Rich H's Variable Image Size Home Theater - Build Thread - Completed! - Page 5 - AVS Forum
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post #121 of 210 Old 09-05-2010, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Something I never mentioned were my side tables. I tried to solve the issue of where to put drinks and food, safely. One advantage I love with the dedicated home theater recliners many people buy are the arm-rest drink holders. No such luck in a sofa.

After a LOT of searching while designing my room I found these side tables (sorry for the old, crappy cell-phone photo, taken in-store):



They are just like (or actually are, I'm not sure) the well loved George Nelson Tray Tables. And at something like $400 each, darned expensive (and that was on sale!)

But....they were perfect. The feet slide under the sofa if desired so the table can end up right beside a viewer (not in front, visually distracting). The height is easily adjustable - a great feature I use constantly. They take up minimal visual space and to top it off the wood finish was a perfect match for the room. The store had only 2 left, no one else had them, and they were not importing any more. So I snapped up the last two.

I've been meaning to find some good car-like drink holders, have a couple holes cut out in each table, and insert the drink holders so drinks will be held firmly.

UNFORTUNATELY...

While on vacation these past two weeks I had some family house-sitting. I taught them to use the projection system which they loved. However, at one point (after inviting a bunch of guests over) one of the side tables was placed back behind the viewing sofa, but in the path of the projector lift. When my guests pressed the button to lower the projector lift back to it's sitting position it caught on the side table, crushing it downward, and snapped the table off it's metal stem. What a bummer!

A brief look on the web is telling me replacing this table is going to be damned expensive. I hope I can get someone to weld the table top back on or something.

Ah...it's always something isn't it?

Rich H


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post #122 of 210 Old 09-06-2010, 03:30 AM
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An absolutely fantastic setup. Thats my last part of the project I want to get the masking for my screen from Carada. Is it easy to put up? Im not exactly a D.I.Y. guy so I would have to get assisitant, actually I would just watch.

I was going to ask your lights on your ceiling do they ever rattle in heavy bass scenes? Mine look similar but I had to turn them on an angle to eliminate the rattle.

I have Masking envy!

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post #123 of 210 Old 09-06-2010, 05:14 AM
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Could you not make something like this? I am sure the cupholder and tray inserts can be bought cheaply and you could get a carpenter and/or upholsterer buddy to build it. Thats what I plan to do anyway for our L shaped sofa.
LL
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post #124 of 210 Old 09-06-2010, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

An absolutely fantastic setup. Thats my last part of the project I want to get the masking for my screen from Carada. Is it easy to put up? Im not exactly a D.I.Y. guy so I would have to get assisitant, actually I would just watch.

I was going to ask your lights on your ceiling do they ever rattle in heavy bass scenes? Mine look similar but I had to turn them on an angle to eliminate the rattle.

I have Masking envy!

The Carada is usually easy to put up as reported by other users, although my
system requirements made it a bit more tricky. I was trying to place it really low on my wall and it was a HUGE screen. Once done the system works very reliably.

My lights don't rattle. One of the reasons for building down the ceiling somewhat was for lighting. This room is on our main floor and our bedroom is directly above. I wanted directional pot lights, but didn't want to poke any holes in our ceiling because sound can travel through such areas. So we built down the ceiling enough to put pot lights in without poking holes in the existing ceiling. Worked fine. I'm also glad we made a trough to put in some track lights. The track lights are more precise and flexible in terms of aiming light than pot lights, which really helps dialing in lighting, especially getting precise task lighting on to the sofa area that does not affect the screen image.

Rich H


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post #125 of 210 Old 09-06-2010, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by calibos View Post

Could you not make something like this? I am sure the cupholder and tray inserts can be bought cheaply and you could get a carpenter and/or upholsterer buddy to build it. Thats what I plan to do anyway for our L shaped sofa.

Thanks for the sketch. I've seen similar solutions. One problem for me is that my sofa seat is all one long cushion (which is how I prefer sofas) so nothing can be wedged in between seats for stability. Although, I suppose a cup holding/food holding unit might be possible that doesn't need to be anchored in between seat cushions.

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post #126 of 210 Old 09-28-2010, 03:49 AM
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Awesome build.

Inspirational and funny, as well as exceptionally well explained.

I have a similar challenge with my room and have been looking for ways to accommodate a large screen.

Reading your entire thread really inspires me to do something similar. My wife’s concern is that I will turn our main living room into a dark bat cave that isn’t inviting!

Big challenges I think is blinding out light and minimizing reflections while maintaining a pleasant decor. You Sir did a fine job at that.

The 4 way masking is simply amazing. Being able to adjust the image size like that is genius!

Off to the drawing boards for me
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post #127 of 210 Old 09-28-2010, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm happy to be of service!

