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Wells Family Theater Construction Thread (another 2.35:1)

post #1 of 109
Thread Starter 
Hello Fellow AVSers-

I figured that it was about time that I posted my own construction thread as my build is well underway. I have received so my knowledge and inspiration from the good folks here at AVS that I wanted to share my own experiences with respect to completing my build.

I am finishing my HT as a part of my whole basement so that has added time to the process. In addition to a dedicated HT, outside the theater I will have a concession area, a bar room, and a playroom for my daughter which will be converted to an O gauge train room in years to come (wife's and father-in-law hobby).

Since this is a DIY job, it has been a work in process for a few months now (working here and there). Well I guess that it is not totally DIY as my father-in-law is a contractor so the construction piece has his expertise and we will use his drywall guy for the mud, tape, and sanding of the drywall (we will install the sheetrock).

I already have a good jump-start on the room so I will share some photos in a short period of time. For now, here is a short list of what I have planned so you have an idea of what I am working towards:

· Room: 25' L x 14'3 W x 7'6 high
· Equipment Closet (approx. 7' deep and 32 wide)
· Concession area before entering the theater
· Staggered studs, double sheetrock (5/8 and ½ with GG in the middle)
· Dedicated HVAC unit for basement with thermostat in theater. Theater to have three 8 feeds and one 12x12 return
· Ceiling to be floated using RSIC DC04
· Two rows of Berkline chairs (need to buy)
· 120 wide 2:35 screen (already own SMX)
· Panny AX100 (need to buy)
· Panamorph UH380 and M380 (own, purchased during powerbuy)
· Considering HTIQ masking system
· 7.2 Surround sound (sides and rears in columns, fronts behind SMX) (already own rockets and SVS (need second SVS sub))
· Denon AVR (need to buy)
· Room to be finished with a fabric frame approach (suede style tan panels, chocolate brown GOM columns - need help finding this)
· Slim-5 Middle Atlantic Rack
· MainLobby with DVDLobby on a TabletPC or Airpanel to control AV equipment

I will post some pictures of progress soon.

-T.Wells
post #2 of 109
T.Wells,

Looking forward to following your progress. Many of my friends are finishing their basements. Which is giving me the itch to start on mine which would most likely start out with the dedicated theater room. It's been several years since I built my last theater, so I'm anxious to see what the new trends are and the designs people are coming up with.

One thing I didn't notice in your list was lighting control. The good thing is most of the technologies out there like UPB, ZWAVE or Insteon do not really require any extra wiring so you could always add it later.
post #3 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcascio View Post

T.Wells,

Looking forward to following your progress. Many of my friends are finishing their basements. Which is giving me the itch to start on mine which would most likely start out with the dedicated theater room. It's been several years since I built my last theater, so I'm anxious to see what the new trends are and the designs people are coming up with.

One thing I didn't notice in your list was lighting control. The good thing is most of the technologies out there like UPB, ZWAVE or Insteon do not really require any extra wiring so you could always add it later.


Thanks for checking in Mario. I have already purchased Insteon for the basement as I currently use X10 on the first two floors of the house. I hope to slowly convert to all Insteon if I am happy with the performance. My X10 setup works fine right now though so I really don't have too much need to change all that quickly.

-T.Wells
post #4 of 109
Thread Starter 
I wanted to update today with a quick shot of how I planned my theater so I attached an image below.

Also, I think that I forgot to mention above that I am also considering the purchase of a scaler (DVDO or Lumagen). I initially plan to play DVDs out of a Sony CX777ES so I think I may need the video processor to help the image.

-T.Wells
LL
post #5 of 109
T. Wells,

Sounds like you have things under control.

Based on your floorplan (not sure if its too late or not), if possible, you may consider making it so you have access to the rear of your equipment rack. It really depends on how much equipment you have and how often you plan to make changes. For a theater it may not be as critical as the rack for your whole house. I know my whole house rack undergoes changes weekly.

I plan to run additional wiring from my whole house rack to the theater room to act like its really just another zone in the house. So I'll have access to movies/xbox360/sources in the theater just like I do now in every other room using a HDTV Matrix Switcher.
post #6 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcascio View Post

T. Wells,

Sounds like you have things under control.

Based on your floorplan (not sure if its too late or not), if possible, you may consider making it so you have access to the rear of your equipment rack. It really depends on how much equipment you have and how often you plan to make changes. For a theater it may not be as critical as the rack for your whole house. I know my whole house rack undergoes changes weekly.

I plan to run additional wiring from my whole house rack to the theater room to act like its really just another zone in the house. So I'll have access to movies/xbox360/sources in the theater just like I do now in every other room using a HDTV Matrix Switcher.

Sorry, it is too late to change the floor plan. We are already framed and sheetrocked. I will post some pictures soon.

