Movie Theaters Using DVRs To Catch Action Off-Screen

DVRs from Dedicated Micros are playing a role in helping U.S. movie theater managers and owners to effectively tackle real-world activities -- away from the larger-than-life figures appearing on the silver screen -- including anti-social behavior, employee theft and the occasional faked slip-and-fall.

A leader in the application of this CCTV technology is Muvico, which owns 13 theatres in Florida, Maryland and Tennessee. The company's Palace 20 Theatre in Boca Raton, Florida and Paradise Theater in Davie, Fla., offer a high quality movie experience with six balcony theatres where customers can opt to reserve extra-wide seats or love seats, have free popcorn and valet parking, and bring in food and wine from the theatre's restaurant and bar.

When it came time to address the issues of loss prevention, employee and customer safety, Muvico turned its attention to CCTV security systems.

"Our first systems used cumbersome videotape," said Darryl Leversuch, director of technical services for Muvico in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "We couldn't document a slip and fall well. The video was too grainy and had too much time lapse."

At that point, Muvico contracted APS 2000 of Boynton Beach, Florida, to install digital recorders and higher quality cameras. APS 2000 replaced the existing VCRs with Dedicated Micros' Digital Sprite 2 (DS2), 16-channel, DVRs.

Now, five NetVu Connected Digital Sprite 2 DVRs support nearly 80 cameras at the Paradise -- another four support 64 cameras at the Palace.

"We chose the Digital Sprite 2 model because it provides all the features Muvico was looking for," said Marco Torres, crew supervisor at APS 2000, "such as remote log in, ease of use, large storage capabilities and clear pictures."

Each theater has on-site monitoring and Muvico's Leversuch can now access any theatre remotely from his corporate office. Till theft and concession "giveaways" have dropped about 75 percent, and the theatre is catching those who still try it. Concession stand cameras also allow managers to study employee efficiency, maximizing customer flow by locating staff to best serve customers.

Due to the success of the system, Muvico has apportioned capital expenditure over the next two years to retrofit its existing sites with the DVR technology.

"More than 90 percent of the slip and falls have been determined to be unfounded since upgrading to Dedicated Micros' DVRs," Leversuch said. "It isn't unheard of to have to pay out $50,000 for one faked incident, so if you can prevent a single payout from a faked slip and fall, you're recouping a lot of your security system investment."

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