Obviously I wanted to cover up the portion over the screen so you don't see the panel track mechanics. As was planned from the beginning, I had a cover made for the bulk head that would extend lower, to hide all the technical stuff and make for a clean finish.
I wanted to ensure I could easily get at whatever mechanics operated the system, as easily as possible. So we just put some hanging clips on the bulk-head:
Then we built two separate boards to span the length of the bulkhead wall. Here's one:
Here are the boards mounted:
The boards will eventually be covered in the same Fidelio Black Velvet as is used for the side masking panels.
NOTE: the boards on the floor in front of the screen. That is the narrow "stage" area I mentioned before, on which the L/C/R speakers would sit. Those boards get covered with the Fidelio Black Velvet as well.
Thanks for the comments so far!
I'll try to get more up this weekend if possible.
We were watching the Wizard Of Oz Blu-Ray tonight and it was magnificent. It makes me so glad I could expand the screen to the extra height and size to make this narrow AR (academy aspect ratio) movie feel immersive. What a cinematic experience that film offers!
More coming very soon...the completed photos.
Both are made with matching material from the sofa and both open up to store items. Inside I have additional throw blankets as well as some materials for cutting room reflections, which I"ll show in another post.
These had a bit of a troubled history. Took forever to get these in.
The company who sold them to me sent a representative to measure and recommend a system. We went with his recommendation for a system that was hard wired (instead of battery). This required that I buy special wiring and the electrician had to wire from the windows all the way down into the back of the basement to our electric panel.
To make a long story short, once all the construction/wiring was done and, after a long period of waiting for my blinds to be made by the factory, it was time to install the new automated shades. It turned out they did not fit the windows. The company had recommended the wrong system - the motors were too big. So we had to switch to a battery operated system instead (pictured). You can bet I let them know the bill for my electrician having ran wires for the motorized version throughout my house when it came time to paying for these blinds!
Anyway, they work really well. They are remote controlled, already programmed into my universal remote. The light seal is perfect all the way down, except there is a bit of space at the top of the windows, above the motor covers. I'm going to address that issue (just gotta put a little strip of something along the tops). However, I never, ever watch movies during the day so it's a non issue. I mainly got them to block street lights and moonlight coming in the room at nighttime, for movies. The room is pitch black with the shades closed at night.
I was very happy with the curtains, they are very luxurious looking in person. Even my wife who for some reason is allergic to curtains - "might look dumb" - thought they really added to the room. Best of all is how dark you can make the room by pulling them along the walls.
The Monitor Audio surround speakers are mounted. That's a side FX speaker in the picture; I use smaller Monitor Audio speakers mounted between the bay windows for my rear FX speakers.
The Carada screen frame does not sit on the ground, but is mounted just a few inches above the floor. We used this gap as a place to run various wires for L/C/R speakers, control wires, and some just-in-case future speaker wires. (I also have some wires hidden in the bulkhead should I ever want to do height channels).
To hide the gap between the bottom of the Carada screen frame and the floor we cut two thin boards, spanning the length of the screen frame to cover the gap. The Carada Masquerade screen frame is covered in their "Black Hole" material, which is a very dark, light absorbing black material. To ensure a matched look, I bought some Protostar flocked light trap material:
Someone else had mentioned it was a match for the Carada screen frame covering and upon receiving a sample it did look almost exactly like the Carada "black hole" screen frame covering.
Once the boards beneath my Carada frame were covered with the Protostar material the match was virtually perfect. This is an overexposed image:
The part that says "Carada" on it is the Masquerade Screen frame. Above it is some of the masking panel, below is the strip covered in the Protostar material. Under normal light conditions it looks totally seamless.
On the floor in front of the screen the boards are now covered with the Fidelio black fabric,
sticking out a couple feet along the floor, which gives a cohesive "stage" effect under the screen.
For a while I wondered if I might do the screen wall valance/bulkhead and side masking panels in the Protostar material, given how easy it is to work with. But I went with the Fidelio black velvet because it looked significantly richer and, surprisingly, significantly darker as well!
For a little razzle-dazzle I bought some of these remote controlled color-changing LED light bulbs:
I put them in the track lights facing the screen:
(They are in "red" mode in the photo).
These lights are great, lighting up my screen, and really add to the look and experience of the room. They can do all sorts of colors and you can choose a single color stay on or you can choose to have the colors slowly dissolve to new colors (med or slow speeds), or flash or whatever.
