New Basement Theatre Room project - AVS Forum
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Here are some pics of my unfinished basement and the proposed floor plan for my upcoming basement home theatre/media room project. I am looking for comments and advice. I am doing this on a limited budget (aren't we all?) so cannot go whole hog on everything I want, but am trying to make some smart decisions I won't regret later.

Here's the raw space (ignore the mess...).

This will be the screen wall. It is 13.66' wide (unfinished):


To the left:


To the right:


Right wall:


Far shot:


Here is my proposed floor plan with some dimensions. All dimensions are of the unfinished space:


There will be a soffit running along the ceiling on the left to hide those pipes, so I am having the contractor run a matching soffit down the right hand side.

Both soffits will run all the way to the screen wall, then down the wall to the left and right of the screen wall (as per the boxed out corners in the floor plan).

I will be running 2.5" conduit up the corners and along the soffit to a central projector mount location (I'm also running electrical outlet to ceiling and adding some bracing in two joists for locating the PJ mount)

I will be running 2" central vac pipe along the soffits and down the corners for pulling speaker wire. There will be an opening in this pipe half way along the soffit and at the end of the soffit (for side and rear speakers).

The ceiling (unfinished) is 90" from the concrete to the joist underside. We are laying carpet and pad directly on the concrete, so won't lose much headspace.

The contractor will be installing Roxul Safe n Sound batts in the ceiling joists:
http://www.roxul.com/residential/cre...%E2%80%99sound

I am also having two dedicated electrical circuits install at the screen wall end for the HT gear.

As you can see, I already own a screen. Its a Panoview Graywolf II and measures 80" wide by 45" high (92" diagonal). I have read some good reviews of this budget screen on this site so would like to start with this screen but possibly move to something bigger later.

The walls will be primed and then painted with three coats of Benjamin Moore Ultimatte Paint: http://www.benjaminmoore.com/bmpsweb...oductsspecs_ca
The screen wall will be "Bittersweet Chocolate":
http://www.buyaurapaint.com/2114-10-2oz.html
It has a LRV of 5.1

The other walls will be "Stone House"
http://www.buyaurapaint.com/1039.html
It has an LRV of 51.6

The carpet will be San Sebastian berber in "Oyster"
http://www.floormall.com/image.php/i...pg?w=275&h=275

The carpet is lighter than I would prefer but its a trade-off with my wife. The room is not a dedicated HT and she's afraid it will be too dingy if we goo much darker. The ceiling will also be white with California finish.

I'll put my comments/questions in the next post.

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Old 06-22-2009, 09:41 PM - Thread Starter
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So...

I am looking for input on the proposed plan.

-Are two dedicated circuits at the screen wall enough?

-What circuit should the projector outlet go on? (One of those two dedicated circuits or can it go with a regular outlet's circuit?)

-What is a good distance for me to have the projector mount/ceiling outlet located? I am undecided on the PJ yet (leaning towards Panny AE-3000) so need to decide the most flexible location from the screen wall that will accommodate the screen size I have as well as a bigger screen if I decide this one isn't big enough.

-For the side and rear speaker outlets in the soffit, where is the best place to put them (i.e. distance from the screen wall). I assume the side speakers should be beside the main seating area and the rears somewhat behind, but again, I don't have the equipment yet and can't nail down final dimensions, so I am looking for good rough locations.

As you can see, I have four movie theatre seats (87" wide on total). These will eventually go on a riser with three Berkline or equiv comfy seats in front. Again, roughly where should the front and rear rows be located? I guess this would determine the rear and side speaker locations.

The entire space is not dedicated to HT, so I have to make some "best of both worlds" trade-offs.

My mind is starting to boggle with all the variables and in the next week or so, I'll have to tell the contractor where the outlets and pipe openings need to be, so I want to get these nailed down.

Any help/advice is gratefully appreciated!

I have trolled the "What I'd do differently next time" thread for ideas and am looking at many of the great theatres here with considerable jealousy.

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Old 06-22-2009, 10:39 PM
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Sounds like you have quite a bit of the plan already in mind. That's good. I'm looking forward to seeing the space come together.

Some initial thoughts and feedback on a couple of your questions:

1 - I think you are going to grow out of that size screen VERY quickly. So, I would either plan right now for a bigger screen, switch to a bigger screen right now, or just keep it in the back of your mind that is coming down the road. This is going to affect where your projector is too, so just factor it into decisions.

2 - I think you said that you are putting your equipment on the screen wall. That should be fine. But, for the sub and for the projector, you should consider a power inlet or power bridge. Basically, you feed the power to them from your power center, so that they are protected like the rest of your equipment. You can have the electrician still run the plugs the same, just have them terminate where your equipment is going to be instead of tieing them into the house power. More experienced souls than I will have to tell you whether 2 dedicated circuits are enough. My opinion is that it's plenty for the budget you are already starting to establish with some of the choices. I've only got one 20AMP for mine on a similar budget.

3 - You are definitely going to have to get some things decided on before knowing where a few things are going to end up. Projector and screen size will determine where plugs and mount are going to be. First row and Second row distance from screen will determine where your speakers should go. You can find the THX and Dolby suggested speaker placements online...that should be a good place to start.

My advice is to start building things before BigmouthinDC starts convincing you to change your whole plan.

Good luck.

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

1 - I think you are going to grow out of that size screen VERY quickly. So, I would either plan right now for a bigger screen, switch to a bigger screen right now, or just keep it in the back of your mind that is coming down the road. This is going to affect where your projector is too, so just factor it into decisions.

To my wife, the screen is too big, to me it is smaller than I would prefer. While I certainly want a bigger screen, my concern is it will require me to pull the seating rows too far back, eating up too much of the room, which is not supposed to be entirely dedicated to HT.

