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post #1 of 25 Old 08-03-2009, 11:22 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems that the time has come to stop lurking on AVS and start a build thread. Hopefully the kind support (aka ridicule) will be encouragement enough to keep the progress on track.

The story is this. We recently relocated from northern California to Austin Texas to live the good life. We bought the big house with a game room and a theater to have plenty of room for toys. The downside is that here in Austin they don't build basements. I don't have a sprawling sound isolated space so we have to make due with what we have.

The room is 18' x 13.5'. It has an odd ceiling that just doesn't lend itself to any high quality architecture so the first project is to adjust that with a full wrap around tray. The front screen wall is currently a real (not false) wall but the theater is bordered front and back with an accessible attic. As luck would have it my screen wall already has an additional framed wall 2' behind it (there is some duct work that required this design) so the existing real wall will be partially opened up and made into a false wall with Acoustically Transparent screen.

Every theater build is about the trade-offs. If you don't have the perfect room you'll have to make design sacrifices. Here are the things I know will be less than ideal.

1) at 13.5' wide the seating will be tight. I would like 2 rows. 4 front 3 rear and have selected seats that will fit but that puts the rear seats against the back wall (not ideal) and the front row nearly against the wall on one side. In my opinion having a place to sit for everyone is more important that having all ideally located seats.
2) The house was bought as a spec house so it was new but we had no input in the design. The theater is not well isolated (afaik). I will make some small attempts to improve the situation but I'm not adding multiple layers of drywall or flooring. There is a 16" joist gap under the room which I may insulate. I may also investigate filling the interior wall if I can do it without removing the drywall. I do plan to panel the low half of the room (substituting foam + GOM in place of wood for the panels but real wood for columns and trim) and I suspect that the top half will have GOM panels.
3) I have a set of Klipsch reference RB5, RC3, RS3 + eXL-s12 sub. They are a few years old and since the mains and sub are ported they are not ideal for putting behind my false-ish front wall. I don't want to add a full new set of speakers into the budget so these will have to suffice. The design is such that I can always upgrade at a later date without much hassle. The rears do have to be replaced. I will need something to pairs well that can be put in the ceiling (probably in the tray) or rear wall.

Here's the pics to get started. I played with sketchup a little and it will probably be useful to test ideas. You can see the odd ceiling lines that will be corrected with a tray. The door + media cabinet (existing and wired) can be seen at bottom right.

(Edit) Updated pics




I'm sandbagging a little with the pics. I have actually already framed and sheet-rocked the trays but I don't want to set an unrealistic pace right out of the gate.... so you have to wait for those.
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post #2 of 25 Old 08-04-2009, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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First let me say how disappointing it is that my thread has been here a whole
12 hours and no replies. Peer pressure only works if you actually post!

Anyway, when I first started to fix the ceiling my intention was to slope in the interior wall ceiling to match the other 3 _and_ add the tray. At the last minute I decided to just do the tray first and see if I really thought the ceiling slope was needed. Above the tray it will be painted dark so it won't be distracting... until I saw this:

Swithey's Build

Swithey's Light Bar


He had the same issue I did with the ceiling needing an additional slope to be symmetric. And then he added that floating light bar around the interior. Oh man, I need one of those! So now I'm back to the original plan. Fix the whole ceiling, I'll be happier in the end.
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post #3 of 25 Old 08-04-2009, 01:14 PM
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What are the bump outs on the bottom of the second pic? Closet? Rack? Where is the door? Can you add any adjacent rooms beside the attic to your layout?

Mike

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post #4 of 25 Old 08-04-2009, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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The large bump is the door. It has french doors which I should draw in.
The small bump is the media rack. It was built and wired as part of the house, I would
have preferred that they not clip the corner like that and instead put the rack flat on the wall but it can't easily be changed now.

There are no really adjacent rooms. The interior wall is in the bottom of the rendering but that wall is really adjacent to the main entryway staircase which is curved leaving a curved void between the wall at the bottom of the rendering and the entryway/staircase wall.

I'll take a look at the blueprints for the house and see if I can render something up for clarity. I'm actually not too sure myself how it works out.
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post #5 of 25 Old 08-05-2009, 11:48 AM
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That room looks pretty good. Having 18' gives you lots of projector choices. Having the media rack where it is makes hooking up the projector with shorter cables possible. All in all, that room should make for a nice little home theater.

