Projector setup in unfinished basement - AVS Forum
Digital Projectors - Under $3,000 USD MSRP > Projector setup in unfinished basement
jdiehl's Avatar jdiehl 02:02 PM 10-06-2007
I'm looking to add a simple front projection setup in my unfinished basement and need some advice. I'm not a front projection noob, I previously had a 119" setup in a different home 3yrs ago, but I really miss it.

Anyway, my family and I do the bulk of our HD viewing on a 56" DLP in the family room or a 50" DLP in the master bedroom, but sometimes I long for my "cave" where I could go to watch Sunday Ticket by myself without noise from the kids, or perhaps crank up the Xbox late at night and not worry about the sound waking everyone up.

So, I'm looking at the basement of the home we built last year and I'm not wanting to really finish it off (we'll probably move again in a few years, plus it's only an 8ft pour). The walls are bare concrete and the ceiling is all open joists and HVAC ducts. There are four of those small basement windows that would directly face the projector screen, but they're on the other side of the basement about 90ft away (and already have dark drapes covering them up so I can achieve pitch black if needed). I do have the entire concrete floor covered in carpet (long story, got it free from my parents due to a builder mess-up at their new home that forced them to replace the whole house carpeting, and I scooped it up and layed it out in my basement). There's no padding or anything, and I just cut everything together very rough... but it added another 1600ft of play area for the kids, plus a computer/office area, and workout area that's nice and cool in the summer, dry, and complete dark with the lights off.

Not wanting to spend much money this go around (unlike my last setup that was completely finished off), I want to do something very very easy and simple (80% of the time it will probably be used for Xbox 360 gaming or a SD DVD, the rest of the time I'll probably run a component video cable feed from my HR-20 DVR if I ever want to watch D*.

I don't plan on framing anything, but I'm concerned about how it will sound with bare concrete walls, an unfinished ceiling, maybe one couch, and unpadded carpet on the floors. I'm planning on using my Athena Audition 7.1 speaker setup. The sides and surrounds I can hang with simple brackets from the joists.

The area I'll be doing this in is sort of an alcove (beneath the hearth room, off the kitchen on the main floor), so I could put up some of those office cubicle partition/divider things to make a back "wall" to help keep the sound in the "room". For the ceiling, I'm thinking of stapling some cheap black fabric, and for the two side walls maybe run a wire on each and drape some dark fabric. This way, it's all temporary and could be removed quickly when we would sell the home down the road. The room is 13ft wide, and unlimited deep (will probably only go back as far as 14ft though, due to two water heaters @ 15ft from the front wall, and two HVAC/furnaces @ 21ft from the front wall). Due to the HVAC systems behind the seating area, this is another reason why I'm thinking about using some partitions to go across most of the 13ft width in the back of this "room" to help block the fan sound. The right way to do this would be to finish the room and sound proof it, but again I'm looking for something cheap and kinda temporary.

I'm sure someone on this forum has done something similar... feedback on my idea?

For front projectors, I'm wanting to stay under $1200. I'm looking at the Sanyo PLV-Z5 for it's ease of setup. I don't need a 1080p system, my source material is only 720p from the Xbox and HR-20. I love DLP, and had it in my previous front projection theater room (and have it in both rear projectors we use now) but this Sanyo LCD model seems to get rave reviews and falls well under my budget (with room to spare for a cheap mount and a 50ft component video cable from the HR-20). One concern I have with the front projector is dust. My old setup had a sealed light engine (DLP). Do these LCD units have filters that need to be cleaned? An unfinished basement isn't the cleanest of habitats with concrete walls, bare wood in the ceiling, insulation packed above the walls, and the occasional spider making a web in the ceiling joists.

The screen from my last setup was a DaLite 119" High Contrast Cinema Vision screen material, along with their Cinema Contour frame w/ pro trim. I don't plan to spend another $1000 on a screen, which means I'll probably go the DIY route this time.

Given my circumstances (unfinished basement, mounted to bare concrete wall), I'm open for any ideas here. It needs to be a fixed screen, and the material should be fairly durable if a stray toy goes flying into it (or if one of three children hits it with crayon). That rules out some of these photographer's paper setups that I've read about for $100, but I'm sure there are other ways to make a screen look nice enough.

I'm not expecting the world here, as I'm not very concerned with the best in picture and sound quality. I just want something big and loud that I can escape to when I feel like sitting in the dark to play some video games or watch football in the afternoon, or surf the TV late at night without bothering anyone.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post if you made it this far, I'd appreciate any suggestions on equipment (projector, mount, and screen material) as well as "room" design (wall/ceiling coverings, potentially using a partition in the "back" to help block sound from the HVAC units).

