The Nautilus Screening Room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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After many years of planning and reading of posts on the AV forums, construction had finally begun on the Nautilus Screening Room. The screening room is part of a larger addition to my house so there are (unfortunately) a lot of other concerns that often take precidence over the theater. The theater is being built in what once was a smaller bedroom measuring only 10 feet-8 inches by 13 feet-4 inches. Based on Dennis's acoustic calculations and recommendations the room was expanded to 13 feet by 21 feet, the extra width being taken out of the adjacient living room and the extra length being part of the all new add-on to the house. The existing bedroom had a closet which will be used for the AV equipment and DVD storage.


My intention is to use the theater, not only to watch movies, but as a screening room for my work as a visual effects supervisor. With this in mind, the screening room is adjacient to a new production office space and digital work being done on the computers there will be able to fed into the screening room for projection and evaluation.

I had been planning on a fairly traditional Craftsman style interior design for the screening room. But the more I thought about it the more I found it a bit boring. I also considered Art Deco (think old movie house) and Frank Lloyd Wright styles but neither of those excited me very much. I have always liked the WOW factor of themed home theaters. There are some terrific home theaters that have been done in Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and Batman themes, to name a few.

So design for the theater is going to be themed after the Nautilus from Disney's classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! I've always loved this film and the look of the submarine and interior sets as designed by Harper Goff is just spectacular.


Rather than recreate any one room from the Nautilus, details have been taken from several of the sets and incorporated into the theater. The overall layout is unchanged, just the aesthetics of the interior.

Another change has been to the projection screen. It has been increased in size from 100 inches to 120 inches wide. (Size matters!) Now with the wider screen, all three of the front speakers will be located behind the acoustically transparent screen, just like in a commercial cinema. Moving the front left and right speakers behind the screen also freed up a lot of the visual clutter around the screen. The screen will also now be curved, which will reduce the pin-cushion distortion inherent in wide-screen projection and help create a more even focus from the center to the corners of the screen.


On the back wall will be the iconic viewport from the Salon on the Nautilus. In the film, the iris would open to reveal the wonders of the deep. Unfortunatly, in my theater, the only thing behind the iris will be drywall, so it will have to remain shut!

On the entrance door is a recreation of the Disneyland attraction poster from the late 50's. Walt Disney had the sets from the movie installed as a walk-through attraction at the park from 1955 through 1964. It was one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland. The door opens out into the living room, when guests enter, the poster will be the first thing they see, setting the theme in their minds.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #2 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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This thread is picking up the construction with the room built including the riser and stage. The walls are two layers of drywall (with Green Glue in between) attached to staggered stud framing. The ceiling drywall is suspended from RSIC-1 isolation clips and hat channel.

Stage and riser are 2x10 framing covered with two layers of 3/4" ply. The stage was filled with dry sand, the riser with fiberglass insulation.

The overhead ducts are no only cosmetic but will house the practical HVAC ducts for the heating and air conditioning. The ducts were cut from 24 inch diameter tubing that is typically used as casting forms for concrete columns. Here the duct sections have been test fit in place.



Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #3 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Now that the seating riser and stage have been built I can start in on some of the more fun 'Nautilus' components. I've decided to start in on building the Iris Viewport for the back wall of the theater. It's completely independent of other components so there is nothing else that has to be don before completed. Plus it will be nice to have something so iconic finished that people will recognize as they visit the theater construction in progress.

The first step was to print out full size patterns for the components. Then the paper pattern was spray glued down to some 1/4" MDF (medium density fiberboard). This was cut out with a jigsaw to create a routing template.




The template was temporarily fastened to a sheet of 3/4" thick Ultralite MDF (lots lighter than regular MDF!) which had been roughly cut out a little oversize with the jigsaw. Then a flush cutting router bit in a router table was used to trim the 3/4" material to the exact shape of the template. This could also have been done with the jigsaw, but the router is so much faster and cleaner, particularly when making multiples of the same piece.