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post #6 of 25 Old 08-05-2009, 06:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Overall I'm quite happy with it. The media nook came already wired with everything I need and the room is 7.1 wired. There is already a projector location on the ceiling that is wired and has an outlet. I may end up moving the projector and there is no HDMI run so I still have a few wiring projects to do.
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post #7 of 25 Old 08-06-2009, 07:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Progress has been made. First a pic from the doorway. This is a similar view to the constructions pics just for reference. You can see the size in units of "natalie". The sloped ceiling can be seen at about 3 natalies high.

(Click the pics for larger versions)



Here is the start of the tray. I framed it as a 2x4 studwall laying on it's side. It can't be made of little 1x1s because it will not be closed like a soffit. It is a real floating tray that extends 18" into the room.



And the odd corner side... here you can see the tray going from a wall to a try by adding another 2x4 to the front edge. To add strength the tray is tied into the ceiling joist a couple times per side behind the tray lip so you can't see it.



Here is where I realize that I didn't snap a pic of the tray from the front after the framing was done. So you get a partially sheet-rocked pic and you can use your imagination.



Sheet-rock done and taped + sanded once. Since I am not a decent dry wall guy I think it needs a couple passes on the joint compound and sanding steps. In the back side photo you can see the tray clips the corner where it didn't in the early framing photos. I realized that if I didn't clip the corner with the tray I would have no place to stop the ceiling paint and no place for the paneling etc to end down below.





Now that I have paid my dues by posting build photos (that is like crack to avs members) I need some help.

The front wall will get another wall insulated and sheet-rocked so that the front wall becomes a false wall for the AT screen. How much of this wall should I open up? Should I take all the drywall off? or just a portion that would be behind the screen + a hole for the sub at the bottom? or maybe just speaker sized holes? Keep in mind that my speakers are ported.

The front wall will get covered with a screen, thin columns on the side and some sort of under-the-screen paneling that will look something like a built in but will only extend into the room a few inches. I do not plan on having a stage.
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post #8 of 25 Old 08-06-2009, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoTech View Post

Now that I have paid my dues by posting build photos (that is like crack to avs members) I need some help.

The front wall will get another wall insulated and sheet-rocked so that the front wall becomes a false wall for the AT screen. How much of this wall should I open up? Should I take all the drywall off? or just a portion that would be behind the screen + a hole for the sub at the bottom? or maybe just speaker sized holes? Keep in mind that my speakers are ported.

The front wall will get covered with a screen, thin columns on the side and some sort of under-the-screen paneling that will look something like a built in but will only extend into the room a few inches. I do not plan on having a stage.

My guess is that the wall you plan to open up is a load bearing wall. So that of course means that anything you remove must first be reinforced. Check out this thread http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...727&highlight= Paul did something similar to his screen wall and has a great write up and pics.

Mike

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post #9 of 25 Old 08-06-2009, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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The only studs I would be cutting would be one in front of the center channel and
one for the sub. Those are easily fixed with a double 2x4 header and doubled sides. I am fairly certain that the wall is not load bearing but I can't get a good look at it since my builder does a very good job with the insulating. The wall is insulated then covered and sealed from the outside with a hardboard of some type (masonite?). So I can't really see the top of it. My suspicion is that the purpose of the existing front wall is just to end the room early and leave room for the giant 18" return duct from downstairs to sneak over this will and into the main attic. The fact that an 18" duct makes it over the top of this wall means there must be quite a large gap to the roof... that doesn't really mean that the roof doesn't rest on this wall but it just doesn't rest directly as it would appear from inside the room.

At any rate, my plan was to treat it as load bearing even if it isn't.

My real question was just about the drywall. When building a false wall, are they usually left with no drywall and just covered in GOM? or are they a normal walls with holes for the speakers to peek through?
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post #10 of 25 Old 08-07-2009, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoTech View Post

The only studs I would be cutting would be one in front of the center channel and
one for the sub. Those are easily fixed with a double 2x4 header and doubled sides. I am fairly certain that the wall is not load bearing but I can't get a good look at it since my builder does a very good job with the insulating. The wall is insulated then covered and sealed from the outside with a hardboard of some type (masonite?). So I can't really see the top of it. My suspicion is that the purpose of the existing front wall is just to end the room early and leave room for the giant 18" return duct from downstairs to sneak over this will and into the main attic. The fact that an 18" duct makes it over the top of this wall means there must be quite a large gap to the roof... that doesn't really mean that the roof doesn't rest on this wall but it just doesn't rest directly as it would appear from inside the room.

