What I'd do differently next time. - Page 25 - AVS Forum
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post #721 of 885 Old 06-01-2012, 04:29 PM
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Alright Gents... Long time reader, first time poster (on what has surely been the most informative thread I have found on this forum).

Nonetheless, I've got one: I would have used the opportunity of having an exposed basement ceiling, to pull cables for the floor above (my living room). For years I have wanted to pull cables for rear channels on my first floor, and completely missed the boat when I was renovating my home theatre.

By the way - Thanks everyone for all these great tips! I found this thread mid-way through my build, and it helped me catch a few problems before they became regrets.
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post #722 of 885 Old 06-08-2012, 08:23 AM
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It's a lot easier to ROLL the portable tablesaw, that is sitting by the stage, out of the theater BEFORE you build the 14" riser between it and the door! smile.gif Just sayin.....
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post #723 of 885 Old 06-08-2012, 09:12 AM
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post #724 of 885 Old 06-08-2012, 04:39 PM
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I posted a whole laundry list of stuff in my build thread, a lot of them would be duplicates here... But some specific ones that may be useful to others:

Make sure you've got enough light to read by... There not enough light in my theater to read comfortably. I should have placed can lights above the seating just for this purpose.

Use the most soundproof door you can. My solid-core, but paneled, door vibrates with mid-frequency energy... Definitely the weak spot for the whole soundproofing effort.

Consider fabric seats instead of leather. I do find my fabric couch (not in the theater) more comfy than the leather seats. Personal preference. I steered away from fabric because of concerns about wear and tear, and spilled beverages. Probably still the right call, but don't automatically default to leather as the only solution.

Use a carpet pattern with at least two colors. I still like the carpet I chose, but having something with a visible pattern would absolutely help hide those little crumbs of popcorn that I seem to always miss. I suppose that's a double-edged sword - miss too much popcorn bits and the room will start to feel like the dollar theater at mall!!!

We really need to compile all of these things into a "Theater Build Mistake of the Day" calendar... Hey, maybe that's a forum feature! biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #725 of 885 Old 06-10-2012, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

Re: SketchUp - one tip: use components / composites liberally! If you don't (I didn't), its pretty easy to get to the point where editing the drawing becomes extremely difficult - to the point where I basically just stopped keeping mine up to date, and winged it the rest of the way.

If you’re not using SketchUp’s Layer and Scene features, check them out. The Look Around feature is a must too.
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post #726 of 885 Old 06-10-2012, 07:01 AM
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If you’re not using SketchUp’s Layer and Scene features, check them out. The Look Around feature is a must too.

Is the Layer and Scene feature only with Sketchup pro?
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post #727 of 885 Old 06-11-2012, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rs691919 View Post

Is the Layer and Scene feature only with Sketchup pro?

No, it's with the free edition. I use layers extensively to control/separate viewing of various build stages (eg HVAC, framing, drywall, soffits etc).
Scenes are very useful to illustrate and add notes to certain views you want to post in your build thread or view later (see my thread for examples).
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post #728 of 885 Old 06-26-2012, 07:28 PM
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Mount my projector on an extension mount from the rear wall, the curtain wall I had built is fixed at 15' from the screen wall so I can't get a bigger image than 163" wide.
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post #729 of 885 Old 07-01-2012, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by The Bogg View Post

I chose a general contractor based on a reference (from a fellow AVSer). I did it the way my friend did by agreeing to pay an hourly rate plus parts (I know, I know, it rarely works out in the customers favour). The reason I did that was because the dedicated room had some unusual construction (double drywall with non-overlapping seams with green glue in between and isolated from Isomax hangers. Fabric walls etc... Design by Rives Audio with diffusors builtin etc....). I figured because it worked for my friend it would be fine. I was given a ballpark time estimate of mid-January for completion. Based on that, I figured the hourly rate thing would be fine. Well mid-January came and went and we blew through a couple more deadlines at which point I realized that I didn't really have any recourse. It seemed to my wife and I that productivity was slowing down. Finally, I sat down and did up a contract for the remaining work and settled on a dollar number that was probably way too high. He was doing a pretty good job but I felt that he was wasting a bit of time etc..... If I fired him it would be a pita to find someone else to finish up so I just ate it on this one. In the end I don't know if I significantly overpaid for the job. It has been damn expensive. Problem was also that I didn't really set a budget. He knew I was an MD so he probably figured that the money supply was endless (wrong!) which was partly my fault because I waited too long to straighten things out.