The top layer was then glued and clamped to a second layer of MDF, this time 1" thick. (Happiness is having lots of clamps!)


The router was used again to trim up the bottom layer flush with the top. I then used a 45 degree router bit to add the bevel to the triangular holes in the top layer.




The parts were then test fit in place on the back wall of the theater. The bottom of the viewport where it hits the floor will be hidden behind the second row of seats, so I'm not worried that it's cut off.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #4 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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One of the great things about living in the Los Angeles area is the proximity of the movie studios and their resources. I picked up cast resin rivet heads from the Warner Bros Staff Shop in 3/4", 1" and 1 1/2" diameters. They cost 30 cents a piece, which is not cheap, but saves me the cost and time of having to make molds and cast them up. One of the major design details of the Nautilus are the prodigious use of rivets.


They also had some large size bolt heads which were glued in place on the viewport ring along with the rivet heads.


The larger sized rivet heads were glued to the back wall with construction adhesive.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #5 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I decided to make the iris blades for the viewport out of plastic laminate, the kind that is usually used for countertops. It would be flat, smooth, relatively easy to cut and not require painting as it would be pre-colored. I found a Wilsonart laminate called Alumite that was a sort of mottled aluminum color with a very subtle metallic sparkle. There are some laminates made from real aluminum but they were all too flashy. The laminate was available in two types, a thicker version for countertops and a thinner one for vertical (wall) applications. I chose the thinner one thinking it would close to form a smaller opening in the center. in hindsight, I wished I'd used the thicker one. The thin was just too flimsy and brittle.

First, I printed out a full size paper pattern and spray glued it down to a sheet of 1/2" MDF (medium density fiberboard). This was cut out to the finished shape for use as a routing template. The laminate was rough cut into 8 pieces with a utility knife. I was able to get all 8 blades out of two 4x8 sheets of material.


All 8 sheets were stuck together with double faced paper tape and the template then stuck down to the top of the stack.



A flush cutting router bit (also called a laminate trimming bit) was used in the router table to trim the stack of material to shape. While the blades where still stuck together a row of screw holes was drilled along the outer and overlapping edges.



Next step - Installation!

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #6 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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The Viewport Ring has been painted and installed on the back wall of the theater. To get a kind of rough cast texture on the ring I added a liquid called Line Thickener to the base paint which was a latex non-metallic copper colored paint. The line thickener thickens the paint making it the consistency of really thick cream, or very soft butter. It was then dabbed on with a brush and a roller to give the textured base. Once dry, a metallic bronze colored latex paint was used for the final color. The walls are painted a grey blue, inspired by the walls in Nemo's cabin. The paint color on the ceiling is Deep Sea Dive, I wouldn't say that the name had anything to do with it's selection, but then again...


Once all of the components are fabricated, painted and installed, and before the carpet goes in, the whole room will get weathered down to look more like the aged sets in the movie.

The cables hanging on the left are the HDMI cables for the projector. They're run from the AV closet in a conduit hidden inside the big ceiling ducts.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #7 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:39 AM
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Brilliant, just brilliant!
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post #8 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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The finished iris blades were attached to the back wall with screws and spray contact adhesive. Here is where the thicker laminate material would have been nice. It would have lay flatter and might not have required the adhesive to keep it from bowing out in the center. The screws around the outside will be hidden under a rivet ring and the ones under each overlap also act as little spacers creating a small gap and a shadow line between the blades.




I added a metallic highlight to the exposed edge of each blade with a silver paint pen. It makes the overlap pop a bit more. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it came out. The thicker laminate would have lay flatter but then again, it's done, and 'done' is my favorite color!



Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #9 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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As a diversion from the bigger construction aspects of the screening room, I sat down at my workbench and built this themed THX plaque. It will hang on the wall right outside the entrance door to the theater.