At any rate, my plan was to treat it as load bearing even if it isn't.

My real question was just about the drywall. When building a false wall, are they usually left with no drywall and just covered in GOM? or are they a normal walls with holes for the speakers to peek through?

False walls are often minimally constructed and left completely open, covered with panels and GOM.

Mike

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post #11 of 25 Old 08-10-2009, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I only get to work on the theater a couple hours a day on average so progress is slow and steady. This past weekend I finished the framing for the sloped ceiling.

First I ripped a little wedge where the sheet rock will attach. This is needed because the framing will be quite thick and would leave a considerable gap. I used one of those laser lines. My wife bought it for me a while back and I had never used it. Looking at this picture is looks like a fun toy right?



It seems like it would be easier than a chalk line and no mess. Here's the problem. While holding a board to the ceiling with one hand and a nailer in the other hand I was trying to get the board aligned to the line. But if you put your hand or any part of the board on the line it disappears. So then you find yourself trying to place the board just behind the line. Worse yet, when the line disappears you find yourself looking to see what is blocking the beam which means you are now staring at a laser... and then you have to nail the board in place with your one still functional eye.

So anyway I eventually got it done. I was a little paranoid on the strength of the connections since this would forever have a static load of firestop drywall hanging from it. So I nailed the first 2x4 to the rafters then built half a studwall by screwing the second top 2x4 to the new sloped rafters. Then I put that in place braced against the one already on the ceiling and screwed it to the rafters. It is really solid, not going anywhere.






And then on to a nice discovery. I planned on filling the interior wall with insulation to help with sound proofing. The other side of this wall is a curved staircase so I was unsure how much space was between the walls. I cut a large slot in it to estimate how much blown insulation I need...



Good news: The interior wall is already insulated. Apparently since this room was purpose built as a media room they did a little sound proofing for me. I also was able to peek under the edge of the floor against the attic and it is insulated too (possibly only the first stud bay against the attic)

Bad News: I actually hooked up the mains and sub and played a little serenity through them at an acceptable level and went outside the room... the level is just about the same outside. Mostly this is because there is a french door to the theater and they are hollow core and they are 1 inch off the ground. Not sure why the builder would insulate the wall but then make a door like this. So I need to put a mattress up against the door or something to get a feel for how much noise would be leaking if the door were acceptable. Then I can decide if I have to start doubling up walls.

Next up: Move the Air return and fire alarm a few inches down to the sloped ceiling.
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post #12 of 25 Old 08-23-2009, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Week 3 didn't get a post because I didn't make a whole lot of progress. My parents were visiting and my sister + boyfriend drove down from dallas. So that not only meant I didn't get to work on the project much but also meant that I had people sleeping in the under-construction theater. Hence it needed to be returned to a clean state and left that way for a few days.

First up are the pics of new sloped ceiling stuffed with itchy pink stuff. Note the AC return has been moved down to the new ceiling.





Here's a little story about moving the AC return. There is a 12x12 register box in the original ceiling. The box cannot fit out the hole and I cannot get into the attic above this room. The register box is pinned down with some framing so there is only enough room to slide it to one side exposing the hole. Luckily the flex duct has enough play to reach the new location and I can just connect it to a new register box in the correct location. The downside is that there is forever an orphaned register box up inside my ceiling. One day I expect it will migrate and vibrate up against a joist at which point I'll have to cut a giant person sized hole in the ceiling to go hunt for it.

And like magic here are the shots of a new. Fully symmetric ceiling.





Notice that there are no shots of just drywall. That is because I held off taking photos of my poor drywall craftmanship. I want no evidence of exactly how much mud is required to correct the 35 degree ceiling seam. Or perhaps I just want no memory of how much work was required to make it nice. I am very happy with the result, it is at least as good as the 3 original sides.

ok so now I need some help. I never really settled on the location for my rear speakers. Review the sketchups earlier in the thread and note that the rear wall has a corner clipped. Here are my options and a picture for reference.
  1. I can put small rears in the tray but they will not be symmetrical (one in the corner, one where the clipped corner starts).
  2. I can put them in the rear ceiling slope but my back row might not get a clear path.
  3. I could put them in the actual flat ceiling which would be slightly behind the front row but pointed toward the rear to get a reflection. (near where those two existing can lights are in the photo)
  4. I can put them in the side slopes pointed to the rear to get a reflection (just to the outside of the existing can lights)



I am leaning toward option 4. This would give me the widest spacing of the rears and would be symmetrical in the room. The downside is that they are clearly in front of the rear seats but since I have to put the rear row against the back wall that was pretty much a guarantee from the beginning.

