Another poor man's dedicated theater build - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 1Likes
  • 1 Post By Ftoast
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 15 Old 07-24-2014, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Another poor man's dedicated theater build

For a semi-obnoxious intro:
Q. What's under $250, can be completed in a day (if you're more organized than I was) and won't upset even the strictest landlord?
A. White paint, black fabric and a handful of black push-pins.
- Remember that almost any fabric, cover or curtain can pose a possible fire-safety hazard. Be safe and keep heat sources at a safe distance.

I've been wondering what sort of improvements could be possible with darkening the walls and ceiling in a front-projection environment. I didn't really want to paint everything dark and the only room that could get away with a "blackout" treatment is also somewhat of a storage area that would require a false wall to eliminate the visual clutter.

I've heard of long curtain being used with wire or such as an alternative to painting that also absorbs more light while being more temporary in some renters' minds as well. This also would take care of my false-wall requirement as well as a few other neat benefits.

Figuring that purchasing cloth and building my own would save a bit of money (and likely be necessary for covering the ceiling anyway), off I went to explore my options.
As it turned out, the approximately 12'x14'x8' room required nearly $150 worth of the thin, black cotton material I ended up settling on. It's very lightweight, doesn't stretch at all, and can be found for around $2.50/yd if you call around..perfect.

I grabbed a $2, 200count box of tacks on the way out and got to work. Starting with the walls and overlapping meant all the tacks could be hidden by the next piece of fabric, and the fabric was so lightweight that only the tops (right near the ceiling) needed tacking..the rest could simply drape down. I was most surprised by how easily the ceiling covering went. Once again, the low weight coupled with the lack of stretch meant only 1tack/yard was needed to hold the fabric tight against the ceiling, leaving only a very slight pillow in between. Despite all the dark colors, the room turned out really cozy probably owed to the tufted fabric instead of hard paint lines.

I left the only clear wall slightly framed by fabric and rolled a couple coats of flat-white interior latex..because the only clear wall was also the only wallpapered wall and I figured I'd try painting over before dedicating a week to properly taking down and cleaning the 20year-old wallpaper (had to do one of these in the lower level..yes it took about a week of on and off scrubbing to finally clear the wall). My fears of the paper curling or the seams showing proved unfounded and now it's a working room with only a few finishing touches left. The problem is that it's now working and I can procrastinate everything else. :/
Rolling the paint on with a 1/4" nap roller, I didn't drip once..NOT ONCE. It was the easiest thing ever.

For masking, the side borders of cloth will be measured and tightened up. The top/bottom will be using the same fabric, rolled around a 10' 1/4" steel pole (basically used as a rolling blind) with preset rests for 16:9 and 2.40:1 concealed behind a loose hanging side curtain.

Sound is currently a little $40, 2.1 system that will likely stay for quite some time. If I find a cheap/free 5.1, the wiring can be easily fully hidden behind the wall fabric without any construction required..yet another benefit of using fabric instead of paint.

Seating was easily obtained for free via craigslist (a ton of good options if you live anywhere withing driving distance of a populated area). I've woken up in the very dark-green loveseat once or twice a week. It is ridiculously comfortable.

Because the fabric isn't thick enough to fully block the sun, I did buy a couple yards of thicker stuff (nearly blue-jean weight on clearance for $2/yd..the store only had about 4yds though) for the window sections as well as ducktaped some tinfoil over the glass. Using blackout curtains or material would probably work better for most folks, but for me, grabbing a little baking foil was cheaper and totally blacks out the windows.

So now it's a dark-in-the-day, black and light-absorbing room with a 120"+ screen, a simple soundsystem that's loud enough for the small space, AND it's still functioning as a sectioned-off storage area.

-Paint and paint supplies: $15
-Fabric, foil, tape and tacks: $155
-Steel poles: $4
-2.1 soundsystem: $40
-Seating: $0
Not counting the projector; that's about $215, a short round-trip drive, and a few hours of pushing tacks into a ceiling from a stepladder.
I'm using a 720p LED DLP with similarly modest contrast as the w1070 but lower black levels because of its lower lumen output.
That puts the total cost (including PJ) up to $600. Everything except the loveseat was purchased new in-store.

Next will be finishing the masking and probably putting up a backlighting array to increase perceived contrast. Reflections from the backlight should be minimized by the black room..I'm pretty excited.
wizzack likes this.

Last edited by Ftoast; 07-27-2014 at 06:43 AM.
Ftoast is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 12:09 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Here are some pictures before the masking was put up.









I had originally gone with an N4 grey screen (very dark, as shown at the sides), but switched back to white for the more forgiving low-end gamma and vibrant colors. The grey was a fun experience though, and having only 10% of your light coming back at you worked oddly well once all the lights were off and your eyes opened up. The bad part was that even the dimmest of lights in your peripheral could totally throw off your perception of white and even this extreme darkness (and even darker) couldn't beat the dark-adjusted eye's ability to detect that black wasn't absolutely pitch-black.