What would be a good screen size to plan for? Is 100" diag more typical? This is exactly the advice I need. My plan right now is to place the seating as far away from this screen as is recommended, so that if I go for a bigger screen, I will not end up too close. Does that make sense? Of course, being further away will likely accelerate my desire for a bigger screen...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

2 - I think you said that you are putting your equipment on the screen wall. That should be fine.

I didn't say, but good guess! My plan is to build a curved stage area between the two corner columns (this will be done after the fact and sit on top of the carpet) for locating the equipment and centre channel. I'll build a low console type "rack" to house the gear.

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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

But, for the sub and for the projector, you should consider a power inlet or power bridge.

Yes! Right there, you've earned your paycheck. Thanks for pointing that out. I thought of this once but had forgotten, thanks for the reminder. I've emailed my contractor with this change request.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

More experienced souls than I will have to tell you whether 2 dedicated circuits are enough. My opinion is that it's plenty for the budget you are already starting to establish with some of the choices. I've only got one 20AMP for mine on a similar budget.

My current HT gear (54" RPTV, sub, receiver, HTPC, Popcorn Hour, and DVD) are all plugged in to two regular outlets in my house and they work fine, so I am hoping this is actually slight overkill...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

3 - You are definitely going to have to get some things decided on before knowing where a few things are going to end up. Projector and screen size will determine where plugs and mount are going to be. First row and Second row distance from screen will determine where your speakers should go. You can find the THX and Dolby suggested speaker placements online...that should be a good place to start.

Thanks for the suggestion. I found a spreadsheet at Carlton Bale's website
If I put in a 92" screen, it says 10.3' is THX longest recommended, 12.5' is SMPTE longest recommended First Row viewing distance (I assume that is from your eyes, so the chairs will actually be closer than this).

So, if I split the difference and plan to put my front row at 11' from the screen does that seem okay? If I change the screen size to 110" diag, the SMPTE longest recommended goes to 14.9' and the THX goes to 12.3'. Now my front row is shorter than this, is that too close?

How do people typically plan it when having two rows? Do you put the first row closer than the longest recommended and try to get the second row at the longest recommended, or is the second row typically further back than longest recommended?

Thanks for the input

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:11 AM
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Looking forward to watching this come together. Sounds like you'll be started and finished in the time it takes some of us to plan our next stage!

Two quick thoughts.

First, if you are planning a stage you might want to consider putting your equipment in an equipment closet rather than using the screen wall. Many find all the glowing lights and cable management at the front of the room distracting or less than ideal. Looks like you have the room to consider creating an equipment closet at the back of the room under the stairs, or on one of the side walls, and run cables from there, although you'll want to cable to the front for an IR sensor so you don't have to point your remote to the back of the room. Just a thought.

Second ... a white ceiling? I can understand the WAF may make black a problem perhaps, but think long and hard about white unless you don't care about reflections.

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

Looking forward to watching this come together. Sounds like you'll be started and finished in the time it takes some of us to plan our next stage!

Well, I went from finishing the basement myself, which was turning into a multi-month stress-induced proposition, to paying someone to do it during the 4 week period my wife and kids are away visiting family. She leaves an unfinished basement and returns to a finished one. Major WAF!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

First, if you are planning a stage you might want to consider putting your equipment in an equipment closet rather than using the screen wall.

I'd love to do this, but it once again eats into the footprint the HT consumes of the basement which is not a dedicated HT... Negative WAF

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

Many find all the glowing lights and cable management at the front of the room distracting or less than ideal. Looks like you have the room to consider creating an equipment closet at the back of the room under the stairs

The equipment you see in the second last picture is my DJ/studio equipment. I am shrinking it somewhat, but still locating it in that corner by the stairs. I had thought of creating an equipment closet there (with the backs open to under the stairs, and the front finished and visible from the main area, but it eats up too much space. My hope is, everyone loves the HT so much that it becomes the primary (only) use of the basement, thus increasing the budget to make it is a perfect as possible... Right now I have a vaguely skeptical wife who is concerned that it will eat up the entire basement and not fully on board with the value of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hanesian View Post

Second ... a white ceiling? I can understand the WAF may make black a problem perhaps, but think long and hard about white unless you don't care about reflections.

I don't want white, but know I will not be able to swing dark. I haven't researched my options though. Basically, the concern is that the basement will be too dark (there are no windows in the planned HT area - I had the one window removed when we had the house built). The plan calls for 10 pot lights and two wall sconces (on three separate dimmers) in that main area, which I hope will make it bright enough.

We traded off on the carpet colour, going for the middle shade (she wanted the lightest, I wanted the darkest, we settled on the middle).

What are some good colours for ceilings that would cut down on reflections but still be warm/light enough WAF-wise? The contractor is doing California ceiling, can that typically be any other colour than white? I haven't asked him, but I assumed its a white finish because of the materials used.