What's your opinion?
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post #13 of 25 Old 09-13-2009, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been slacking on the updates but not slacking on the work!

Since I last posted I painted the ceiling "volcano" which I borrowed from Swithey. It is dark enough to appear almost black with the lights low. It really feels like the night sky. Note that Volcano is a Valspar color but I really dislike Valspar paint. I painted with it only one time and I was literally about to vomit from the smell. I just cannot tolerate it. Luckily the Depot can mix up the Valspar colors in Behr which is a much better paint anyway (They have it in the computer already just ask for it by name). Just one coat of flat volcano and there is zero splotchyness.





The next step was tedious. I was being the good husband and not just tearing out the drywall on the front wall thereby exposing the room to an attic with blown insulation + unbearable heat. Instead, I climbed into the attic from below and moved the "thermashield" from the old wall to the new. Then moved the insulation leaving only a single stud bay for myself to exit which was then sealed up before leaving the attic. This took quite a while because the builder had helpfully run a small AC duct straight through the center of my false screen area. I had to disconnect it and reconnect it on the back side of the load bearing wall. Luckily it is all flex duct and quite long runs so there was enough slack to move it to the new location without needing to splice in any additional duct. After all this was done, in the scorching heat, I returned to the theater and tore out the drywall to expose an already sealed and insulated wall!

Funny story, while working in the attic my 3 year old Natalie comes into the "workshop" (that's what she calls the theater) and is disturbed to hear me working away but she can't find me. When I told her I was "behind the wall" she was very perplexed and asked "well how did you get in there?". As if the house had somehow swallowed me up.

Here's the pics.




You can see the giant 18" flex duct return and the relocated small duct on the left edge. You can also see where a confused framer framed what looks to be a door opening on the left side. Perhaps this house plan has some use for that if the optional media room was not here. One unfortunate thing that cannot easily be fixed is that a large bundle of alarm wires goes through this area. I really don't want to splice a couple feet of wire into each one just to move them so I'll just wrap them up in some black velvet and try to forget they are in there.


After getting the thermashield off the wall I was able to get a look at it and determined that it is not load bearing. The only load on it is a portion of the 3 ft section of sloped ceiling that connects to it so I was free to adjust the studs. Since I had already attached my tray to this wall I didn't want to totally remove it so I just went with double studs every 32".



The drywall is all up in that picture also. This means that after doing the tape, mud, sand, mud, sand, thing again I will be basically done with the "construction" phase and moving into the "carpentry" phase. It is much more fun to do paneling and columns than drywall.

For those reading this looking to gain nuggets of wisdom I'll repeat the same nuggets as everyone else that I ignored when starting my build.
  1. Drywall is heavy, very heavy
  2. Drywall is a mess
  3. You will be much happier if you just pay someone to do your drywall.

One more bit of progress is that I've selected all my colors.
The wood panel frames, columns and molding will all be done in clear alder (has a few less knots than knotty alder). Stain will be mahogany.
The panels themselves are actually linacoustic/oc703 with onyx GOM
Above the panels is crystal Blue GOM with Silver Papier accents.
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post #14 of 25 Old 09-21-2009, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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I've mocked up one of my columns and I'm interested in starting on some of the paneling, molding, etc.
My design plan is to have the linacoustic or oc703 integrated into the molding. So rather than a beveled edge where it meets the crown molding I will have the crown spaced out from the wall so the back of the crown is flush with the front of the wall panels.

So two quick questions.
1) What is the _actual_ thickness of 1" linacoustic or oc703. Are they actually 1" or are they 3/4" rounded up?
2) Other people with full GOM walls... how did you handle the panel to crown transition?
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post #15 of 25 Old 10-18-2009, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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It's been a while since my last update. Life interrupted my theater build as is often the case. Trip to visit the family in vegas, in-laws visited for my daughter's birthday etc. Progress continued but only in short spurts that didn't justify an update.

