Need HT Recommendations for Odd Shaped Ceiling - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 03-14-2010, 10:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm JUST now starting to plan and design my first home theater. Right now it's a completely unfinished room above the garage, which I guess is both a blessing and a curse. I've been doing quite a bit of reading and researching as of late, and I've somewhat figured out most of my needs/wants, but I'm having some trouble making a couple decisions on my own. I'm having a particularly tough time figuring out a good lighting situation for the odd shaped roof. I will list first some of the requirements, and then the plans and thoughts that I have so far in hopes of some helpful critiquing. Everything is definitely open for debate and I'm very open to instructional criticism, though I do generally question everything, so please don't be offended if I question your suggestion. I have a ton of questions scattered about. If you can only answer one of them, that would help me greatly along the path to HT enlightenment. There's a picture of the current room prior to doing anything at all along with some rough measurements attached at the bottom of the post. I haven't even removed the scrap lumber from when the house was built, though do note the pieces of awesome I added to jazz it up a bit.

Requirements:
I am going to have a fold up ping pong table, foosball, card table, etc in this room as well as the gaming/movie area. I'd like to create some zone lighting in such a manner that people could play cards with a moderate amount of light behind the seating area for the screen, but not drastically impair the video games or movies going on on the projection screen.

The screen has to be retractable because boxing out the window (semi-) permanently isn't an option. It's the WAF, but I'll be telling people it's because that window makes for a good sniper position. This of course means that I'll have to use a smaller viewable screen than shown in the measurements so as to take into account the entire retraction hardware. I want 16:9.

The room restrictions are based on the measurements in the above photo, otherwise I'm up for anything.

My Thoughts So Far
For lighting, dimmers would obviously be involved. Separate the lights into two zones, one for the screen area and one for the rest of the room. Maybe some track lighting that can be pointed? I don't think can lights would do well for the roof structure that I have, but I really have no idea. My best idea is to turn off the lights around the screen, and slightly dim the lights in the ping pong area. Hopefully that would give me good picture quality with both areas of the room being used.

The screen. I plan on building some blackout type shutters that I can close to cover the window and then lower the electric screen. So far I'm thinking about a Focupix Flexio 110" (105" total width) with 1.3 gain, or maybe the tab tensioned TensionFlat 100 (106" total width) with 1.4 gain. They seem to be the best bang for the buck in my reading, but again, I'm open minded. Is the gain right for my circumstances with the lighting and dual use room? Is a tab tensioned screen worth the extra money? I'm even open to a DIY screen, but I don't think I could make a retractable one.

The Mitsubishi HC3800 to me seems like a great projector in the price point, assuming I don't get a lemon. The long bulb life and the free bulb rebate are a bonus. Does this seem like a good projector for my screen size and lighting conditions? Is it a good match for the screen I'm considering? Mounting hardware and position suggestions are also helpful.

I plan on putting about a 3 foot knee wall on each side of the room with some cabinet doors and painting it maybe a grey hue. Nothing too bright. The ceiling I think a slate blue would do well. I don't want brown or black because it just depresses me. I hope these colors won't reflect too much light back onto the screen. I believe some decent painted bead board will suit my needs. I want the room to be mostly indestructible from rough housing so I don't think dry wall is going to suffice. Better ideas?

For wiring, I plan on having an outlet on the ceiling for the projector. I'm going to put some conduit in from the projector to the AV rack just in case HDMI falls out of favor (and we know it will eventually). I'll be pulling probably a 50' HDMI cable through that and connecting to a yet-to-be-researched receiver. I'm going to wire it for 7.1 audio, but for the time being I'll be using an existing 5.1 Fluance set I have. I'll need an outlet for the electric screen. I'll pull a coax and network cable up to the AV rack. Anything I'm forgetting besides lighting?

There we have it. It's taken me a week of reading and searching to get this far, but the rest of my concerns seem quite difficult for me to search. I don't really have a budget, but I'm thrifty at heart so I generally don't go overboard. Although, I do like to buy something nicer if it's actually worth it. I'm definitely open to ANY suggestions on anything I've said. I'm sorry for the long windedness and the number of questions. If nothing else, at least I have all of my thoughts in one place for my own reference. Sincerely, thanks for your time.
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post #2 of 6 Old 03-15-2010, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahamala View Post

I plan on putting about a 3 foot knee wall on each side of the room with some cabinet doors and painting it maybe a grey hue. Nothing too bright. The ceiling I think a slate blue would do well. I don't want brown or black because it just depresses me. I hope these colors won't reflect too much light back onto the screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahamala View Post

I want the room to be mostly indestructible from rough housing so I don't think dry wall is going to suffice. Better ideas?

You may not realize it, but these are two conflicting requirements. If you want to reduce light reflections you should use a flat paint. But a flat paint (regardless of the backing) is not very durable - it will show every scuff mark and scratch. If "mostly indestructible" is what you need you should use at minimum a semigloss paint. Even a black semigloss will reflect light. If the room is going to see a lot of roughhousing activity, I would forget about trying to control light reflections and just go with colors you like.