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Old 06-23-2009, 10:58 AM
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Looking at your photo's you are asking the right questions at the right time. I'll give you my 2 cents on what i've learned so far. You seem to be concerned with using up to much space, what are your plans for the space if not using it for HT/media room? I will also echo what the others have said, bigger screen. I know you have a screen already but one option might be to paint your screen on the wall in the size you think you might want. Just get an idea of how big you think you might want so you will know where to mount your projector. This is cheap and if you don't like it you can paint over it. I did mine at 120" and love it. In regards to electricity and lighting, put you lights in zones and put each zone on separate switches. This allows you to control the lights and doesn't cost extra. You mentioned putting your equipment cabinet under your stairs so you can access it from the back, you really should consider this. This is a great use of space and will be well worth it. And since you do not have drywall in the way you can run extra wire for circuits to the equipment cabinet just in case you do future upgrades. I ran a single 20amp circuit to mine which is enough for the equipment I currently have (cable box, receiver, dvd, game console). But I also ran a 12-3 wire so I have room to grow. As far as colors go, my wife was the same as all others, "Don't make it a cave." I wanted a black ceiling and ended up with chocolate brown. The walls are a little darker than Khaki. I'm actually glad I went with the colors instead of the black. Like you, most of us are on a conservative budget but try to plan for future upgrades. You may not think you will upgrade at this point but it doesn't take long for the urge to kick in. Once you have the drywall up, the cost of adding speaker wire, electrical wire, cat5 ect. goes way up. This place is a great resource, don't hesitate to ask questions.

I like this place!!!
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

You seem to be concerned with using up to much space, what are your plans for the space if not using it for HT/media room?

The general idea is a place for the kids to play, I am going to build some cabinet/shelving along the wall by the bathroom for storing games, books, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

I will also echo what the others have said, bigger screen. I know you have a screen already but one option might be to paint your screen on the wall in the size you think you might want. Just get an idea of how big you think you might want so you will know where to mount your projector. This is cheap and if you don't like it you can paint over it. I did mine at 120" and love it.

Going through the projector throw calculator (using the Panny AE3000's specs) I found the following:
92" screen: Min throw: 7.8' Max: 15.8'
120" screen: Min: 10.2' Max: 20.6'
Using this as the smallest and largest screens I am likely to want to run, I need to position my projector 10.5 to 15' away from the screen. Would you agree with this logic?

If so, the final location would be dictated by the seating distance, which I am also looking for input on. Using the same calculator, I put in 10' front row and 14' back row.

With a 92" screen, the front row would have a 36.9 degree f.o.v, the back row a 26.8 f.o.v. Is the back row too far?

With a 120" screen, the front row would have a 47.1 degree f.o.v, the back row a 34.6 f.o.v. Is the front row too close?

Also, is a 4' difference between front and rear a good number? The front row will be Berkline like reclining chairs (3) the rear will be on a modest platform (10"?) for the movie theatre chairs you can see hiding behind the screen (4 of them).

If this sounds good for seat positioning, then the projector would have to go:
1. At 10.5' from screen so it would be above the folks sitting in the front row, but not in the way of the folks walking on the platform to their seats (but still pretty close to their heads and potentially in their vertical field of view)
or
2. At 15.8' from screen so it would be above the folks sitting in the rear row, but then its at the limit of the capabilities for using the 92" screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

In regards to electricity and lighting, put you lights in zones and put each zone on separate switches. This allows you to control the lights and doesn't cost extra.

The lights are planned as follows:
10 pot lights. 4 closest to screen in one zone, dimmable from switch on left wall, remaining 6 on separate zone (also dimmable).
2 Wall sconces (left and right wall) dimmable by switch on left wall.

One question about lights, where am I best to put the sconces? They are like this
http://www.sears.ca/gp/product/B002D...deid=397874011
Not that style aesthetically, but with three lights on a central mount point that shoot up. Mine are a more simple geometric art deco style.

Should they go forward of the seating position somewhat central between the rear row and the screen wall, or would you put them central to the entire room. Just looking for aesthetic opinions here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

You mentioned putting your equipment cabinet under your stairs so you can access it from the back, you really should consider this. This is a great use of space and will be well worth it. And since you do not have drywall in the way you can run extra wire for circuits to the equipment cabinet just in case you do future upgrades. I ran a single 20amp circuit to mine which is enough for the equipment I currently have (cable box, receiver, dvd, game console). But I also ran a 12-3 wire so I have room to grow.

I think I will have to postpone this one until there's family agreement that the basement be more HT than anything else... I would love to do this, and aesthetically (and practically) it would look sweet, but then I would also need to decide where to locate my DJ studio setup, which is planned to occupy that corner. The good thing is, it would be minimal effort to retrofit, even a built in, as we are not finishing the walls under the stairs. Also, the electrical panel is in the garage to the left of the under stairs storage room in my floor plan, so fishing an additional circuit is as easy later as it is now...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

As far as colors go, my wife was the same as all others, "Don't make it a cave." I wanted a black ceiling and ended up with chocolate brown. The walls are a little darker than Khaki. I'm actually glad I went with the colors instead of the black.

My screen wall is a chocolate brown, I certainly won't get buy in for the ceiling to be that dark. I could consider going one or two shades lighter than the Stone House colour for the non-screen walls, such as Muslin:
http://www.buyaurapaint.com/oc-12-regal.html
But is this much better than white?

The ceiling colour issue is a real wrinkle with my wife, since the entire ceiling of the whole open space would have to be one colour and, again, she is concerned it will be too dark in the non-HT part of the space...

Anyone else resolve this with some clever ceiling ideas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

Like you, most of us are on a conservative budget but try to plan for future upgrades. You may not think you will upgrade at this point but it doesn't take long for the urge to kick in.

Oh, I already know I want upgrades...

In fact, the issue right now is the basement reno is eating all the budget, and I don't have the HT gear to put in it, requiring more budget. I have a 5 year old setup in my upstairs living room with a 54" Panny RPTV, but given that I need HDMI switching to simplify my wiring, the old receiver isn't going to cut it. Plus, I have not picked out a projector, or speakers... I have a mega-sonosub (15" driver) that I custom built a few years ago. My wife is eager that it move down here now, but it can't until it has a receiver and speakers and projector to live with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

Once you have the drywall up, the cost of adding speaker wire, electrical wire, cat5 ect. goes way up.

