Jautor's Rock Creek Theater - A post-build retrospective - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 322 Old 02-25-2012, 10:26 AM
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Jeff, love the home and job you did with the room. I'm also in Texas (though further South) and I'm in the process of selling my home and custom building. We were taking the easy way out and buying an existing home when we decided to go custom. We should be breaking ground in the next month. I ended up having the 14x23 theater room away from the rest of the house (though connected to the end of the family room). We opted for a single story on an acre in a gated community. Your thread is really motivating me and giving me some ideas. Thankfully I already have most of the gear (including an unused 6 year old 12ft wide 2.8 high power) but sound isolation and design will be my focus.

As you know here in TX we have the ability to have great finish out done at a bit less than most places but these guys REALLY need to be pointed in the right direction and watched closely. If you dont mind, I may PM you with a question or two when were in the build process. Its probably time to start my thread with planning and thoughts so I can get much needed tips, advice, etc.


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post #92 of 322 Old 02-26-2012, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, and yeah, if you have questions, feel free to PM me. But if they have anything to do with A/V in the home, post them instead!

And if you haven't read the AVS Pro Theater Layout service thread, definitely take a look!

Jeff


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post #93 of 322 Old 02-26-2012, 02:28 PM
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Jeff, this theater looks amazing I live in NM where we don't what basements are. I have a few questions first do you wish you would of done a false wall for a stage setup? I'm looking at about the same dimensions as far as room goes if I were to do a stage set up I would prob kick the room out another 2 or 3ft. Do you feel the space is to crowded for the 2 rows plus the bar in the back also not sure if you posted it and if you did I'm sorry I didn't catch itI know you said you have 10' to the first row and then how many feet to the back and then how many feet from the bar top to the back wall? Have you decided on a screen size for the room and if you answered that already I'm sorry.
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post #94 of 322 Old 02-26-2012, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by realestatecody View Post

Jeff, this theater looks amazing I live in NM where we don't what basements are.

That's the tradeoff we apparently have to make for not having "winter".

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I have a few questions first do you wish you would of done a false wall for a stage setup?

If I was starting over from scratch, I would have considered it, but two things would have to change: 1) I'm very happy with the Carada Masquerade motorized masking system, which isn't acoustically transparent. And I'm not aware of any masking systems that are in a price range I'd be willing to spend. and 2) The room would have to be ~2-4' longer. And yes, since it's not in a basement, we really are talking "from scratch" to change that.

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I'm looking at about the same dimensions as far as room goes if I were to do a stage set up I would prob kick the room out another 2 or 3ft. Do you feel the space is to crowded for the 2 rows plus the bar in the back also not sure if you posted it and if you did I'm sorry I didn't catch it

I certainly wouldn't want the front row any closer. Another foot would have been good, too. The crowded space is the 2nd row, as it's 5'6" between risers - should have made it at least 6'. Fully reclined your feet will be on the seatback in the front row. Not a big deal, but a pro would have been spanked for that.

The rear row / bar area is fine, enough space to walk behind without an issue. The other dimension I would have changed, though. With the 4 seats (and I used a loveseat configuration which shaved a few inches of width), there's only 18" on each aisle. So another foot of width (making each aisle 2') would have been nice.

Quote:


I know you said you have 10' to the first row and then how many feet to the back and then how many feet from the bar top to the back wall?

10'6" to the first riser, 5'6" on the 2nd row riser, and 5'6" on the rear riser.

Quote:


Have you decided on a screen size for the room and if you answered that already I'm sorry.

Haven't gotten to that "chapter" yet, but after much debate and testing image sizes I went with a 108" 16:9, 136" 2.35:1 screen. Which is the largest size the Carada Masquerade comes in. The debate was whether that was too large or not. I wouldn't go any bigger in that space.

Jeff


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post #95 of 322 Old 02-27-2012, 01:53 PM
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Great, thank you and who did you get the screen from?
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post #96 of 322 Old 02-27-2012, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Carada is a direct manufacturer/seller:

http://www.carada.com/default.aspx

Jeff


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post #97 of 322 Old 02-27-2012, 08:48 PM
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Your theater is beautiful man. Very inspiring. I especially love the symmetrical acoustic visual treatment. You said it was quite a noticeable difference acoustically with them installed. My plan in every archway of my build was to include a 27" x 40" movie poster, then acoustic panels on each column/bump out and any corner bass traps. If there are too many reflective surfaces going this route, I was thinking of doing something similar to your walls with the grid. Beautiful to see it completed the way you've done it.

