DATE: 11.8.23
FROM: Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere
TO: Caroline Ross, general manager, AMC Royale 6 in Westport, CT.
RE: Screen illumination levels


I’m Jeffrey Wells of, and I’m writing to convey concern about the screen light levels (or foot lambert levels) at the AMC Westport Royale plex, which, I’ve been told, you’re the general manager of.

I’ve been attending the Cannes Film Festival for 23 years, and when I saw Killers of the Flower Moon at the Sally Debussy last May the images were fully rendered and totally satisfactory.

When I saw Killers at the Westport Royale 6 a couple of weeks ago the images were noticably subdued, a bit muddy, murky…clearly being presented at lower-than-intended light levels. Like the sun was behind the clouds.

I had the exact same impression when I watched Priscilla there a few days ago. It was as if the story was happening inside a barely illiuminated closet or a shadowy shoebox of some kind. The images made me feel trapped. Depressed even. No one’s life has ever been this dark, not even Priscilla Presley‘s during her perverse marriage to Elvis.

I’m sure you understand that it’s part of your job to maintain proper (i.e., SMPTE-recommended) foot-lambert levels on all of your screens. SMPTE requires that foot lamberts levels be between 14 and 16.

In order to check this you need to own a light meter, and with this device you have to check the light levels without a movie playingyou have to check with just pure light being thrown on to a blank screen.

Do you own a proper light meter? Have you checked the light levels on all your screens? If so, what are the foot lambert readings? Do they meet SMPTE’s recommendations? I’d be greatly surprised if they’re between 14 and 16. As noted, the Westport Royale images are definitely subdued.

I say this knowing that AMC hasn’t employed projectionists for many years — it’s all done through some kind of soul-less computerized system.

I look forward to your reply.


Jeffrey Wells, HE