Well, I've finally gotten to the point of compiling and processing the pictures taken throughout the build to put a thread together. Hopefully others will get some ideas from it. The idea throughout the work was to build a nice dedicated theater, without going overboard on the budget. Further, all of the build work was done myself except laying the carpet (my brother-in-law lays carpet for a living so he did it for me.)
First up, this is my 2 yr old son Nathan (my little "Big Man"), and the reason for the build:
His mother requested (read: ordered) that a dedicated toy room be created in the unfinished basement so that he and is sister (due to arrive next January) will have a place to play. Truth be told, I was hesitant to start the build as I valued the unfinished basement space, but the choice really wasn't up to me. As the basement was to be finished, and we already had a perfectly good livingroom up on the main floor, my request for a dedicated theater was hesitantly green lighted.
As the basement is 95% done, I'll put the finished picks first:
A view from the main chair, 11' back from screen to headrest:Updated: 6/30/10 with new pictures showing acoustic treatments at first reflection points and custom black out shades over the window and doorway
I'll note that the black covered stage was originally a compromise between the Mrs. and me. She wanted light colored carpet I wanted dark brown (but not black) for the whole room. We compromised on light carpet with black on the stage (although the light carpet isn't really as light as the picture makes it look.) In hindsight, I like it a lot. It helps keep the room from being too sullen when the lights are on, and the black stage really helps keep the front dark. (With the footrests up, you can't see the light carpet at all.) Further, the rule for the 2 yr old is to stay off the black carpet, and he mostly adheres to it, ...mostly.
The dimensions are roughly 13.5'x24.5' with 8' ceilings except for the back area behind the second row of seats, which is closer to 7'2". The seating consists of 6 Berkline 13175 chairs. The PJ is a Panasonic 3000u with a 105" wide Wilsonart Designer White cinemascope screen.
The spacing of the theater is such that there is walking room around all sides of the chairs, including access to the sliding glass door in the back corner (I've been told I will be putting a new patio area on the outside of the door next spring...
I'll spare you all but a couple of the more notable framing pictures as no-one really cares to look at those, except the poor sap who spent the time swinging the hammer...
Note the 3/4" plywood panels on the top center of the wall, reinforcing for possible center channel placement. Also, if you can make it out, the studs are doubled up on this wall, as 10 yrs from now may bring about display technology heavier than countertop laminate:
The back wall of the theater, with more plywood reinforcing for the surround back speakers:
Here is the riser, if anyone wants the dimensions, I can pull them out, sufice to say, it was designed specifically for 3 13175 berklines and they fit quite well. The construction was x12 green treated for the perimeter with x6 stringers inside, nailed flush to the tops of the x12s:
Drywall in and ready for paint. The layout of our house is such that the theater is on the opposite side of the house than the bedrooms plus the main floor is an added buffer in between. The construction is just normal sheetrock screwed directly to the studs with no real effort put into containing the sound.
I don't know if I listen to movies a lot quieter than most, but while the bass is noticeable upstairs in the bedrooms, it is not enough to wake my son, or prevent my wife from falling asleep, which is what was important. Further, it is not distracting in the livingroom above the theater as long as the TV is on up there. If a person were to try and read a book up there, it would get annoying.
Walls primed and doors hung. At first I had designed it so that the theater was open to the computer nook/stairway. Half way through framing I decided to add double doors to the entrance of the theater. Mostly so that I could use the computer in the nook without bothering anyone watching a movie (and vice versa.)
The tile in front of the sliding glass door:
"Sanding" the sections of the stage where the speakers sit. About 700lbs total for the two sections:
Trim in, walls painted, mostly just the ceiling to be installed before the carpet:
A view of the computer nook from the double doors, the open door on the right goes to a small, unfinished storage room (although it is roughed in for a bathroom) the door to the left is the furnace room/component closet
The component rack... ...what no awards?
In any case, the access to the back is great and ventilation for cooling is not a problem. With all functions handled by an RF remote, the rack isn't seen anyway.
Before installing the ceiling, the PJ mount needed to be installed. As the livingroom and the kitchen sit above the theater and their is a step down between the two (a perfect launching platform for my son) mounting directly to the ceiling was not an option as I don't want to watch a jittery movie and I don't want my PJ bounced mercilessly. So I installed a cross brace (two 2x4s cut so they spanned the 13.5' screwed on end into an 8' 2x6. The flat of the 2x6 is the mounting surface for the PJ mount:
The PJ support was then attached to the side walls with an ultra high performance polyamide/butanol co-polymer matrix that is reinforced with ultra strong nylon strands... otherwise known as an automotive belt
I've used sections of belt before to suspend/decouple things like the garage door opener, they hold up well and if you can "borrow" used ones from work... they don't cost much.
A shot of the ceiling going up. I used Ceilinglink track that allows the "drop" panels to be installed flush to the joists, and Ceilume ceiling tiles. Both came in black so I didn't need to spray paint.
For lighting all I wanted was the ability to light up the whole room well for cleaning/non-movie watching time, and the ability to light the seating specifically such that the seats could be illuminated without adversely effecting the screen. I personally didn't think spending money on a graphic eye was necessary as I don't need the extra zones (I don't need to light up the screen before the movie just for "wow" factor.) The lighting control I used for the 4 cans above the seats was a simple Lutron IR controlled dimmer. It's a double throw switch, one has an IR port, the other is just a "slave" to allow the cans do be controlled from either entry to the room, or the remote. The 4 wall sconce "house" lights are just on a regular 2 throw "on/off" switch setup so that they too can be controlled from either doorway.
The four cans can be ramped up or down to allow task lighting while seating without noticeable effect on the screen. This shot is actually a 15 second exposure with the cans on high, but you get the idea:
Just a shot with the doors open, showing the computer nook area outside the theater:
Lastly, the Little "Big Man's" new stomping ground:
Left to do:
1) window treatments (complete light blocking.) DONE!
2) acoustic treatments (mostly just hanging panels at first reflection points, and any amount of superchunk I can get authority for.) DONE!
3) Mount the center speaker (right now I'm just running a phantom center, but the imaging doesn't sound bad at all.) Decided not to do it. Going Phantom Center.
4) DIY IR controlled masking system (probably not till next spring.) Ehhh... make that Next next spring, got a patio on the honeydo list for this fall.
As I said, I hope it gives others ideas. Let me know if anyone has questions.