Cheers,

Jason

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post #98 of 322 Old 02-28-2012, 08:19 AM
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Jeff, I am having a third row bar top built which I had planned to put on a pony wall. I decided to put it on posts instead to give people more leg room back there.

Could you tell me what you used for posts and about what they cost? Also, are all your posts solid? I have pondered three posts on an 11 ft bar top with the middle one being hollow so I could have power ans low voltage outlets in it.

Thanks!
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post #99 of 322 Old 02-28-2012, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fst96se View Post

Could you tell me what you used for posts and about what they cost? Also, are all your posts solid? I have pondered three posts on an 11 ft bar top with the middle one being hollow so I could have power ans low voltage outlets in it.

They are solid and are prefabricated pieces out of a wood trim catalog, and were sourced by the builder. I'll see if I can find the name. I think they were about ~$160 each, but I could be way off 50% either direction.

EDIT: Not exactly my piece, but under the heading of "Island legs" (or posts), you can see a bunch of styles:

http://www.osbornewood.com/34-and-one-half-inches.cfm

I used the same post in my poker room. The ones for the bar table were cut down to the correct height, but in both cases they're sunk into the floor and secured to the framing.

The table is really solid with 4 posts, and I've wondered if 3 would have been enough as well, as it would be one less thing to be in the way. As it is I can walk on it without any feeling of flex or instability...

As an alternative for power and low-volt, perhaps a split-service floor outlet instead, if possible. Just try to keep the outlet away from where feet will kick it (forward of the post would be good). Are you expecting to use that outlet 100% or is it a "just in case"?

http://www.carlon.com/Master%20Catal...Boxes_2B38.pdf

Jeff


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post #100 of 322 Old 02-28-2012, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonMiller1975 View Post

Your theater is beautiful man. Very inspiring. I especially love the symmetrical acoustic visual treatment. You said it was quite a noticeable difference acoustically with them installed. My plan in every archway of my build was to include a 27" x 40" movie poster, then acoustic panels on each column/bump out and any corner bass traps. If there are too many reflective surfaces going this route, I was thinking of doing something similar to your walls with the grid. Beautiful to see it completed the way you've done it.

Thanks, and yeah, there's a definite difference with the panels installed. You want square footage and placement for the panels to work. Small panels on columns may not be enough area to matter (and therefore could be a waste of time/money). Also, a framed plexi-covered poster might end up reflecting both sound and light...

Take a look around at folks that have done movie poster "fabrics" over acoustic material. (anyone have a link to one of those?)

Jeff


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post #101 of 322 Old 02-28-2012, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

(anyone have a link to one of those?)

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=spoonflower

Spaceman Theater Build


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post #102 of 322 Old 02-29-2012, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Seating

 

Did I mention it's really helpful to make a CEDIA trip for this kind of stuff? It's difficult, even in a city as large as Houston, to find showrooms that carry the "top name" theater seats. CEDIA, of course, is a different story. Everyone under one roof.

I spend a good several hours roaming the show floor, stopping in each manufacturer's booths and trying out the seats for comfort. My A/V-inclined friend Alan usually joins me for the CEDIA trip (I'm sure he'll read this post and remember the pain of that trip... Hi Alan!), and he spent most of his time gathering free shirts and other goodies while I tried out chairs for (probably) too long. If you're looking at any of the expensive brands, invest in a trip to CEDIA before pulling the trigger. Not going to name names, but I sat in some very uncomfortable $2000+ chairs...

I had planned on the motorized recliners at least for the main row, and perhaps a matching color sofa/sectional for the front row. The sectional idea was to save money (thinking about those $2000 chairs) and to be able to kick my feet up. After trying out a bunch of chairs, and coming to the conclusion that the Berkline's were as or more comforatble (and 1/3 the price), I went with them. That the model I picked also has the 'snack tray' was a big bonus. Those get used all the time to hold the popcorn bucket and the remote, and get a lot of fun comments from guests about "being in 1st class"...

I figured out I could make a loveseat arrangement such that I could kick my feet up in the middle 2 seats, and save a few precious inches of width. So both of my rows are 4 seats, in a IOIOOIOI arrangement. In hindsight, the 'infinite' adjustment range of the recliners made me appreciate the concept - much easier to find a comfortable position compared to a "flip out the footrest" non-motorized model. So I don't tend to sit sideways or lie down in the theater seats - it's also not comfortable to do that across the two "loveseat" configuration chairs.

I guess I got lucky, though, deciding to order my Berklines in November, as geez, were mine the last ones off the line? They arrived in mid-January, and since then, my only complaint is that one of the power supplies seems to overheat (without use) and has to be unplugged occasionally to get it to function again. If it gets worse, I'll be on the hunt for the replacement parts - one of the issues with having orphan products, eh?



