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Angled Ceiling Blues

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So close to having my theatre room finished thanks to this forum! Getting down to those last minute details and would like to get some recommendations. I've attached a picture of the room's front wall below. Basically, the picture is from before I started working on it (walls and ceiling are painted dark brown, fan is gone, dark brown fabric panels cover & completely conceal the window). I have an Epson 8500 on order from Jason and need something to shine this awesome projector on!

The ceiling height is 8ft. I plan to have two rows of three seats, backs would be on risers. Front wall is 10 ft wide at the bottom and 6 ft. wide at the smallest part at the top. It goes up about 6 ft. from the floor before it starts to slope inward. Gotta love those bonus room angles!

I've got about about 17 1/2 ft. from front wall to back wall. Front row would be about 9 1/2 ft. from screen, back row would be about 15 1/2 ft. from screen. Geez...I even know that my eye height is 37" off the ground. BUT, calculator after calculator and I am still not sure what to do with the screen size, height off the floor, & riser height. My inexperience in building a theatre shows! Being such a big piece of the puzzle, I want to get it right the first time.

Any recommendations on maybe how high off the floor the screen should be or possibly even a screen size recommendation based on this angled ceiling situation? I'm at a loss for what to do with this. Obviously, the lower the screen goes down the wall, the bigger the screen, but I don't want to strain the 'ol neck down or be uncomfortable while watching a movie. Thanks for any help! And again, thanks for all the great posts that have helped along the way!!
post #2 of 9
Here is my semi-finished project on Flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/45387881@N03/. Note that it will look much cleaner once I move the cable box and the wires you see under the screen to the back of the room (just waiting on my remote extender).

So here are my suggestions from one amateur to another...

1) Get a friend to come over and help you. Stack some storage bins on top of a table (like a dresser or something), or use a small ladder and carefully place the projector at the top of the stack (as to simulate a shelf mount or ceiling mount position). Just be careful with the projector and don't let it fall! Make adjustments or move the projector around as needed.

2) Now project onto the blank wall and have a friend and you stand or sit in the same dimensions to where the seats will be... Make sure the semi-short people 5' 5" (if you care) can see over the dimensions of the front seat.

3) My personal preference is for the screen to be about 30" off the floor or so, but a little lower would not bother me. Over 40" actually bothers me, not that it causes me any neck strain, it just doesn't seem as much of a natural center to my eye as 30" did. However, I do not have anyone one sitting behind me, so I don't have to worry about that. Since your farhter back, my numbers may be meaningless, but just use your testing scenario to make your own judgement.

4) If your screen is less than 40 pounds and you do not have studs or you just want to mount directly through the drywall, then you can go buy these metal cork screw looking drywall inserts with screws that are made for picture frames (home depot sells them I think). They can hold 50 pounds each, so use 2 of them (one on the left and one on the right of your screen, depending where your screen mounting holes are). I felt pretty confident doing it like this, although my screen only weighed about 30 pounds.

For an amateur HT designer, there is no better way than to do a real test, because even if you measure it, it only takes a mistake of about 1/16" to be off vertically or horizontally. Hence, even if you pencil the spot perfectly, just pointing the drill minisculy off will result in the hole being off enough to throw the thing out of whack a little, especially from the distance you are mounting from. So if you drill one hole just barely off, then you can't make a new hole without the two holes "coming together" and forming one giant hole that is too big and then it ruins your ability to make a new hole to fix your positioning mistake. This is why it is important to get the holes drilled in the correct place on the first attempt. Of course there are ways around it even if you do mess up, depending on what methods you are mounting with.

Everyone's preferences are different, but if you just take guess measurements, you'll never know. BTW, shelf mounting is easier than ceiling mounting IMO, unless you have to worry about kids that might touch the projector. The great thing about shelf mounting is you can make small adjustments to the projectors left and right positions without relying on the swivel bar or a celing mount. Also, on a shelf it just sits there so doing maintenance on the projector is so much easier (cleaning, changing lamps, fidding with cables) than having to always take the projector down. Another advantage of shelf mounting is it is easier to hide wires and you don't have to drill holes through the ceiling if you wish to completely hide the cables (and you'll end up using less wire mold if you are hiding cables through plastic wire mold - can buy this on amazon.com).

You do need to get the measurements pretty much exact for the screen. The way I did it was I held the screen on the wall before mounting it, and had a friend move the projector until it perfectly matched, then I took a pencil and scribbled through the mounting hole until I got a colored circle on the left and right mounting hole. I was off about 1/8" vertically, but you can't tell because the black outer border around the screen blocks any light leakage. However, I should have penciled the entire mounting hole so I would have drilled it exactly perfect (instead I just marked one small dot). What I mean is fill in the mounting hole with the pencil on the wall completely so that you know it is right when you center the drill into the penciled hole.

Various sites (like buy.com) sell these tempered glass shelves that are made for mounting components under a plasama (up to 30 pounds), and they are somewhat adjustable as well. These work perfectly for a projector as long as you get the right size (they come in different sizes). They only cost $30 to $60 depending which one you get, and they look fabulous. This is what I use and not only does it look better than a ceiling mount, but it also functions better. No need for keystone, actually I shelf mounted my projector exactly perfectly to the screen placement so it needed 0 digital adjustments. The only disadvantage is my projector is only about 5.5 feet off the ground so people moving around in the back row could block the picture when they get up. However, keep in mind that most of the time someone has to walk in front of you anyhow when they get up, so this is not really much of a disadvantage.
post #3 of 9
You can view the photos of my setup with the Flickr link below...


