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My "Out of Africa" theater is "FINISHED"

post #1 of 467
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody,

This post will begin as a lot of others before but please bear with me

My dream of having my own "movie room" in my house has been with me for a long, long time. Since first seeing a data projector at a friends home projecting a DVD onto a beige wall, I knew that it was possible to create my cinema room one day when I got my own house. Fast-forward about 15 years and here I am now - starting my dream!

Here is a post from Art form a while ago that I have on my desktop. This is almost exactly how I feel and was a motivation for me to keep following my dream and not give up when it looked like it would never happen.

The theater don't have a name yet. Since I live in South Africa and this thread is comming to you from Africa, I thought it would be appropriate to call it for now the Out of Africa theater.

We build houses differently than you guys in the States. More like Europe. Brick walls with mortar and covered with plaster. No drywall and OSB particle board ect. Also it's not as easy to get all the nice goodies and supplies that you have overseas, so some of the stuff that I'll use is improvised and some will be imported and most will be sourced locally.

I have a lot of "Inspirational Heros" on AVS. So if you see something familiar in my designs - Thank you very much !!! I am a long-time LEARNER on AVS (lurker is such a ugly word ) and have learned everything I know about HT on here - Thank you very much to everybody. When I speak to my wife about the HT and AVS forum I speak of "MY" site. Like in " I've seen this or that ... ect. on my site.." and everybody feels like friends and that I know alot of you guys even though we never spoke or met.

Thanks for now. I will post pictures soon.


Edited by Bobbejaan - 12/10/12 at 11:47pm
post #2 of 467
Thread Starter 

More info on the room:

I started pretty much with a clean slate - 20ft x 20ft room with 1 big window. We don't really have basements in SA. My room enters from my entrance room as you enter the house. The room's walls are all double brick wide and go up to the roof tiles, so the whole room is basically "isolated" from the rest of the house.

Those funny block and triangle windows will be stuffed with insulation and covered up by the DVD/Blu-ray rack later on

I will build everything myself (except for the wall that splits the room into the theater room and a corridor for the media rack and equipment rack.) There will be a riser in the back with 4 leather electric recline chairs and a first row with 3 chairs.

Screenwall on a stage with DIY AT screen of 2:1 ratio. After alot of planning and bickering and what else, I decided on the 2:1 ratio that's the best of both worlds. DIY fully automated masking system for horisontal (2.35 to 16:9) and vertical (2.35 to 16:9 to 4:3) masking.

All walls will be covered with fabric panels and all speakers hidden in columns. It will be a 11.1 speaker configuration.

I plan on doing a fibre optic star ceiling and a RGB color changing led strip light around the soffit.

I will have a ticket booth in the entrace and a facade on the outside of the room comming into the theater.

The equipmnet will be in a rack outside the theater in the corridor that will be built.

For equipment I think I've got my mind made up pretty good:

Panasonic pt-ae7000 projector
Yamaha rx-a3010 A/V amp
Oppo 93 Blu-ray player
Monitor Audio speakers
Aura bass shakers in every chair
and a few other goodies as well.

That's all for now


Edited by Bobbejaan - 8/26/12 at 2:15am
post #3 of 467
looks like a great start!
post #4 of 467
It appears that you have a nice room to start with. I share your passion for these rooms. I have wanted something like this for years and years!
post #5 of 467
Thread Starter 
Hi jdanforth,

I've been checking out your build for a long time as well. Love the vids and great build so far!

Thanx for the interest guys!
post #6 of 467
Thread Starter 
Here's a few more pics of the wall built to split the room.

And plastered afterwards:

And window built shut and plastered:

Till later

post #7 of 467
Looks like an interesting project. It would help us follow along if you could post a sketch of the proposed floor plan.
post #8 of 467
i can't imagine having to build a wall out of brick and mortar and having to plaster it afterward just to put up a wall. Is it do to cost or availability that you chose this route versus a wooden 2x4 and drywall?
post #9 of 467
Thread Starter 
Hi Big,

You are one of the people that inspired me as well - thank you. Yes I will post a floorplan asap.