Curtains are the single best strategy I can think of if you are trying to achieve both a non-bat-cave-looking room AND the ability to have bat-cave-like performance when watching a movie. Curtains can look beautiful, add aesthetically to the room, they can sit unobtrusively when stacked in a corner, but pull out easily in seconds to cut reflections.

And because they are fabric they absorb ambient light better than even painting the room a super dark color. It's a win-win situation, I've found.

I knew I was going to use curtains this way and one of the benefits of doing the build-down modification of my ceiling was to create hidden spaces along the wall corners were curtain tracks are placed out of sight, making for a clean look.

My wife's truly palpable and often-spoken fears about the room looking "dark" or "weird" are all in the past: she thinks the room looks great and I can see my wife's pride when guests go on about how much they love the room (and never want to leave it).

It...can...be...done!

Rich H


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post #128 of 210 Old 09-28-2010, 09:44 AM
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Awesome build. Congrats.

Dan


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post #129 of 210 Old 10-30-2010, 11:23 PM
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love, love, love the room! Excellent job! Congrats!
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post #130 of 210 Old 10-31-2010, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Glad you like it guys.

I'm in heaven with the room and even though it's been operational since last winter I feel like I appreciate it just as much or more now. It truly does look rich and striking even when walking by it from the hallway. I love the variety of "moods" and looks I can get via the Lutron zoned lighting in the room along with all the colors offered by the LED lights. I particularly love having most of the lights really low, with some deep slowly pulsing color on the screen, a beam of light over the sofa for reading, and some chill out music in surround sound. It feels so luxurious I often want to pinch myself that I own this place.

Last night I had guests over to watch Iron Man 2 (first time I'd seen it - lots of fun). I had the black side panels closing off the entire screen until the lights went down for the movie. Then, as the "Paramount" logo with the floating stars came up in high definition, the panels slowly opened revealing more and more of the image until it opened up to a 120" wide CinemaScope screen size. My guests were literally shouting their "wows" and "Oh My Gods" this is awesome it's so huge! It's amazing how a bit of flair in presentation can add to the experience.

Also, I've actually been amazed that virtually every single guest in the room has actually commented on the acoustics! This is something I thought only an audio nut like me would notice. But one of the first comments out of everyone's mouth upon entering the room is "Wow...listen to the sound. It's so quiet and peaceful. It sounds amazing just talking." They say it feels like such an inviting, calming room to be in, even sonically. That's really neat to hear (and rewarding, given all the sweat put into such matters).

Looking over my in-construction pictures in this thread almost gives me a shiver of dread :-) It was a long, arduous, gritty job getting this thing done. Sort of like when I think back to my university days and all I can think of is how tired I was day in and day out from the work and long studying nights. I'm much happier to have it behind me and enjoying the fruits of the labor.

I'm sure others here who have built a home theater, or who are building one, can sympathise on just how all-encompassing and consuming the project can be. It used to be there was always some part of my day I was researching, or driving somewhere to get new samples for the room. It's almost weird to be over with it.

Rich H


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post #131 of 210 Old 11-28-2010, 04:45 PM
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I just read your thread and I must say I'm impressed! I have a 12 X 16' room that I'm in the planning process to convert into a home theater and I'll defiantly be incorporating some of your ideas into my build. Thanks for sharing!
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post #132 of 210 Old 11-28-2010, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks BamaDave.

I'm glad some people are finding something useful about my build thread. I hope to see you guys do your threads so I can see how you tackle your challenges.

I vow to get video of my room in action into this thread before Christmas!!!!

Rich H


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post #133 of 210 Old 12-10-2010, 03:46 AM
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Beautiful room Rich! Can't believe I hadn't seen it until today.

The "Twinseltown" Theater

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post #134 of 210 Old 12-15-2010, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Cheers tony123.

I'm working on the video right now of the room and system in action. I hope to put it up within a week.

Rich H


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post #135 of 210 Old 12-21-2010, 03:12 PM
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Inspirational room Rich. So many ideas to draw on and it's great that's it's proving such a pleasure for you after all the work - the experience of music and movies is what it's all about after all. I'm in the middle of thinking about how to do things in a rented apartment - how to achieve some of the good things you've done but with a moveable system not fixed to walls - so some different challenges! I look forward to seeing your video. Nigel
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post #136 of 210 Old 01-16-2011, 12:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Checking in again...

I know I promised video a while back, but work, family, the holidays, all get in the way. I've shot most of the footage, some of it on my iPhone 4 actually. It's quite amazing the advances in technology. I have one of the original Sony DV-Cams, the first pocket-sized, shoot on DV tape video camera (NTSC).