I did think of allowing access to the rear of the rack. However, since I was doing so much to seal off the room with respect to sound, I didn't want another opening in the wall.

I do plan to use the rack for my whole home and will have to deal with the slide out model (thinking Middle Atlantic Slim5 (37 space, 20" deep). I do hope to get a HDTV Matrix Switcher and have been eyeing the VideoStorm models (CRM84).

I also need a new whole home audio system but not in a rush there as my current setup will be moved to the rack. I hope to have something that will work within MainLobby on a budget as the CAV6.6 is too rich for my blood right now with all the work in the basement.

-T.Wells
post #7 of 109
Thread Starter 
Well, here are a few shots of capturing some of my progress (note the camera date is wrong on the staggered studs photo).


- A shot of my first row of staggered studs for the theater room on 2x6 plates
- I've included my mass of wires in the equipment closet area (note the green glue cases behind the wires).
- A picture of my rear wall framing

More to come ...

-T.Wells
LL
LL
LL
post #8 of 109
Thread Starter 
A few more pictures.

- One drywall pile: I used 128 sheet of drywall for my entire basement. 50 of the sheets were 12-footers and the theater got two layers on all surfaces. All additional rooms will have a drop ceiling.

- A shot of some sheetrock going up on the screenwall
- And a shot of the right side of the screenwall sheetrock

-T.Wells
LL
LL
LL
post #9 of 109
Thread Starter 
Well, two more to end the night.

First is a picture of the theater doorway, from inside the theater room (you can see the outside shot behind the drywall pile in the image above). And the second is a picture of 3 tubes of green glue on a 4'x12' sheet of drywall. FUN!

I am currently working on the stage and riser for the theater. I will take some shots once they are finished and post.

Thanks,
T.Wells
LL
LL
post #10 of 109
Thread Starter 
Hello-

I am having problems finding the right fabric on the GOM site. I have read of numerous people complaining. Anyway, it appears that they have changed their site since I last visited and it re-directs to Camira Fabrics.

Can anyone point me in the direction of an acoustically transparent dark brown (chocolate?) fabric for my columns?

Thanks,
T.Wells
post #11 of 109
Thread Starter 
Hello-

I recently picked up a Middle Atlantic Slim5 rack (still waiting for it to arrive). I was wondering if anyone out there allows this rack to stand by itself? All the racks that i see on the forum appear to be framed into the wall. My 'closet' where the rack will reside is 32" wide. I would prefer to leave the width alone and just stand the rack centered in this area. Is there any problem with this? Will the rack be stable?

Thanks,
T.Wells
post #12 of 109
I got my slim5 rack yesterday. Very nice product. To answer your question, yes you could leave it free standing. The base has 4 screw holes that you could either put screw on "leveling" type feet or casters on. As a free standing rack you could add sides, a rear panel, and a door to give it a finished look. I think they even have wood side panels.

Feet
Casters
Accessories
post #13 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Wells View Post

Hello-

I am having problems finding the right fabric on the GOM site. I have read of numerous people complaining. Anyway, it appears that they have changed their site since I last visited and it re-directs to Camira Fabrics.

Can anyone point me in the direction of an acoustically transparent dark brown (chocolate?) fabric for my columns?

Thanks,
T.Wells


Check with Brian (bpape), he has access to the GOM line.

His Website

Parts Express also has brown speaker grill cloth that is 100% AT. It isn't like GOM though.
post #14 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by judsonp View Post

I got my slim5 rack yesterday. Very nice product. To answer your question, yes you could leave it free standing. The base has 4 screw holes that you could either put screw on "leveling" type feet or casters on. As a free standing rack you could add sides, a rear panel, and a door to give it a finished look. I think they even have wood side panels.

Feet
Casters
Accessories

Wow, that is great. This is exactly what I am looking for.

The price of the side panels is pretty expensive though (more than the rack itself).

I don't think that I will need side panels as the closet itself it only 32"

I wonder if I get the casters if that will give me a little wiggle room to reach the rear of the rack with less effort.

Thanks for the links.

-T.Wells
post #15 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by judsonp View Post

Check with Brian (bpape), he has access to the GOM line.

His Website

Parts Express also has brown speaker grill cloth that is 100% AT. It isn't like GOM though.


Thanks. I've read many posts on the forum regarding Brian's great work. I've always seen the post pointing to him regarding linacoutic. It didn't dawn on me to ask about GOM. Thank you very much.

-T.Wells
post #16 of 109
Thread Starter 
As I indicated earlier, we are working on the entire basement at once. We did get the chance to finish up the riser and stage over the weekend. Here are a few shots of the finished work to the point ...