I am running my own cat5, phone and cable wires once the framing is done. I am hoping the electrical is enough, and the conduit should address the speaker wires... Either way, it won't be enough and I'll end up having to run wires around the baseboard again...

Quote:
Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

This place is a great resource, don't hesitate to ask questions.

It is indeed a great resource. Even the three replies I have received so far have been extremely helpful.

More opinions and suggestions are welcome!

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Old 06-23-2009, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Thanks for the input.

It is indeed a great resource. Even the three replies I have received so far have been extremely helpful.

More opinions and suggestions are welcome!

Dude,

Opinions welcome? OK, since you asked ...

All this talk about what the wife will and will not allow - in the bloody basement! - leaves me no choice:



That's just a friendly shot across the bow - the next step is revoking your Man Card. Don't make me go here!

OK, if your wife doesn't mind me asking: how does building a small closet under your stairs eat into the footprint of the basement? What else are you going to do with the area under the stairs: install a pool table?!

Just giving you some friendly grief, my canuckian friend, but dude - man up!!

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, well its not so much about what she will and won't allow, as it is her house as well as mine, so her opinions count. That's the way our relationship works anyway...

The good news is, tonight she said "its your dream, go with what you want". So good things come to he who waits.

We are now going to pick the slightly darker carpet, and the ceiling does not have to be white! It can't be dark (which I agree with) but it can be non-white. I am likely going with one shade lighter than the wall colour. Lower LRV than white, but not super dark since it extends into the other part of the basement as well.

So, I am still looking for info/feedback/comments on my projector location and seating location ideas above. Anyone?

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Old 06-24-2009, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Going through the projector throw calculator (using the Panny AE3000's specs) I found the following:
92" screen: Min throw: 7.8' Max: 15.8'
120" screen: Min: 10.2' Max: 20.6'
Using this as the smallest and largest screens I am likely to want to run, I need to position my projector 10.5 to 15' away from the screen. Would you agree with this logic?

Yes. Mine is going to be at about 12.5', but different projector, so not very relevant. Planning for some options is a great idea though. You are lucky your projector gives you those options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

If so, the final location would be dictated by the seating distance, which I am also looking for input on. Using the same calculator, I put in 10' front row and 14' back row.

With a 92" screen, the front row would have a 36.9 degree f.o.v, the back row a 26.8 f.o.v. Is the back row too far?

With a 120" screen, the front row would have a 47.1 degree f.o.v, the back row a 34.6 f.o.v. Is the front row too close?

I think this will be fine. Front row may be a little close. I would plan for the Berklines to be in the most optimal place, and then work in where you want the theater seats. I don't know how many people you expect to watch movies with you, but most of the time it's maybe 4 for me. In my first media room, we had one row of seating, and then people found spots on the floor to lay down, or walls to lean against, and everyone was happy. The row of seating was maybe at about 12 feet, and everyone else in front of that. No complaints once the movie is on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

If this sounds good for seat positioning, then the projector would have to go:
1. At 10.5' from screen so it would be above the folks sitting in the front row, but not in the way of the folks walking on the platform to their seats (but still pretty close to their heads and potentially in their vertical field of view)
or
2. At 15.8' from screen so it would be above the folks sitting in the rear row, but then its at the limit of the capabilities for using the 92" screen.

What about a compromise? My projector in my first media room was about a foot in front of the seating row, on the ceiling. I can tell you that no one was looking at the projector when the movie was on. In fact, I don't ever recall even noticing it. I had a little higher ceilings though and no riser. You should be able to set something up to test this out. Get a chair, put it at the right height, secure projector temporarily to ceiling, and see what you think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

The lights are planned as follows:
10 pot lights. 4 closest to screen in one zone, dimmable from switch on left wall, remaining 6 on separate zone (also dimmable).
2 Wall sconces (left and right wall) dimmable by switch on left wall.

I think you are going to really like the decision to put the ones by the screen on a different control.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

My screen wall is a chocolate brown, I certainly won't get buy in for the ceiling to be that dark. I could consider going one or two shades lighter than the Stone House colour for the non-screen walls, such as Muslin:
http://www.buyaurapaint.com/oc-12-regal.html
But is this much better than white?

The ceiling colour issue is a real wrinkle with my wife, since the entire ceiling of the whole open space would have to be one colour and, again, she is concerned it will be too dark in the non-HT part of the space...

Anyone else resolve this with some clever ceiling ideas?

What about doing 2 ceiling colors? In the theater space, you could do something that matches the screen wall and tone it down a little bit (say 75% or even 50%), and then do the rest of the ceiling in another color. If you don't like a line in between the 2 colors, you could do a chair rail of sorts, except on the ceiling. It would make this section of the basement feel more separated and cut down on reflection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Oh, I already know I want upgrades...

In fact, the issue right now is the basement reno is eating all the budget, and I don't have the HT gear to put in it, requiring more budget. I have a 5 year old setup in my upstairs living room with a 54" Panny RPTV, but given that I need HDMI switching to simplify my wiring, the old receiver isn't going to cut it.

I'm in the same boat. You could always get a cheaper HDMI switcher and a cheaper receiver. I'm using an old receiver and running 5.1 and manually swapping the HDMI cables until I get the receiver I want. You could always do something in the short run and work into the long term plan.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

I am running my own cat5, phone and cable wires once the framing is done. I am hoping the electrical is enough, and the conduit should address the speaker wires... Either way, it won't be enough and I'll end up having to run wires around the baseboard again...

Whatever conduit you decide on, go .5" bigger or more. That is, unless you have already decide on 3". Make life easier on yourself. Even with the conduit, maybe run a string through while it's being installed.