Opening up the boxes in the harsh fluorescent lights of the garage, the chairs looked wrong - "Yikes! That isn't the right color!!!". The chairs are burgandy, not brown at all. Run to get the fabric swatches. Yep, that's brown, let me take it out and compare it to the chair. Oh, it's the same in this light? Yep. It makes that much difference. If I take a picture in the theater with a flash, the chairs are downright red. With the flash off and a longer exposure, they're brown, just as they look in the incandescent lights in the room. Moral - lighting is important.

Here they are in the theater, though, with proper lighting:



As I had planned for at least some of the chairs to be motorized (maybe not all of them, because of the cost), I had already run power to the risers to accomodate the plugs. As the motorized option for Berkline products is really very cheap (I was thinking $500/chair - again, back to those $2000 chairs...), and I'm very glad I got that option on all eight chairs. And no, I didn't get the Butt-kicker option. Tried it several times, just don't like it.

Now for the bar table / back row. I thought that my decision to make a counter-height table for chairs instead of a bar-height requiring stools would make this easy. Well, I was wrong. I spent a ton of time looking for comfortable chairs that would fit the room. I even considered buying a "game room table set" (which is how most of these types of chairs are apparently sold) and selling/donating/burning the table part. Of all the places I wouldn't have expected to find a comfortable chair that matched the theater color and style - I found them at Pier 1 Imports:



The "Mason Club Chair"... Much more comfortable than the restaurant/bar wooden backed chair I was expecting to settle for - and the small armrests make them feel like "real" seats, not just some "extra" chair brought in to fill the room. I suspect that if the chairs didn't have armrests, folks would be leaning on the bar table the whole movie, probably not how most people want to relax.

Those chairs are also appropriate as they are fairly lightweight compared to a good quality dining room chair, so pulling them out or otherwise moving them isn't a hassle for anyone.

Next up, Projector and Screen Selection...



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post #103 of 322 Old 03-11-2012, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Projector and Screen Selection

 

Having looked at projectors for many, many years, by the time the theater plans were ready, I had already narrowed the choice down to one of the JVC models. The elapsed time between start and finish meant, though, that new models were released in the meantime, so what was originally going to be an RS25 turned into a JVC RS50. I chose that model (and JVC in general) for the excellent black levels, the built-in scaler and trigger to support an anamorphic lens, and of course the overall quality. Now, in hindsight, I probably could have used the RS40, as the differences between the models didn't turn out to justify the cost delta. That said I am happy with the projector.

But all of that said the most important part of projector selection is to not buy it until you're ready. Too many times I've seen folks buy a projector before they start on the room, only to find they're a model year (or two!) behind by the time they can actually hang and use it. Projectors should be labeled "Keep refrigerated" these days, as the march of technology is very apparent.

However, anamorphic lenses don't suffer from that 12-month product cycle, which allowed me to jump on an AVS special deal on an OEM'ed Panamorph U480 lens and motorized sled - something I knew I wanted - but was not looking forward to writing the check! I did actually double-check with Panamorph (since the special deal came out just a few weeks before CES) that they weren't about to announce new models at CES.

As for the screen, I had all along planned on a CIH screen with an automated masking system. While there were some promising low-cost products in development, they unfortunately didn't pan out. The only product even remotely in the price range I would consider was the Carada Masquerade CIH.

http://www.carada.com/Masquerade-Masking-System.aspx

But what screen size? The Masquerade comes in a good range of sizes, and while I wanted the biggest screen I could reasonably fit, I had been concerned throughout the build process about the front row screen distance (10'). I didn't want the front row to become a no-man's land, especially after buying recliners for it. I had pushed this decision off, knowing at least I was looking at something in around the 100" 16:9 size give or take. I used the screen size calculators and charts, which still don't really tell you for sure what the "perfect" size is for your space.

My advice is to follow what I did (based on advice from other AVS'ers):

1) Wait until the room is complete before actually buying the projector
2) Wait until you have the projector before finalizing the screen size
3) Test screen size in the real space before hitting the "Buy" button...

So with Step #1 accomplished, I ordered the JVC RS50 projector, from AV Science, of course. In early 2011, the RS50 was still backordered, so the projector didn't arrive until mid-March. During that time, I talked to Carada to see what the lead time on a Masquerade system - trying to put an end date on all of this. To my surprise, the Masquerade is only about a 2-week lead time (plus delivery). Carada also sent me some screen material samples to test as well.

