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strange missing audio issue at our local movie theater

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
456
12
81
Our local mom & pop movie theater opened back up after being closed for nearly 4 years recently. The new owners used a home quality optoma projector to show movies until they had the $$ saved up to buy a new
certified digital projector. They had some electrical issues, and finally last week they started using the new digital projector and certified audio system to show movies. Evidently they had to go through
a pretty rigourous certification process.

While the video and audio are certainly much better than they were before, I noticed a couple of issues right away. Occasionally, the ads that show before the movies will have a speaking character, and there is no audio for what
they are saying. Later, we watched Batman Begins, and everything was fine - no issues.

However, later on we watched Trolls World Tour, and there were 3 instances where characters were talking/singing, and there was no audio at all for it. It reminds me of a time when we were only getting left audio on our stereo
at home, and the kids couldn't play a PC game that had a lot of audio instructions on the right channel. The missing audio issue only surfaces very rarely - probably a grand total of 45 seconds of time in the Trolls movie, for
example, and there were other sounds, so it wasn't completely silent.

I brought this to the attention of the theater owner, and he said that the missing audio in the pre-movie ads is an issue from the ad company. Then when I asked about the missing audio several times during the movie,
he said that it was done on purpose - part of the movie. My wife and I were very dubious, so when I went home I looked up the clip from the movie on youtube, and it had audio where the audio was missing at the
theater.

I'm guessing that some specific vocal track is set to output to a speaker that isn't hooked up properly, or to a speaker that doesn't exist. It doesn't seem to be a problem when they are showing older movies, but it seems to
crop up with newer ones.

I'm not sure how to proceed with this. On the one hand, I really appreciate the small business owner, who has been kind to us, and it is great to have the small mom & pop theater back open again.
(I never expected it to reopen after it closed) The theater owner liked my idea of an annual pass, and now they offer an annual pass to see as many movies as you want for $100.
On the other hand, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to video/audio, and I want to be able to hear what is being said when characters talk up on the screen.

I don't want to cause problems for them, but I also want a complete movie viewing/listening experience. Since we went ahead and got the annual passes for the whole family, we will be watching a LOT
of movies there over the next year.

What would you do in such a situation? Thanks!
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
16,236
283
126
What would I do? Take my business elsewhere, that's what! It sounds like that owner was shady from the beginning. Why on earth did you buy an annual pass from such a place? I think you just set yourself up for a year of disappointment.
 

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
456
12
81
What would I do? Take my business elsewhere, that's what! It sounds like that owner was shady from the beginning. Why on earth did you buy an annual pass from such a place? I think you just set yourself up for a year of disappointment.
It's the only nearby movie theater without driving 20+ minutes to a 'big chain' place that also charges 3x as much for the tickets, and 2x as much for popcorn, drinks and snacks. I know for a fact that my wife mostly wants to support small 'mom & pop' type places, and she also like to support local businesses. The local theater is only 4 minutes from here. Nothing in the beginning seemed to indicate that he was 'shady' in any way. I think that he was simply relieved to have the certification process, electrical issues and everything behind him, and mentally maybe he is having trouble facing the thought that there might be more of that ahead. I'm sure he is already stressed with the unexpected financial stresses coronavirus is placing on his business - he probably expected 6x as many folks to be visiting right about now - and the situation just keeps on extending, with major movies delaying until October. I'm just trying to think of a more positive way to get him to stop avoiding the speaker issue.
 

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