Most houses in SA a built with bricks. I've never been in a house built without it. Costwise I dont know the difference but that wall (20ft long and 9 feet high) with door frame cost me R8400-00 ($1050) including labour. The bigger the job, the cheaper the price obviously but I think building cost now for a average house is about R3500-00 / R4000-00 ( $437.50 to $ 500.00 ) per square meter.

Advantages is its MUCH stronger than drywall - you can't throw a person (or anything else for that matter ) through a brick wall like you can through a drywall like in the movies
post #10 of 467
Thread Starter 
Here is a picture of my floorplan - not drawn to scale - but you'll get the idea.

The projector will be shelfmounted under the soffit between the two back columns.
post #11 of 467
Thread Starter 
The attic and ceiling was a MESS! Building rubble and dust and who knows what else was on top of the ceiling. I climbed in and took out 3 buckets full of sement, dust and pieces of wood, old nails ect out of the roof. Damn! its HOT under the African sun inside a non-isolated ironplate roof.

Next I used a shop-vac, connected to my pool cleaner pipes for an extension, to suck out all the dust and remaining dirt form the ceiling - what a job - never again!!!!! I put a big plank onto the trusses inside and lied on it with only my shorts on and used the vac to clean the top of the ceiling

Ahhh, clean and fresh (compared to what it looked like before )
post #12 of 467
Walls like that are rare enough here that they are usually left exposed and incorporated into the design. Looks like you have a great space to work with. It would be nice to see a floor plan to get an idea of how the space is laid out.
post #13 of 467
Now this I am going to enjoy watching!
post #14 of 467
Originally Posted by stockmonkey2000 View Post

Walls like that are rare enough here that they are usually left exposed and incorporated into the design. Looks like you have a great space to work with. It would be nice to see a floor plan to get an idea of how the space is laid out.

The IB subs have messed up with your vision Stockmonkey. Look at post 10 above.
post #15 of 467
Thread Starter 
Yipeeee, ... guess what?

Chairs arrived. Oh the smell of new leather. Got them through my uncle whose friend got a furniture business.

Then I just HAD to unpack them to see how they would look and fit in the room. Feel like a kid on Christmas morning.

They are the most comfortable seats I've ever put my butt in! I will be able to sit through the whole LOTR trilogy in one of these !!

Next I tried all the electric recline of all 7 chairs - works great.

I then built a ghetto-style riser thingy to see if my riser height calculations was right. (It was!)

Next thing was to take out all the chairs again, put back their little bags and put them in another unused room.

Let the DIRTY work begin!!!!
post #16 of 467
Thread Starter 
The trapdoor in the ceiling had to be closed off because it's about right above the stage. I cut a new hole in the corner of the little "room" above and behind where the equipment rack will go - you'll never know it was there.

All the old downlight holes and old airvents will eventually be covered and the ceiling will be covered with the soffits and the star ceiling. I have already received the Fibre optic kit form Chris Rice at Starceiling123.com. I got the BEST service from him. The package took about 2 weeks to arrive in SA but unfortuantly the twinkle wheel was not in the box. Chris sorted it out immediatly and the wheel was in the post the next day. Thanx Chris for the fast and nice service.

This is the kit I got:

It has 400 fibres and a remote control. I searched all over South Africa and no-one had anything simillar. One lighting company did sell something like that before but does'nt anymore and it was MUCH more expensive for LESS fibres
post #17 of 467
Thread Starter 

A small job, but a BIG job. How strange is it not that something looks very simple and quick to do till you start? The removing of the old tile skirting in the room was one of those jobs.