It's always taken reliable video, but I'm finding my iPhone 4 actually outperforms it in a few areas, image clarity (iPhone is 720p after all) and less noisy performance in low light being such areas. That a phone video with it's tiny lens can out compete a dedicated video camera a all is pretty amazing to me.

Anyway, my home theater/music room has been operational for almost a year and a half, and essentially "finished" for the last year or so. One of the things I wondered while designing and laboring over this system was how ergonomic and useful would the variable image approach end up? This was after all my first projection based home theater and most people learn what they like and dislike, and what they actually use and don't use, during their first try. Would I perhaps start of varying the image size but then grow tired of it and just tend to leave the screen one or two shapes?

I'm very happy to report that I'm still as thrilled as ever, more thrilled than ever, that I went this route. Varying the image size is so quick and easy on this system, and actually fun to do, that I use it all the time. We watched ChunKing Express (1:66:1 AR) at a nice comfortable size, then when we watched Inception we watched it really big and immersive (closer to 120" wide cinemascope) which blew everyone away. And this week I'd recently seen an IMAX movie so when I watched some of the Planet Earth (HD DVD in my case) series I blew it up to around 136" diagonal, or so, which really gave me some of that walk-into-the-picture vibe I enjoyed at IMAX.

And I often go back and forth between the things I like in a smaller projected image vs a larger one. Obviously a larger image will always be more immersive. But the smaller image will pack more picture information into a smaller area which gives a brighter, denser, punchier more plasma-like look which I can really enjoy. A 94" diagonal 16:9 image can look like I've got an amazingly huge flat panel on the wall.

Going with 4 way masking and zooming has given me total freedom for choosing the effect and impact I want, no matter what source material I'm watching. And another benefit I find in varying the image size is it keeps the impact "fresh." If I watched all movies the same size it's human nature that the impact can wear off to some degree. But for some periods I may be watching a smaller image size, and when I make it really big I get that breathtaking "wow" effect like I just put in a new screen.

So...yeah...I'm still ecstatic with my choice. In fact my excitement and appreciation for this room has grown over time whether it's lounging listening to music with the colored mood-lights on the screen or watching
the Twilight Zone series on Blu-Ray with my son.

Our home theater projects sure can be a PIA to work on, but boy they can be worth the effort in the end.

Over 'n out for now (until the video).

Rich H


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post #137 of 210 Old 02-10-2011, 07:55 PM
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Love the room Rich! Looking over your thread is getting me excited about putting some more work into mine.


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post #138 of 210 Old 06-09-2011, 04:51 PM
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Bump it up!

I'm contemplating screen sizes and aspect ratios - I was planning 2.35:1 nice and wide - but even nice and wide, the CIH 16:9 size isn't that immersive - and I started hearing Rich Harkness faintly calling to me: "constant area, Brad...constant area..." (well, I guess not exactly constant area, but you know what I mean)


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post #139 of 210 Old 06-14-2011, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Brad,

Well, obviously I'm extremely happy with the way I went in terms of screen flexibility.
I've got my system to be extremely easy to use. Perhaps if it were harder I may not be as happy. Though I bet I'd still want this type of flexibility.

There may be other ways to achieve a variable image size set up but this one worked great for me.

Rich H


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post #140 of 210 Old 06-28-2011, 05:20 PM
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Hi Rich:

In the months before and after the RS20 was released I was participating occasionally in some of the projector/screen threads and reading them daily. I recall your wrestling with screen decisions (constant versus variable height, and with High-Power issues in particular). Well, having just read through this entire thread, all I can say is...Absolutely Stunning! All the forethought you put into the myriad decisions concerning the design, equipment, and build process really paid off. The room looks classy and cozy for everyday use and awesome for HT. And to borrow from the Visa ads, "A happy wife...priceless." Congratulations, and great job on posting the theatre-build process.

Some questions if I might. First, I recall seeing a discussion of the window shade system in only one post. Perhaps I missed it if more followed. Were those Lutron shades or some other manufacturer's product? I assume that they have vertical tracks on the side to seal off light leakage? Other than the hard wiring/battery fiasco, are you happy with them (you did mention some slight light leakage around the top, which I assume was easily addressed)?

Second, is the Fidelio noticeably darker than the Black Hole material that Carada uses and if so, is this noticeble during film viewing?

Again, great thread and awesome job on the renovation.
Mike W.
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post #141 of 210 Old 06-28-2011, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Mike!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike W View Post


Some questions if I might. First, I recall seeing a discussion of the window shade system in only one post. Perhaps I missed it if more followed. Were those Lutron shades or some other manufacturer's product? I assume that they have vertical tracks on the side to seal off light leakage? Other than the hard wiring/battery fiasco, are you happy with them (you did mention some slight light leakage around the top, which I assume was easily addressed)?

