like a sardine can with people on the side of you overflowing into you.






They use RGB laser projectors and the picture has a much wider color gamut along with significantly better contrast. ALL other projection I've encountered is demonstrably inferior. You get dolby atmos, which is quite nice. I've found that in this theater, sitting around the mid point is ideal as the screen takes up most of your field of view without being too much, go too much farther back and the screen looks smaller and less ideal for immersion.

This is the problem I have with the Chinese theater in Hollywood, they have their flagship IMAX theater there with its own laser projection, but some of the seats are so far back the big screen looks tiny. Also, the acoustics of that theater are not as good as the dolby cinemas imo. I'd like cinemark to get a high end laser projection offering, but until they do I won't be giving them any of my business. When I see Doctor Strange, it will be in one of the dolby cinema theater rooms, and the fact that they almost never show 3d on that screen is a nice plus compared to the chinese IMAX, with the TERRIBLE parking situation (+15-20 dollars)
 

Armenius

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I had already figured this out on my own and is normally where I select to sit. Although not so much for sound but for the best view. Too close and you have to look around to see everything, too far back and you have lots of dead space around the screen. I have been in a few oddly shaped theaters that made me select a different starting location but normally I do aim for about 2/4 - 3/4th of the way to the back.
I did the same. Amazingly this is where the fewest people like to sit, so not only is this the prime seating area but it is also the easiest area to find a seat. It's always confounding to me when I see people stacked up in the very front and/or very back of the auditorium.
 
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if i'm paying for a movie....it'll be bluray and i'll be watching it at home.
hate paying $$$ and tweenie idiots ruining the movie in theaters
dont matter where the best place to sit is
 

drakken

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man theater is setup that way because when they do events they need to use the stage for character or actors. I used to go the theater in universal theme park well in city walk outside but still universal's theater, and the theater room on the second floor is really nice. I found that the seats just behind the handicap missing seat with the rails to prop your feet up on and strech out your legs while watching, as long as nothing falls out of your pockets, about half way up most theaters is usually one of the sweet spots in the theater since they use that spot to test the color clarity and sound when they test the THX certifaction.
 

DejaWiz

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I always pick the center seats at the very last row...just under the projection room window.
 

tybert7

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man theater is setup that way because when they do events they need to use the stage for character or actors. I used to go the theater in universal theme park well in city walk outside but still universal's theater, and the theater room on the second floor is really nice. I found that the seats just behind the handicap missing seat with the rails to prop your feet up on and strech out your legs while watching, as long as nothing falls out of your pockets, about half way up most theaters is usually one of the sweet spots in the theater since they use that spot to test the color clarity and sound when they test the THX certifaction.

I'm not blaming the chinese theater, when it was originally constructed I don't think state of the art theater projection and sound was the design goal. But for those things, especially the sound that is not the ideal theater location.
 

Chapeau

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if i'm paying for a movie....it'll be bluray and i'll be watching it at home.
hate paying $$$ and tweenie idiots ruining the movie in theaters
dont matter where the best place to sit is
I'm lucky.... Where I live there are some old "heritage" cinemas that only seem to get visits from oldies who love the architecture or professionals looking to skip their meetings or as bonding exercises so no kids.
The cinemas are smaller so you still get the experience without the annoying kids/phones/etc...
 
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