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

Yes. Mine is going to be at about 12.5', but different projector, so not very relevant. Planning for some options is a great idea though. You are lucky your projector gives you those options.

Actually it is relevant, because I have not bought the projector yet, and I'd like to pick the most flexible location that would support future projector changes. What model projector is yours? And what size screen?

I've really only looked at the Panny specs in detail. I just had a quick peek at the Sony VW10 specs and it appears it is less flexible, so perhaps I should use a different proj to determine optimal location.


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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

I think this will be fine. Front row may be a little close.

So when using the calculators, is the SMPTE/THX longest recommended viewing distance is aimed at the front row or the back row?

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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

I would plan for the Berklines to be in the most optimal place, and then work in where you want the theater seats. I don't know how many people you expect to watch movies with you, but most of the time it's maybe 4 for me.

Well I have 5 in my family (wife and 3 kids) so that is likely the most typical number and then occasionally more if we have a big movie night or birthday party, etc (for which we will bring in additional seats or floor space, etc). I already own the four theatre seats and I think I only have room for three Berkline's in the front. For sure I want it most optimal for the Berklines, since I'll always be sitting in one of them

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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

The row of seating was maybe at about 12 feet, and everyone else in front of that. No complaints once the movie is on.

So your primary seating was eyes 12' from screen? And other people would sit on floor in front and lean against the seats, etc? What size screen was this with?

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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

Get a chair, put it at the right height, secure projector temporarily to ceiling, and see what you think.

I don't have the projector yet, so this will be tough, and I need to make the decision on the outlet and conduit location before I'll have it. Thanks for your input, I am thinking that 12 -13 foot mark would be right. I assume that means from the front of the lens to the screen, so the projector mount would be back another 6 or so inches, and the outlet and pipe another 6 from that. Does this sound logical?

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What about doing 2 ceiling colors? In the theater space, you could do something that matches the screen wall and tone it down a little bit (say 75% or even 50%), and then do the rest of the ceiling in another color. If you don't like a line in between the 2 colors, you could do a chair rail of sorts, except on the ceiling. It would make this section of the basement feel more separated and cut down on reflection.

I think I am going with a shade lighter than the walls and we'll see how much of an issue it is. If it is really a problem then the chair rail idea is a great one and I'll just darken that portion later. But if we can make it work without having to do anything funky, that would be better. Good ideas though

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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

I'm in the same boat. You could always get a cheaper HDMI switcher and a cheaper receiver. I'm using an old receiver and running 5.1 and manually swapping the HDMI cables until I get the receiver I want. You could always do something in the short run and work into the long term plan.

Well, I am also looking for an excuse to buy some new gear I have been eyeing the Denon AVR789, looks pretty good and reasonably priced. The speakers will be the bigger investment, so I may borrow mine from upsatirs in the short term...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

Whatever conduit you decide on, go .5" bigger or more. That is, unless you have already decide on 3". Make life easier on yourself. Even with the conduit, maybe run a string through while it's being installed.

I upped the ceiling conduit to 2.5", but for affordable conduit, the 2" central vac is the best option. Its going to be at ceiling height that the conduit is run, so should only need to be speaker wires that get pulled.

I truly appreciate your help. I took a look at your HT thread and see you have the Sony VW60 but you don't mention your screen size. Your HT is looking good! I like the sw you are using as well...

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Old 06-24-2009, 10:17 AM
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The good news is, tonight she said "its your dream, go with what you want". So good things come to he who waits.

That's great news, it's alway's better when everyone agrees on the plan. I was lucky enough to have the freedom to do what I wanted, except the black ceiling, and several ideas brought some looks of disapproval from the wife but in the end she liked the way they turned out. As far as your projector mounting distance goes I would pick out two or three projectors that you are interested in and look at the throw distances and screen sizes. The calculator on Projector central is a really good tool. You might find that the projectors you pick are very close in throw distance so this will give you a good idea of where to mount it. I had my projector early in the build so I was able to do several test runs before drywall went up to make sure I had the correct mounting location. Good luck, I think this will turn out to be a really nice room.

I like this place!!!
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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Actually it is relevant, because I have not bought the projector yet, and I'd like to pick the most flexible location that would support future projector changes. What model projector is yours? And what size screen?

As you saw in my thread, I'm going with the VW60. It's at about 12.5' from lens to screen. My current screen is 92", but that is just because that came with the projector in the CraigsList find. It's not a huge area, so I think it's going to work fine.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

So when using the calculators, is the SMPTE/THX longest recommended viewing distance is aimed at the front row or the back row?

If I remember correctly, when you look at the layouts on the THX and Dolby site, it only shows one row of seating. So, I would assume that is for the primary row. For me, I am no audiophile, so I would split the difference and call it good. For others, this won't fly. I don't know which type you are.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

So your primary seating was eyes 12' from screen? And other people would sit on floor in front and lean against the seats, etc? What size screen was this with?

Yes, and this was with a POS standard def projector on about 103" screen. No complaints.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

I don't have the projector yet, so this will be tough, and I need to make the decision on the outlet and conduit location before I'll have it. Thanks for your input, I am thinking that 12 -13 foot mark would be right. I assume that means from the front of the lens to the screen, so the projector mount would be back another 6 or so inches, and the outlet and pipe another 6 from that. Does this sound logical?

Makes sense to me. I would shoot for the 13-14' range for the wires to come out. If you have to go back or forward from there to reach the projector, I think you will be fine. Again...according to my standards.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Well, I am also looking for an excuse to buy some new gear I have been eyeing the Denon AVR789, looks pretty good and reasonably priced. The speakers will be the bigger investment, so I may borrow mine from upsatirs in the short term...