Long before construction began, I had tested screen sizes using a business projector, shining an image onto the unfinished wall. It was a good enough test to at least let me that a 100"+ image was a possibility - meaning it wasn't obviously "too big" at the front row. Now with the room completed, I could perform a real test. Reading advice here, I ordered a roll of Photographer's Backdrop Paper. At 53" wide, a roll can emulate a 108" 16:9 screen, or a 136" CIH 2.35:1, which is the largest Masquerade masking system, anyway.

These rolls are readily available, in "Super White":

http://www.adorama.com/BM531293.html

So once the projector arrived (step #2, check!), I set it up in the back of the room (using my pub table to get it close to the final mounting location), cut some paper off the roll, and got to testing. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of this process, but I was surprised at how good the image looked on the backdrop paper. Placing the Carada "Brilliant White" sample over the backdrop, it was almost an exact match.

Now to testing. I measured out several screen sizes: 120", 128" and 136" (2.35:1), or 96", 102", and 108" (16x9). And again, it was time to get a second pair of eyes, so fellow AVS'er Alan stopped by to compare them as well. The conclusion after quite a bit of back-and-forth zoom adjusting was that from the front row, the image was big, period. But not so big that you had to move your head to see the screen. And more importantly, even the 120" screen felt big - but the 136" didn't feel that much bigger.

From the second (primary) row, though, things are noticable. The largest, 136" 2.35 screen looks great, but cutting it down to 120" makes it feel dinky . So after some final testing of the 136" from the front row, that's the size I decided on. And now, almost a year later, I'm very glad I went as big as I could. I've watched films from just about every seat, and while the primary second row is my favorite (as it should be), I'm happy with any of the locations. More importantly, when I have a bunch of friends over, no one complains about having to sit in the front row (nor do they rush in and call dibs on the second row, which I'm sure would be the more likely behavior). Folks in the front row do tend to recline, but then again, almost everyone does that.

So before I ordered the screen, one last thing to check. The door and hallway to the theater is on the side of the room, which turns into the theater. A rigid screen frame with an 11.5' length has to get into the room! I tested this first trying a tape measure, but found a much more accurate test method by grabbing a 10' piece of PVC pipe to see if I could navigate it into the room. Answer was yes, but certainly a two-man job and will require angling the pieces up/down to clear the archway.

Next up, Front Speaker Placement...



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post #104 of 322 Old 03-12-2012, 09:31 AM
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Hi Jeff

Very impressive

I'm hoping to do somethign similar (eventually). Regarding the sound isolation, I see that you used 2 x 5/8 and green glue. Did you leave a gap between the floor and seeling and use the accoustic putty (or whatever it is) that you're supposed to use to isolate walls from floor and ceiling?

Did the drywallers have any issues working with the accoustic stuff? I'm concerned my drywaller (poor english) would understand and I'd need to stay and watch him to make sure they did it right

Regards

Mark
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post #105 of 322 Old 03-12-2012, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Regarding the sound isolation, I see that you used 2 x 5/8 and green glue. Did you leave a gap between the floor and ceiling and use the acoustic putty (or whatever it is) that you're supposed to use to isolate walls from floor and ceiling?

The putty is for around electrical outlets, and no, I didn't do that nor the decoupling of the framing. The walls were constructed as part of the house, and were only "finished" for the theater. I didn't do the clips & channel out of concerns of cost/space and the lack of need for my application. I am happy with the DD+GG.

In hindsight I could have easily done a few things (noted in the thread about the columns) to improve isolation at a great bang-for-buck ratio. And a lot more difficult things at a much lower bang-for-buck. Again, though, my theater was placed in the house to be isolated from the rest of the house, and with the low noise level outside, I did only "moderate" isolation efforts.

Quote:


Did the drywallers have any issues working with the accoustic stuff? I'm concerned my drywaller (poor english) would understand and I'd need to stay and watch him to make sure they did it right

The subcontractor said he had worked with it before (and he may actually have!), but this was my biggest concern about it as well. The good news on the language front is that the Green Glue Company understands that - and has installation instruction in Spanish:

http://www.greengluecompany.com/pdf/...on_espanol.pdf

Print out a few copies of that and hand it to the foreman.

I did try to watch them, and the only thing I had to tell them was to "use more". Once a worker sees one sheet done properly, it's very obvious and simple. Most important thing to get through is that it's not a glue, and should not be troweled smooth!!! (heard stories of that one).

Other advice for that process - get a bag 'o shop rags and a small bucket of water and hand cleaner for them - the GG gets on everything and helping with some cleanup will get you as many points as the round of beers at 5pm...

