perfect theater pre-plans? - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 01-08-2013, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
hashofet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Davis County, UT
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Hello fellow enthusiasts, i'm working on building our new home (yay!) with a dedicated space in the basement for a theater. I'm still in the design phase of the house and don't expect to actually start my actual theater build for another year, but i don't want to miss anything that I should have done during construction of the house now that could help me later on, particularly in theater dimensions. I've tried searching, but i didn't find if there was a "perfect" size for a theater room. I know that rectangular is obviously preferred, and longer is better for more seating, but is there some calculator that gives the "ideal" dimensions for x width with y length?

Incidentally, i'm looking at around 15'x28'x9' right now, and could go possibly wider/thinner, but not much longer.

Also, i have the option to drop the floor in my theater area another foot from 9ft to 10ft. Is this worth doing for the extra cost, or is it just a "nice" thing to have taller ceilings? (i've seen great builds in here go even deeper..) If so, should I drop the entire theater area? or just some portion of it for the intended first row seating?

And for the bonus question... should I even worry about theater electrical or hvac now while I build the rest of my home? or am I fine to worry about all this later when i actually design the theater? and just get the "shell" in place now?

Thanks much!
hashofet is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 Old 01-08-2013, 09:05 PM
HOME THEATER CONTRACTOR
 
BIGmouthinDC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Northern VA
Posts: 20,505
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 143 Post(s)
Liked: 533
There is much to be done before you have a shell and you have already mentioned some things, you need plans addressing

Sound isolation, keeping it out and in, if often starts with the framing design
How to provide adequate HVAC and how to not let it become a sound conduit to the rest of the house.
All the pre-wiring necessary

pay attention to how they plan to route the plumbing and HVAC duct work. Many perfect floor plans on paper have been ruined by a major HVAC trunk line hanging down from the ceiling.
BIGmouthinDC is offline  
post #3 of 15 Old 01-08-2013, 09:46 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
hashofet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Davis County, UT
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thanks Big,
I have been reading tons over the last year and do understand all the planning that needs to go into soundproofing etc when i start planning the construction of the theater, but I can't start that work till after the house is built and moved in etc.. ( and probably after the rest of the basement is finished according to my wife lol =)..

I'm mostly worried right now about the raw dimensions of my theater and floor as that will affect some concrete wall placement and foundation pouring. I've already made sure that there is no bulk overhead with hvac other than inside the trusses for the dining room upstairs so i have a clear 9" ceiling right now, but some things I need to know are:
1. best raw dimensions for a theater..
1.if adding 2 HVAC units instead of 1 now would be better,
2. if a 200amp service to my house is good, or if i need to plan for an extra sub-panel put in now next to the theater for speakers/amps etc..

When i do move forward with the build, i'll probably be asking the erskine group to help with the plans.. i'd love to do something pretty nice using a seaton/procella or jtr setup if that helps any?
hashofet is offline  
post #4 of 15 Old 01-08-2013, 10:07 PM
AVS Special Member
 
jautor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 7,691
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 82 Post(s)
Liked: 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by hashofet View Post

I've tried searching, but i didn't find if there was a "perfect" size for a theater room.

It will be six inches larger than whatever you build... biggrin.gif
Quote:
Incidentally, i'm looking at around 15'x28'x9' right now, and could go possibly wider/thinner, but not much longer.

That's plenty of depth, I would recommend wider. It depends on how many seats you want, too - but if I did it over again my room would have been a foot wider and 2 feet deeper. It's 16x22 now, 17x24 would have been better for me. 10' ceiling.
Quote:
Also, i have the option to drop the floor in my theater area another foot from 9ft to 10ft. Is this worth doing for the extra cost, or is it just a "nice" thing to have taller ceilings? (i've seen great builds in here go even deeper..) If so, should I drop the entire theater area? or just some portion of it for the intended first row seating?

Helps a lot for fitting in two risers and having headroom to hang the projector, and also to give the room a more theater-like feel. But drop the entire area, not just a section, as you'll inevitably make it too big or too small - and doing so also means you've set the use of the room in, well, concrete. If you or a future owner want to use the space differently, it'll be a challenge.
Quote:
And for the bonus question... should I even worry about theater electrical or hvac now while I build the rest of my home? or am I fine to worry about all this later when i actually design the theater? and just get the "shell" in place now?

