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RM1759's Charlie Brown Cinema build thread

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Ok, after some deliberation, I decided to start a thread of my own. Mostly b/c I feel bad thread jacking other posts asking my own questions...

First of, I will have pictures, but it is very hard getting a good picture in the space because it's so dark. I have some work lights, but those still don't make for good quality pictures...

I will start with the space. Last year, we added a second story to our home. My previous theater was your typical living room setup. I had hacked in 2 rows of stadium seating, mounted my great at the time sanyo pj on the ceiling, and it was good. I always wanted a dedicated room, and as it turned out the second story addition plans required the stairs come down right in the middle of our family room, so the theater had to be put in the closet for the time being.

I always knew I would want to do a dedicated room, so when we built the 2nd floor, I had them install "room in the roof" trusses. I went with a 6:12 pitch on a span of 45'. this left me with a space in the attic of 34' x 12' x 7'10" to use.

I built a deck on the third floor, and installed spiral stairs going from the ground level to the 3rd floor deck (with a stop on 2nd floor deck). the access to the attic is then via an exterior door on the 3rd floor deck. this access is a big limiting factor in the construction. Also, because of this, I had to build a 1/2 bath in the space, and the wife required a closet for storage of stuff normally stored in the attic. After planning for a small bath, closet, and small entry space, this left 19' x 12' for the theater. a little small, but I think it will work out.

So, my first challenge was getting the major material up there. There is no way I can lug 4x8 sheets of material up spiral stairs, so I knew I would need to rent a lift. So, I ordered all the material I thought I would need (drywall, plywood, lumber, etc) and a few extras. My 2 brothers in law, and father in law were down one weekend, and were kind enough to help. I wanted the scissor lift. of course, it was rented the day I needed it (the rental place doesn't take reservations), so, the first picture is of my father in law, and the lift.

The lift had a limit of 300 lbs. I didn't want the straps to ruin the drywall, so we kept a piece of plywood on the lift, and put the drywall on top of that. The second picture is us getting one of loads off the lift onto the deck. We had 50 sheets of drywall and 10 sheets of plywood, plus a good sized stack of lumber to get up there...

The last pic is of my brother in law and I. he is a general contractor and lives in Jacksonville florida. It's very nice having a brother in law that is a GC... He also knows home theaters, so if anyone needs help in the Jax. area, let me know! He's the one flexing his arms...

post #2 of 59
So what's the problem again? Sounds like you are well on your way.
You want to talk problems. I have a contractor who can't seem to get out the house to stud in the 2 walls I need, so I can run the wiring, so I can insulate, so I can GET FREAKIN STARTED ON MY THEATER>. 19x12 won't be a bad size. Mine will end up being 23x14.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.
post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 
I am actually much further along, I just don't have many pictures. it just seems that throughout the build it's just been one thing after another.

One of the bigger problems has been the framing. I did not want to lose any of the 12' of width, so I used the trusses as my side walls. There are two issues with this. The big one is the top of the trusses where the side walls meet with with the ceiling joists. They are all 2x4's, and the side walls come up 7'8", the ceiling joists are at 7'10". so, for a 2 inch span, there is a 45 degree turn at the top corners of the walls.

I got around this by cutting the drywall long, scoring a line along the back of the drywall, placing it up there, and then basically snapping it in. I then screwed the shorter 2" piece into the 45degree boards, and the rest into the trusses on the side. I hung all of the drywall by myself, including the ceiling, I won't be making that mistake again.

This worked out alright. I had to use a TON of mud to get the corners to look decent in the entryway and bathroom (I think i put up 5 or 6 coats on the corners). but in the theater room, they will be covered by the star ceiling panels, so I just put 3 coats of mud on those.

The second issue with the trusses is there is no base plate. I did not even think of it until after the drywall is up, but it will be a pain when it comes time for baseboard...

Some more details on the build. I will be doing a light tray along the sides and rear. The stage and proscenium are built, along with the screen wall. I did the stage with a small step, and will put rope lights under the lips of the step and top.

Sound proofing was an issue. Originally, I had planned not to use GG just because of the cost, and the amount of additional work. Once I got the room insulated (I did R-30 batts in the ceiling and along the walls) and the drywall hung, the wife was already complaining about the noise, so I changed the plan. I had enough spare drywall to put an extra layer of 5/8" on the screen wall. then I put down another layer of 3/4" plywood on the floor (I had to rip the plywood in half, and carry up the 2x8 sheets one by one). both the floor and screen wall have GG (2 tubes per 4x8 sheet) in between the layers. The side walls and ceiling empty out into the attic space. I realize there will be alot of sound leakage through those, but my hope is that it won't be as bad as it would've been. The wife has said the noise is much better.