Jeff


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post #106 of 322 Old 03-13-2012, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Front Speaker Placement

 

The Martin Logan Stage speaker, being fairly large, needed a home. I didn't want to wall-mount it under the screen, as that would have put it very low and likely muffled by the screen frame right above it. So I started searching for a stand that would be large enough to hold it. Searching the usual suspects led me to this model from Plateau:



http://www.thesimpletvstandstore.com...black-oak.aspx

Which seemed to fit the bill - my primary concern being something that would hold the speaker, and get it to a decent height. Price was right, so I ordered it. You can see it here in this photo (without the speaker on it), if you squint real hard.



Uh, yeah, not going to work. It looked so big and tall before I put it there, too...

As an aside, you may notice my old trusty Martin Logan Aerius fronts in that photo, which were planned for use here, at least until the budget allowed for an upgrade. Their 14-year place in the main A/V system ended earlier in the year, when a deal on a set of Vantage demo units became available. I had planned on doing something to cover the oak rails, either some fabric, replacement rails, or (gasp) re-finishing them. I hadn't really noticed how much those light oak rails stick out until the completely black-framed Vantages replaced them. And obviously here those strips of light wood really stick out. To my rescue came another demo Vantage pair, this one from my local dealer, and so the Aerius were put on Craigslist, and are hopefully keeping their new owner pleased for years to come...

Ok, back to the center. That stand, while big enough to hold the Stage center, is still not high enough. While the sight lines to the screen aren't a problem - putting the center speaker 12-18" below the frame will be. So off it goes on Craigslist, quickly sold and funds applied to a new search. Having given up on a center speaker stand by itself, I started looking at small furniture pieces. Perhaps a sofa table? I need something about 2' high, and wide enough for the speaker.

I eventually realized that what I needed was essentially a TV stand - as the dimensions and purpose are a good fit. Now, in hindsight (ok, the decorator asked me "why didn't you have the carpenter build one for you"), I could have had a piece made to fit. But I figured, how hard could it be to find a TV stand that is:

1) 2' high
2) flat black (knowing that matching the wood stain color was not going to happen)
3) Not made of glass (no reflections!)
4) Didn't cost a fortune (since its job is to blend in...)

Answer - not even counting #4, really couldn't find one. Everything that resembled a "TV console" was either a wood finish color, glass topped or had glass doors on the front. I had to cast a wider net, and stumbled onto this piece at IKEA - the Stockholm "TV Unit":



I still can't believe I spent over $300 for one piece of furniture at IKEA - can't you normally do an entire room for that???

But it works great. The matte black finish doesn't reflect light, and the height puts the speaker a few inches below the screen edge. I may still put a spacer under the speaker, to get those last few inches of height available... I left the component shelves out of the cabinet, so behind the two drop-doors are comfy theater blankets (and maybe a horsehead pillow in the future):



Actually, I don't think it would cram into that cabinet...

At least the Vantage mains are much simpler to place. Pull them away from the walls, and once the screen is in place, get them as close to the edge of the screen without blocking the view from any of the seats. One of the things I will note in hindsight is that another benefit of placing speakers behind the screen is that you do get a more consistent distance from speakers to ears. I do try to adjust the volume carefully when the room is full as the front row is half the distance to the speakers as the second row. Although, again, no one has complained, either.

Next up, Projector Installation...



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post #107 of 322 Old 03-14-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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The final product turned out really nice. I can appreciate the color tone you went with. May I suggest posting a pic with masks fully drawn back. Even though I read it and know your using scope screen and lens, something felt like it was missing when I saw the screen shot. Guess I'm addicted to Cinemascope goodness...

There. I finally fixed that... Updated the first post with a shot of the masks fully retracted. And yeah, you're right - makes a big difference!

Jeff


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post #108 of 322 Old 03-15-2012, 01:59 PM
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Nice, the new pic looks great. Helps to show how awesome your screen and space are. Hope you have many years of joyful use out of the space.


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post #109 of 322 Old 03-16-2012, 11:14 PM
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Wire Materials:
  • Speaker: Monoprice 12AWG CL2 250ft
  • Category: Monoprice Cat5e 350MHz 1000ft
  • IR: Xantech emitter extension cable
  • HDMI: Blue Jeans Cable Belden Series-1 35', misc Monoprice 1.5'-to-6'
  • Coax: Belden Precision RG6 50', RG6QS 2x75'
Wire locations:
  • Front Center: Speaker, 3x Cat5e, flex conduit
  • Front Left: Speaker, 1x Cat5e, RG6
  • Front Right: Speaker, 1x Cat5e, RG6
  • Screen: 2x Cat5e
  • Front Riser: 1x Cat5e
  • Rear Riser: 1x Cat5e
  • Projector: HDMI, 3x Cat5e, IR emitter cable
  • GrafikEye: 1x Cat5e, IR emitter cable
  • Rack (to house A/V): Conduit, 6x Cat5e, 2x RG6

What are all the Cat5e for in your wire locations?