-T.Wells
LL
LL
post #17 of 109
Hey T.,
Where in Philly are you....I'm in Limerick, and there are quite a few here from Montgomery County.

Your stage looks very similar to mine (Thunder Deck thread).

Are you using Riser lights ?
Is that what the electric is for....I debated, but can't figure they'd work well if they're a few feet from a bright lit screen, then the photocell won't work right....I just don't know.
I assume the pole will be conealed in a false wall with your Front Rights ?
post #18 of 109
Thread Starter 
Hello Plasma George,

I am also in Montgomery County. I live in Worcester Township so I am not far from you. I grew up in the Collegeville area.

I have looked at your thread and several other construction thread which are all in the area. I also remember Gamone's thread too.

I am going to use riser lights on the stairs to the riser. They will be surface mounted 120v lights. The rest of the riser will be mostly covered up by the back of the front row of chairs so I will only illuminate the steps.

I also plan on three lights on the stage to light it up before he movie. Again, these will be surface mounted 120v lights on a dimmer so no photocells in my current plan.

Yes, that pole off to the right of the stage will be hidden by a false wall covered in GOM. I plan on placing my speakers behind the screen so the right front will not be near the pole.

I'll have to go back and re-look at your thread as it has been a little while since I have visited your progress. Thank for looking.

-T.Wells
post #19 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by judsonp View Post

Check with Brian (bpape), he has access to the GOM line.

His Website

Parts Express also has brown speaker grill cloth that is 100% AT. It isn't like GOM though.

Thanks again. I sent a note to Brian through his web site.

-T.Wells
post #20 of 109
Thread Starter 
Hey Montgomery County, PA AV'ers

I know that Plasma George is following the thread but wanted to ask all of you if you have purchase 1" duct liner anywhere yet. I have not started shopping but if someone else has already found a good buy, I may pick some up there as well. Also, I know that many times that you have to buy a 100' roll and have a lot left over. Perhaps we can share some of this with each other.

On the topic of helping each other out, I think that I will have a few extra tubes of acoustic caulk if someone needs a little. I think that I paid $4 per tube (had to buy a case) for OSI-175. Let me know if you need some as I will know within a few days how many tubes I'll have left.

-T.Wells
post #21 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Wells View Post

Hey Montgomery County, PA AV'ers

I know that Plasma George is following the thread but wanted to ask all of you if you have purchase 1" duct liner anywhere yet. I have not started shopping but if someone else has already found a good buy, I may pick some up there as well. Also, I know that many times that you have to buy a 100' roll and have a lot left over. Perhaps we can share some of this with each other.

On the topic of helping each other out, I think that I will have a few extra tubes of acoustic caulk if someone needs a little. I think that I paid $4 per tube (had to buy a case) for OSI-175. Let me know if you need some as I will know within a few days how many tubes I'll have left.

-T.Wells

That's funny about the caulk, I just bought 6 tubes of 50year stuff from HD, and used in for the seams on the Soundstop wall I did.
Can you post pictures of the lights you're using ?
I grew up at 363 and Morris Rd, went to North Penn, my parents still live there, and I have a bad attitude from growing up next to Merck !
post #22 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plasma George View Post

That's funny about the caulk, I just bought 6 tubes of 50year stuff from HD, and used in for the seams on the Soundstop wall I did.
Can you post pictures of the lights you're using ?
I grew up at 363 and Morris Rd, went to North Penn, my parents still live there, and I have a bad attitude from growing up next to Merck !

I currently live very close to 363 and Morris and went to Merrymaid very often throughout high school (Methacton). My wife now loves it there as well.

I kinda like Merck as I work within the Pharmaceutical Industry (at Johnson and Johnson).

I'll post a link to the lights I am going to try out for my steps ASAP.

-T.Wells
post #23 of 109
Thread Starter 
Hello,

Here is a link to the lights that I plan on trying out in the theater. They are 1 3/4" deep surface mounted 120v lights.

I hope they work out okay ...

-T.Wells
post #24 of 109
Thread Starter 
I just wanted to pop in with a quick update and ask a couple of questions including information regarding my projector purchase.

The lights for the riser and stage have arrived and so has the Middle Atlantic rack. I have also ordered my DIY screen frame for my SMX material and that should be here in about 2-weeks. In addition, I am really considering ordering a motorized masking systems for my 2.35:1 screen.

I plan on painting the theater ceiling this weekend a flat back from Sherwin Williams. Except of the theater, the entire basement (bar room, concession area, train room, and full bath) is all painted so my attention will be in the theater for the next few days (well, nights).

