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Lafayette College: Landis Cinema

A national leader in student research and graduate career success, Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania offers university-sized resources at a student-centered liberal arts college. Film and Media Studies (FAMS) is a rapidly growing major that needed a dedicated space to do serious work in media study and production. Over the last 10 years, students have produced hundreds of pieces of original media. The new Landis Cinema was designed for screening not only student work, but also as an active teaching space for students studying the history and theory of cinema and media.

There are several technologies that make this room so special.  One is the 20,000 lumen projector, which produces brightness comparable to a plasma screen. The projection surface is a fixed, wall mounted, seamless Stewart Filmscreen measuring 168in x 269in. The screen includes masking of the projected image to accommodate the correct format for the source being displayed. The Stewart Filmscreen offers a motorized masking system, providing a much cleaner and simpler method of masking images.

A new Marantz surround sound processor provides decoding for all types of Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound formats including the newest Dolby Atmos format. Dolby Atmos employs an object based sound render engine and overhead surround speaker channels.  In addition, a full professional DSP audio system consisting of three Biamp Tesira Forte units were integrated to process, route, and provide volume control. The front channel speakers, subwoofers and surround speakers are all QSC Cinema series speakers driven by QSC cinema series amplifiers. Ceiling mounted JBL speakers pull double duty as speech reinforcement speakers as well as for Dolby Atmos surround sound playback for any source that uses that encoding format. 

“The typical reaction from students, faculty, staff, community members when they first enter the space is an audible "Wow!", stated Andrew Smith, Film & Media Studies Program Chair. “Students are impressed with the aesthetics of the space, as well as with the quality of the image and sound. They are fairly uniformly impressed that Lafayette has done this.”

One of the inaugural events was the FAMS Film Festival, a chance for students to showcase their original work. “We had a great crowd for the film fest. It was special to have a great image and sound, and to have a space designed for the high-quality exhibition of several dozen students' work from first year to Senior Thesis,” said Smith. For the first time ever the festival drew members of the community as well. “It has given us a glimpse of the kind of draw the space can offer.” The theater also had an impressive audience for the screening of “LIFE, ANIMATED”. Oscar-winner and Easton native Roger Ross Williams attended the preview screening of his new Sundance Film Festival award winning documentary. In attendance were college and community members, including Easton’s mayor.

“Our vision was always to build the best space on campus to screen digital media, but also to build the best space for screening digital media in downtown Easton,” stated Smith.  “We hope the Landis Cinema becomes a great meeting place for community members from the campus and from the city alike.”