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post #1 of 172 Old 05-11-2012, 09:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, yet another Northern VA theater! I don't know if mine will have a space theme but I like the name. I would love to do a star ceiling but I'm not sure it is in the budget--compared to some of the other NoVA theaters in here I should probably call it the MiniNoVA thater. Anyway, I digress. I've finally gotten to the point where I feel I can post some plans up and get feedback (thanks to BigMouthInDC for coming out to take a look).

As soon as we moved into this house a few months ago I knew this room would be perfect for a theater. It took some cajoling from friends and family to convince me to specialize the space. I was originally going to have it be a general purpose media / rec room but the rest of the basement has plenty of room for that.

This is going to be a pretty slow build...I'm going to be doing most of the work myself at my leisure, but I imagine the work will speed up the closer I get to completion. I am planning on starting on the framing in the next couple of months. So on to the good stuff. I'll be sharing my sound isolation plans in a few days...in the meantime please feel free to share any thoughts or ideas.

 

Update: I revised the floor plan and have reformatted this post to be more readable. The new floor plan is listed first, followed by other information that most people probably aren't interested in.

 

Here is the new, revised floor plan (see post 61):

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the unfinished room floorplan:

 

 

Here is the original floor plan before I revised it:

 

 

How the room looks now (before it was cleaned):

 

 

Misc notes and other stuff for me to keep track of:
Subwoofer: http://billfitzmaurice.net/THT.html

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post #2 of 172 Old 05-11-2012, 10:49 PM
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I'd frame in that nook to make the room a true rectangle. You may have to step up into the room if the riser gets in the way but WAY worth it. You will still be able to keep all your equipment there but just frame it in with closets or whatever.

Your seating is going to be extremely tight as well. May want to think about changing that too. In wall speakers are always looked down on for most reasonable situations but may need to look into some for this small of a space. I'd cut down on the amount of seats to start and go from there (two rows of 3 at most). My room is 18' wide and I am really pushing it with an isle on each side. I built my room around the golden ratio and wish I hadnt. Wish I made it about 4' wider way there would be more room from the seats to the side surrounds.
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post #3 of 172 Old 05-11-2012, 11:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiovideoholic View Post

I'd frame in that nook to make the room a true rectangle. You may have to step up into the room if the riser gets in the way but WAY worth it. You will still be able to keep all your equipment there but just frame it in with closets or whatever.

Your seating is going to be extremely tight as well. May want to think about changing that too. In wall speakers are always looked down on for most reasonable situations but may need to look into some for this small of a space. I'd cut down on the amount of seats to start and go from there (two rows of 3 at most). My room is 18' wide and I am really pushing it with an isle on each side. I built my room around the golden ratio and wish I hadnt. Wish I made it about 4' wider way there would be more room from the seats to the side surrounds.

What do I get by framing in the nook and making a rectangle?

What do you mean by being tight? Berkline's website says a row of 4 seats is 10'-11' wide depending on the seat and I have allocated 13'. I don't need an aisle on the left side with the current configuration, and I am wondering if I need an aisle on the right side at all...the only reason it would be needed for access would be the last seat on the right side. But I figure the person sitting there can just cut across like an airplane or a regular movie theater.
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post #4 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozziegt View Post

What do I get by framing in the nook and making a rectangle?

What do you mean by being tight? Berkline's website says a row of 4 seats is 10'-11' wide depending on the seat and I have allocated 13'. I don't need an aisle on the left side with the current configuration, and I am wondering if I need an aisle on the right side at all...the only reason it would be needed for access would be the last seat on the right side. But I figure the person sitting there can just cut across like an airplane or a regular movie theater.

Framing that nook in will make the room response much better and you wont have to spend a decade trying to EQ. It wont take away from anything other than open added space that wont be used for anything other than your equipment which can still stay there.

You dont have to have isles. I was just pointing out how space actually looks bigger on paper than what it really is once everything is in place.

The surrounds will be really close to the outer most seats with rows of 4 with or without an isle. If they are in wall speakers they will be a little farther but still close. You will still need to center the seats no matter what so if the seats are 10.5' wide then the surround will be at most with an in wall 1.25' away. Does that make sense? Trying to give you the best example of how a row of 4 will really take up all the space.

