Help me design my home theatre..... planning stage - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I am going to start building a theatre in the house that I am purchasing, due to close on it next month. I am looking for some ideas. This will be my first theatre build. I will be doing most if not all of the work with my brother in law. I will have a budget of $10-12k to complete everything needed (projector, screen, paint, seats, riser, scounces, sound/wall treatment etc). I have speakers and AVR already, so that will not need to be budgeted.

With that said, here are some pictures.















Some questions that will need to be decided. Do I rip out the fireplace? If I do, that will give me another 2' to work with. I am not sure if I should build a stage. I am really unclear when it comes to sound treatment. I will double drywall, but after that, not sure if I need panels, etc. What about the door and window leading to the back yard, do I wall that up? If so, that would be an expensive project, taking a pretty big chuck of my budget.

A good thing about this room is that the house has 2 AC units. This room and another room measuring about 100 sqft are the only rooms sharing this unit.

What would you guys do with this room?

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 11:42 AM
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Well Wings, this probably isn't what you want to hear...and I'm no authority, and I'm sure others will chime in and you can take their advice...but I'd leave that room alone and do as big a flat-screen over the fireplace as you could. I mean don't me wrong...I'm firmly in the "no flat-screen gives you the kind of cinematic experience a PJ can" camp...but that room is so nice, and you are essentially going to have to "plow it over" to make it into an HT. Yes, you're probably going to want to wall over those sliding glass doors, and the same thing with the fireplace? And in order to get the kind of width a screen would require, those nice, built-in bookcases as well.

Of course I'm thinking, as I always tend to do, of a fixed screen. So maybe a nice flat-screen and a retractable? So you can keep the structure of the room intact. Just my .02.

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post #3 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CDLehner View Post

Well Wings, this probably isn't what you want to hear...and I'm no authority, and I'm sure others will chime in and you can take their advice...but I'd leave that room alone and do as big a flat-screen over the fireplace as you could. I mean don't me wrong...I'm firmly in the "no flat-screen gives you the kind of cinematic experience a PJ can" camp...but that room is so nice, and you are essentially going to have to "plow it over" to make it into an HT. Yes, you're probably going to want to wall over those sliding glass doors, and the same thing with the fireplace? And in order to get the kind of width a screen would require, those nice, built-in bookcases as well.

Of course I'm thinking, as I always tend to do, of a fixed screen. So maybe a nice flat-screen and a retractable? So you can keep the structure of the room intact. Just my .02.

CD

Thanks for the reply. I have thought of an electric screen to go over the top and keep the fireplace in tact. My girlfriend would probably want to keep it, but she also doesn't have much in the final say so of the room. (she gets to redo the kitchen next) Keeping the room in tact would probably be cheaper. However, I have little use for the bookshelves how they are built now. I'm pretty determined in having a 2.35:1 projector screen installed in there. Now I just need to decide of that wall with the fireplace needs to go. How much will the fireplace affect the sound accoustically if I keep it?
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post #4 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 01:30 PM
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If this is the only family room in the house, I see a roll down screen in front of a fireplace mounted flat panel. Get a comfy sectional for movie night and forget about a riser. Use the flat panel for daytime use and you don't have to worry too much about light control. When it gets dark out, roll down the screen and turn on the light cannon.

If you have another family room or great room, Rip out the fireplace board up the windows and doors and build a dedicated theater. Build a sand filled stage, do a riser, sconces, wall treatments and make it the talk of the neighborhood.


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post #5 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice Bigmouth. I am in envy of your theatre. We have a family room and another weird area next to the kitchen that hasn't been planned out yet.

Do you think that I would need to rip out the outside door? I can just imagine that being expensive as it is an outside wall. I'm going to have a pretty fixed budget.
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post #6 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

Do you think that I would need to rip out the outside door? I can just imagine that being expensive as it is an outside wall. I'm going to have a pretty fixed budget.

No, you can either just cover it with blackout shades/drapes, or build set in panels that black out the light and provide some sound isolation and acoustical treatment for the room. You can cover them with something that matches whatever else you do to the room.

Search on the term "Window plugs" here for ideas.


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post #7 of 39 Old 05-17-2009, 08:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I saw the window plugs in another theatre thread when I was lurking. I just figured there had to be more to it.
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post #8 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 05:40 AM
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Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

I saw the window plugs in another theatre thread when I was lurking. I just figured there had to be more to it.