Jim J's Avatar Jim J 08:29 PM 10-06-2007
I did something similar.
I do have padding under the carpet (I did this), and the ceiling is dry-walled (already there). walls are concrete block. walls and ceiling are painted near black. I have black velvet fabric making curtains around a diy screen, making somewhat of a stage area. still running a sanyo z1, which I had bought for another room (house). I also use fabric to block visually the furnace etc.

For the sound, you will have to try it and see. I find it acceptable (maybe I'm not so discerning). YOu could always try adding some sort of sound treatments if neccessary (do a search here on the topic).

I added touches such as posters and lights on the floor.

I believe you can make yourself a nice area for little money.

good luck
jdiehl's Avatar jdiehl 09:41 AM 10-07-2007
Thanks for the input.
gobucks25's Avatar gobucks25 10:15 AM 11-08-2007
Would love to hear some more input from others who have set up a cheap temporary "finished" basement. My reasons are I'm moving into a townhouse in December and it has a basement. We had the option of finished or unfinished but they wanted $60/month for finished (that's $720 extra in just one year). So, being I'm renting and don't want to do anything permanent, I have been looking for very creative ways to make this basement a little bit less like a cave (though a little bit cave-like would be ok). Ideas so far:

Blackout Cloth screen
Curtains on screen wall
Paint concrete walls (which they will allow)
4'x8' panels (particleboard) for ceiling
Remnant carpet or large rug

Please chime in on other cheapo ideas.
bud16415's Avatar bud16415 10:51 AM 11-08-2007
You are not far off from my bat cave I call the Hobbit IMAX.

Below in my signature are all the steps I took with photos, DIY screen and all.

My total project with sound was around 2k.
kaotikr1's Avatar kaotikr1 11:17 AM 11-08-2007
Are you from xblracing by chance?
kaotikr1's Avatar kaotikr1 11:21 AM 11-08-2007
Here is mine. It's not the best, but everyone that comes over is impressed at how good it looks in an unfisinshed basement.






ifmracin's Avatar ifmracin 12:50 PM 11-08-2007
I have mine in an unfinished basement.

Block wall, wood joists, some old 70's tile on the floor.

I used some MDF and painted it with ScreenGoo, screwed it to the wall. Am working on some black trim to finish it up a bit. Works great.
gobucks25's Avatar gobucks25 12:55 PM 11-08-2007
I've scoured the web and what are some good ideas for creating a cheap decent diy ceiling in a basement? I've seen I could do tiles straight into the joists or into furring, but that would run approx $200. I know that's pretty cheap, but does anyone have any ideas for cheaper in say a 15' x 20' room? I'm thinking wood panels (particleboard) painted, but I don't know what these run. Would need about 10 to cover 300 sq ft.

Next would be for carpet. Doesn't need to be padded but what is the absolute cheapest to cover this size area?

Edit: I re-read the OP and see that this is in the projector forum. I apologize for any hi-jack, but it seemed he had a lot of the same questions as I about the finishing part, and those probably belong in the Construction thread. However, if someone has some projector suggestions and want to throw in some ideas for the other stuff in the same thread, I believe that would stay consistent with this forum.
jdiehl's Avatar jdiehl 04:03 PM 11-08-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaotikr1 View Post

Are you from xblracing by chance?

Yep. And was there from when it was planetmgp.com too.

I'll try and post some pics soon. I finished my basement project a couple of weekends ago.

I used office partitions to make the room. Black felt to "finish" the ceiling and top half of the walls. Carpet remenant for the floors. A laminate 110" screen. And the Panasonic AX200u projector.
kaotikr1's Avatar kaotikr1 04:15 PM 11-08-2007
Yeah, I went by TWISM there, man that was a long time ago. When it first started.
larrimore's Avatar larrimore 04:40 PM 11-08-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdiehl View Post

I'm looking to add a simple front projection setup in my unfinished basement and need some advice. I'm not a front projection noob, I previously had a 119" setup in a different home 3yrs ago, but I really miss it.

Anyway, my family and I do the bulk of our HD viewing on a 56" DLP in the family room or a 50" DLP in the master bedroom, but sometimes I long for my "cave" where I could go to watch Sunday Ticket by myself without noise from the kids, or perhaps crank up the Xbox late at night and not worry about the sound waking everyone up.