Also I blame you, dear avs reader, because there has been no encouragement or berating to motivate me. It's all your fault... and it certainly has nothing to do with my own laziness or the start of the TV season.

Although I've only accomplished a bunch of small things I did manage to cross a major milestone. In every build there comes a time when visitors stop saying "what are you doing to this room?" (usually not phrased so kindly) and they start saying "oh cool, you're building a theater". So I at least have reached the point where the construction resembles a theater.

First the pics...




Here's what I accomplished. The drywall got all taped and finished. Painted it the same volcano blue as the ceiling because I had a lot left over. It will all get covered up with linacoustic soon anyway.

I had a nice long phone conversation with Ruben and shortly thereafter a screen-fairy (much more rare than the more common tooth-fairy) delivered a beautiful gift to my house. I went with SMX 120" wide 2.37:1 AT curved with 40ft radius. Thanks Ruben, it is simply awesome.

I needed to get the screen frame in place to do the carpentry for the front wall. I am going with tight tolerances between the screen surround and the screen frame and since it is curved I thought it better to have the frame and construct around it rather than assume my calculations would all be perfect.

In the pics you can see the screen frame hung with the support brace still in the center. That is a little stilt so that you don't accidentally flatten the curve when putting in the screen. It also helps to have something to hold on to as the frame is not light. It is a sturdy animal.

Above and below the screen are the beginnings of the surround. They are curved with an exact mirror of the 40ft radius of the screen. This enhances the apparent curvature and just looks good too. Originally I planned on doing all woodwork in alder but the curve would have required a stack of 3 or more very thin boards and I'm not certain I would have ended up with a smooth curve. Instead I just curved mdf and I'll just do one thin alder veneer on those parts. Everything else will be solid wood.

The beginnings of the columns are on the right and left of the screen. They will have a crown that ties directly into the center surround and runs across the whole room. The panels will be black GOM which is the same look that the whole room will have below the chair rail.

that's all for now. only 999 more tasks to do before opening night.
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post #16 of 25 Old 10-18-2009, 11:20 PM
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The OC703 is a true 1 inch thick panel.

You have the exact same screen as me. I am really pleased with it. Did you get the propanels with it for masking. Remember to use the outer track when mounting the screen material or the panels won't be able to slip in (ask me how I know).

The build is looking nice, keep it up!

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post #17 of 25 Old 10-19-2009, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I guess you are the reason that Ruben sent me a pdf explaining that fact and made a point of telling me to actually read that pdf before I get the screen. Hopefully I still remember this when I get around to putting the screen in the frame!

Interesting that oc703 is 1". I went with linacoustic and it does not seem to be 1" (more like 3/4") but maybe it will puff up a little after I unroll it. I mainly went with linacoustic since it was already black and less chance of any bleed through of color.
I will for sure unroll some of it and let is sit for a day before I start cutting my panel frames just in case.
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post #18 of 25 Old 10-19-2009, 03:26 PM
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Yeah, I got the PDF but it was a few months before I got to the point I could build my screen and by then I forgot. Oh well, my room is dark enough that you don't notice the sides, so no big loss.

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post #19 of 25 Old 01-05-2010, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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My intentions were to take 2 weeks off work and make some serious progress. I have been working only in short spurts over the past months with some business travel for a few weeks and my sons birthday. I assumed that the holidays would not interfere with my theater building, but I was wrong.
We had company several times for the holidays. One time it was a fat guy in a red suit that brought a bunch of gifts for the kids that cluttered up the house (how rude of him).

At the end of my vacation I had accomplished very little. The good news is that all the "little" spurts of progress have added up and the new pictures are at least interesting to look at.

The front wall is now basically done. The columns on both side of the screen were completed with the crowns that tie into the proscenium. The proscenium itself was a major chore. The crown moulding is solid alder which does not bend easily. Also when crown moulding does bend it tends to bend in the direction of its flat back which is not useful. In order to bend the crown I had to cut a bunch of perfect triangles that exactly fill the void behind the crown so it could not flatten out. Then I tacked in one end and put a giant clamp on it. The other end was connected to a wire cable that I slowly winched in over about 1.5 weeks time until the curve was complete.