Things to do differently and learn from:


1. The contractor has been in business longer than you and is much smarter than you in business matters. You must realize this when designing the contract. Do your research first and don't cut corners when doing it. Never assume that they have your best interests at heart. They are just trying to make a living and will try to maximize their income. Nothing wrong with that, just don't think that because you're "friends" that they'll cut you a good deal.


2. Even if someone has been referred and has done good work, get a contract anyway. I don't know what recourse there is when deadlines are missed and I'd be interested in hearing from other people what they think. From talking to my friends, it seems that it's very common to miss deadlines and go over budget and you just have to live with it.


3. Itemize things to be done and try to get a quote from multiple sources even if you think that your construction is unique (ha ha like silly me!)


4. Listen to your dad and father-in-law when they tell you that they don't think it's a good idea to do the hourly rate thing - they've been there, done that, and bought the t-shirt.


Hopefully there will be closure real soon and I can post some lovely pics of my setup...
Wow, I could have written this post.mad.gif But if I had read this first, I wouldn't be six months into an eight week project!
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post #730 of 885 Old 07-01-2012, 03:48 PM
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Indeed. And I wouldn't be nearly three years into a 1-year project.

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(Formerly "ReplayMike". These opinions are mine alone, and in no way reflect the opinions of employers past or present!)
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post #731 of 885 Old 07-02-2012, 03:31 AM - Thread Starter
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A fixed price contract with established progress targets is better for the homeowner. There are cautions with this approach, however. If it isn't on the plans, noted in the plans, or in writing, the contractor has no obligation to "do it". If it is something, not in the plans, that has to be done, you can expect a premium for the contract add on. If you find a contractor that has done this kind of specialty work in the past...all the better. Someone with considerable experience (in this kind of speciality) will (1) be less likely to overlook something you forgot or (2) over estimate the price to cover his/her rear end. You must establish progress payments based upon easily measureable project phases ... when we're 1/4 done, at the end of the second week, completion of rough electrical are likely not good targets ... pick targets you can easily identify such as completion of drywall install. Alternatively, pick targets a third party will identify for you, such as framing inspection, passing electrical inspection, etc. In my experience, through out the country and over 20 years, the quality and reputation of the contractor is not relevant if they have no previous experience doing this kind of work.

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post #732 of 885 Old 07-24-2012, 11:54 AM
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I would order the fabric for my stretched-fabric walls once it was selected.

We selected all the decor options almost two years ago, and now that the woodwork is in and the paint is up, we went to order the fabric and found it discontinued. So, now I'm stuck trying to find a suitable fabric that will go with all of the finishes. Sigh. frown.gif

In the same vein, order extra fabric so that if it's ever necessary to repair an area, you don't have to worry about finding that the fabric is discontinued, or that the variation between dye lots is big enough that a replacement looks mismatched.

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post #733 of 885 Old 09-06-2012, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by JustMike View Post

I would order the fabric for my stretched-fabric walls once it was selected.
We selected all the decor options almost two years ago, and now that the woodwork is in and the paint is up, we went to order the fabric and found it discontinued. So, now I'm stuck trying to find a suitable fabric that will go with all of the finishes. Sigh. frown.gif
In the same vein, order extra fabric so that if it's ever necessary to repair an area, you don't have to worry about finding that the fabric is discontinued, or that the variation between dye lots is big enough that a replacement looks mismatched.

I second that one!

I used a lot of fabric in my theater and it's amazing how often lines are quickly discontinued. I ordered extra of several fabrics, which have now been discontinued, and it turned out I needed them for fixes and modifications over
time. Always order more!
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post #734 of 885 Old 09-26-2012, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post


5. Screens

---- Screen too big for the room. Screen widths should never be more than 80% of the room width. Keep the screen at least 3' off the floor (if not more) and don't mount it within inches of the ceiling. Big is not always better.

I have a question about the above advice for anyone with experience. My ceiling will be 7'6". This is in a room 22' X 14'6"'. Using the Projector Calculator, if I give myself 3' on the floor and 1' on the ceiling I am left with an 85" screen in 16:9 aspect ratio. I was hoping for 120"! Any thoughts?