-----------------------------------------------
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post #110 of 322 Old 03-17-2012, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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What are all the Cat5e for in your wire locations?

I don't know. And that's why they're there...

While I've got conduit to the key locations (screen wall, projector, rack/attic), this is a cheap hedge against future cable needs. We could call it "futureproofing", but the conduit does a much better job. But if you have a cat5e, you can make almost anything work these days for A/V runs. So if I made a cable run of any type, I added a "spare" cat5e to that location as well. Category cable is so cheap, and once you've already got a spool and the holes drilled - adding it to the run is trivial.

The only runs of those listed (other than the home run links from the rack back to the house hub) that I'm using currently are one run to the screen, which I'm using for IR control of the masking system, and one to the projector for RS232 control.

I ran three lines to the center of the screen wall, in case the projector gets replaced with a really big OLED panel in the future (for HDMI-over-cat5). The projector location also got three cables.

And of course, there's always the potential for more Ethernet-connected devices in the future (although most devices that would be *in* the room, not in the rack, would very likely be wireless).

Jeff


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post #111 of 322 Old 03-17-2012, 04:45 PM
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You can't have too many cat5 drops. Just like you can't have too many clamps.

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post #112 of 322 Old 03-19-2012, 08:10 AM
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Adding the connectors to the cat5 pretty easy?

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Adding the connectors to the cat5 pretty easy?

The keystone jacks are very simple. The RJ45 connectors take some practice. Get a bag full of connectors (Monoprice!) and don't be ashamed of having to cut off the mistakes a few times...

I recommend always using a decent cable tester afterwards to ensure everything is in the correct place end-to-end. Way too easy for the wires to swap positions during assembly, and you don't want to be chasing that down later.

Jeff


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post #114 of 322 Old 03-24-2012, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Projector Installation

 

With the projector pre-wiring in place, and the mounting location filled with lumber, I thought the projector mounting would be easy. The mount location should be already centered in the room, and I had at least 2' of leeway for distance. After testing the projector at around 16' lens-to-screen, that was going to be the spot. It was directly over the bar table, so I could lower the projector as much as 1.5' from the ceiling without an issue (which would be 6.5' from the 8' ceiling at the rear riser). I had an adjustable downrod that would allow for a 12-18" drop from the ceiling, with the understanding that less vertical-shift was better...

As my setup includes a Panamorph lens and sled, I needed the specialized mounting plate, which surprised me in that it offset the projector mount horizontally by 2-3" from the center line. This is due to the weight of the lens assembly, to keep the mount balanced. Not a problem, just good thing I figured all that out before screwing the ceiling plate in place!

The mounting itself was straightforward. I used the Chief Designer Ceiling plate, which has a very small profile - good thing as the required shift came very close to the ceiling tray trim. And since I figured the actual adjustments would take me a while to get correct, I used the Chief RPA mount on top of the Panamorph/JVC plate to hang the projector.

LESSON: The Chief RPM Elite mount is not the best choice for setups using lens assemblies (see below)...

With the Chief mount in place, I waited until I had three friends over to actually hang the projector. Before they arrived I had already flipped the projector over (from its testing position), and attached it to the mounting plate and the lower bracket of the Chief mount. I also installed the Panamorph sled, but not the lens itself (no reason to add that weight and complexity to the lift). While the whole assembly isn't very heavy, it is unwieldy, and certainly an expensive thing to drop or otherwise lose
control of. The combination of the bar table, low light conditions (remember, even with the lights all on full, it's still not exactly "bright" in the room), and unfamiliarity with the mount meant this took longer than I expected. But we got the job done.

A few quick leveling adjustments and I was able to show the guys that the thing actually worked (on a paper screen, but hey, it worked).

My next task was attaching the lens, and this is where I missed a few things. The Panamorph lens attaches to the sled with a simple U-shaped mounting bracket. What I missed was that this bracket does have a horizontal (yaw?) adjustment. I knew the sled itself was adjustable (so didn't even think about looking at it later). Carefully lifting the lens into place and adjusting it, I was thrilled with the image. Still needed some tweeking, though...

