This article will be interesting to the modern Exhibitor who no longer has the application of curtains or proscenium on his or her screen. From Motion Picture News, September 1, 1923.
New Feature Introduced at Capitol Theatre, New York
Attracts Much Attention
This specialty, consisting of a colored border (possibly it could be termed "proscenium") was projected so as to surround a short subject picture (a scenic, "My Country").
This border was elaborately designed and filled the entire stage opening excepting that portion taken up by the picture itself. Color was artistically applied to this border which gave a most pleasing effect, particularly in offsetting the tinted parts of the picture.
In some respects, this border surrounding the picture, seemed to produced an optical illusion, i. e., to give depth to the picture. This apparent depth should enhance the attraction of a picture to the ordinary observer.
A claim that is strongly brought forth by the inventor of this lighted and artistically colored border, is that it reduces eye strain. To what degree this is true could not be determined from the observation of the short subject shown at the Capitol Theatre. However, it does appear that theatres, particularly the smaller houses, will find use for this special projection which in a modified form will permit a colored proscenium to be projected to the front of the theatre giving an illusion that the proscenium is actually constructed as a part of the house.
This idea when applied only in respect to bordering a particular picture may lend itself aptly to enhancing the picture through added depth and added appeal from a special design incorporated in the border fitting the theme of the picture itself.
It seems likely that an adaption of the special projection may in one form or another find popularity among motion picture theatres due to the great flexibility to which this special projection can be subjected.
Two views shown on this page were photographed from prosceniums projected to the stage and serve as an illustration of what can be done along these lines. Color schemes are incorporated in the various designs.
Perhaps the most unusual phase of this specialty is the fact that no additional light source is needed to project the border of the proscenium to the stage. A special apparatus, which is not intricate in its design, is attached to the projector and uses light which is ordinarily cut off from the screen while the picture at the aperture is in motion and one of the shutter's blades are in front of the projection lens. By a special arrangement of prisms, lenses and reflecting surfaces, this light which is ordinarily wasted, is redirected through a slide and focused on the stage of the theatre. The apparatus is ingeniously designed and appears to work in a very satisfactory manner producing excellent results.
As was previously stated, great flexibility in the application of this idea is permitted through the various designs and colors which may be incorporated in the slide so that color screen used in connection with this slide gives the proper effect on the stage.
The inventor of this device is Thomas A. Marten and the system will be known as Marten Projection. Plans have been laid to commercialize the system for distribution to theaters throughout the country so that exhibitors will be afforded, in the near future, an opportunity to inspect this new feature.
Image Caption: Two views of sets projected to the stage of a motion picture theatre by the Marten Projector described in the article on this page. The sets incorporate colors and toning and may varied so that nearly any design can be obtained. [Color not present in original article]