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
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post #735 of 885 Old 09-26-2012, 01:56 PM
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I have a massive (to me) 138" diag 1.78:1 (16:9) screen in a room that is 14' wide with a ceiling that is 7'8" finished in height. The first row of seats are about 12 feet back from the screen and I love it. We had a 104" when we were at our old house at sat 14 feet away and my wife thought that anything bigger for a screen would have been too big, but here we sit closer and the screen is larger, and even she likes it. To date I have had zero people say that it is too big.

Now keep in mind that a unmber of movies are in wider formats, so as soon as they hit the screen, it effectively "adds" distance from the bottom of the image to the top of the floor, so maybe it isn't too far off.

If you weren't in New York, I'd say come on over since my room is almost identical in dimensions to yours (14' wide x 24' deep x 7.75' tall).

Now a note. At the larger screen sizes, you need a mini light canon or higher gain screen material to keep the image nice and bright on the screen.

And a second note. A coworker of mine has a 120" screen in a room about 12' wide. I sat in his 2nd row (his first row of seats were really close) and the screen seemed too big...

EDIT: I did some quick math and my screen is about 72% the width of the room. I would have to go home and measure, but if my memory is correct, it is about 5 inches from the ceiling making it about 20 inches off the floor. With a 12" riser, the front row heads are never in the way, and sitting in front, people don't have to strain their necks looking up.
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post #736 of 885 Old 09-26-2012, 02:52 PM
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^^Nick,you don't find the screen to low from the First row at 20" off the floor?

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post #737 of 885 Old 09-26-2012, 03:27 PM
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Not at all.

I can't find it any longer, but I used a calculator similar to this one and it said that I should actually drop the screen down another 2.5 inches from what I did, but for ease of construction (the top black panel above my screen on the false wall worked out better at 4.5", and my riser worked out to 12" tall and would have needed to be taller had I dropped the screen more) I left it where it is at now.

Screen & Image Size Calculator V 1.2.2 (Excel).zip 6k .zip file
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File Type: zip Screen & Image Size Calculator V 1.2.2 (Excel).zip (5.8 KB, 37 views)
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post #738 of 885 Old 09-27-2012, 12:55 PM
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Thanks, Nick! I guess a lot of it comes down to personal preference and if you have unobstructed viewing.

My theater: Escape from New York theater build

My Gear:
Fusion 12 Tempests (LCR)
Mach 5 UXL 18 - Sealed Subwoofer
Axiom M3v4 & M2v4 Surrounds
Onkyo TX-NR818
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post #739 of 885 Old 09-27-2012, 01:22 PM
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My only regret is buying some equipment before the build (Projector, receiver, blu-ray player, etc.). There is absolutely no reason to do this, even if it's a good deal. Month's later the same products will be clearance priced or there will be better technology & features you can get for your budget. You will have no use for it in advance, except hindering the speed of the build by wanting to 'test' the projector.
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post #740 of 885 Old 09-27-2012, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by secondhander View Post

My only regret is buying some equipment before the build (Projector, receiver, blu-ray player, etc.). There is absolutely no reason to do this, even if it's a good deal. Month's later the same products will be clearance priced or there will be better technology & features you can get for your budget. You will have no use for it in advance, except hindering the speed of the build by wanting to 'test' the projector.

Yes, absolutely on the projector. They should be labeled "Keep Refrigerated" smile.gif...

Audio / video components don't change as radically, and certainly speakers don't - so don't be afraid to pick one up if a deal presents itself. But a normal "sale" price at a big box, well, it'll be on sale again...

The other well known issue about having the projector on-hand long before completion is that once that box is opened and an image projected on a bare wall - all progress on the theater can come to a complete halt! biggrin.gif

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #741 of 885 Old 09-28-2012, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Yes, absolutely on the projector. They should be labeled "Keep Refrigerated" smile.gif...
Audio / video components don't change as radically, and certainly speakers don't - so don't be afraid to pick one up if a deal presents itself. But a normal "sale" price at a big box, well, it'll be on sale again...
The other well known issue about having the projector on-hand long before completion is that once that box is opened and an image projected on a bare wall - all progress on the theater can come to a complete halt! biggrin.gif
Jeff


Even with audio components it can still be relevant for compatibility reasons (Not speakers of course). For example, you may buy a solid 2D projector today, 6 months later when you're actually ready to hang it, you may have been able to afford a good 3D projector instead and consequently would need a 3D blu-ray player, etc. for it. Though these days, most are all 3D ready so it's probably not a concern as it was even just a year ago.
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post #742 of 885 Old 09-28-2012, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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DO NOT buy equipment until you have the room design and acoustic design completed! Until that time you won't have a clue as to what the engineering specifications the speakers will need to meet. Rather like buying an engine for a boat before you design the boat. It could look like a real bargin until you find out the engine is the wrong size/type.