It was built up of of MDF (medium density fiberboard) with glued on cast resin rivet heads. I primed the finished piece with latex drywall primer, then stippled on two heavy base coats of a non-metallic copper colored latex paint which gave it the cast texture. Once dry, it was stippled with a top coat of a bronze metallic latex paint. Eventually I'll give it a weathered patina.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #10 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I've added 1 inch Linacoustic RC acoustic insulation to the screen wall as well as to the portion of the walls and ceiling that will be behind the screen and hidden from view by the curtains.


The material is fairly easy to work with. It's semi-rigid and when unrolled stays pretty flat. It can be cut easily with a utility knife or a large pair of shears. I started out nailing it in place with long nails run through fender washers (painted black so they won't reflect light back through the screen) but about half way through I switched to gluing it in place with 3M #90 spray adhesive which was much more effective and easier. Like any fiberglass insulation, it releases lots of little itchy fiberglass particles when you handle it.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #11 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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... and we are merely rivets upon it.

The stage is finished! It's really more for cosmetics than purposeful. As the screen will stand out from the wall by 18 inches, there won't be enough room to stand on the stage in front of the screen. It also forms a sort of psychological barriers to keep little ones from walking up and touching the screen with sticky fingers!




The area of the stage paint black will be hidden behind the screen and curtains.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #12 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 10:54 AM
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Love everything about it.

"The dream never dies, just the dreamer."

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post #13 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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The doors were built up with a cut out layer of MDF (medium density fiberboard). Cast resin rivet heads were glue to the face and then the door was primed and painted with a thickened paint for extra texture.

The doors casings are complete with rivets and half-round moulding. The door on the left is still to get rivets and textured paint.


I was able to find 1 1/2" half-round wood moulding for the sides and top of the casings but for the corners I had to make a custom curved part, mold and multiple castings.




The door on the left is the entrance from my office, the door on the right is to the AV equipment closet.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #14 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 11:15 AM
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I love it!! Rarely do you get to watch a themed theater like this get built.

My build thread:

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post #15 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 11:19 AM
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Wow, very cool! Gotta watch this one...

Loganed on 4/8/2008

List to be completed
Install blinds - DONE
Finish plumbing my bathroom - WIP
Build EQ Shelves - WIP
Program insteon - DONE

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post #16 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 12:16 PM
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Well, you got my attention! Subscribing to this thread, and waiting for more. The THX plaque is absolutely a perfect fit, and great idea!

The Moderno Theatre! Slideshow (
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Pixar screenplay slideshows
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post #17 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 12:46 PM
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That is absolutely awesome. You, sir, own a lot of clamps. I can't imagine the MDF dust that must have created...

Craig

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post #18 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 12:57 PM
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Damn


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post #19 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 12:59 PM
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This is great Bungalow,

Glad you decided to post it over here, knew these guys would love it. Also happy to see all the construction pics keep'em comin.


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post #20 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 01:09 PM
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Now that's a "Whale of a Tale" theater for sure!! My all time #1 movie and I'll completely in awe of your room!!
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post #21 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 02:21 PM
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Awesome! I knew I recognized those clamps. You should post a link in this thread to your curved screen build...or put those posts in this thread.


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post #22 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 02:52 PM
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GREAT NEPTUNE !!!!! That's one HELL of theater. Hats off. Your one hell of a craftsmen.
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post #23 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Audixium,

I'm going to link to my screen build thread when I get to the proper place in the chronology. It's coming...

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #24 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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The ducts running along the ceiling are not only cosmetic, but functional as well. They house the real heating and air conditioning ducts for the theater, so the vents, or registers, for these ducts also had to be functional. They are designed after the vents used in the film but modified to work with an off-the-shelf HVAC register.

The baseplates for the vents were cut from the same 24" diamter heavy cardboard tubes that I used for the ducts and the rectangular body built up from 3/4" MDF.



Here is an assembled vent with glued on rivets. The center of the cardboard base has been cut out to allow for air flow.


All six vents textured and painted.


An installed vent complete with functional register. Rivets were glued in place over the mounting screws in the corners. If you look closely you'll see that the screws used to mount the register are slotted, which is appropriate to the period. these turned out to be rather difficult to find as most hardware stores only carry the Phillips head type!