Yes, get the HVAC and electrical sized and dropped to support the theater. I had two 20A circuits dropped into the unfinished area during construction for future use. HVAC planning was done somewhat to add a zoned system to support it - but my conversations with the HVAC guys should have been more detailed... Turned out ok, but I had told them explicitly that there was going to be seating for 12-15, and I have 30-40 people in the game room area for poker tournaments, the load calculations might have been a bit different! wink.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by hashofet View Post

1.if adding 2 HVAC units instead of 1 now would be better,

Talk with your HVAC guy, but the important point is that with a large number of people in a nice, sealed up theater with an equipment stack and projector, you will likely need cooling even in the winter. Make sure your system can do that.
Quote:
2. if a 200amp service to my house is good, or if i need to plan for an extra sub-panel put in now next to the theater for speakers/amps etc..

If there's a place you can put a sub-panel, it's a great idea. Otherwise 2-3 circuits placed so they can be used anywhere in the theater / equipment area is probably enough. But do get those things staged now.
Quote:
When i do move forward with the build, i'll probably be asking the erskine group to help with the plans..

Yes, do that, at least the Theater Layout Service, and you'll need to check with BIG to see if he likes to ski... biggrin.gif


Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

jautor is offline  
post #5 of 15 Old 01-08-2013, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
hashofet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Davis County, UT
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Jautor thanks so much for the reply! I totally love your theater and would love to make mine as awesome looking as yours. You mentioned your specs being 16ft wide.. is that before sheetrock/soundproofing etc? or 16' currently? How much room do i loose post-finish work?

As for bribing Big with snow, if it will work I'd love to get him out here when the time comes lol,
hashofet is offline  
post #6 of 15 Old 01-09-2013, 12:29 AM
AVS Special Member
 
rabident's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,999
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked: 21
For HT plans, I would try to nail that down ahead of time. If you're going to pay Shawn for the layout service, then do it during the architecture phase of your new home. It's so much easier to change things on paper and this way you have a target state everyone can work towards. Here is some advice I gave another guy in a similar situation, basically new construction:
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

If you haven't discussed support poles or structural support beams with your architect, you need to ASAP.

Also consider how HVAC, pipes, and utility lines will be run through the space. What will that do to your ceiling height? Will it cause any irregularities or protrusions into the room? I would highly recommend incorporating the a routing plan in your design and put it in the contract that the builder has to follow it. Have the architect or designer reroute as much as possible around the theater.

Consider your truss design. Do you want try to run things through the truss webbing, or use use metal or wooden I-beams. I did open web trusses and it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped mainly due to lack of route planning. But it still netted me ~12' ceilings. If I had it to do over, I would probably try conventional metal beams and dig down further to make up for the loss in ceiling height. But digging down can be expensive, especially if you hit rock which is typically lumped in with the "act of god" exclusions to the contract price. The more you dig, the more you roll the dice and if you hit a lot of rock it can be cost prohibitive to continue to dig.

You also need to consider the proximity of noise generating sources to your theater. Place your mechanical rooms far away from your theater room so you don't have to deal with the noise. Also think about where your external A/C compressors will sit relative to the theater.

If you want to sound proof your floor/ceilings you need to mass up the floor over the theater. The architect needs to take into account the additional thickness of the floor and drop the support walls (and poles) an inch or two so the top of your finished floor is all one level. Trying to retrofit ceiling soundproofing later within the theater is expensive, labor intensive, and not nearly as effective.

Watch the move "Mr Nobody" with your wife. It's on youtube for free. Don't rush. Get everything in writing, and put every last detail in the contract. If everyone remains friends to the end, no harm done. If things go south, it's all you've got.

I have mixed feelings about doing the HT with the house or later. On the plus side, it forces you to deal with things that may otherwise be overlooked. You mentioned HVAC now or later. Now will force them to deal with duct routing without dropping down into the theater, electrical, condensate removal, exaust vents if includes a gas furnace, and even the little things like the grading & spacing for the HVAC compressors outside. On both my build and JPA's we were unable to use a dedicated HVAC in our theaters because we didn't have a good place to put the extra external compressor. There are so many intertwined dependencies. I'm looking at some expensive soundproofing to isolate my mechanical room from the HT, and in retrospect I wonder why I didn't carve up the basement differently and designate the mechanical room on the far side of the basement well away from the theater. It would have cost me a couple hundred dollars tops for longer lines vs the 5 figure quotes I've received for dealing with the noise now.