This weekend I install the light tray, and clean the room. Carpet gets installed on tuesday. I will have some more pics to post later...
post #4 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by whiskey alpha View Post

So what's the problem again? Sounds like you are well on your way.
You want to talk problems. I have a contractor who can't seem to get out the house to stud in the 2 walls I need, so I can run the wiring, so I can insulate, so I can GET FREAKIN STARTED ON MY THEATER>. 19x12 won't be a bad size. Mine will end up being 23x14.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

I didn't mean for the title to sound like I was complaining. Most of the theaters here are alot nicer than my build, and sometimes it seems like this is kind of the Charlie Brown cinema that I am working on...

Edit, in fact, that sounds like a better title... I will change it...
post #5 of 59
Thread Starter 
I got the light trays installed this weekend. I took a somewhat different approach. I built the trays on the ground, painted them black, wrapped them in fabric, installed the electrical and then lifted them into place, and nailed them from the top.

The trays are small (9" deep) and just made out of 2x4 and 1/2" plywood. Still they were heavy enough (16' long) and made it a little awkward getting it in place, esp. since I apparently measured one of them incorrectly, I had to take it down, pull the fabric back and cut it down by 1/4". I had issues where the corners meet of the light tray, and ended up having to put 1 nail and 1 screw in through the bottom. I will paint the nailhead black, the screw counter sunk and you can't see it...

Up until the light tray was installed, the room was really dark, and none of my pictures are coming out at all. Now that the lights are in there, I will be able to give you better pics...

The carpet was installed yesterday. I wanted a patterned carpet, and a dark charcoal, but the only thing I could find that looked decent with our colors is kind of a lighter gray. so, once the carpet was installed, I gave the carpet guys some extra $$ to help me move the berks up those spiral stairs and into the room.

What a transformation! Monday I was working in the dark, finishing up the lighting, then tuesday night there's carpet and theater seats in the room...

While the carpet was installed, I began working on the ceiling star panels. I did the fabric on 5 of them, only 9 more to go...
post #6 of 59
Let's see some pics. I have a link in my signature that will help you put them in the thread instead of links.
post #7 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by jikkjack View Post

Let's see some pics. I have a link in my signature that will help you put them in the thread instead of links.

Thanks for the tip on the hosting site. I had debated hosting them myself, but didn't want to have to worry about maintaining it for too long. I move pc's around alot.. more pics are coming...
post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 
OK, I finally have some viewable pics. it's still hard to see much detail with all of the black. I am moving along on the star ceiling. 2 panels installed, 12 more to go. I followed Ruben's method (for the most part). The biggest problem I am having is when I push the fibers through, they are pulling on the fabric, and causing stretch wrinkles. Most of them come out, but a couple of them aren't too good. I don't think you'll be able to see them, but I know they are there...

here is a pic looking at the stage before the carpet went in:

Here is the same shot after the carpet:

Stage from a different angle:

Rear of room before carpet:

Same shot after carpet and seats. Yes, those are the tags that I have not removed yet:

Left side wall:

Entry hall looking into theater:

I was not the first to sit on the berks, the beast was told if he extended any claws his next resting spot would be the pound:

post #9 of 59
Are those solid walled alcoves for your speakers? if so what kind of speakers are going in them?
post #10 of 59
Thread Starter 
Yes they are for the sides and rears. I had 12' of width and didn't want to lose any more width than I had to. I knew that would have a negative affect on the sound from those speakers, fortunately they are the effects speakers, so hopefully it won't be too drastic. I left a few inches behind and an inch around the sides for air flow. all of the walls will be covered in fabric panels and Dazian Exposure fabric (linacoustic behind). the colors are the same as the paint in the entry way (I had the paint matched to the fabric).

Hopefully you won't laugh, but all of my speakers are Infinity Crescendo speakers. The Crescendo line are rebadged Kappa's for Circuit City. In my opinion, the Kappa's were the last good speakers Infinity made. I had often thought of upgrading my speakers to B&W or something similar, but to get a good upgrade (unless I went DIY) I would really have to spend alot of money, and after this little project I don't see that happening any time in the near future...

Powering the speakers I have 2 Sunfire Cinema Signature amps, 405W x 5. I have 2 subs, a Sunfire True sub MKIV, and my latest addition, an HSU VTF-2 MK3. The HSU will go behind the screen, and the Sunfire will go behind the rear row.
post #11 of 59
Thread Starter 
Oh, and the Berks are not nearly that red in real life. It's more of a maroon color.
post #12 of 59
Thread Starter 
I am now in the midst of the star ceiling install.