If you need the walls to be really solid, you could use chipboard. It's heavier, harder to cut, and probably harder to finish than drywall, but will certainly be cheaper and easier to install than bead board.

Chris

"It hurts to admit when you make mistakes - but when they are big enough, the pain only lasts a second."
--Despair, Inc. "Regret"


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post #3 of 6 Old 03-15-2010, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahamala View Post

For wiring, I plan on having an outlet on the ceiling for the projector. I'm going to put some conduit in from the projector to the AV rack just in case HDMI falls out of favor (and we know it will eventually). I'll be pulling probably a 50' HDMI cable through that and connecting to a yet-to-be-researched receiver.

Don't run the HDMI cable through the conduit. The point of the conduit is to provide a way to run future cables to/from a location that you need them. If you know that you want an HDMI cable to that location before you close in the walls run it next to the conduit and leave the conduit empty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jahamala View Post

I'll need an outlet for the electric screen. I'll pull a coax and network cable up to the AV rack. Anything I'm forgetting besides lighting?

Most building codes require outlets every X feet in a room (I don't know what the exact number is), so you should plan to install outlets around the room. If you go down to your town's planning department they should be able to give you a handout that explains all the requirements you need to follow and the permits you'll need.*

I would plan at least 3 separate circuits for the room:
1) One for the A/V equipment (including the projector)
2) One for the outlets
3) One for the lights (so if you pop a breaker your not sitting in the dark - voice of experience here...)

* BTW - if you are considering doing this without getting a permit, you need to know that your insurance company can deny claims if they find out you did this without a permit.

Chris

"It hurts to admit when you make mistakes - but when they are big enough, the pain only lasts a second."
--Despair, Inc. "Regret"


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post #4 of 6 Old 03-15-2010, 05:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies BeerParty. I'll look into the chipboard. I think bead board is only about $10 for an 8'x4' square so cost isn't really an issue there, but it may be more hardy so I'll definitely consider it when I start scouring Lowes and Home Depot.

Good idea about the HDMI too. No sense in filling up conduit from the start.

For the outlets, the one I mentioned for the screen I was talking about putting an outlet up high near where the screen mounts so I wouldn't have a wire running down the wall to plug in. I'm definitely going to run at least 2 circuits. 1 for lighting and 1 for outlets. It might be a good idea to run a 3rd just for the AV outlets like you suggest. As for the other outlets scattered about the room, I don't know what code is, but I do have an electrician friend that I'll be quizzing on that shortly.

Thanks for the heads up on the permit. I called and it doesn't cost anything in my county. You basically just call a number and tell them what you're doing and it's done. All very good suggestions!
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-16-2010, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahamala View Post

I am going to have a fold up ping pong table, foosball, card table, etc in this room as well as the gaming/movie area. I'd like to create some zone lighting in such a manner that people could play cards with a moderate amount of light behind the seating area for the screen, but not drastically impair the video games or movies going on on the projection screen.

With your knee wall about 3feet high on either side, you'll end up with a room that is 22feet long and about 16feet wide. But only about 10 feet of width will be usable by adults due to the ceiling slope. With the screen size and location you are talking about, your seating will need to be about 10feet from the screen, putting it right in the middle of the room. If you want to use a ping pong table in there you'll need theater seating that can be moved out of the way.

I would suggest that you get some graph paper and make a scale drawing of the room floor plan. Put in dotted lines showing where the ceiling reaches 6feet high (minimum standing height). Then add in scale versions of the stuff you want to put in the room, including the space around the objects you need to use them. For example, a ping pong table is 9feet by 5feet, but you'll need about 6feet on each end for the players for a total "length" of 21feet (so basically this will take up your whole room when you want to use it). A three person couch will be about 6feet wide and 3feet deep, not counting coffee tables and leg room.

Once you have a floor plan that looks like it will work, then you can decide on the location and type of lighting and outlets.

Chris

"It hurts to admit when you make mistakes - but when they are big enough, the pain only lasts a second."
--Despair, Inc. "Regret"


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post #6 of 6 Old 03-16-2010, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, graph paper is a great idea for figuring out my arrangement. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that. Inexperience I guess. I actually measured and I'm going to have about 12' wide that's 6' and higher ceilings. I agree what you said about the ping pong table taking up a big portion of the room. It will mostly be folded up and pushed to the side, but yes when I want to play I'll have to move the seating forward some. That shouldn't be a problem because right now my seating is going to consist of an old couch and a couple of recliners, and you can't really play ping pong while people are watching a movie anyway because of the noise. It may be an issue in the future if I upgrade the seating though. Worst case scenario I can just move the table down in the garage and back the cars out when we want to play. Primarily I just want some card tables in the non-theater area so people can play cards and snack, etc.
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