Not sure what you saw. Some guys semi permanently cover windows and exterior doors in there theater build projects. Basically leaving the windows/doors in place but drywalling over them so that from the inside you can't tell they exist. In the future the room could be converted back to it's original state.

Others build exact fit panels of a rigid layer and absorbing insulating layers that can be set in place but removed without much effort.

I drywalled over a couple of windows after installing a set of window blinds. From the outside it looks like a window with the blinds closed. Other guys use something black showing through the windows and that is what I did on my basement doors.


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post #9 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 05:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

If this is the only family room in the house, I see a roll down screen in front of a fireplace mounted flat panel. Get a comfy sectional for movie night and forget about a riser. Use the flat panel for daytime use and you don't have to worry too much about light control. When it gets dark out, roll down the screen and turn on the light cannon.

I like this idea a lot. It would allow you to use a nice wide roll-down screen, wider than the fireplace wall section. When it is rolled up, it won't be very obtrusive. And when it is rolled down, you get more "value added" from the projection experience vs. the flat panel.

Regards,
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post #10 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 07:04 AM
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Exactly how wide is the fire place? it looks like its about 6' wide from the pics.

I saw it and thought like the others of a dual display area, and reminded me of an older job I built, that you could adapt, to make it look really custom. The job in the picture is far wider and taller than yours but you can get the idea, If you brought out the top crown piece farther, you could hide the screen up in there for an even more custom/integrated feel to the whole space...

Good Luck.
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post #11 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

If this is the only family room in the house, I see a roll down screen in front of a fireplace mounted flat panel. Get a comfy sectional for movie night and forget about a riser. Use the flat panel for daytime use and you don't have to worry too much about light control. When it gets dark out, roll down the screen and turn on the light cannon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Montlick View Post

I like this idea a lot. It would allow you to use a nice wide roll-down screen, wider than the fireplace wall section. When it is rolled up, it won't be very obtrusive. And when it is rolled down, you get more "value added" from the projection experience vs. the flat panel.

Regards,
Terry

Me sectionals = hate. I owned one a couple years ago, donated it to Goodwill after less than a year. I'm pretty set about building a riser. I really want that home theatre feel. Doing that though, takes away from the idea of leaving the fireplace in tact and using the room in double duty. This is a tough decision for sure.
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post #12 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 07:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by GarenT View Post

Exactly how wide is the fire place? it looks like its about 6' wide from the pics.

I saw it and thought like the others of a dual display area, and reminded me of an older job I built, that you could adapt, to make it look really custom. The job in the picture is far wider and taller than yours but you can get the idea, If you brought out the top crown piece farther, you could hide the screen up in there for an even more custom/integrated feel to the whole space...

Good Luck.
Garen


It is exactly 6'.

Thank you for the suggestions.
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post #13 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Not sure what you saw. Some guys semi permanently cover windows and exterior doors in there theater build projects. Basically leaving the windows/doors in place but drywalling over them so that from the inside you can't tell they exist. In the future the room could be converted back to it's original state.

Others build exact fit panels of a rigid layer and absorbing insulating layers that can be set in place but removed without much effort.

I drywalled over a couple of windows after installing a set of window blinds. From the outside it looks like a window with the blinds closed. Other guys use something black showing through the windows and that is what I did on my basement doors.

I saw the 'Show Me' thread where you posted about yours. I am wondering if it would be easier to replace the double doors with Solid doors instead. A lot of little windows to cover up, even if it is with one big piece. Advice?
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post #14 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 09:00 AM
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If you really want the riser...

Then I would have to suggest ripping out the fireplace and bookshelves to give you good depth. Your riser would then go on that wall. On the opposite wall you put your screen in front of the plugged up exterior door. I would put some sort of free standing equipment rack in the bay window space (think short and wide instead of tall and skinny). On the opposite wall I would probably lose the double glass doors in favor of a single solid door. This would give you the room to do bass traps and a stage without that second door swinging into them along with the better light/sound control benefits.

Outside of that room in the little hardwood area is where I'd put the popcorn machine, bar and other various posters etc.

Just kicking out some ideas to get you thinking.
Good luck with the project.
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post #15 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

I saw the 'Show Me' thread where you posted about yours. I am wondering if it would be easier to replace the double doors with Solid doors instead. A lot of little windows to cover up, even if it is with one big piece. Advice?

Part of the answer depends on that degree of sound isolation you are going for and what the overall design you plan to do in this room.