Yes, and with that job came "FIRST BLOOD: Part 1"

Here's one for Hanesian: The Pile Of Wood

Please pardon the birdpoop on the paving in front of the wood - damn pigeons are everywhere

Planning of the stage is done ( as a matter of fact the whole theater is planned out in my head - been doing it for the past 14 years! - so if anything goes wrong I've only got myself to blame - and you guys of course, that taught me everything about HT )

Just checking to see if everthing will fit

Edited by Bobbejaan - 7/15/13 at 9:37am
post #18 of 467
Beautiful garage doors. Something our wives would love to smash.

As I've studied the pictures and watched your progress one thing just struck me. You have and I assume you will continue to use the mini-split AC. You are sealing the room up nice and tight. How are you planning on introducing fresh air into the room? It won't take long for 7 adults to start reducing the Oxygen content.
post #19 of 467
Thread Starter 
Thanx BIG,
The garage doors used to be a bit dull so I put on the fake "studs" .
The split aircon was a little to weak in the pants to cool the whole room, so I researched all the aircons available for the most quiet. ( We don't have all that HVAC systems and stuff you guys have. Most houses that have aircons here use the split units in the rooms.)

Anyway, I got a aircon brand "JET AIR" that had the lowest dB rating for the most affordable price (I should have gone for the Samsung by the way). I moved the one in the HT to another room and had the 18000 btu Jet Air installed in the HT. It was installed centered in the new HT room since the old one was now off-centered. I now know why it's called JET air - sounds just like one starting up ......

Here's a pic of the new aircon installed:

I am going to box up this monstrosity so you don't see it and hopefully will be quieter.

For the fresh air, I'm gonna use another portable aircon in an outside room (used to be a servants/maid room outside the house that shares a wall with the theater) connected with a duct through the wall and under my riser, out of my rear columns, for fresh air and also as another cold air supplier. I'm gonna have a return vent behind the screen in the corner that'll suck the stale air out into the attic and out of a rotating vent on the roof.

Basically two systems. I was thinking of running the BEAST for a while before I watch a movie to cool everything down on a hot day, and just switch over to the outside aircon to keep it cool and fresh during a movie.

Sorry for the long post.

post #20 of 467
Thread Starter 
Riser and stage:

I'll let the pics speak for themselves

The riser will have electrical outlets for the chairs and wired for buttkickers as well. I am also going to make a little "patch panel" on the side of the left step looking towards the riser. It will be used to connect stuff directly to the amp. It will include 2x HDMI input/outputs, 2x CATe5 cables for internet/network, a/v connections and 2x usb and a VGA input ect.

Next the stage:

Please stop me if I bore you with all the pics
post #21 of 467
Pics are great! Keep 'em coming.
post #22 of 467
Very nice work. I have not seen a riser constructed quite that way with the spike plates and such. Here in the states I have seen those plates used to join roof trusses together, but not like you have used them. Interesting.

Good idea on using the two aircon units, I think having a plan for cooling air and fresh air is an excellent idea. Oh, is that your miniature pet elephant in one of the photos. Did not realize there was such a thing.

I also find it interesting that you build walls with the brick and plaster. Very different than what I'm used to.

Keep up the good work and the progress pics coming.


post #23 of 467
Originally Posted by Bobbejaan View Post

Please stop me if I bore you with all the pics

You could post a picture of each nail going in and not bore this group.

When I looked at that picture of a pile of lumber in your driveway it made me feel better about the crap I buy at Home Depot. A couple a weeks ago I had the opportunity to work with some Canadian Prime Kiln dried lumber and it was sweet.

How did you generate the paper templates for the stage? That is an interesting trick.
post #24 of 467
Thread Starter 
RTROSE, yes those spikey things are called Gryptite and they are mainly used for constructing roof trusses but I thought it would work nice and quick to keep the planks of the riser and stage together. It worked like a charm - I just clamped the planks together and whacked the spikeys in with a big-ass hammer and was done!