As you can see from my thread, I have similar goals as you for the receiver. I just want 7.1 and upconvert through HDMI. I am looking at either the Pioneer 919 or 1019 currently.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

I upped the ceiling conduit to 2.5", but for affordable conduit, the 2" central vac is the best option. Its going to be at ceiling height that the conduit is run, so should only need to be speaker wires that get pulled.

That sounds good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

I like the sw you are using as well...

sw?

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

As far as your projector mounting distance goes I would pick out two or three projectors that you are interested in and look at the throw distances and screen sizes. The calculator on Projector central is a really good tool. You might find that the projectors you pick are very close in throw distance so this will give you a good idea of where to mount it.

Thanks, good idea. I just found the projector central one last night, its really handy, I was using the spreadsheet I linked to earlier and it didn't let me do handy AB compares, etc.

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Originally Posted by HT1 View Post

Good luck, I think this will turn out to be a really nice room.

Thanks. I am looking forward to it all coming together. The space is going to be finished by end of July, then comes the work I'll do to make it more home-theatery (platform, stage, equipment, etc). This may go slower budget-wise, but its the fun part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

As you saw in my thread, I'm going with the VW60. It's at about 12.5' from lens to screen. My current screen is 92", but that is just because that came with the projector in the CraigsList find. It's not a huge area, so I think it's going to work fine.

But for your pj, the mount location would also work for a bigger screen, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

If I remember correctly, when you look at the layouts on the THX and Dolby site, it only shows one row of seating. So, I would assume that is for the primary row. For me, I am no audiophile, so I would split the difference and call it good. For others, this won't fly. I don't know which type you are.

I don't know what type I am either! I know the front row will not be any further away than the longest recommended, I am looking for someone to chime in with how much closer than longest recommended should you go. Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

I would shoot for the 13-14' range for the wires to come out. If you have to go back or forward from there to reach the projector, I think you will be fine. Again...according to my standards.

I agree with you. I am not that bothered if the wires have to stretch a few inches, I just don't want to be out by 3 feet! This project has compromises, I am just looking to make as few stupid mistakes as possible upfront, because they are the expensive ones to address (like the time at work when our building expansion was being done, we asked our electrician to run conduit from a floor box to a ceiling for running projector cables and he ran 1/2" conduit. Buried in concrete! Try pulling a VGA cable through that...)

You guys have been very helpful and I appreciate the advice/opinions/direction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

As you can see from my thread, I have similar goals as you for the receiver. I just want 7.1 and upconvert through HDMI. I am looking at either the Pioneer 919 or 1019 currently.

I'll look into that one as well, I currently have a Denon I have been very happy with, but I am not beholden to any specific brand.

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Originally Posted by jpdeuce View Post

sw?

Software. The mock-ups and fly-by videos are superb. I was using SweetHome3D, but it is not as slick as your software.

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Old 06-24-2009, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

But for your pj, the mount location would also work for a bigger screen, right?

Yes, as big as I would think I would want to go in there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

I'll look into that one as well, I currently have a Denon I have been very happy with, but I am not beholden to any specific brand.

The thing I like about the Pioneers is the automatic room adjustment thing. I don't know anything about the Denon's as far as what models they start offering that feature.

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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Software. The mock-ups and fly-by videos are superb. I was using SweetHome3D, but it is not as slick as your software.

Oh yeah, I love the Live Interior 3D software. I can put together those kinds of designs real fast, now that I have done a few. There is also an extensive users gallery of items that people have built for downloading into your plans (tvs, furniture, speakers, sinks, toilets, etc...).

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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An update...
Construction starts Monday! Should take three weeks. Its time to finalize some dimensions. I am looking for opinions on the numbers and placement of things. I am going calculation crazy here, but want to try and get it right, I'd appreciate someone auditing my numbers and logic...

Firstly, I ordered my front row of theatre chairs today!! I went with the row of 3 Coaster Studio chairs from HomeTheatreAuthority at a price that can't be beat! Even shipped to Canada it felt like a bargain...

Here's my mock-up:


The red rectangles are soffits that are being installed to house the HVAC (with a matching soffit on right). I will run 2" central vac conduit through the soffits for speaker wire and need to decide the best location for speaker wire exits on the underside of the soffits (green dots labeled 1 (rear) and 2 (side))

The furthest back "1" can be is 16 feet (the soffit on the left wall ends there as the left wall turns away from the HT area), so I really need to decide on "2" for the future 7.1 side speaker location. This should be adjacent to the head, which ties in to "4", the seat location.

I plan on positioning the front row of seats so that the eyes are 11.5' from the screen, does that sound like a good seating distance for a 105 - 110" screen? The THX longest recommended for a 110" screen is 12.3 feet, so I take this to mean a little closer is better.

If 11.5' is a good viewing distance, and allowing for a 6" offset of the screen to the wall, this means that outlet "2" should be 12' from the screen wall.

Next up is projector location, label "3". Here's my calculation.
I plan to have my front row seating on the floor and my second row seating on a 9" platform. (4 movies theatre style chairs sort of seen in photos in first post)
If the front row's eyes are 11.5' from screen, then the back of the front row's chairs are 12" further back than that (this is a guess, is it a good one? I don't have the Coaster Studio's yet, so I can't measure, although I know they are 37" deep).
I plan on leaving 24" of space in front of the second row of seats for legroom (is this a good amount of room?).
I measured my movie theatre seats today and this means that the projector lens should be 15.5' back from the screen to be above the heads of the second row when seated, but not in their way when standing(11.5' to front row's eyes, + 12" to back of front row seats + 24" legroom + 12" to put PJ above heads when seated).

Projector Central states the Epson 6500UB's optimal throw range for 110" diagonal screen is 14' 8", so I am only 8" further back than that.