Thought of a good example. The viewing angle wont be the issue with this example but the proximity of the speakers is what is. Think about what it would be like to sit in the very last seat at the theater next to the wall. Thats about what the outer seats would be like with rows of four. I would atleast do the front row 3 wide if just cant stand the thought of less seating. You'll have three really good seats as opposed to two or could have 2 money seats (front and rear center) and 4 really good ones (the two outer seats in both rows) with two rows of 3.
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post #5 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 05:44 AM
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Ozzie had me over for a chat to kick ideas around and I lobbied hard for adding another foot+ to the width of the room by making the storeroom smaller and to consider moving the store room door to the wall out side the theater room (from the adjacent basement rec room). I know it seems difficult for a first timer but cutting in that door would be a piece of cake.

Some other notes on the first draft plan, the riser needs to be at least 6 1/2 ft deep for reclining seats.

You may want to consider a 2.35:1 screen and much wider

The step up design is awkward and can be dangerous, the leading edge should be perpendicular to the travel path, not a point.
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post #6 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post

... More space for the theather and you'll be cutting about two feet off the width, therebye moving away from the acoustically handicapped square room.
I personally would not have a fridge in my theater either due to noise, but then again I unplug those little hotel fridges before bed because they drive me crazy.

Looks like you have some professional advice close at hand so probably don't need anymore armchair critics chiming in. Good luck with your build.

I think AV was suggesting framing out the nook where I have the counter and AV closet. From what I read I thought it was OK to have an L-shaped room, as long as it wasn't square. Why do you consider the room square? Isn't it L-shaped? The noise is a good point, so maybe I won't put a fridge in there. It's easy enough to bring down cold drinks from upstairs.

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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Ozzie had me over for a chat to kick ideas around and I lobbied hard for adding another foot+ to the width of the room by making the storeroom smaller and to consider moving the store room door to the wall out side the theater room (from the adjacent basement rec room). I know it seems difficult for a first timer but cutting in that door would be a piece of cake.

Some other notes on the first draft plan, the riser needs to be at least 6 1/2 ft deep for reclining seats.

You may want to consider a 2.35:1 screen and much wider

The step up design is awkward and can be dangerous, the leading edge should be perpendicular to the travel path, not a point.

I'm still playing around with the idea of moving the door. The problem is I don't like the idea of breaking up the clean wall on the other side with a door. Since the plan was for the door to open out into the theater, though, I'm not sure if it makes a significant difference on the amount of closet space? I was also thinking about moving the A/V rack into the closet, at the front near the screen perhaps...any thoughts on that?

What is the benefit of trimming another foot off the closet? I figured 13' would be wide enough to fit as large a screen as I want as well as speakers. Aren't projectors for 2.35 screens much more expensive? I've only read briefly about the 2.35 but it seems pretty expensive / complicated so I didn't really put much more thought into it. How wide would you recommend making the screen?

Yeah I can add another 6 inches to the depth of the riser without a problem. I was going off Berkline schematics which say 72" is enough space. Good point on the step up...easy enough to change.

I think with the current plan the far seats would be about 1-1.5' from the wall if I center the seats on the riser. I've seen other theaters in here where people have posted their seats pretty close to the walls...is that going to be a problem for the average person? I'm not a hardcore audiophile, I doubt I am going to spend hours making sure it sounds totally perfect. I imagine whether I put a 4th seat at the end or not, it's not going to change the location of the other 3 seats that much anyway...so might as well do it to get that extra seating in case I need it.
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post #7 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is a plan where the closet is made smaller...thoughts?

I'm concerned it makes the room more square, makes the closet smaller and I don't really know if there is going to be a difference in the viewing experience with the extra 16" of width.


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post #8 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post

Sometimes trying to maximize storage space impinges on living space.
My experience is that nooks and angled walls always seem less intrusive in a schematic then in real life.

The architecture of the house has angled walls / rooms on the upper levels so I was trying to incorporate that into the basement. My agent said one of the biggest mistake homeowners make when finishing basements is not leaving enough storage...I don't want to make that mistake. Besides the mechanical closet and the bedroom closet, this will be the only closet in the basement which is why I want to maximize the space. I have some questions about what you proposed:

1) This makes the room very square...isn't that bad for acoustics?
2) How would I soundproof the sliding closet door?
3) What do I gain by adding the width if this is a dedicated theater room?
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post #9 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 09:35 AM
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Have you thought about flipping the room around? It may flow better wtih the angled wall if your seating was not facing it. How about adding some type of communicating doors? You might be able to add a door to enter the concession area and then a second to enter the theater. This would help a lot with sound containment. I like what DavidK422 did with the floorplan, but I am not sure I like the sliding closet doors due to potential for rattling. One last suggestion, you should seriously consider building a false wall and making your screen larger. Just my $0.02.