Note: I just did this 3 days ago, so once I move my cable box to the bookshelf under the projector, it will eliminate all wires except a single skinny Toslink (digital optical audio) cable. Hence, have 4 devices hooked to the projector with almost no wire management needed.

I bought the projector shelf for $35 and the bookshelf on sale at Target for $18. So I did this entire mount job (cable management included) for only $53! The wire mold you see hiding the cables between the bookshelf and the projector comes with the projector shelf I bought for $35.

I used a tempered black glass component shelf mount for my Sanyo Z5 Projector which can be purchased at buy.com (they have a few different sizes).
I mounted it in the hallway near my kitchen because I was forced to due to my awkward living room shape, but in most rooms the shelf would be mounted flat against the back of a wall. Then you could put a bookshelf under it like I did to keep your components (or a component shelf, whichever). The shelf only sticks out 18" from the wall total, and since the bookshelf is below it, no one will ever walk into on accident.

A closeup of the screws I used to mount the screen into the drywall are in the pictures.

My living room had a door on literally every corner of the room, so this was the only location I could mount. My living room is much more awkward than most, that is why the screen is not centered.
post #4 of 9
The calculators and formulas are great guidelines. However, just find a spot for your projector (Coderguy was spot on with the ladder idea, just be very careful it doesn't fall) and project on the wall. You can raise and lower everything until you get an image that you like. That's what it's all about, mounting everything so it's pleasing to you. After all it's your theater and it's there for you to enjoy, not for some formula to dictate for you.
post #5 of 9
Here are some additional pointers that might help you:

If the ladder doesn't have fine enough adjustments, you can stack some books on the ladder step to make further vertical adjustments, but as we said - be careful! If you don't have a ladder, boxes or storage bins stacked on a table or nightstand also do the trick.

The way I did my setup was super easy, it took me only 1 hour with a friend to complete it. However, it did take me many hours to figure out how to mount in a living room that has more curves than Marilyn Monroe. It also took me a while to find the right parts, but since I told you how I got around my problems, shouldn't be nearly as hard for you.

The problems I encountered were:

1) Giant Ceiling Fan - 2x bigger than most and hangs down too far. Solved by shelf mounting in hallway ( http://www.flickr.com/photos/45387881@N03/ )

2) Door on every side of living room which broke up consistent space for mounting, so no room for screen except on (1) wall. Solved by creatively positioning the screen and by side mounting the projector with a shelf.

3) Live in apartment so I cannot run wires through walls. Solved by putting all components in a bookshelf directly under the projector (except the stereo), now all I have is one optical audio wire to run under the rug back to the front stereo (or along the molding later if I choose this route).

4) Infrared Universal Remote cannot reach components that are behind me. Solved by buying an IR extender which converts it to an RF remote.
Remote Extender that converts any remote to RF

AND bought the extender eyes:
6-Device RF Extender for above device

5) Audio Switching Issue, since I only want to run (1) digital audio cable back to the front of the room (stereo), I bought a $50 audio switch that you can get over the net here http://www.provantage.com/cables-go-40324~7CTBP083.htm.

6) HDMI switching issue, this wasn't really an issue for me since my projector has (2) HDMI inputs and a separate VGA input for PC. However, you may need an HDMI switch, but these are easy to find for under $40. Alternately, you can buy an HDMI switch that also has digital audio switching for around $100 to $150, maybe cheaper if you look hard.

7) Surround speakers, still debating this one. Might go with wireless amp option, but also thinking about using a TOSLINK splitter and then just have a separate cheapo 2-channel receiver in the back that handles the rear speakers. Since my components are in the back already. Not sure on this one yet, but this is last.

8) Media PC sound, luckily my stereo has built-in media streaming via USB sound device that I plug into the PC, so this wasn't an issue. If your sound card does not have a RCA-COAX digital out or a TOSLINK out, then I heard some people using a 1/8"mm to a mono-RCA and setting their sound card settings to DIGITAL only. Supposedly this gives you a digital connection through an RCA-COAX cable (after converting 1/8" to RCA). Note the RCA cable should probably a be gold plated one since it is a digital signal.
post #6 of 9
You may be stuck ceiling mounting, since that window is in the way of where a shelf would likely go. Not sure though, would have to see it up close.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Great ideas guys! Though VERY difficult, I'll play the waiting game. Being so close to finishing this theatre up, I wanted to go ahead and get those last items on order before the mad rush of the holidays. BUT, might as well wait and get it right the first time!!!

Based on my front row distance of 9 1/2 feet, I'm probably looking at needing to get a 92" screen. I think that will work just fine in the space. Should be able to get the height off the floor and have enough room on the sides.

Anybody with a front row viewing distance of around 9 1/2 feet?
post #8 of 9
I am at 11.5 feet and on an 84" screen. I walked a couple feet up and took a look, 92" should be just about perfect from 9.5 feet back, but even 84" would still be pretty big if you had to. I think 100" would be the absolute max at this distance, and it would actually be a little too big possibly. I personally would not go bigger than 92" from only 9.5 feet back.

For my distance of 11.5 feet back, 92" to 100" would have been perfect for my setup, but since I only have a 720p projector, some content looks pretty cruddy if I go that big. Too bad when I was buying my Sanyo Z5 projector, the 1080p projectors still cost around 4K.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for checking that out. I'm feeling the 92" screen will be great. Going to wait until projector is in though. Hoping for a finished theatre for Christmas!!!
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