Add the 6" offset for the screen from the wall and the lens should be 16' from the screen wall. The Epson is 15" deep, so the Electrical outlet and 2.5" conduit should be 17' 3" from the screen wall to be at the back of the projector. The ceiling mount will be at roughly 16' 8". Does this sound right?

Lastly, I need an aesthetic opinion. I have a pair of three light wall sconces to go on either side wall. They will be on a dimmer. Should I put them in the front "half" of the theatre room? Roughly half way between the front row of seats and the screen wall? I am just looking for some opinions.

Also, here's the equipment I've picked:

Projector: Epson 6500UB
Receiver: Pioneer Elite SC-05
Speakers:
Front:Paradigm Studio 40 v4
Rear: Paradigm Studio 20 v4
Centre: Paradigm Studio CC-590 (can only find v5, looking for v4)
Blu Ray Player: Playstation3
Media Player: Popcorn Hour

I know I am asking a lot of questions, and I'll appreciate up front anyone who will chime in with some opinions/reassurances/corrections on my numbers. I am getting down to the "final decisions need to be made" stage and am fearful I'll make an (expensive to fix later) mistake in some of these numbers, especially the one's based on assumptions. So thanks in advance!

I plan on taking daily pics of the construction process and turning this into a construction/build thread...

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Old 07-02-2009, 08:24 AM
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Hey,

A general comment about your plan - without getting into the specifics it looks like you are on the right track, hopefully others will chime in with more specifics...

Also, regarding your screen question:
"I plan on positioning the front row of seats so that the eyes are 11.5' from the screen, does that sound like a good seating distance for a 105 - 110" screen?"

I too was worried about this; My screen is a 105" DIY laminate, My seating is the same distance 11.5' (eyes to screen surface). I am very happy with this distance!

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Old 07-03-2009, 07:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

Hey,

Also, regarding your screen question:
"I plan on positioning the front row of seats so that the eyes are 11.5' from the screen, does that sound like a good seating distance for a 105 - 110" screen?"

I too was worried about this; My screen is a 105" DIY laminate, My seating is the same distance 11.5' (eyes to screen surface). I am very happy with this distance!

Thanks, I need some reassurance. Last night I demoed the projector (and bought it). I was sitting at ~12.5-13 ft looking at a 100" diag screen and I could def have been closer, but it was good to see that. I will be shooting for a 105" screen (but starting with a 96").

Can anyone else comment on any of my questions?

FYI, I bought my gear last night:
Epson 6500UB projector
Pioneer Elite SC-05
Paradigm Studio 40 v4 (front)
Paradigm Studio 20 v4 (rear)
No centre channel They didn't have the v4 CC-590, so I am going to look around for one. Worse case scenario, I'll go buy the v5, but its pricey!

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Old 07-03-2009, 08:56 AM
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If it were me I'd go with a 120" screen. That 6500 is a light canon and can handle that size and bigger. I have the 6100 with a 120" in a room about your size and it looks great- not too big and not too small- It's a movie theater after all! If nothing else at least leave yourself room to grow if you go with the smaller size. You see a lot of people on here starting small then saying they wish they had gone larger or do go larger. Maybe paint the wall first and throw onto it and see what looks best to you?

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Old 07-03-2009, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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If it were me I'd go with a 120" screen. That 6500 is a light canon and can handle that size and bigger. I have the 6100 with a 120" in a room about your size and it looks great- not too big and not too small- It's a movie theater after all! If nothing else at least leave yourself room to grow if you go with the smaller size. You see a lot of people on here starting small then saying they wish they had gone larger or do go larger. Maybe paint the wall first and throw onto it and see what looks best to you?

What screen do you have? How far away are you from that 120" screen?

I must admit, when I was ~13' away from the 100" screen it wasn't as big as I thought it would be. I even knelt on the floor at around 11.5' and felt it could have been bigger... (there's a joke in there somewhere)

I have been reviewing some of the custom screen threads, especially the laminate ones. I'd love to go as big as possible, but there's a budget limit if I am buying a "real" screen...

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Old 07-03-2009, 03:09 PM
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Right now I'm using Behr Silverscreen paint and I think it looks very good. For around $30 in paint you cant go wrong. Mine is painted directly on the drywall-no laminate here. Once you find the right size for your taste you can always upgrade to a fixed screen or laminate if you think it calls for it. I think I'm going to try the "Black Widow" I think it's called DIY paint next and see if I gain anything from it.

I think it's mounted about 12' away now but it could/should be mounted about 14' I feel to give me some play room. If you look on my concrete tops thread I think there are some screen shoots(not the best). Looks much better in person. I'm going to add some black felt to frame it up a little more I think.

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, Day 1 of construction is complete, here's a pic:


The room dimensions are 12' 9" by 16' 8" (to the end of the left wall, the right wall is longer).

So, it looks like the rear speaker feed will exit the soffit at roughly 16' 4", which should be good for wall mounting the rears at around the same distance from the screen with the front row at 11.5-12' and the second row at 15'. I'll bring the future side speaker wire outlet out around the 12' mark.

I need to decide on soffit dimensions. They are going to be ~10.5 wide. I can have them be 11" high, making them a rough square, or I can have them less than that. I am going to try a Google SketchUp mockup of the room tonight.

I have also been designing some custom speaker stands and AV rack that I'll jam in the sketchup if I can get it all going properly. I am doing a Salamander style with 1.25" plumbing pipe for the corners (instead of aluminum as I want it all darker.) http://www.salamanderdesigns.com/syn...odelbase=slc20

The question is, what height should the bottom of the screen be? I did some calculations. The ceiling is 89" high. A 115" screen would be 56", a difference of 33".