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post #10 of 172 Old 05-12-2012, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

Ozzie had me over for a chat to kick ideas around and I lobbied hard for adding another foot+ to the width of the room by making the storeroom smaller and to consider moving the store room door to the wall out side the theater room (from the adjacent basement rec room). I know it seems difficult for a first timer but cutting in that door would be a piece of cake.

Some other notes on the first draft plan, the riser needs to be at least 6 1/2 ft deep for reclining seats.

You may want to consider a 2.35:1 screen and much wider

The step up design is awkward and can be dangerous, the leading edge should be perpendicular to the travel path, not a point.

Yeah Big, Moving the door and wall would be cake and you my friend are just the person to make things like that happen! Work your magic and have him lay the room out to optimal specs.

Davids layout would even perform much better than the original too and it would open things up a bit while doing so.

OP, youre on the right track by being here and asking Big to talk so you'll atleast have options to really ponder.
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post #11 of 172 Old 05-14-2012, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Soo...any thoughts on whether the 14'4" wide floorplan has any significant benefits over the 13' wide? I don't think it will make a noticeable difference at all to make the room 16" wider...it will still fit the same number of seats.
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post #12 of 172 Old 05-14-2012, 06:09 PM
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The wider the side aisles the better the audio in the side seats. Seats close to the wall are problematic.
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post #13 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 06:33 AM
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Welcome to the madness! Biggy is a great resource for help, so you are already on the right path. Where in NoVA are you?

I second making the closet smaller, for moving the door to outside the room, for moving the fridge outside of the room, and for making the screen wider (and in the 2.35 aspect ratio).

Maybe you can have the entrance to the closet outside the room and have your equipment visible from inside the room (sort of like Cathan did). The closet would then become truly an equipment closet providing access to the wiring and back of the equipment.

With a fridge in the room, you'll have more heat to deal with (as well as a higher noise floor within the room). Be sure to plan for the HVAC load of a sealed room with heat generators (equipment, fridge, and people).

Keep posing your ideas and we'll help you make sense of the pros and cons.

Good luck!

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post #14 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carboranadum View Post

Welcome to the madness! Biggy is a great resource for help, so you are already on the right path. Where in NoVA are you?

I second making the closet smaller, for moving the door to outside the room, for moving the fridge outside of the room, and for making the screen wider (and in the 2.35 aspect ratio).

Maybe you can have the entrance to the closet outside the room and have your equipment visible from inside the room (sort of like Cathan did). The closet would then become truly an equipment closet providing access to the wiring and back of the equipment.

With a fridge in the room, you'll have more heat to deal with (as well as a higher noise floor within the room). Be sure to plan for the HVAC load of a sealed room with heat generators (equipment, fridge, and people).

Keep posing your ideas and we'll help you make sense of the pros and cons.

Good luck!

Big has been a great help so far, I'm sure he will be even more help when it comes time to start the work. I live in eastern Loudoun county, just east of Leesburg.

Yeah I think at this point the fridge is going to go out due to heat / noise concerns...either that or I will install a switch so I can turn the fridge off when it comes time to watch a movie.

I am going to be installing two dead vents for intake / exhaust to the neighboring part of the basement to circulate the air. There is already a space in the ceiling where I can do that. If you look at the third photo, where that ducting is leaving the room (just above the shelves), that soffit or whatever you call it extends all the way into the rest of the basement so I can just install a couple of dead vents very easily.

I do like idea of making the closet smaller but I need to balance that with the storage requirements for the basement as well. Still thinking about it. I think the 2nd plan with the 14'4" wide room is the smallest I am going to go though. I might not go with the 2.35 screen now but I could see the argument for making sure there is room in case I want to do that in a few years.
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post #15 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 09:54 AM
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Good ideas all. I think you should bring in someone knowledgeable to help you work through the HVAC plan. I have three inputs and one powered return in my room and it's not enough during 1/2 of the year. The basement and first floor share a zone. I wish I had created a third zone for the basement so that I wouldn't have to freeze the first floor when I have a room full of 7 people.