The JVC models have a 12V trigger that is easily (default?) triggered when Anamorphic stretch is enabled. So getting the sled working was trivial. What I didn't expect was a horizontal image shift when the lens was in place. I had spent time adjusting the image on the screen location, but when the lens was slid into place, the whole image shifted to one side by 4" or more.

Several postings here and eventual calls to Panamorph later, I finally figured out the horizontal adjustment on the lens mount itself ... Oh, and this whole optic/refraction thing - yeah, I turned the lens to the left to compensate for the left-shift of the image, which (for you experts) was backwards of course. Gotta turn the prism the other way!

The other issue I ran into was that when the lens slid into place, the entire image started tilting. Obviously the shift in weight on the mount caused everything to come out of level. I was quite surprised by this, as the mounting plate is fairly thick steel, how could this be? Another discussion with Panamorph revealed two issues. First, I had installed the lens with the "thick" side on the inside (technically, the prism works in either orientation). This meant that more of the lens mass crosses the center of the mounting plate. Second, the Chief RPA mount has many adjustments meant to make it easy for installers to dial in the mount. But these adjustments add plastic washers/components to the mount, which are more susecptible to flex. With the shifting mass changing the balance of the assembly, this flex effectively tilted the assembly. In the end, flipping the lens over to keep more mass on on side (not crossing the center line) made the problem go away. Although if I did it over, I'd use the Chief RPA mount instead of the RPM Elite - which has less adjustments, but also apparently lacks some of the plastic washers that caused this issue... (note that this is not a general recommendation - if you're not using a lens sled, the RPA will likely be the better choice)

So here's the obligatory PJ shots. Note that my sled is branded InFocus - that was one of the AVS deals! The lens itself was also re-branded InFocus, but a conversation with the great reps at Panamorph while at CEDIA led to them pulling off a Panamorph nameplate and handing it to me! Much happier having the "correct" branding represented in these photos!

Front View:


Angled:


Side View - in this shot you can see the TechFlex cable sleeve I installed to clean up the cabling installation. I also used a power-cable splitter (Monoprice!) and short extension cord so the 12V adapter for the sled can be hidden on top of the projector instead of sitting on the ceiling:


Next up, Screen and Masquerade Masking Installation...



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post #115 of 322 Old 03-26-2012, 09:12 AM
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Very nice, Jeff. I'm glad I'm not the only one who dropped their PJ down to avoid vertical shift - I see so many with pj's mounted flush with the ceiling, just wasting pixels. . .

Anxious to read about the Carada Masquerade system. Been thinking about that for my setup - I have a 16X9 screen, so mine would be top and bottom to mask to 2.40:1 - wish I had the room width to do CIH, but I don't (maybe my next house). Only downside is I would have to disable Dwayne's creative behind-screen led lighting (give the screen a very dim warm glow).
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post #116 of 322 Old 03-26-2012, 11:55 AM
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Sweet, can't wait to see the rest!


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post #117 of 322 Old 03-26-2012, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Very nice, Jeff. I'm glad I'm not the only one who dropped their PJ down to avoid vertical shift - I see so many with pj's mounted flush with the ceiling, just wasting pixels. . .

I had planned on bringing it down at least 6" as with the trays it would have looked odd to hug the ceiling trim. But as the PJ is completely over the bar table, no worries about someone hitting their head on it where is it at only about ~6' at the bottom...

Quote:


Anxious to read about the Carada Masquerade system. Been thinking about that for my setup - I have a 16X9 screen, so mine would be top and bottom to mask to 2.40:1 - wish I had the room width to do CIH, but I don't (maybe my next house). Only downside is I would have to disable Dwayne's creative behind-screen led lighting (give the screen a very dim warm glow).

Don't know if you'd have to give that up. The Masquerade and screen only attach at a few points on the wall. Some plywood spacers strategically placed could offset the whole assembly 3/4" or so from the wall, giving you a channel to loop the lighting strip around... I wonder if you'd need to block the light from the back of the vinyl screen? I doubt any light gets through it?

Jeff


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post #118 of 322 Old 04-17-2012, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Screen and Masquerade Installation

 

From before the start of the project, I wanted to do a Constant Image Height (CIH) setup, having seen the demos for years at CEDIA, and of course, seeing the threads here. But a drawback of a 2.35:1 screen arrangement is the exposed (unused) pillarboxes when using 16x9 or 1.85 content, which is even worse if you show anything in 4:3. Improved projector performance and new screen materials can help hide this, but frankly even the best demos I've seen still have pillarboxes that are distracting to me...