Obviously nice heavy solid core doors with weather stripping is going to help with sound control. I've been in a basement theater that had the glass multi window double doors with black out film on the glass and it worked "OK".

I'd say work on the rest of the room and then you can evaluate as you go a along. Popping in a couple of doors and weather stripping is a fairly confined task unless you are going to pull the molding and jamb to install a new pre-hung version which may require some drywall patching and painting.


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post #16 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bluesfan View Post

If you really want the riser...

Then I would have to suggest ripping out the fireplace and bookshelves to give you good depth. Your riser would then go on that wall. On the opposite wall you put your screen in front of the plugged up exterior door. I would put some sort of free standing equipment rack in the bay window space (think short and wide instead of tall and skinny). On the opposite wall I would probably lose the double glass doors in favor of a single solid door. This would give you the room to do bass traps and a stage without that second door swinging into them along with the better light/sound control benefits.

Outside of that room in the little hardwood area is where I'd put the popcorn machine, bar and other various posters etc.

Just kicking out some ideas to get you thinking.
Good luck with the project.

I never thought about switching the riser to the fireplace side of the room. I was planning on just reversing the doors so that they open out instead of in.

I also wanted to use the bay window as the popcorn/soda fountain station. I wanted to keep the aroma of the popcorn inside the room. I'm not sure I want the entire house smelling like popcorn.

Thanks for the suggestion about reversing the theatre. I will have to strongly consider this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Part of the answer depends on that degree of sound isolation you are going for and what the overall design you plan to do in this room.

Obviously nice heavy solid core doors with weather stripping is going to help with sound control. I've been in a basement theater that had the glass multi window double doors with black out film on the glass and it worked "OK".

I'd say work on the rest of the room and then you can evaluate as you go a along. Popping in a couple of doors and weather stripping is a fairly confined task unless you are going to pull the molding and jamb to install a new pre-hung version which may require some drywall patching and painting.

I want pretty good sound isolation. I don't want to hear much from the family room to the theatre.
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post #17 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

I also wanted to use the bay window as the popcorn/soda fountain station. I wanted to keep the aroma of the popcorn inside the room. I'm not sure I want the entire house smelling like popcorn.

One thing I regret is not installing a kitchen exhaust fan on the wall adjacent to my Popcorn maker. Now every time I do a big batch I have to open a window and stick in a fan to clear the air. Microwave popcorn, no problem, but the big machine, big problem.

Just a heads up that Kitchen rated fans have enclosed motors where the standard for bathroom fans is less strict. It has to due with the build up of oils and a potential fire hazard.


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post #18 of 39 Old 05-18-2009, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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One thing I regret is not installing a kitchen exhaust fan on the wall adjacent to my Popcorn maker. Now every time I do a big batch I have to open a window and stick in a fan to clear the air. Microwave popcorn, no problem, but the big machine, big problem.

Just a heads up that Kitchen rated fans have enclosed motors where the standard for bathroom fans is less strict. It has to due with the build up of oils and a potential fire hazard.

Hmm. Maybe I should use the chimney from the fireplace for exhaust?
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post #19 of 39 Old 07-24-2009, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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So,

I have anywhere between 4 - 6 months before I can actually pick up a tool and start building my theater and now I'm looking at a budget.

Projector - $2500 $3000
Screen(s) considering both a 16:9 and 2:35/40:1 - $2500-$3000 (am I dreaming here if I want AT screens?)
Drywall (including a fake wall built, GG, etc) - $1000
Window Treatments - $500
Stage (including sand) - $300
Riser - $500
Lighting (undecided) - $300-$500
Electrical - $200
A/V Cabinet (including fans) - $200
Blown in Insulation in floor (if needed) and ceiling - $500
Carpet - $500
Paint - $250
Seating (4-6 people) $2000-3000
Odds & Ends (screws, nails, etc) $500
Unplanned materials - $1000

Total $15,150

Thoughts?
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post #20 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
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bump hoping one of the mid day regulars can see my budget and give me some ideas.

Thanks,
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post #21 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 07:50 AM
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If you rip out the fireplace and get another 2' depth, that puts you around 21' total. You could do an AT screen with 24" or so behind screen depth, 11-12' to first row eyes and then 7-7.5' for second row riser with 2nd row eyes around 16' or so. I didn't draw this out to scale but, I have 22' depth with similar dimensions planned.