I'd read somewhere that the human eye can't detect anything darker than about 0.00087ftL, as it turns out, this is just NOT so. Even putting another zero toward that number didn't give a black as dead-space appearance, so the test proved a failure. ..rest of the theater worked fine and repainting was easy.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01210.jpg
Views:	1082
Size:	305.1 KB
ID:	179162   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01211.jpg
Views:	1065
Size:	317.3 KB
ID:	179170   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01214.jpg
Views:	1069
Size:	319.7 KB
ID:	179178   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01215.jpg
Views:	1063
Size:	318.9 KB
ID:	179186  
Ftoast is online now  
post #3 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Eww, that paint roller boarder has got to go. Never bothered with masking before, but this was a particularly strong call for it.











It can now be quickly, manually switched between 16:9 and 2.40:1 at 8'6"wide.
Time for some "testing".
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01219.jpg
Views:	1072
Size:	374.9 KB
ID:	179194   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01221-1.jpg
Views:	1073
Size:	151.7 KB
ID:	179202   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01222.jpg
Views:	1069
Size:	273.9 KB
ID:	179210   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01223.jpg
Views:	1074
Size:	309.9 KB
ID:	179218   Click image for larger version

Name:	CAM01226.jpg
Views:	1073
Size:	323.6 KB
ID:	179226  

Ftoast is online now  
post #4 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 07:34 AM
AVS Special Member
 
NickTheGreat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 1,740
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Liked: 92
Talk about a good "bang for your buck" value.
NickTheGreat is offline  
post #5 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickTheGreat View Post
Talk about a good "bang for your buck" value.
Hopefully it'll be cheap, fast and easy enough to tempt folks on the fence about projection to lean toward the dark side.

I'd imagine many would be happy with just the big screen and immediate dark surround without bothering about the rest of the walls/ceiling, and most of this is only really even necessary for those who are considering a $2000+ projector but think a dedicated room is too much trouble.

It DOES really pull you into the movie, having it practically floating it space in front of you.

I'm also hoping that it'll appeal to renters since all it leaves behind are a few basically invisible tack holes near/on the ceiling and one wall that's cleaner looking than the rest. Teardown takes under an hour, leaves no mess, fits in a small shopping bag and can all be used again at the next location.
The wall covering can even be tied back with rope like curtains so the room isn't always so dark.
Ftoast is online now  
post #6 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 12:21 PM
Member
 
skipford's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Denton Texas
Posts: 78
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ftoast View Post
Hopefully it'll be cheap, fast and easy enough to tempt folks on the fence about projection to lean toward the dark side.

I'd imagine many would be happy with just the big screen and immediate dark surround without bothering about the rest of the walls/ceiling, and most of this is only really even necessary for those who are considering a $2000+ projector but think a dedicated room is too much trouble.

It DOES really pull you into the movie, having it practically floating it space in front of you.

I'm also hoping that it'll appeal to renters since all it leaves behind are a few basically invisible tack holes near/on the ceiling and one wall that's cleaner looking than the rest. Teardown takes under an hour, leaves no mess, fits in a small shopping bag and can all be used again at the next location.
The wall covering can even be tied back with rope like curtains so the room isn't always so dark.
I am totally WITH you in your pursuit here. I applaud it. The one little "Debbie Downer" about it for me is safety (so boring).

IF you had kids or something I hope you don't do what you have done. Unless the product you are hanging is ASTM E84 tested. Ideally it's class A. What you have done may be.

Ok now let me just further this from a monetary or code compliance impact. IF something terrible were to happen I hope they wouldn't come after you as being negligent and possibly denying an insurance claim or the like.

Again, this is all just me spitballing with the devil's advocate side of this approach.

I think it's cool though!
skipford is offline  
post #7 of 15 Old 07-25-2014, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
I was under the impression that there were codes in place that mandated all sold curtains/beddings/etc. to be FR and I've been told that all US sold fabric was under a similar mandate. These assumptions were FALSE. The material I am using (as well as many others, including furniture covers and curtains) CAN easily catch and spread fire if exposed to an open flame.
If you want to use any sort of cloth paneling or drape and feel you might be at risk (or have nature's "wildcard" ..children) consider requesting IFR/DFR fabric, the increase in price will likely be worth the piece-of-mind.

Anyone using fabric lining or panels (especially velvet or other piled fabric) and/or non-FR sound treatment (basically anything that isn't fiberglass insulation) should keep this hazard in mind. A little common sense goes a long way. Be aware of heat sources because your plaster/sheetrock is safe but everything between it and YOU makes no promises. :/

Last edited by Ftoast; 07-27-2014 at 06:54 AM.
Ftoast is online now  
post #8 of 15 Old 09-05-2014, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Some quick video of the theater in action (masking completely open to 16:10) with lights on and with lights off.
I unplugged the "soundsystem" to give an idea what can be expected from the tiny internal speakers.


Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.

Last edited by Ftoast; 09-05-2014 at 02:04 AM.
Ftoast is online now  
post #9 of 15 Old 09-05-2014, 04:46 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Brian Fineberg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,268
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 228 Post(s)
Liked: 538
well done! can you provide a link to the black material you used? might be a good temp solution for me while I construct my HT

Panasonic 65VT30 | Panasonic AE8000 HD PJ | Denon x4100 ATMOS 5.2.4| Emotiva XPA-5 | PSB imagine B's | PSB image c5 | PSB B4's | DUAL PSA XS30 | OPPO 103 | minidsp | Buttkicker LFE

My first HT build threadhttp://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...rst-build.html
Brian Fineberg is offline  
post #10 of 15 Old 09-05-2014, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Fineberg View Post
well done! can you provide a link to the black material you used? might be a good temp solution for me while I construct my HT
It appears to be an "in-store only" item from walmart (apparently you can't have yards delivered?) called Palencia Black, 65/35 poly/cotton for $2.00-2.50 a yard at 44"-wide.

Later, while looked for an inexpensive dark cover for the loveseat, I found walmart sells a very similar fabric flat-sheet in single packs for a few dollars. Using the black sheets for the walls costs roughly half as much!
I feel a little dumb now, but I guess it was cheap either way, and I still would've needed the longer yard pieces for the ceiling.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Ftoast is online now  
post #11 of 15 Old 09-05-2014, 05:59 PM
 
domz777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked: 25
Ftoast, I REALLY like the way you think! Solutions like this simply scream ingenuity, intelligence, pragmatism, practicality, simplicity, and best of all, inexpensiveness! It reminds me of the story that illustrated so beautifully how 2 different mindsets(and budgets) usually go about solving the same problem, so differently. I'm sure your all familiar with the "Writing in space" issue that was tackled by both NASA and the USSR back in the 60's. But just in case 1 or 2 of you out there don't know it, I'll recount it briefly for you here.

Both NASA and the Soviets were having problems getting their pens to work in space. The astro/cosmonauts both needed to be able to write stuff down while in space, and the pens they had at the time BARELY worked - it was quite a big issue actually. Remember it was the 1960's. Anyway, NASA spent something like 2 years and 20 million dollars designing and perfecting an amazing zero gravity super special ink deposition unit. They had engineers working on it day and night, they poured all kinds of time and money into the problem and at the end of it all, the pen they came up worked, ....a little better. Not much, but it got the job done.

The Soviets on the other hand, solved the problem perfectly in 1 day, for 10 cents. They didn't have anywhere NEAR the resources that NASA had, so they had to think their way out of the problem rather than buy their way out. Know had they did it? Simple. They used a pencil instead.
domz777 is offline  
post #12 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 08:00 PM
Member
 
LDizzle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Keller, TX
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Thumbs up

Wow, I love this! Always great to see the ingenuity and dedication involved in cost effective builds such as this one...bravo!

Sincerely, the frugal audiophile
LDizzle is offline  
post #13 of 15 Old 09-20-2014, 08:27 AM
Member
 
scraejtp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 99
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by domz777 View Post
I'm sure your all familiar with the "Writing in space" issue that was tackled by both NASA and the USSR back in the 60's. But just in case 1 or 2 of you out there don't know it, I'll recount it briefly for you here.
While a good story, it is completely false.

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

Back on topic, this seems like a great option for renters that can't paint the walls dark. When I was in the same situation I just dealt with light colored walls, but with how simple this seems it is a good option.
scraejtp is offline  
post #14 of 15 Old 09-20-2014, 11:44 AM
 
domz777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NYC
Posts: 206
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by scraejtp View Post
While a good story, it is completely false.

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp
duped by another urban legend, ...yet again. *puts on dunce cap*
domz777 is offline  
post #15 of 15 Old 09-23-2014, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
AVS Special Member
 
Ftoast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1,076
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 261 Post(s)
Liked: 169
Finally got some video of the LG LED projector in use as well as the 2.39:1 masking.
This is during the day, but with curtains still closed. The main room light is on, but the picture is much better this time due to the 800lumen bulb now facing more toward the seating and away from the screen, also the LG measures around 400lm VS the P300's ~140lumens..so less light directly aiming at the screen and about 3X the projected lumens being used.


This LG plus the room "build" costs under $900..A bit higher-priced, but still about the size of four 55" flatscreens and with a pretty solid lights-on picture.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And here's an update of the dimmer/cheaper P300, now that the bright light is facing away from the screen.
I'll leave the old P300 lights-on video up so anyone who's curious how big a difference your light's direction can make will have easy access to an example.



Thanks for all the kind words and attention.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.

Last edited by Ftoast; 09-25-2014 at 04:45 PM.
Ftoast is online now  
Reply Dedicated Theater Design & Construction

Tags
build , cheap , easy , led , theater

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