The second major task was the tabletop for the under-screen surround. This is also curved to mirror the screen curvature. I guess I could have glued up a straight tabletop and the cut it to the curve but that wouldn't be nearly as cool as having the grain match the curve. So I ended up making many strips about 1.5 inches wide. The first one was nailed in place end to end with the correct curvature. The rest were glued in place one at a time until I had a full tabletop. Then an equivalent strip with a bullnose routed on it was added to the front. After a bunch of effort removing glue spots and filling tiny gaps with putty, it is finally done.

The whole thing then got a couple coats of stain to get a really dark "old wood" look to it and some wipe on poly applied to seal it up.

Also note that I installed the edge moulding to the tray. I had actually stained this moulding months ago but I didn't put it up. It is pine because my hardwood supplier didn't have outside corner moulding in alder in the size I wanted and I wasn't interested in making it myself. I was worried that the stained pine would be different in color to the alder so it just sat in the garage until I finished the screen surround. Then I remembered it was sitting there and brought one up to compare, they are nearly identical so the pine gets to stay.

I'm not sure if I will leave the tray as is, or if I will add additional moulding. I was thinking of at least adding vertical strips in the corners. I'll ponder it while I finish other projects.

The remaining paneling for the room should go much faster. The curved parts really took a long time but everything else should be easy.









Note that the colors are not great in the iphone photos. The tray is a very light blue on the front face but it looks white in the photos. Just use your imagination.
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-06-2010, 08:37 AM
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Looking good.

Did you decide on a projector yet? I didn't see it listed anywhere, but I could have missed it.
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-06-2010, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ICBM99 View Post

Looking good.

Did you decide on a projector yet? I didn't see it listed anywhere, but I could have missed it.

I am planning on a Panisonic 4000. I am really not interested in doing the lens thing so a projector that can zoom to handle it is my plan. Right now that's Panisonic but depending on how slow the rest of the build goes maybe something new will arrive before I need it.
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post #22 of 25 Old 01-06-2010, 01:42 PM
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For using a laser-line/laser-level... usually you use them to shoot the line, which you trace with a pencil, then put the board up to the line... It saves a LOT of headache ! Hehe
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post #23 of 25 Old 01-08-2010, 05:24 AM
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Sotech, very nice job on the screen wall woodwork.

The curves may have been a big PITA, but it definately paid off for you in the long run.

Brad

My Basement HT Construction ~ Faster than the speed of Dark

"I've cut that piece 3 times and its still too short..."
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post #24 of 25 Old 01-08-2010, 08:04 AM
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I love the work that you've done so far. It's looking great.

I have a quick question in regards to the curved screen and the zoom method for doing CIH - I don't own a projector but have been reading up on them in anticipation for a future purchase, so I'm asking so that I can understand this better. I thought that using the lens method causes some distortion in the image, which a curved screen corrects. The zoom method doesn't require a curved screen, though, so wouldn't a curved screen then distort the image in the opposite direction?

Apologies if I've confused something, which is very likely. If I've got it straight then I just wonder what the advantage is to going with a curved screen if it's not necessary.
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post #25 of 25 Old 01-27-2010, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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If I've got it straight then I just wonder what the advantage is to going with a curved screen if it's not necessary.

First, lets all be honest. Very little that you find in AVSforum is "necessary". Very many things are just so we can say "my theater is more cool than your theater".

That being said I'll take shot at providing some details and others can elaborate or correct me.

Pincushion happens whenever an image is expanded through a normal lens. Or in photography when a long telephoto lens is used. For a projector the shorter the throw the more pincushion you will get. This is then corrected with more advanced lenses or digitally. By projecting back on a curved surface you have shortened the distance to the edges thereby shrinking the projected image at the edges and reducing the pincushion. So I think it is just that with an anamorphic lens you are increasing the spread after the projector has applied any correction so the pincushion is probably worse and needs more correction. I have not found a lot of discussion on how much distortion exists in a modern ae4000 or similar projector (without a lens) but I assume that at short throws there is still some to be corrected.

There are other effects also. When you project a pixel directly in front of the projector it is round (or square but you get the point). When you project to the side it will be elliptical. Like when you shine a flashlight on the wall. And again, a curved screen makes the pixels more uniform in shape.

One more thing is that the angle of the light on the edges means that less light reflects back to the viewer giving an inconsistent brightness across the screen which can also be partially corrected with the curve.

All these things are really quite minimal and unless you have a really short throw probably not even detectable to the untrained eye. So I'll just stay with this argument. My screen is curved, and that is at least 10% more cool than flat.
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