what awaits the spectators in the cinemas

Each cinema will have to appoint an energy referent who will check and coordinate that the measures are in place. Natalia KOLESNIKOVA / AFP

More air conditioning in theaters with less than 26 degrees outside, 19 degrees maximum in winter, facades plunged into darkness at night, fewer dynamic displays… Drastic changes await spectators in dark rooms.

Gathered in congress in Deauville, the bosses of some 2000 French cinemas have taken 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 are at the forefront because “the art of cinema is light. We cannot project films by candlelight.underlines Marc-Olivier Sebbag, secretary general of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF).

“The cinemas are soundproof and therefore thermally sealed, but between the projectors, the ventilation in the projection booths and the rooms, electricity represents between 3 to 5% of our turnover. With the explosion in prices, this rate will jump to 15-20%.” With the scissor effect due to the 30% drop in attendancethe situation is untenable.

For viewers, a lot of things will change. “At night when the cinemas are closed, their signs will be extinguished”, announces, for example, Marc-Olivier Sebbag, secretary general of the National Federation of French Cinemas (FNCF). Both outside and inside, digital signage will be limited. On the left bank in Paris, the giant screens with messages and film extracts above the Pathé Alésia as on the two facades of the Fauvettes could remain in the dark. Ditto for the UGC X designed in a moucharabieh style and designed to be the beacon of this new district in the north of Paris.

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Accept the discomfort of the heat in front of a show

In the room, the air conditioning will be stopped if it is less than 26 degrees. A radical measure for which it will be necessary to study the feedback from the spectators. The directors of Italian-style theaters and opera houses, most of which do not have air conditioning, readily admit this: when it is hot outside, the comfort of their spectators is clearly degraded and excellent programming is needed to accept the discomfort of the warmth in front of a show.

In concert as in the theater and in cinemas, the most comfortable temperature once seated in front of a show that lasts two to three hours is 19 degrees. This is also the new temperature chosen by cinemas for the winter: 19 degrees will be the maximum heating temperature. Air conditioning will also be limited in the halls. Finally, another major change, the cinemas will regulate their schedules according to the flow of the public. As was already the case in certain multiplexes when theaters reopened after the pandemic, morning and late evening screenings could be cancelled.

Appointment of an energy referent

Other measures to reduce the energy bill will not be visible to the public. In the absence of spectators, the lights in the rooms and in the halls will be extinguished. As at the Philharmonie de Paris, cleaning and security teams will have to make do with security lights. They will also no longer benefit from air conditioning. As in any business or private household, everyone will have to turn off the lights when leaving a room and unplug machines that do not have to be on standby. Finally, each cinema will have to appoint an energy referent who will check and coordinate that the measures are in place.

Here are the immediate measures. In the medium term, ten years after switching to digital projectors, cinemas are once again considering changing the entire stock. This time, it would be a question of investing in laser projectors, with cold light. There will therefore be less need for ventilation in the projection booths. Changing the park will not be easy. The redeployment will be worldwide, there are only three manufacturers and these devices are currently very expensive.

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