So, I'm looking at the basement of the home we built last year and I'm not wanting to really finish it off (we'll probably move again in a few years, plus it's only an 8ft pour). The walls are bare concrete and the ceiling is all open joists and HVAC ducts. There are four of those small basement windows that would directly face the projector screen, but they're on the other side of the basement about 90ft away (and already have dark drapes covering them up so I can achieve pitch black if needed). I do have the entire concrete floor covered in carpet (long story, got it free from my parents due to a builder mess-up at their new home that forced them to replace the whole house carpeting, and I scooped it up and layed it out in my basement). There's no padding or anything, and I just cut everything together very rough... but it added another 1600ft of play area for the kids, plus a computer/office area, and workout area that's nice and cool in the summer, dry, and complete dark with the lights off.

Not wanting to spend much money this go around (unlike my last setup that was completely finished off), I want to do something very very easy and simple (80% of the time it will probably be used for Xbox 360 gaming or a SD DVD, the rest of the time I'll probably run a component video cable feed from my HR-20 DVR if I ever want to watch D*.

I don't plan on framing anything, but I'm concerned about how it will sound with bare concrete walls, an unfinished ceiling, maybe one couch, and unpadded carpet on the floors. I'm planning on using my Athena Audition 7.1 speaker setup. The sides and surrounds I can hang with simple brackets from the joists.

The area I'll be doing this in is sort of an alcove (beneath the hearth room, off the kitchen on the main floor), so I could put up some of those office cubicle partition/divider things to make a back "wall" to help keep the sound in the "room". For the ceiling, I'm thinking of stapling some cheap black fabric, and for the two side walls maybe run a wire on each and drape some dark fabric. This way, it's all temporary and could be removed quickly when we would sell the home down the road. The room is 13ft wide, and unlimited deep (will probably only go back as far as 14ft though, due to two water heaters @ 15ft from the front wall, and two HVAC/furnaces @ 21ft from the front wall). Due to the HVAC systems behind the seating area, this is another reason why I'm thinking about using some partitions to go across most of the 13ft width in the back of this "room" to help block the fan sound. The right way to do this would be to finish the room and sound proof it, but again I'm looking for something cheap and kinda temporary.

I'm sure someone on this forum has done something similar... feedback on my idea?

For front projectors, I'm wanting to stay under $1200. I'm looking at the Sanyo PLV-Z5 for it's ease of setup. I don't need a 1080p system, my source material is only 720p from the Xbox and HR-20. I love DLP, and had it in my previous front projection theater room (and have it in both rear projectors we use now) but this Sanyo LCD model seems to get rave reviews and falls well under my budget (with room to spare for a cheap mount and a 50ft component video cable from the HR-20). One concern I have with the front projector is dust. My old setup had a sealed light engine (DLP). Do these LCD units have filters that need to be cleaned? An unfinished basement isn't the cleanest of habitats with concrete walls, bare wood in the ceiling, insulation packed above the walls, and the occasional spider making a web in the ceiling joists.

The screen from my last setup was a DaLite 119" High Contrast Cinema Vision screen material, along with their Cinema Contour frame w/ pro trim. I don't plan to spend another $1000 on a screen, which means I'll probably go the DIY route this time.

Given my circumstances (unfinished basement, mounted to bare concrete wall), I'm open for any ideas here. It needs to be a fixed screen, and the material should be fairly durable if a stray toy goes flying into it (or if one of three children hits it with crayon). That rules out some of these photographer's paper setups that I've read about for $100, but I'm sure there are other ways to make a screen look nice enough.

I'm not expecting the world here, as I'm not very concerned with the best in picture and sound quality. I just want something big and loud that I can escape to when I feel like sitting in the dark to play some video games or watch football in the afternoon, or surf the TV late at night without bothering anyone.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post if you made it this far, I'd appreciate any suggestions on equipment (projector, mount, and screen material) as well as "room" design (wall/ceiling coverings, potentially using a partition in the "back" to help block sound from the HVAC units).

I did this back in 2002 when we moved into a new house. I kept it that way for 3 years until I got it all finished up. To be honest, from a MAN's percpective, I liked the unfinished setup much better. It really seemed to be my space and no one else messed with it. I was able to put up totally tasteless cheesy posters and no one cared. Once it was finished, the wife started taking over the decor and it was downhill from there.

I put a large room sized rug down with carpet padding underneath and put a couple of cheap bookshelves around the room with books and movies on them. The sound worked out very well.

I really miss that space.
jdiehl's Avatar jdiehl 04:41 PM 11-08-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaotikr1 View Post

Yeah, I went by TWISM there, man that was a long time ago. When it first started.

Yep, I remember the name. I'm hanging out mostly @ Leaguegaming.com with Tris10 and company for anything Xbox Live related.

