The reason Hugh Grant complains about cinema being too loud. As many of you will know cinema is automated nowadays and there is no projectionist. When I was a projectionist in the 90s, we would adjust the sound to the audience size. If we were showing a film to a couple of old ladies in the afternoon we would turn the volume right down. The current cinema does not have any projectionists and the sound is remotely set. The computers that run the projection equipment do not know how many people are in the auditorium. This means that the system will play at its normal setting and will not adjust to the audience size. Computers do not know how many people are in the cinema.
Deafening cinema sound is ruining films, claims Hugh Grant
A DCP cinema projector has no concept of audience size. As a projectionist in the 90s I was quite aware of the audience size. I would always look through the porthole to see what numbers of people were in the cinema and adjust the cinema sound levels accordingly. The problem with people that make sound for films is that they’re doing it day in day out and there is no impact because they are used to the sound levels. The average person is unable to cope with the amount of sound effects within cinema. This is why a good projectionist was able to judge the sound levels within the cinema.
One day in the 90s I was running a film in Ealing cinema. I had one of the people who makes sound for film come in to the projection room complaining that the cinema sound was not loud enough. He was on his own with two old age pensioners with in the auditorium. He told me that the level of sound should be seven on the fader settings. I replied to him yes it should be set to 7 but there is only two old ladies in the auditorium and yourself. So I agree to disagree and set the sound level to fader 7. Within 10 minutes one of the old age ladies came out and complained about the cinema being too loud. I encouraged the gentleman to come out and answer the question to the old age pensioner which at that point he agreed that this volume control should be turned down. Because at this point that is the problem with cinema we are doing it to comply with the system regulations rather than what people require. A projectionist will always set the sound levels to the appropriate number for the number of people in the auditorium. This may not comply with what the sound company mixing the film requires but makes it more tolerable for the number of cinema goers in the cinema auditorium.