As far as dimensions, I tend to think as big as you can afford. I was told 20x30x12 was a good start. I orginally had 10' ceilings spec'd but sight lines to screen position I wanted meant I needed 12'. I am glad I got the extra space, wish I had more. I lost a few inches when they framed the room, a few more when they re-framed to square things off, sound proofing takes space, surface mount components, acoustic treatments, fabric wall, columns, sconces. You'll loose a few feet in the front for the screen wall (with less room locking you into low-profile products). Ideally you would have an equipment/projector booth in back. Just big enough for the projector can restrict future upgrades. There are some highend builds with the ass of a projector sticking out the rear wall or protruding into the theater space. Others have had clearance issues with the location of exhaust vents (out the back on some projectors). Room within a room construction has the best soundproofing performance and is much easier for builders to build (more idiot proof, plus easy to inspect before drywall goes up). The main trade off is space. I wish I started with longer than 30' maybe 35 or 40' of raw unfinished space. It's easy to pull a wall in, nearly impossible to move it out. A couple of builds have used spancrete to put the theater under the garage. Combining the area under the garage with normal basement room sizes could create an otherwise unrealistically large theater. Even a 3 car garage on it's own isn't a bad size. I wish I had known about spancrete when I did my mine. The only downside to going big is the non-linear price increase as everything compounds.

 

 

rabident is offline  
post #7 of 15 Old 01-09-2013, 01:30 AM
AVS Club Gold
 
SierraMikeBravo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Topeka, KS
Posts: 1,394
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 29
10' is adequate, but 11' or more is ideal. Best thing to help determine dimensions is how many seats you want. Then determine your budget.

Shawn Byrne
Erskine Group
HAA Design Certified -THX Certified Professional

Design-Video & Audio Calibration Information

The original Pro Theater Layout
SierraMikeBravo is offline  
post #8 of 15 Old 01-09-2013, 06:41 AM
AVS Special Member
 
jautor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 7,691
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 82 Post(s)
Liked: 341
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

For HT plans, I would try to nail that down ahead of time. If you're going to pay Shawn for the layout service, then do it during the architecture phase of your new home. It's so much easier to change things on paper and this way you have a target state everyone can work towards.

I should have made that point clear as well, get at least the design work done while the house is under design/construction, even if you don't have the funds to actually do the build until later. I was in this boat during my home construction - the theater was going to be left as an unfinished room until later (waiting for my old house to sell). But at the time, either the Layout Service wasn't available, or I wasn't aware of it. Either way, I didn't use it.

So my room was planned from my mostly-educated guesses and what I thought was "enough" space and dimensions and so forth. Spending the $600 for the layout service then would have given me a bunch of tips that would have made the room even better.

Even if you come back years later, and want to totally change the design again at that time, that will still be money well-spent. You're going to be buried in home construction details, and the theater planning is several times more detailed than most every other room...

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

jautor is offline  
post #9 of 15 Old 01-09-2013, 05:26 PM
AVS Special Member
 
rabident's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,999
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Liked: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by hashofet View Post

Also, i have the option to drop the floor in my theater area another foot from 9ft to 10ft. Is this worth doing for the extra cost, or is it just a "nice" thing to have taller ceilings? (i've seen great builds in here go even deeper..) If so, should I drop the entire theater area? or just some portion of it for the intended first row seating?

It's a relatively cheap way to get extra ceiling height. Dennis originally suggested it for mine. I forgot how much is was for me, I think $1200 which is nothing compared to the price of a house. It was really good bang for the buck, I thought. With the extra space, I can put everything inside the theater space and not have to worry about building backer boxes which are a PITA.

Dennis has answered the 'drop entire theater vs cement riser' question before. Paraphrasing, drop the whole theater because
1) resale is better if you have the option of a theater room being used for something else
2) the area under the riser can be used as a giant bass trap.

It's also easier to tweak/modify a wood riser. With cement, the shape and seating distances are quite literally set in stone.

 

 

rabident is offline  
post #10 of 15 Old 01-09-2013, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
hashofet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Davis County, UT
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Jautor, Rabident,
Thank you both for taking the time to write such helpful answers! I just got back from looking at tile/flooring with my wife and i think i want to quit now... lol. I can tell this is going to be a LONG and painful process..