Anyway, I snapped some quick pictures to show the end result.... Not finished like my house in Tampa, but it gets the job done until I either finish the basement or we build a new house and I do a room from the start. BTW, excuse the mess... I didn't clean anything up for these shots. The tall fan is not normally there behind the couch... same with the floor lamp. I brought those in when I was finishing up the room and forgot to take them back out for the pics.

Front of the room


Back of the room (Bought a double-reclining loveseat with cup holders/storage for $700... microfiber with leather sides and backs)


Added a velvet curtain to spruce it up a bit


My kids have taken over the rest of the basement, what a mess! I've got my little cave there in the back, behind the HVAC units.


Closeup of the velvet trim I did for the screen. I used base molding and wrapped it with velvet all the way around the back to the wooden frame I made. The frame itself is hung from the concrete wall and sort of "hovers" that way. It's hard to see the trim with the black felt background behind it.


A few pics with the lights off... Opening of Cars


Episode III - General Grievous


Here are a couple of "before" pictures from the day before we moved in last year....

"Entry" area


Looking to the "back" of where the room will be... standing where the screen is now

sdlehman's Avatar sdlehman 04:51 PM 11-08-2007
Pretty nice set up for an unfinished basement.

Stace
jdiehl's Avatar jdiehl 05:02 PM 11-08-2007
If anyone's curious, here were the costs:

$200 - 55 linear feet of 64" tall office partitions (bought used off of craigslist, probably cost $4000 when new)
$100 - 40 yards of 6ft wide black felt from JoAnn's for the ceiling and top half of walls (everything is stapled up to the joists, and my wife went around with a permanent market to make them black)
$0 - carpet was free from parent's new construction home, builder error, got it replaced and I snagged the stuff they first put down
$25 - red velvet curtain, curtain rod, and bracket (all from Target)

$700 - Lane microfiber/leather dual reclining loveseat with middle storage and cup holders (local store)

~$150 - 110" laminate screen (~$80 for the laminate from Home Depot, $45 for the poplar wood framing and MDF molding for trim, $10 for assorted screws and brackets, $15 for the velvet fabric from Walmart)

The projector cost me $1299, it just came out and hasn't been discounted yet. I bought a Toshiba HD-A3 last weekend for $175 from BestBuy (w/ 10 free HD DVD's). The rest of the A/V equipment I had from previous setups (D* HD DVR, Xbox 360, 7.1 speakers, Yahama receiver, etc)
jdiehl's Avatar jdiehl 05:03 PM 11-08-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdlehman View Post

Pretty nice set up for an unfinished basement.

Stace

Thanks. When you're sitting in there, you wouldn't know that it's in an unfinished basement, which was the plan from the beginning. Just walking back to the room you have to navigate the "unfinished" part with the kids junk.
Heavywait's Avatar Heavywait 05:31 AM 11-11-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdiehl View Post

Thanks. When you're sitting in there, you wouldn't know that it's in an unfinished basement, which was the plan from the beginning. Just walking back to the room you have to navigate the "unfinished" part with the kids junk.

Very impressive.If I had that type of set up may not have ever finished my basement.Very creative,functional and fun.
jholzbauer's Avatar jholzbauer 08:55 PM 09-24-2008
Instead of starting a new thread, I thought I'd revive this one.

I did have a finished basement with theater area, but am building a new house and am going to have to accumulate some funds before I finish the basement. After having a projector for several years, I need a set up to hold me over!

I'm looking for extremely cheap and easy solutions, since I will eventually (maybe 1-2 years) be finishing the basement. Is there anything wrong with just painting the walls and ceiling (unfinished also) black? Would a spray gun work best? How would the results compare against just hanging velvet?

How would I go about hanging a screen and/or posters on the poured concrete walls?

Any other creative ideas besides paint or velvet? Thanks!
reconlabtech's Avatar reconlabtech 09:05 PM 09-24-2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by jholzbauer View Post

Instead of starting a new thread, I thought I'd revive this one.

I did have a finished basement with theater area, but am building a new house and am going to have to accumulate some funds before I finish the basement. After having a projector for several years, I need a set up to hold me over!

I'm looking for extremely cheap and easy solutions, since I will eventually (maybe 1-2 years) be finishing the basement. Is there anything wrong with just painting the walls and ceiling (unfinished also) black? Would a spray gun work best? How would the results compare against just hanging velvet?

How would I go about hanging a screen and/or posters on the poured concrete walls?

Any other creative ideas besides paint or velvet? Thanks!

Many fantastic ideas await your attention right here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forum...sprune=30&f=19
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