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post #16 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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We only moved into this place in November but it seems that so far the basement is always cooler than the first floor (they share a zone). I have an open stairwell between the first floor and basement too. Also there is a return in the basement so my plan right now is that as long as I keep the fan running to circulate the air between the basement and first floor, things should stay comfortable.
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post #17 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 10:51 AM
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You need to PM Morph1c and get his input on the air exchange system, long story short it has been his weak link on his project, Black Cat theater. The air coming into a room via an exchange is not nearly as cold as the air coming directly from an AC duct. Therefore it takes a lot more volume to keep an air-tight well insulated room cool when filled to capacity and your space heater (Projector) is running. As the volume of air required increases the air noise in the ducts and vents also increases. Just plan accordingly and you should be fine.
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post #18 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

You need to PM Morph1c and get his input on the air exchange system, long story short it has been his weak link on his project, Black Cat theater. The air coming into a room via an exchange is not nearly as cold as the air coming directly from an AC duct. Therefore it takes a lot more volume to keep an air-tight well insulated room cool when filled to capacity and your space heater (Projector) is running. As the volume of air required increases the air noise in the ducts and vents also increases. Just plan accordingly and you should be fine.

Yeah I've been watching his build. Hopefully I won't make the same mistake. I have enough room to install as much ducting as I need.
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post #19 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm starting to wonder how I am going to get the drywall into the basement.
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post #20 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 11:30 AM
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take an 8 ft 2x4 and simulate the route.
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post #21 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 11:49 AM
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And don't forget the 4 foot side of the 8 feet! Just because you can get an 8' 2"X4" down the steps and tilt it to get it around the bend doesn't mean that a 4 FOOT wide 8 foot long piece will make the same trip.

I'm just sayin'.

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post #22 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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So I am also contemplating the idea of flipping the screen to the other side like mentioned by AZGAMD. Initially I thought the narrow part would frame the screen better...the screen and the speakers will take up the entire wall, as opposed to if I flip it where the screen and speakers won't really be anchored to a wall on the right side. It will be kind of awkward because both ends of the stage won't butt up against a wall. But I guess if I flip it the room might have a more open feel while you are sitting in the back row...

It won't really change the floorplan either way, but I guess it will impact how I do the wiring.
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post #23 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Now that I think about it was barely able to squeeze a full size mattress and box frame down the stairs...a full size box frame is 75" long so I think I will be ok. Maybe I'll get lucky and can find a drywall shop which will move it down there for me.
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post #24 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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The more builds I see the more people I see who have mounted chairs within inches of the walls. I was just looking at carboranadum's absolutely amazing build and it looks like he did the same, he has a 13' wide theater. Along with comments like this, I'm not really concerned about the width of the room except when it comes to screen size...
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post #25 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

And don't forget the 4 foot side of the 8 feet! Just because you can get an 8' 2"X4" down the steps and tilt it to get it around the bend doesn't mean that a 4 FOOT wide 8 foot long piece will make the same trip.

I'm just sayin'.


Very true! I can get a 8' 2x4 down my basement stairwell no problem....but i have to flex a piece of 4'x8' drywall just to get it to fit. I ended up carrying all my drywall through the egress window opening before the window was installed.
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post #26 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 01:18 PM
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My room is just over 12' wide and I have 4 chairs (set of 2 and 2 individual chairs) of the narrowest chairs I could find. I have one end almost against the wall and very narrow aisle on the other end. I'll need to do some surgery (remove an arm here, move an arm there....) to get a little more room.

I should have just ordered a row of 4. You're welcome to come by and see my room to get an idea of what it's like.

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post #27 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Tom I might just take you up on that offer. I also would like to do my build by the book and get all the necessary inspections..Big said you did that so I might want to pick your brain around that too.
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post #28 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I am going to try to squeeze a 120" wide 2:35:1 screen in there. I should be able to do it with the 13' wide room. That would leave 18" on each side for the bass traps and speakers.
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post #29 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozziegt View Post

The more builds I see the more people I see who have mounted chairs within inches of the walls. I was just looking at carboranadum's absolutely amazing build and it looks like he did the same, he has a 13' wide theater. Along with comments like this, I'm not really concerned about the width of the room except when it comes to screen size...

Hey...thanks for the kind words! Let me know if you want to make the trek out here for a visit.

Yes, I did push my rear side chairs against the walls, primarily due to space constraints. I used bipole (quad-pole actually) surround speakers for the sides and rears, but sound there is noticably diminished from the money seats in the middle. *I* can hear the difference, but my guests can't. So, consequently, those side chairs are reserved for guests.

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post #30 of 172 Old 05-15-2012, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozziegt View Post

I think I am going to try to squeeze a 120" wide 2:35:1 screen in there. I should be able to do it with the 13' wide room. That would leave 18" on each side for the bass traps and speakers.

Go big or go home! That's a great size. At 19' width, you can go much larger (but the light cannon that you will need to properly illuminate that screen will cost $$$). I did 130" width (141.5" diagonal) 2.37:1 AT screen in my theater (with a 13' width). I LOVE it!

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