I think you've convinced me to see about dropping the entire theater area to 10' now and also see how much width i can take it past 15-16' I'll also look into adding a second HVAC for the basement. SierraMikeBravo above said the best way to determine size is to look at desired amount of seating. I would like to have 2 rows of 4 with a bar/seating in the back for another 4 so maybe 12-15 total people inside the theater max. Mostly it'll be maybe 2-3 at a time. Based on what i see in your own builds this looks doable with my dimensions.... If I go for the Pro-Theater Layout service now, what would I need to know about my house plans before I talk with the erskine group? I'm still waiting for a revised first-draft of the basement from the architect. Would that be enough to start with?

Also wanted to mention that like Rabident, i'm planning on using open-web trusses for my joists. Hopefully this should help make routing hvac/wires/plumbing much easier as it can all go inside the trusses instead of below them. (no drop downs at all in the theater area or most of the rest of the basement). There's also no plumbing in that area of the house as well, and only one or two HVAC runs to the dining room and bedroom above (should be run between the trusses). Also, the mechanical room will be a couple rooms away (about 25') so i think i hit all the "things I would have done differently" from your posts above. =)
hashofet is offline  
post #11 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 07:23 AM
Member
 
Lepus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 11
hashofet when planning your theatre, I would suggest getting the electrician to place electrical boxes where you want the lighting to go and if you are wall mounting your tv get him to place a wall outlet. I would suggest a conduit behind the tv screen wall to where you are going to house your AV equipment. Another thought is, will your theatre just have one entrance into it with the bar or multiple? I don't know if your basement by code has to have drywall on exterior basement walls or not, but you should plan for either conduit or running your wires early. 200AMP service is required, unless you putting in a central heatpump system or jacuzzi or hottube, as those would require 400amp service. Also suggest getting the electrician to put a whole house surge protector, as they are only around $100, and protect all your appliances. We just finished building our house in Eastern Canada. If I could of I would of made the room larger for my theatre room, but it is 11.5' by 16' where two partial walls come out. If I had more money I would of made it larger.

In regards to our contractor, he said he would never use web joists again, they may be easier to work with for other trades but the sound carries on the other floors right through the whole house as it is open.
Lepus is offline  
post #12 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 11:20 AM
Advanced Member
 
alittletank's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: San Antonio Tx
Posts: 565
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hashofet View Post

. If I go for the Pro-Theater Layout service now, what would I need to know about my house plans before I talk with the erskine group? I'm still waiting for a revised first-draft of the basement from the architect. Would that be enough to start with?

I don’t have any experience with the Erskine Group however if I were in your position I would call them now. If you are going to use their services then why wait when they may have a recommendation that could be implemented easiest with the design and construction. I'm sure they would rather hear from your sooner rather than later when a change cant be made.

alittletank is offline  
post #13 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 12:41 PM
Member
 
Lepus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Oh one other thing, if you want a lower tax rate, make sure you finish your basement after the tax assessment is done on your home, not sure how much you pay in property taxes, but it might save you a little down the road.smile.gif
Lepus is offline  
post #14 of 15 Old 01-10-2013, 01:28 PM
Senior Member
 
DIYHomeTheater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 338
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Consider putting two layers drywall+Green glue between the ceiling joists BEFORE they put any ductwork/plumbing/electrical in the theater. Soundproofing will be easier later. Do not frame out the theater room without isolation clips (see the IB-2 and IB-3 clips at http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing-products/soundproofing-clips/). Do not put HVAC/Mechanical room next to the theater. Don't put windows in the theater room. Consider how you will be pulling HVAC supply/returns to the theater. Both have to be high. Supply at front, return at back. Your registers will need to be several feet away (the more the merrier) from where the duct penetrates the theater. So, ensure that you can run 6" insulated ducts for 10'+ lengths INSIDE the theater (in a soffit) from where the enter the theater. Allow for a separate HVAC zone in the theater - you will need to cool even in the winter. Keep the equipment in a different room and provide for at least 40 amps supply to the theater gear. Dont put any structural columns where the theater might be.
DIYHomeTheater is offline  
post #15 of 15 Old 01-16-2013, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
Member
 
hashofet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Davis County, UT
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Thank you DYIHomeTheater. Those are some good points to remember. I'm still trying visualize what you mean by putting up DW+GG before ductwork and plumbing. If the ductwork and plumbing are for the rooms above, wouldn't you want to keep those outside your DW+GG perimeter?
hashofet is offline  
Reply Dedicated Theater Design & Construction

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off