BIG, isn't it just great when you take ages to handpick the straightest planks in the lumberyard - straight as an arrow - but by the time you unload them at home, they are as bent as my. ....... let's just say, they are not straight anymore!

The paper templates was another story! Unfortuanatly I didn't take any pictures of the process but it consisted of working out the radius of the circle and then I used an old cable used as a washing line as an unstrechable rope with a felt tip marker to draw the piece of the arc on the folio papers that I stuck together.
post #25 of 467
Thread Starter 

Let's continue....

Filled to the brim and sealant applied - ready to cover this up!!

I was lucky with the sand. There was alot of plaster sand left over from the wall built in the theater . It was lying in the sun for a while and luckily no rain for a while so it was pretty much dried well. I pulled a joke on my gardener by telling him that the sand lying next to the house was unsightly and that we had to get rid of if because the wife complained. Don't worry, I told him, I know where we can hide it! He looked at me like and I told him to bring the wheelbarrow and showed him the stage. Let's hide it inside there I said. Then he look at me like - He filled the stage probably thinking "I'm working for a nutcase!" I went like

Edited by Bobbejaan - 8/26/12 at 2:23am
post #26 of 467
Thread Starter 
The itchy stuff is ready and waiting to be "hid" in the riser as well. But first a few tasks to get everything ready, like wires pulled and conduit laid before closing it up.

Since my equipment rack will be behind the wall next to the riser, the cables must go through the ceiling or the wall. All the patch cables for the riser will go inside a conduit through the wall. These cables include: 2x HDMI, 2x network cables for internet and home network, VGA cable, rca for A/V, 2x usb and a mini jack for iPod ect.

I forgot to tell the builder to leave a gap for the conduit, so more back-breaking work for me - hurrayyyy

And inside the riser

After conduit is laid and wires pulled through:

What a NEAT and clean wire job!

Let's try again!

Much better for now.

Hole cut in the side of the step for the connectors:

and boxes for power for the chairs installed. Note the high-tech box downholder-while-glue-dries thingy (heavy fondue pot that was nearby)

post #27 of 467
Thread Starter 
Another big job was the creation of the "Fresh-air circulation system".
Since I have a closed fishtank-desgin and I don't have a central aircon system or HVAC system like most of you guys have, I have to devise a way to bring in the fresh are and exhaust the stale. My room will basically have 2 aircon systems as discussed a little bit back. I did not take alot of pics of this part so i hope "a (few) picture(s) is wort a thousand words".

BTW English is my second language so please pardon me if I make a few spelling errors or grammatical mistakes

Lets start with the little "room" in the back of the room behind the riser as seen in this pic:

Excuse the SIS (sh*t in storage) but that will be moved before the space is closed of semi-permanently. The stairs to the second story runs upward form left to right behind the wall and the door opens to the space beneath the stairs. (It's sorry to waste this nice storage space but it's one of the sacrifices to be made for the HT.)

The Jet-Air split-unit A/C will be used mainly to cool down the HT before a movie and the secondary unit will be used to keep it cool and replenish the air. I will be using a portable aircon unit in an outside store room on the other side of the wall in the understairs space.

The ducting goes under the riser and exits in the two back corners in under the corner columns.

Do you smell what I'm smelling? Sniff? Sniff? ......... yep that smells like another BIG job comming up. How to make a 10" diameter hole through two layers of brick, sement and plaster for the duct to pass into the next room?

1.Hire an industrial strenght impact drill
2. Mark out the circle to be drilled (easy so far )
3. Start drilling!!!!
4. Rest a bit between each hole
5. Repeat from step 3 till finished!!

Holes from inside the understair space:

And after a LONG while and sore arms : Ta daaaa

post #28 of 467
Somewhere there are some inmates taking notes!
post #29 of 467

I will never complain about putting holes in drywall again after seeing this picture.
post #30 of 467
Thread Starter 
Ha ha yes. You can imagine Clint Eastwood poking his head through that hole any moment now.

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