Based on an estimated front row eye height of 42", the optimal location for the bottom of the screen is 23" leaving 10" at the top. 23" Doesn't leave me much room to put my rack of gear under the screen, even with a Salamander Triple style rack. And that's without a frame around the screen. How thick is a typical frame? 3"? That brings the bottom of the screen + frame to 20".

The centre channel is 9.5" high (including feet), and it would sit on the top shelf, the Pioneer Elite SC-05 receiver is ~8" high. Add another 3" for shelf thickness and feet and that's 20.5". I'd actually like to make each shelf opening at least 10" to allow for some wiggle room, so really the rack height would be 23-24",

This means if I accommodate a 3" frame, the bottom of the screen should sit at roughly 27-28". With a 56" screen height, the top of screen would be at 84", only 5" below the ceiling (3" of which will be frame). Is this okay? Too high? To close to the (white) ceiling? Maybe I can't fit a 115" diagonal screen?

Opinions please?

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Old 07-06-2009, 11:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's a couple of Sketchups including my rack and speaker stands:





Comments? That's a 115" diag screen, 24" from bottom, 2.5" frame.

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Old 07-07-2009, 07:30 AM
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Nice start!

A few comments:

Soffits - I see your tallest ceiling point will be 89"; Personally I would keep my soffits as shallow as possible. In my case my soffits are at 78" (I had no choice because of obstructions). I wish they could have been at 80" (or higher).

Vertical Screen positioning - Looks like you are OK with what you are thinking. However;
Are you planning a second row? If not; it seems you're only physical limitation is allowing enough room underneath to accomodate equipment.
Have you completely ruled out an in-wall equipment rack. I think the aesthetic gains of having no distractions under the screen is worth consideration..?

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply

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Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

Nice start!
Soffits - I see your tallest ceiling point will be 89"; Personally I would keep my soffits as shallow as possible. In my case my soffits are at 78" (I had no choice because of obstructions). I wish they could have been at 80" (or higher).

Unfortunately, my soffits will be around 77", primarily because the left hand duct work requires it, thus I want the right hand soffit to match. Thankfully, there is no soffit needed in the middle of the HT area, just down the walls, so it may actually look nice, my speakers will be mounted under the soffits, so they'll be a little lower than I'd prefer, but its the best I can do.

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Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

Nice start!
Vertical Screen positioning - Looks like you are OK with what you are thinking. However;
Are you planning a second row? If not; it seems you're only physical limitation is allowing enough room underneath to accomodate equipment.

Yes I am planning a second row, I just didn't add it to the drawing. If anything, a slightly higher screen bottom will help me keep the riser low, so it should still be okay. With 89" ceilings, the riser can't really be much more than 10" tall, and 8" would be better, but I'll have to do the final math on riser height once I get my front row chairs.

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Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

Nice start!
Have you completely ruled out an in-wall equipment rack. I think the aesthetic gains of having no distractions under the screen is worth consideration..?

I basically have ruled it out, it just eats up too much of the real estate in an area that is already more HT than my wife initially expected... Maybe in the far future I'll try and do something (and regret the decisions of today...), but right now all the conduit and electrical is being run to the front.

I do have a dedicated circuit going in at the right rear slated for my DJ equipment corner. If I co-opt that for an in-wall rack, I could run the speaker wire in reverse (down the right hand wall, across the screen wall and up the left hand wall to do the left speakers), the main issue would be the HDMI run to the projector, since its slated to go down to the left hand corner at the screen wall. I'd have some creative snaking to get an HDMI cable there to the right rear instead and am already over my budget limit for adding new things to this project... maybe I should at least run some conduit from the projector mount to the right-hand soffit, it would help if I change my mind and the cable could conceivably be snaked along the soffit from there... Hmm. Contractors do not like last minute requests.

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Contractors do not like last minute requests.

Maybe not, but you will be happy to have the options and there is no better time to make changes than now.

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1canuck2 View Post

Opinions please?

My suggestion would be to put the screen where it "needs" to be and then find solutions to fit around that. You may find that you need to build the stand/rack to fit your equipment yourself. Some of those HT stands/racks are pretty expensive, so you might be able to come out ahead if you have your contractor, or another wood worker, build you something custom. If you can set the screen up and sit in each location, that would be best. Ask yourself if you could handle a couple hours with you head tilted at whatever angle would be necessary to see the screen.

I think I would just build my own with some decent wood and paint/stain it to fit the room. That way you can account for the center channel and all equipment exactly as it needs to be accounted for, rather than searching for the exact piece of furniture to do what you need.

The above is merely one person's opinion and is probably worth as much as you paid for it.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks jpdeuce. That is my plan.

The rack and speaker stands are Google SketchUp designs that I did with a view to building them myself. The black parts are 1.25" plumbing pipe and the wood is baltic birch plywood stained dark. The design is "inspired" by the Salamander system gear, but I am not paying their prices when I can DIY.

The issue either way (custom or bought) is that the centre channel I have is 9.5" high (including feet), and the Pioneer Elite SC-05 receiver is ~8" high, so 17.5" in total. Allowing for shelf thicknesses, the lowest I can have the top of the rack is 21".

That gives me an idea though, I could just have the rack be the bottom (three compartment) section and sit the centre channel on top of it without a top shelf, reducing the height a little bit.

What about screen frame widths. I mostly see people doing 3", but would 2.5" work?

Its crazy, with all this space, it comes down to an inch here or there making a seemingly big difference, or am I being obsessive?

Maybe I'll do a second rack design tonight and stick it in the room to visualize.

Thanks for the input!

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Old 07-07-2009, 12:33 PM
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canuck,

My frame width is 2", and looks just fine

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