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #25 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm finally underway with the fabrication of the ceiling beams which are the last big construction item to be done before the carpet can go in. The process for making the parts for the beams was very simaler to that of the Iris Viewport. I had a full sized pattern printed out at my local blueprint service bureau.


This was then spray glued down to a sheet of 1/4 inch MDF (medium density fiberboard) which was then cut out with a jig saw to make a routing template.


The template was temporarily tacked down to a sheet of 3/4" Ultralite MDF which was then trimmed to shape with a flush cutting router bit in the router table.


Here are all the beam components cut out and ready for assembly. The little slots are for the plate biscuits used to reinforce the joints.


Here are the eight ceiling beams with the straight flanges attached. The next step is to cut out and attach the curved flange along the bottom edge of each beam.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #26 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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For the curved flange along the bottom of the beam I was faced with a bit of a challenge. One way of making the beam would hae been to laminate up a wide, flat curved piece from strips of 1/8 inch thick wood on a clamping pattern similar to how the curved projection screen frame was made. But this would have be too time consuming. There are eight beams and each curved flange would have had to be clamped up and left to set over night. Instead I decided to work in the other direction. I cut out curved strips using routing templates and the router table. Here are the parts for two beams. I made each flange side in two parts to make them easier the handle and get more efficient use of materials.


The flange strips were then sandwiched on either side of the beam center. The overall width of the flange was to be 3 inches, so minus the 3/4 inch center, each side strip needed to be 1 1/8 inches wide. To get the width I laminated together either 3/4", 1/4" & 1/8" or 1/2", 1/2" ans 1/8" scrap MDF. I've pretty much run out of the 1 inch thick material.




In the close up picture you can see the fillet of white spackle that's being added to all the inside corners to give the finished beam the appearance of a solid casting.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #27 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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The first set of ceiling beams was installed today! Yea, the end is in sight! Okay, you've got to have binoculars to see it but it's there. Good thing too, I'm getting dangerously close to burning out! Must... finish... theater...! With the installation of the first beams I was also able to solve a little engineering concern I've been having. The ceiling, which looks like any other drywalled ceiling, is actually suspended from rubber and steel RSIC-1 acoustic isulation clips which reduce the transfer of sound through to the attic and thus to other rooms. These clips have a weight limit that they will reliably hold and the two layers of drywall in the ceiling come close to maxing out that limit. I've been concerned that hanging the beams from the ceiling could cause it to sag in time, or worse. Then a flash of inspiration! By joining the two haves of the beam together with a plate in the middle, the resulting unit would be rigid enough to span the room making it possible to attach it only at the side walls and not at all to the ceiling. The plates on the side walls to which the beams are anchored are already screwed into the studs so weight bearing should be not problem.


In the second picture you can see the MDF plate bolted in place bridging the joint between the two halves of the beam. There are actually two plates, one on each side, sandwiching the joint. The bolts will get covered with rivet heads and the plate painted to match the beams. There is also still to come a curved flange where the beams meets the duct. These have to be custom fit once each beam is in place.

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #28 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's the entry door from the living room. It opens out so guests will see the poster as they enter, setting the theme in their minds. There will be a riveted frame around the poster that isn't done yet. The the left is the switch box for all the room lights. Right now they are just on simple switches but i intend to install the Lutron Spacer System IR remote controlled dimmers in the future

Dave

"I just want to say people... Get A Life! Move out of your parent's basement! It's just a movie!"

The Nautilus Screening Room

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post #29 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 03:48 PM
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All the while reading through this thread I kept thinking this guy must be playing a joke on everyone. There's no way he can be that good. But indeed you are. Most impressive.


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post #30 of 221 Old 09-12-2008, 04:08 PM
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I hope you are never planning to move out of this house. All that hard work, and then moving, would absolutely KILL me.

The Moderno Theatre! Slideshow (
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