The automated shades are from a company called Solarfective (I think they might be Canadian). I'm very happy with the shades, which have continued to work very well. Especially when retrofitting into old windows, it's tough to get a perfect light seal. The main culprit was some light leaking at the very tops above the blind valance. It was easily solved by getting some thin pieces of wood at Home Depot, cutting to right length, wrapping some black velvet around them, and inserting them on top of the shade valance to block the light. They are essentially invisible to the eye and it all works well.


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Second, is the Fidelio noticeably darker than the Black Hole material that Carada uses and if so, is this noticeble during film viewing?

Yes the Fidelio is noticeably darker than the Carada Black Hole material. Just as surprising is that the Fidelio is darker than even the black flocking material I bought that typically is used to line telescopes! (The black flocking with a sticky backing is discussed in one of my posts in this thread. It is almost exactly the same material as used by Carada for their frame and I used it to fill in some space below the Carada frame for a cohesive look).

The difference in darkness between the Fidelio black velvet and the Carada BH material is not noticeable in my set up when viewing movies. Both are pretty "black hole" like. But ultimately it depends on how you use them.
All the black hole material is on the screen wall, facing me, so it gets very, very little light cast on it, thus remaining pitch dark. Whereas used at another angle it could be different. I have my speakers surrounded in Fidelio black velvet, and a front portion of the floor under the screen done in Fidelio black velvet. In those cases, the velvet is right near the screen but at an angle such that it receives the direct blast of light right off the screen.
In those cases differences in "pitch blackness" of material really do become
more discernible, with only the darkest materials remaining invisible despite the intense light cast on them. The Fidelio remains pitch dark, but I suspect if I'd covered my floor/speakers with the Carada-like material, I may still have been able to just discern them in the dark.

The Black Hole material is terrific to be sure.

The Fidelio is expensive, but it combines two very desirable qualities: It's a real black hole in terms of light absorption, and when the lights are on the Fidelio is a particularly rich looking velvet, so instead of looking cheap they add a sense of luxury to the room...well worth the extra bucks vs cheaper velvet in my opinion.

Rich H


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post #142 of 210 Old 06-29-2011, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Thank you Mike!

The automated shades are from a company called Solarfective (I think they might be Canadian)....

Yes the Fidelio is noticeably darker than the Carada Black Hole material.

The difference in darkness between the Fidelio black velvet and the Carada BH material is not noticeable in my set up when viewing movies. Both are pretty "black hole" like. But ultimately it depends on how you use them.
.

Thanks very much for the feedback on the Fidelio and the info on the shades. I've just checked and there is a high-end room treatment company in Seattle that reps and installs Solarfective and wall/ceiling fabric panel solutions. My wife has been very tolerant of the funky way I've been blocking out the light from the glass sliding patio door on one of the side walls (it's the only exterior light source in our small dedicated HT room), but it's time to pony up for something a bit classier.
Best.
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post #143 of 210 Old 07-03-2011, 06:46 PM
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ya got too much mula to spend $400 on a side table man

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post #144 of 210 Old 07-14-2011, 01:36 PM
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just amazing
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post #145 of 210 Old 07-20-2011, 06:03 PM
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Rich,

Incredible effort and an incredible result! Great to see you enjoying all the hard work!

A friend just pointed me to your thread because i'm looking at options for side masking and the panel track you have used looks brilliant. I didn't see in the thread where you purchased the track from? Did you buy it online?

Cheers,
Simon
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post #146 of 210 Old 07-30-2011, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raZorTT View Post

Rich,

Incredible effort and an incredible result! Great to see you enjoying all the hard work!

A friend just pointed me to your thread because i'm looking at options for side masking and the panel track you have used looks brilliant. I didn't see in the thread where you purchased the track from? Did you buy it online?

Cheers,
Simon

Sorry, missed this question.

I bought the panel track from Goelst (they have factories around the world; I bought from Goelst America).

Link to Goelst products:

http://www.goelst.nl/rail/products/

Panel track system is top/right of that page.

Cheers,

Rich H


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post #147 of 210 Old 07-30-2011, 04:03 PM
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Thanks Rich
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post #148 of 210 Old 08-05-2011, 05:35 PM
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Love all the work you did, and especially that you shared the build with such detail!

I'd love to see a video of all the moving parts!
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post #149 of 210 Old 08-05-2011, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks.

I've shot most of the video of the room "in action." I just have to put it together and get it on-line.

Rich H


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post #150 of 210 Old 08-12-2011, 05:59 AM
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This was the best hour I have wasted in a good while. What a fun read. Great to see how it all came together, or stuck together (the wife)! Wonderful project...

I have a basement space to work with, and this thread has really inspired me, Rich.
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