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post #743 of 885 Old 09-28-2012, 09:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

DO NOT buy equipment until you have the room design and acoustic design completed! Until that time you won't have a clue as to what the engineering specifications the speakers will need to meet. Rather like buying an engine for a boat before you design the boat. It could look like a real bargin until you find out the engine is the wrong size/type.

Unless you are carrying over equipment because you have too or like something you currently have. tongue.gif

No I see the point here completely. I wish that I could afford to do something like that because it is very sound advice, plus, there are advances in technology all of the time. Why not wait until the space is done and treated to see what is the right equipment, and then you are also buying "fresh" product too and not something that can sit around getting old...
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post #744 of 885 Old 09-28-2012, 09:37 AM
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My room has been designed and contractors will hopefully start construction next month. I recently bought speakers, subs, amps, chairs, buttkickers and screen. All of these were ordered from online companies that only sell direct. I'm glad I ordered these at this stage because it allowed me to resolve issues with my orders now rather than sitting around with a completed room while waiting for equipment glitches to be addressed. Some equipment like AVR/Preamp, projectors have shorter lifecycles so I will delay buying those until I near completion of the room.
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post #745 of 885 Old 09-28-2012, 11:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Unless you are carrying over equipment because you have too or like something you currently have
That's "recycle", not buy. Being Green! smile.gif

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post #746 of 885 Old 10-09-2012, 10:58 AM
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I would hire somebody to rip out the 20 year old carpet in my basement or wear a high end respirator rather than doing it myself. Twenty years is an awfully long time for crap to accumulate in carpet. The day after I took up the carpet I developed asthma and was bed-ridden for another three days. The affliction has plagued me ever since. The doctors called it allergy-induced asthma. It sucks; be careful.
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post #747 of 885 Old 10-24-2012, 11:58 PM
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Uh...2, 4 years?...I've been planning my theatre since 1991 when we bought our 1907 home. I don't like to rush into things...apparently.

Needless to say it has gone through a "few" changes. I could list the huge mistakes that I didn't make because the addition, for many reasons, didn't get built until two years ago. But what's the point, people can only take so much laughter.

By this time I had come across this site (much food for thought!!!), talked to many idiots in the business (many ideas to stay away from), talked to many salesmen in the business (unfortunately short-sighted with only one thing in mind), some in the business with interesting ideas and lucked into an honest(!) service guy that made some great recommendations. Sadly, Robert's business, All-In-One Electronics in Toronto didn't survive the recession and the trend to disposable equipment, but I still have his email address. When I was forced to consider buying a new Theatre Receiver, Rob said that even the best receivers are designed to self-destruct due to internal cooling issues and recommended splitting it into components. He said to dump as much money as "available" into the power amp(s), because that fundamental technology will "never" change, and treat the Pre-amp as a disposable item. When I expressed my frustration in getting sound advice (sorry) on speaker placement, he gave me the name of a friend who used to design audiophile speakers. Mark is going to design/I'm going to build speakers for the room and tune them in place. I like a little R&D.

With all the comments about bad experiences with contractors, I'm embarrassed to admit that I am a GC...so, I'm doing "it" to myself. So far, I have a concrete box. Three walls are ICF (insulated concrete forms) filled with 8" thick poured concrete and the fourth is the old 2' thick stone foundation wall. A suggestion from my ICF supplier was to use a corrugated steel pan and a poured concrete slab for the floor above. There is 6" of concrete poured over an 8" pan for a total floor thickness of 14". There will be isolation clips on the underside for a drop ceiling and my flooring guy suggested a 5 mm rubber isolation mat glued to the top side with 3/4 plywood glued to it, plus 3/4 hardwood. The hardwood is nailed to the plywood but the nails don't penetrate to the rubber. The room was designed as big as possible given the other rooms required and city bylaws on over-all size. I ended up with 16' x 26', and being able to say "keep digging" ended up with a clear 9' ceiling stepping down to a clear 11' at the screen end. The 6" poured floor is isolated from the walls and has radiant floor heating. There will be a dedicated ventilation/A/C. There are three rows of seating planned with 12" risers.