Instead of the random pattern, I am going to try and simulate the night sky. When researching places to buy the fiber optic supplies from, FOSI sent me a jpg of a sample night sky. I found some online, but I really liked the FOSI one the best:

This is the night sky in the winter. I photoshopped the Orion constellation in there b/c that is my favorite and wasn't on the original. Then I blew up the image in photoshop to match my ceiling size. Next I sliced out each of the panels (47" x 47") and then printed up the image on 8.5x11. for each panel, I taped them to the surface, and drilled the holes.

For those of you interested, FOSI will do this for you for a fee, they will print out the map, and print it up on some big sheets of paper...

I have 4 of the 14 panels up so far, and it really looks good (I had to hook a few of them up to the illuminator to test). the problem I have is that the "Milky way" area has a high concentration of stars, where this spans 2 panels, it is obvious where the panel edges are b/c of the lack of stars in that area. I need to find a way to get a few in there.

The panles are built with Hardboard (masonite) and 1x2 glued and stapled around the perimeter. My original plan was to use industrial strength velcro. That idea was scrapped after trying to match up the velcro before mounting the panel. So, I took the brute force approach, put some liquid nails around the edges, broke out the finish nailer, and attached them that way. I am pleased with this method but if I had it to do all over again, I would use furring strips (I am limited on height, and wanted to save as much as possible).

Anyone have recommendations on how to get the fibers on the edges of the panels? I don't want them to get snapped being wedged between the panel frame and ceiling...
post #13 of 59
Thread Starter 
So things are moving along. I will finish the star ceiling tonight, and hopefully get some pics up tomorrow. My joints are horrible, it was a pain holding the panels up there and nailing them in, but it will do for now. I think at some point I will run some molding down the seams...

but now for the real problem I have noticed. I tapped into our 5 ton A/C unit for the second floor. I didn't want to put in a new HVAC system (we already have 2) and we sized the 5 ton unit with the attic theater in mind. (1500 sq ft. on the second floor + 350 sq ft for the attic theater). They came out and recommended 3 supplies and 1 return, the supplies are 2 8x10s in the main theater, and one tiny 4x6 in the entry area. the return is a 12x12.

The room has always been hot, but I figured that was because I was always working with the door open or cracked. while threading all of those stars I had my first chance to really sit in the room for long periods, and it is uncomfortably hot in there. of course, I had all of the lights on (16 50w halogen cans) plus the 45' of rope light, so that adds some heat, and the supplies and return do not have diffusors installed yet.

There is not a seperate thermostat in the theater room, the unit runs off the thermostat on the second floor.

the side walls, and ceiling is insulated with R-30. the rear wall is an exterior 2x6 with R-19. the front wall is 2x6 with R-19 and is inside the attic space. All seams were caulked (there is still a 1.5" pvc conduit going to the attic for wiring that I have not sealed yet). there are no cuts into any external space (all cans are in the light try, and outlets on the interior walls, except for the 2 ceiling fixtures in the hallway).

My thinking is that the hot air from the second floor is coming through supplies and returns.

the A/C contractor is coming out later this week to check it out, but are there any suggestions out there? I am way over budget (imagine that!) so I am hoping I can find an inexpensive solution...
post #14 of 59
Thread Starter 
oh, and I forgot, the floor is double 3/4" ply with GG, and R-19 in the joist cavities below.
post #15 of 59
Thread Starter 
The star ceiling is done. I am very pleased with the effect. I have decided that I will eventually go with some kind of molding to cover up the crappy seams, but I am satisfied for now. I also got the three shooting stars up and working, and they add a nice touch. I am not, however, satisfied with my illuminators. Some time ago, I made the compromise of having the illuminators in the room so I wouldn't need to by so much cable (if I put them outside, I would've needed twice as much fiber). My thinking was that I will have the ceiling turn off when the movie starts up. I saw on Swithey's thread that there is a new LED illuminator coming out, and I think I will be getting a couple of those when they do.

At this point I am hooking up speakers and beginning to do the sound analysis of the room. bpape is going to help me with the acoustical design.

I have always planned to do fabric covered frames on the walls, and am now deciding on exactly how I want to lay them out, so I was hoping some of you could take a look at the skechup's I did for a couple of different ideas.

the colors are not exact, but they are close. the red is a little more maroon (it looks purple in the skechup) and the charcoal is darker. the round holes are for the sconces.

There are 3 different ideas, so some input would be nice. My skechup skills are severely lacking.... the frames will be 1" thick, and have 1/2" mdf with a 45 degree miter on the outside on top of 1/2" plywood, pretty much GPowers design (Thanks!), so the lines between the frames on skechup will actually be a little groove in between the frames...

#1: Plain design, no chair rail, or vertical trim:

#2: I have added a black chair rail. I will put a miter on both the top and bottom to match the miter on the panels:

#3: I have also added some vertical black trim to break up each section. I am not sure how I will do those joints in the middle....

