One of the great things about home theaters is that they can be customized to match your space, tastes, passions, budget and uses. They can be built from the ground up with your home, or retrofitted into a room of your existing home. They can be a fun family gathering place, a sports-lover’s fan cave, or a cinephile’s ultimate screening room.
We recently got a fun opportunity in working with a client in the construction of their home. The homeowner is a huge movie buff, and wanted a home cinema that would be the ideal setting for some serious movie watching. From the beginning, the homeowners gave creative freedom for the room to be designed and built according to our recommendations as a dedicated cinema.
Projects like this are always a pleasure to create, but a lot more goes into planning a home cinema than selecting a projector and screen and slapping them up in a room. Everything in the room – from the room shape to the paint and flooring colors to the lighting will affect the performance of the theater, and as such must be carefully designed and executed. A theater room that is carefully and thoughtfully planned by professionals creates the ideal space for your home theater equipment to shine; meaning better acoustics, sound and picture quality. You literally and figuratively get more bang for your buck.
Room shape and construction has a significant impact on the sound fidelity of a home cinema. We worked closely with the contractor and homeowner to build a room which would have acoustically ideal dimensions, and used techniques in building to eliminate sound leakage from the room – such as full weather stripping and the use of an exterior door at the theater entrance.
All of this extra planning and designing means that the room – located in the lower level of a 7,000 sq. ft. home – is sonically isolated, creating a pure listening and watching experience.
All speakers and acoustic panels were placed in ideal locations as measured according to room dimensions. Wired for Dolby Atmos, the theater is currently in a 7.1 configuration using Paradigm Signature series speakers. Custom acoustic wall panels from Kinetics help create magic when the Paradigm speakers come to life, to create sound quality that is truly astonishing.
The paint and flooring color in a cinema has more impact on the performance of the system than you may think. Dark colors work best, as they limit reflected light. Ambient light is the enemy of the theater room. In the case of this theater, we worked with the homeowner to select the paint and flooring colors that would interfere the least with their system, but still impart their own unique style to the room.
The dark color scheme and complete lack of ambient light set the stage for a brilliant picture on the Stewart Filmscreen 123″ StudioTek screen, created by a Sony projector. The room is outfitted with an Integra receiver and Blu-ray player, and automated for convenient use with Control4. Palliser “Pacifico” tiered seating creates a comfortable movie-watching experience for the homeowners, as well as their family and friends.
We also designed the lighting placement to benefit the performance of the theater, and all lights can be controlled from the comfort of the theater chairs. The lighting system also operates automatically to recreate various lighting “recipes” that adjust the lighting to the viewing activity (e.g. watching a movie vs. watching a football game).
Featured in a local home builder parade, the complete theater was demoed for guests over two weekends, and is now ready for enjoyment by the homeowner.
Building a home theater means creating something that is more than the sum of its parts. Every detail matters, and getting those details right makes you forget about the details when you’re watching a movie in your new theater.