I love being able to change the color of the screen with my mood. Setting the screen to a "cool" color temperature like blue can really be nice to off-set the warm colors of the room. It's fun to have the colors going when I listen to music as well. Controls for these lights have been programmed into my universal remote, on the "Lights" page.
It was very close to Christmas that the nasty part of the renovation had finally been finished. Yet our hallway was still a disaster. My boys (aged 11 and 8) and I felt the best Christmas present to my wife would be a clean, sane house.
When my wife went out for the day the hallway looked something like this:
After many hours of moving and cleaning, we were able to have my wife come home
to this instead:
With a little love note on the floor.
My wife had quite a shock and had tears in her eyes when she opened the door.
Finally her house was a home again.
(P.S. we ended up moving that chair from the hallway to the back family room).
THE FINISHED ROOM
Here's the room with the shades half down:
WINDOW SHADES DOWN, LIGHTS ON
VIEW FROM SOFA, LIGHT ON, CURTAINS ON RIGHT PULLED ACROSS DOORWAY:
(The image size was on "small" for this one, though I have it bigger for other shots).
ROOM DURING DAY
I'm happy to report that I think I achieved the balance I was going for. You can see that by day the room does not feel too dark (in fact with the shades up it can often feel quite bright) so I enjoy hanging out in the day in the room. But for movie watching the room can be made pitch black and very non-reflective.
BTW, this is how the room normally looks at the moment. We will be buying some art for above the fireplace, but for now we've just been sitting a temporary painting there. I find the art makes the room feel more homey. Along with the flowers that usually sit by the fireplace.
FROM JUST OUTSIDE THE HALLWAY - NIGHTIME, BLINDS CLOSED
VARIOUS SHOTS SHOWING MORE OF THE CEILING
Next up: USING THE SYSTEM
I have already shot video so I'm trying to put it together. In the meanwhile I'll be posting pictures of the system in action - using the remote, masking, projector lift etc. I should be able to get those photos up today.
I got the Fidelio Black Velvet shipped from the States, from here:
I highly recommend this fabric. I looked at many of the black velvets offered in my city and none had the combination of pitch blackness, non-reflectivity combined with a rich, lustrous look.
As I mentioned near the start of the thread, I'm very into 2 channel music listening and quality stereo equipment. And my stereo always sounded terrific in that front living room.
However, after I'd decided to do the home theater reno I would have to move the listening sofa off the wall, which would then become the screen wall. And the speakers would now be placed in front of the screen wall. This meant essentially switching the furniture and speakers a full 180 degrees.
Yet, before the reno began I did that switch, putting the listening sofa on the bay window side of the room, speakers on the long screen wall.
To my horror the system now sounded like crap!
It was awful. There were obvious suckouts and bulges happening in the bass, midrange and treble. It now sounded anemic, thin and harsh. I literally did not want to listen to music through this system. It was heartbreaking to think I may have to give up quality sound for my music listening for having to re-arrange the room for home theater use.
Acoustics are a bitch.
So getting the room into better acoustic shape was a big priority in this project. I consulted a professional acoustician throughout the renovation. I could not follow his every recommendation, sometimes on cost and sometimes because I wouldn't have liked the aesthetics. But I tried to sneak in as much treatment as I could, stealthily and integrated into the room.
The results have generally been fantastic. The room sounds great! In fact one of the first things a lot of people say - even non techy people - is how nice the room sounds. You can hear it simply listening to voices in the room. Guests say it makes them feel really relaxed and comfortable.
2 channel music listening is glorious in the room now, the sound is much more even, with bass humps near room corners, hash in the highs being tamed, and more even midrange performance. As I'd hoped for, there is a complete lack of harshness or fatigue-factor to the sound, which is very welcome after a long day of sound editing on my part.
Having said that, the room did turn out to be a bit more over-damped sounding than I would consider ideal. I think acoustically a more perfect balance could have been struck if I did the big central portion of the ceiling in some of the wood/slat diffusion products you can buy. I considered it but the expense, and the aesthetics put me off. So I'm content with my choices.
Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence
mrlittlejeans's post reminds me I planned a shout-out to him. mrlittlejeans, who lives not too far from me, has been very helpful throughout points of this project, helping me in getting my projector, some audio gear, getting my projector calibrated, consulting on screen frame construction and being a ready ear to for some of my "how to" questions. Not to mention visits to his "bat cave" home theater inspired me.
I'm grateful there are helpful folks like mrlittlejeans (and other forum members) around!