The kitchen above, also part of the addition, has had to be the priority (since I do most of the cooking, this project has turned out to be something of a win/win endeavor), so the theater is currently my carpentry shop. Sometimes, I just sit in there and dream...of more money to finish!

The finished room will be a combination theatre and music listening room with two dedicated sound systems. One advantage of the delays, is that when you aren't looking, you stumbled across some amazing finds. A friend, knowing I was into audio asked If I knew how his friend could dispose of an unwanted stereo inherited from his father...I now have a barely used 1990 vintage 270 w Macintosh component stereo with XRT 23 speakers and all the trimmings. The one I drooled over when I bought a new, more modest, stereo in 1990! That's the music system. There was also a new Bryston Amp on e-bay located in Texas. It was bought by a dealer when the Canadian dollar was $0.70 US and I bought when the Canadian dollar was $1.05 US.

I've read some of the problems people have Q's about. If I might offer some suggestions:

For those of you with forced air systems, try decoupling the metal ducts from the furnace with a neoprene sleeve (available from an HVAC supplier) before the pipe gets to the room, that should eliminate vibrations from the furnace. The last four feet before the vent opening should be lined with sound insulation (comes ready-lined from the HVAC supplier) and should have at least one 90 degree turn (sound travels in straight lines until it gets reflected, hence he lining). Same deal for the air return (yes, you need one). The space under the door should be minimal if not sealed to keep the sound "out".

There has been much talk here about finding the blackest black for walls. W. Eugene Smith, a famous photojournalist, from a by-gone era, suggested that the best background colour for viewing photographs was a Zone V ("5") grey. This is a mid-tone flat grey. He would insist that the walls of the galleries exhibiting his work were painted this grey. In fact, he even patented a paint with the proper pigment blend. The theory was that the neutral grey was restful on the eyes and allowed the viewer to focus on the B&W photograph without the distraction and contrast of a glaring white, dead black or coloured wall. The sheen level would be "flat". The shinier sheen levels of the paint is what is giving the problems with glare and reflection. I was planning on "starting" with this finish around the screen and see where it takes me for a colour scheme.

I started reading at the beginning of this thread about wiring in a UPS for the projector. I was thinking,"the LED units don't need the cool down period in case of a power failure." Then I noticed the date, 2005. At the rate I'm going, it might even be affordable by the time I need one.

Great site guys! Thank you!

Winterfell theatre build - working title
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post #748 of 885 Old 10-25-2012, 05:17 AM
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post #749 of 885 Old 10-25-2012, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just jim View Post

so, I'm doing "it" to myself. So far, I have a concrete box. Three walls are ICF (insulated concrete forms) filled with 8" thick poured concrete and the fourth is the old 2' thick stone foundation wall. A suggestion from my ICF supplier was to use a corrugated steel pan and a poured concrete slab for the floor above. There is 6" of concrete poured over an 8" pan for a total floor thickness of 14". There will be isolation clips on the underside for a drop ceiling and my flooring guy suggested a 5 mm rubber isolation mat glued to the top side with 3/4 plywood glued to it, plus 3/4 hardwood. The hardwood is nailed to the plywood but the nails don't penetrate to the rubber. The room was designed as big as possible given the other rooms required and city bylaws on over-all size. I ended up with 16' x 26', and being able to say "keep digging" ended up with a clear 9' ceiling stepping down to a clear 11' at the screen end. The 6" poured floor is isolated from the walls and has radiant floor heating. There will be a dedicated ventilation/A/C. There are three rows of seating planned with 12" risers.

just jim,
Thanks for contributing! Your description of this space suggests it would make an excellent build thread with some photos, hint-hint smile.gif

Cuzed2
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CuznEddy Cinema
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post #750 of 885 Old 10-25-2012, 08:35 AM
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Now that I'm pretty much done with the framing, soundproofing and soon to be drywall - my "WIDDNT" would be to hire someone else to do it all! I'm getting too old for all this manual labor and it's not getting done fast enough for my wife. biggrin.gif I'm hoping this is my last theater for a while, which means if I do move and need a 3rd one, I'll definitely be too old for DIY.
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Visit the Lipszyc Home Theater! 1.0
2.0 done and finally posted! - Theater 2.0

And now...The Queen City Theater (3.0)
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