Cinéma Bellevaux Lausanne: Art house cult(ure) movie theater with d&b Soundscape.

Opened in Lausanne in 1959, Cinéma Bellevaux (www.cinemabellevaux.ch) enjoys cult status among cinephiles: The last remaining art house movie theater in the city on Lake Geneva shows films beyond the mainstream and regularly departs from the typical cinema format by staging cultural events ranging from readings and art performances to live concerts.

A decision without blinders

When I was looking for a new sound system for the movie theater, I deliberately avoided contacting the usual installation companies within the cinema industry. I became aware of d&b audiotechnik through a friend, and to be honest, I was excited by the prospect of trying something that is not necessarily commonplace in the movie theater setting. Thanks to the support of Jérôme Foetisch, who works for the Swiss d&b distributor 2M Audio, we were able to try out different d&b sound reinforcement components in the auditorium. From the very first listen, it was clear to me that loudspeakers with such great sound characteristics were exactly what I was looking for at Cinéma Bellevaux! Gwenaël Grossfeld, Cinema Operator, Cinéma Bellevaux Thanks to the obliging cooperation of 2M Audio, we were able to try out different loudspeaker models until we finally found the perfect products for us. For all our delight with the excellent sound, we constantly had to keep in mind the fact that we are first and foremost a cinema and not a concert hall. The spatial conditions set us natural limits, and all listening positions are precisely defined by the fixed upholstered seats. It was important to us to have detailed sound reproduction at a pleasant volume without disturbing the neighbors living in the building above us. A high dynamic range was nonetheless required for the artists performing in the theater. The d&b components were supplied by Lausanne-based Dupertuis Electronique SA. Gwenaël Grossfeld, Cinema Operator, Cinéma Bellevaux

d&b Soundscape with En-Scene and En-Space

Behind an acoustically transparent screen, Cinéma Bellevaux uses two Vi7P point source loudspeakers (left/right) and a Vi10P (center with 110-degree dispersion angle) in an LCR configuration, which Gwenaël Grossfeld has mounted on special spring-loaded brackets. Using a rail system, the loudspeakers attached to a truss can be moved back and forth when the screen is raised – this is clearly a good idea, given the various ways in which the hall is used, although it involves a little effort in terms of operating the loudspeakers.

I have stored a separate preset in the R1 remote control software for each of the three common front loudspeaker positions.Gwenaël Grossfeld, Cinema Operator, Cinéma Bellevaux

Beneath the stage are two B6-SUB high-performance subwoofers and two front fills (d&b 8S coaxial point source loudspeakers), which are also invisible to the audience. Six compact d&b 8S units are installed along each side of the auditorium, complemented by a single 8S unit at the back. Two d&b M6 stage monitors complete the loudspeaker equipment at Cinéma Bellevaux.

Two d&b 30D four-channel models and four 10D models are used as amplifiers. These are located in a compact projection booth, accessible only via a makeshift ladder, and power all of the loudspeakers. A d&b DS100 Signal Engine is connected upstream of the amplifiers.

We can define each signal as a Soundscape object and place and move it freely within the space. Alternatively, we use the matrix set up in the DS100 for our purposes. We have already had an instance where a composer was controlling the mixing desk and the Soundscape objects in the FOH position while two musicians were performing one of his works onstage.Gwenaël Grossfeld, Cinema Operator, Cinéma Bellevaux

The Soundscape system at Cinéma Bellevaux is equipped with the optionally available En-Scene and En-Space software modules. The use of the En-Scene object positioning tool is self-explanatory; according to Gwenaël Grossfeld, En-Space is used in almost every live performance, primarily using a smaller virtual space.

We once had a sound engineer as a guest who really wanted to have a cathedral here in the auditorium. This was an artistic decision, and although the sacred space available in En-Scene was actually far too large, he was able to achieve the desired effect, which was undoubtedly also due to the fact that the audience at the event were sitting in complete darkness and were able to rely solely on their imagination.Gwenaël Grossfeld, Cinema Operator, Cinéma Bellevaux

Motion picture theater

Cinéma Bellevaux is a unique place for which the wonderfully old-fashioned sounding word “motion picture theater” is very apt and which seems to have the right man in the right place with its current manager.

We are a place where people come together. Artists react to the conditions here in their individual forms of expression. Thanks to the support of a society and the City of Lausanne, we find ourselves in the comfortable position of not having to plan screenings and events exclusively from a commercial perspective. We can show precisely the films we like and the ones we consider to be important. The same goes for the performances taking place in the auditorium, which now have a completely different sound quality since the conversion – I am really happy with our new d&b Soundscape system! From electronic sounds to marimba works by Steve Reich, from experimental sounds to readings and typical movie screenings, all of our wishes are completely fulfilled by the sound system.Gwenaël Grossfeld, Cinema Operator, Cinéma Bellevaux

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