If you do that, then consider doing a diy AT screen set-up with something like Seymour Center Stage XD http://www.seymourav.com/screens.asp and you can probably do it for well under $500 which would give you a nice savings on your screen budget.

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post #22 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 07:58 AM
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Is that screen a drop down or a fixed frame? If fixed frame, then DIY could reduce that number substantially (even w/AT), which I think you might need for the drywall budget, although I am not really sure what your plan is on that.

Dave

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post #23 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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If you rip out the fireplace and get another 2' depth, that puts you around 21' total. You could do an AT screen with 24" or so behind screen depth, 11-12' to first row eyes and then 7-7.5' for second row riser with 2nd row eyes around 16' or so. I didn't draw this out to scale but, I have 22' depth with similar dimensions planned.

If you do that, then consider doing a diy AT screen set-up with something like Seymour Center Stage XD http://www.seymourav.com/screens.asp and you can probably do it for well under $500 which would give you a nice savings on your screen budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_pilgrim View Post

Is that screen a drop down or a fixed frame? If fixed frame, then DIY could reduce that number substantially (even w/AT), which I think you might need for the drywall budget, although I am not really sure what your plan is on that.


You're right. With a DIY screen, I might be able to stretch the budget. I haven't decided if I am going to go with a fixed frame or electric. I am 90% certain that I will go with 2 screens though. A 1.78:1 and a 2.35/2.40:1. Because of my desire for two screens, I was thinking electric, and because I was thinking electric, I wasn't thinking DIY.

ARGH!
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post #24 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gimmepilotwings View Post

You're right. With a DIY screen, I might be able to stretch the budget. I haven't decided if I am going to go with a fixed frame or electric. I am 90% certain that I will go with 2 screens though. A 1.78:1 and a 2.35/2.40:1. Because of my desire for two screens, I was thinking electric, and because I was thinking electric, I wasn't thinking DIY.

ARGH!

Not sure why 2 separate screens (preference on source material?)....your budget for a projector could get you a Panasonic AE3000U (or similar) where you could do a 2.35/2.4:1 aspect ratio screen and still do 1.78:1 on that same screen by using the Panny's zoom memory function. You'd just build some masking panels for either side when in 1.78 mode. You could obviously fit a pretty big screen on a 14' wall and maybe the diff in extra height you'd get with a dedicated 1.78 would be minimized to a "don't care".

Just my thoughts....I was full bore on a dedicated 16:9 set-up until I had some input that changed my mind.

Floyd

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post #25 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotto View Post

Not sure why 2 separate screens (preference on source material?)....your budget for a projector could get you a Panasonic AE3000U (or similar) where you could do a 2.35/2.4:1 aspect ratio screen and still do 1.78:1 on that same screen by using the Panny's zoom memory function. You'd just build some masking panels for either side when in 1.78 mode. You could obviously fit a pretty big screen on a 14' wall and maybe the diff in extra height you'd get with a dedicated 1.78 would be minimized to a "don't care".

Just my thoughts....I was full bore on a dedicated 16:9 set-up until I had some input that changed my mind.

The source material is the major reason for two screens. Having the biggest possible 2.35 and 1.78 images possible is the other reason. I guess I don't know enough about projectors/screens to know how the zooming works. I was leaning towards the 3000U projector. This will be the first time getting into the projector world.
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post #26 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I also wanted to talk about projector placement. I have no idea how/where I would mount the thing. The walls start to slope from the very beginning. I said in my drawing that it vaults to 9 feet, but it may be 10' or even 11' up there. How will the triangle shaped ceiling affect the sound? Also, there is no flat surface to mount from. Is mounting at an angle a big issue?
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post #27 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 10:00 AM
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Doesn't anyone else see that fireplace as an IB set up just waiting to happen..?

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post #28 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smokinghot View Post

Doesn't anyone else see that fireplace as an IB set up just waiting to happen..?


Have you not seen my budget?
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post #29 of 39 Old 07-27-2009, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Yet another question. *Please don't forget to help me answer the questions above. *

What is everyone doing for DVD management? Some of these great theaters have hundreds of DVDs. I have close to 1000 and I was thinking about a false wall (with doors) or some way to conceal them all. Has anyone done this?
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post #30 of 39 Old 07-30-2009, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there anyone that has hundreds of DVD's and have a good way to store them? Right now, they are just on bookshelves, but I need to think of a permanent solution.
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