So I intended to use a masking system (along with the Anamorphic lens assembly), but was seriously deterred by the cost of the motorized setups. It still feels wrong that some fabric, metal and DC motors should cost more than a high quality projector! Of course, there's a lot more to it than that, and at probably 1% the sales volume of the projector, it's understandable... As mentioned earlier in the thread, the only system I found that I could even begin to stomach the cost of was the Carada Masquerade (which is only *equal* to the cost of the projector).

With the screen size determined by testing, which happens to be largest available size of the Masquerade system (I tested screens in increments equal to the available Masquerade models), I pulled the trigger. And as Carada is a direct-to-user company, it's also one of the few items that I paid "full price".

The Carada folks are great - I spoke with them on the phone a number of times through the process, asking about lead times and such. In the end, when I placed the order, they gave me a scheduled delivery timeframe (that 2-week lead time mentioned earlier), and even came in ahead of schedule.

The Masquerade system comes packed in an incredibly well-engineered crate, with all of the pieces bolted down to prevent damage in shipment. Removing everything from the crate takes a while, and is best performed with two people.

The Masquerade CIH masking system crate and MMS screen box:



One important thing to note about these things is that the long frame and bezel members are rigid aluminum - make sure you have a path into your theater! I checked this with a 10' section of PVC pipe to make sure it was possible. My side-entry required careful positioning and full use of the vertical space to angle the screen members into the room.

Moving the pieces into the room, and all assembly steps, will require 2 people. My trusty fellow-AVS'er friend Alan was again pressed into duty (he's been to enough movie nights to make up for that bit of work).

The Masquerade hangs from the wall using a metal (French?) cleat system. You build the system on the wall, starting from the top. Getting the cleat secured into studs is crucial - there's quite a bit of weight in all that metal. After some head scratching, photo referencing, and some mis-drilling, we got the cleat into place, centered and level.



Here's the only other image I took during installation - I apologize that there's not much else to see. After installing the cleat, you can then mount the wood blocking that will hold the screen frame:



In this image you can also see my Cat5 cable sticking out of the wall, and the A/C power outlet which will be hidden behind the screen (more about that later).

The rest of the assembly process is relatively easy, much credit to Carada for their excellent documentation (located here). Although I would suggest printing out (or having nearby on a laptop/iPad) the instructions in color - the copy included was black&white, so the detailed photos weren't nearly as clearly understood.


On the metal cleat, you install the top frame assembly. From here you attach the two side motor/mask assemblies, which hang from the top frame and also screwed into the wall. The bottom frame assembly the joins from both sides. After electrical hookup, you slide the side frame pieces into place, covering up the masks and motors.

The only two parts that were confusing were the screen mounts and the electrical hook-up. It wasn't clear from the instructions how the screen frame was going to attach to the wood blocks seen above. Once you figure out you're just going to screw the frame on top of the block, everything else makes sense.

The electrical hook up is not ideal, but I understand the need to be very generic and flexible here. Carada ships the Masquerade without a power cord (you can get one installed, but I don't know where it exits the frame, and I certainly wanted it hidden), and points to a small hole in the lower right where power should enter from the wall. Carada gave very specific instructions for this, but to me it was going to be a PITA to get romex fed through this little hole and into the junction box. So I prepared a different solution.

First, I used a recessed outlet (clock outlet), so the power cord would have room to bend and lie flat against the wall. With the screen itself ~1.5" from the wall, and the screen frame mounted on top of the wood blocks, there was ample space to route a power cord from the recessed outlet, across the wall, under the screen frame and into the corner of the mask assembly. I used a generic replacement power cord from the hardware store and some cable retaining clips to keep the cord flush with the wall at all times. Then carefully routed the cord into the corner, and attached the bare wires to the screw terminals provided.

I used the Cat5e cable nearby to splice into an IR emitter, which I then routed out of the frame, and attached to the front IR receiver. This would be my only complaint about the Masquerade - a system like this should have at least a wired-IR input, and more appropriately, an RS232 control interface. I had some difficulty learning the IR codes from the Masquerade remote for use with the Global Cache products (and iRule), even with an IR spreadsheet provided by Carada. But I did get it to work.

Here's the finished shot of the screen and frame:



And at that point I was just a week away from the Grand Opening!

Next up, Control...



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post #119 of 322 Old 04-17-2012, 07:04 PM
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Looking good, i would hope my room looks 1/8th as good as yours, well done.

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post #120 of 322 Old 04-18-2012, 03:11 AM
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Slightly off topic - you said this was a custom build. As a foreigner (British) I'm curious about what that costs. Now I don't need you personal exact costs, but what is the ballpark figure for that acre of land and the house build (not including all extras added by yourself)
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