I wanted to get some opinions on when to make my PJ purchase. I hope to have the ceiling in the theater all painted within a few days. The theater walls will get some paint after the fabric is selected but they will be covered mostely with fabric frames and the carpet could be a good 2 months away (berklines sometime after the carpet). I was worried about mounting the PJ and anamporhic lens before the carpet was laid as the installers may bump it or damage it when installing the carpet. Is is common for the DIY'er to get the PJ mounted so soon? It may be helpful to have the PJ on hand and mounted when framing the screen wall but if my calculations are correct with respect to throw distance, I shouldn't need the PJ (*fingers crossed*). Let me know what you think here.

Also, the other kicker regarding the PJ is that I am pretty much set on the Panny AX100. This PJ has some known issues and it takes some use to see if the PJ has problems. I selected this PJ based on the long throw and also the lumen output so there are not many choices for me here. Since I am not near the phase of being able to sit and watch hours and hours worth of movies, I fear buying the PJ, mounting it, and then having it sit idle for a few months and discovering a problem in the fall. What do you think?

On another note: I am having a very hard time finding dark brown AT cloth for my columns. I have ordered a number of samples of AT GOM to no avail. Any additional ideas?

Thanks,
T.Wells
post #25 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Wells View Post


Also, the other kicker regarding the PJ is that I am pretty much set on the Panny AX100. This PJ has some known issues and it takes some use to see if the PJ has problems. I selected this PJ based on the long throw and also the lumen output so there are not many choices for me here. Since I am not near the phase of being able to sit and watch hours and hours worth of movies, I fear buying the PJ, mounting it, and then having it sit idle for a few months and discovering a problem in the fall. What do you think?

Thanks,
T.Wells

Yeah, I'm struggling with the same issue. I've wanted to get the AX100 for a long time, but all the issues it is having is really scaring me off. I need a longer throw (17') projector with lense shift, and there just are not too many choices. I'm currently starting to lean towards the Sanyo Z5 just because I'm scared of the problems with the AX100. Epson's 810 is looking nice, but it's a bit more expensive. It seems that buying a projector is a gamble and you just have to chose which trade offs you can live with. I'm putting the decision off as long as possible, the projector will be the last thing I buy before the HT is complete. By then maybe there will be other choices.

Guy
post #26 of 109
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Man View Post

Yeah, I'm struggling with the same issue. I've wanted to get the AX100 for a long time, but all the issues it is having is really scaring me off. I need a longer throw (17') projector with lense shift, and there just are not too many choices. I'm currently starting to lean towards the Sanyo Z5 just because I'm scared of the problems with the AX100. Epson's 810 is looking nice, but it's a bit more expensive. It seems that buying a projector is a gamble and you just have to chose which trade offs you can live with. I'm putting the decision off as long as possible, the projector will be the last thing I buy before the HT is complete. By then maybe there will be other choices.

Guy

Guy,

Thanks for your feedback. I think that i will frame up the screen wall (when ready) and worry about buying the PJ at a later date (still hopefully soon). I also need that long throw and the lumens to fill a large screen. My throw should be around 20' to 21' so that I can keep the PJ behind the second row of seats.

Do you have an update on your construction thread ready? I really love the LOTR writings on the upper portion of the wall.

Thanks again,
T.Wells
post #27 of 109
Thread Starter 
Well I painted the theater ceiling and equipment closet with two coats of flat black this weekend and I need a third coat. I was hoping to paint the walls this week but I doubt that will happen.

My wife and I did get out this weekend to do some carpet shopping and it appears that we found something we liked for all the rooms in the basement except for tiles in the bathroom.

I decided on something for the theater and found a nice black plush rug to do the stage.

This week I will be poking around on-line to look for a CPU for my rack. I've been torn between buying a cheap Dell, removing it from the it's case and putting it in a rack mountable case and just building my own PC. My problem is that I only need a budget PC to act as a file server (mp3s) and possibly MainLobby server so I was looking for something in the $500 range. I had originally planned on using a full HTPC but decided against it as I won't have the time to spending doing tons of tweaking on a HTPC (hence the cheapo budget). Any thoughts on how I should proceed would be appreciated. Thanks.

-T.Wells
post #28 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by T.Wells View Post


Do you have an update on your construction thread ready? I really love the LOTR writings on the upper portion of the wall.

Thanks again,
T.Wells

Thanks for the prompting, I've been slacking off at updating my thread. I have taken some new pictures and will try to post an update soon. Things have been moving really slow for me lately. I think I'm at the stage of the project where the last 10% takes 90% of the time.

Guy
post #29 of 109
T.Wells,

Do you have pics of the rest of your basement? I'm finishing mine up here in Douglassville, PA (Sunset Knoll Theater) and would be interested in seeing what you did with the rest of the area.

Nick
post #30 of 109
hi T.Wells


everything is looking great. I am doing the same height riser, what size is the step. i was thinking of doing mine 2' wide and 6" high and 6" deep.

mike
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