Every poster collector, at one time or
another, has seen the gorgeous posters displayed at the theaters and whispered...."WOW,
I'd LOVE to display my poster like that."
Well, there are a variety of things that
a collector should consider when looking at lightboxes...
What are You Wanting to Display?
If you are wanting to display a regular
theater poster, then you need to look at the poster. The theaters that use lightboxes
also use only double sided posters. These are
slightly thicker and designed for lightbox display. If you have an older single
sided poster... it will not look as good as the posters displayed in the theaters.
It usually will not even display as well as in a normal frame.
If you are wanting to display a lenticular
poster... then again you need to look at the poster. Some of the older lenticular
posters were on a very thick plastic (some newer ones are too, but they have
primarily gone to a thinner, less expensive and more flexible plastic). The
thicker ones create shipping problems and consequently framing problems for
This brings up the different types of lenticular
as well, some look black and require lighting behind the poster to be able to
see the image.. (like Lost World) while others, Santa Clause, are only partial
lenticular. Part of the back side is double sided and the lenticular globe is
glued to the front of the poster with a blank space on the back.
How do You Want to Display It?
After considering the poster, then you
have to consider the lightboxes that are available. You have a variety of types
and styles... from wood, metal or plastic frames.... curved or flat... different
types of lighting and placement of lights.... and even commercial or home version.
Some heavy commercial versions look GREAT!!!! but would be so heavy they might
pull your whole wall down!!! So be sure to look carefully at what you are trying
to put on your wall.
In other words... a curved lightbox frame
may look wonderful!!! but don't try to put a rigid lenticular poster in it...
because IT WON'T CURVE!!
Will it Damage My Poster?
In a single word.......YES
Light is one of the enemies of posters. Of course, direct sunlight is the monster
of all monsters, but all forms of lighting slowly fades the colors.
So you may ask.. why do theaters put them
in the lightboxes then?
Theaters don't care about damage being
done to a poster. To them, this is just a piece of advertising to get patrons
into the theaters. It is meant to be thrown away.
We, as collectors, are very similar to
historians in a lot of respects. We preserve the pieces of film history that
make us feel good. But this preservation creates problems. We want to show our
collected pieces off with pride, but at the same time, paper is fragile and
deteriorating. So the more we show it and subject it to environmental situations,
the faster it deteriorates.
The other concern is that you have to be
careful about light bulbs that give off HEAT!!! Heat dries out the paper and
makes it very brittle.
This is why you have to balance your displays
and why placement and frames are so important. If you are going to use a lightbox,
then we suggest that you put it away from light and turn it on sparingly and
for a short period of time.
Here are our sponsors that handle lightboxes.