Any comments on which (if any) look better?
post #16 of 59
In order of preference:

#2 first
#3 second
#1 last

post #17 of 59
post #18 of 59
I like #2 then #3 finally #1.
Its coming along good.
post #19 of 59
2, 1, 3.
post #20 of 59
Another 2,1,3 vote.
post #21 of 59
2, 3 and last 1
post #22 of 59
Definitely #2.

#3 and #1 are a distant second and third, respectively... imho.

post #23 of 59
heck, one more vote for #2. Third floor? Geez I love basements...
post #24 of 59
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by TrikinCurt View Post

heck, one more vote for #2. Third floor? Geez I love basements...

Looks like #2 it is!

I live on the west coast in florida. If I had a basement, it would be underwater...
post #25 of 59
Rob, congrats on what already looks like it will be a kick a$$ room.

Gotta tell you......people keep saying they didn't want to start a thread because their room isn't as nice as others on here.......then I see yours. Needless to say, mine won't be posted anytime soon!

How do you guys find the time? Between work, kids, yard stuff......I barely have time to watch any movies!

Keep up the good work!

post #26 of 59
Thread Starter 
I just haven't posted any close up pics

being able to live on a few hours sleep a day, and a very patient wife (who is just about out of patience!) helps as well.

I have found that some things tend to get neglected, the yard, fixing that flickering light downstairs, remembering what my children look like (seriously, make sure to take time out for the little ones, they tend to make you keep things in perspective).
post #27 of 59
Thread Starter 
I apologize for the lack of updates. Not too much has been going on as of late. I have been travelling for various reasons the past couple of weekends.

This week, I have gotten back on the work though. I am now making the base/chair rails. Lots of cutting and painting. This weekend I will have sunday to work on the build (the wife asked what I wanted for father's day, and my response was a day to work on the room!) So, I hope to have most of the trim installed this weekend.

BPape has finished his design for the treatments. He is great, and I know this has been repeated many times, but I highly recommend his services for anyone doing a room...

Once the trim is up, I can start on the frames for the fabric walls, then install the acoustical treatements, put up the screen wall, and we'll be done!

I know I promised pics of the ceiling, I should have those early next week...
post #28 of 59
Thread Starter 
I do have a question on the entrance door. I have an exterior door installed at the rear of the room.

I would like to use an automatic closing mechanism on the door. In fact, I would like not to have a door latch, just one of those "U" handles on the outside to pull on, and a plate on the inside to push to open/close the door.

I am somewhat worried about how good of a seal I can get with this, and also I am wondering where to get these for the door, as I do not believe I have seen them at the home depot (I have not looked seriously yet, though).

anyone have any experience with this?
post #29 of 59
Two points;
1st. Did you ever get you AC question answered? I'm in the process of finishing my basement (adding a HT) which includes adding 2 HVAC zones and re-ducting a ton of stuff. All of which I'm doing myself (with no previous experience). I contracted a company out of Michigan to assist with all of the load calcs. Anyway, I would suggest you add a zone just for the HT. This may entail installing a valve and some additional ducting but my be the best approach...unfortunately more money.

2nd. I don't have any info on the automatic door mechanism. But if the door is metal faced you can use magnetic seals to ensure a good seal. I have these on my entry door from the garage and I can tell that they do a great job sealing out the cold Wisconsin winter air.

Great thread by the way.
post #30 of 59
Thread Starter 
Here are some more details on the fiber ceiling install.

First I laid out my ceiling into 14 panels. 12 of them are 47" x 47", 4 rows of 3 across. The other 2 are on the front of the ceiling. my proscenium is rounded, so I had to copy that profile onto the ceiling panels.

I attached 1x2's around the edges of the panels. I did not use furring strips (wish I had) to save ceiling height, so I had to plan where the cables were going to be routed through the panels. In the bottom of this pic are 3 panels and I am attaching the 1x2's.

After bulding all of the panels, I then had to drill the holes. The template above was blown up to the size of my ceiling, then I split apart the template for each panel, printed up each panel's template onto 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper. These were taped onto the panel, and then drilled. In this panel I also had 1 of the 3 shooting stars I put in. I drilled 80 holes 1/4" apart:

After drilling, I marked the constellation stars with my trusty sharpie. These would get larger fibers.

Next I stretched the fabric over the panel. I used some 3M super 77 spray adhesive on them to help hold the fabric in place, I am worried about the fabric sagging over time. You have to work fast with this stuff b/c it sets up quickly. I did not get a very good stretch on the fabric, but I hope it will last.

After the fabric was attached, I poked the fibers through. I used the EG-48 cable from FiberOpticProducts. This cable has several different sized fibers in it. In this picture you can see one of the front panels ready to be mounted on the ceiling with the fibers poked through:

Same panel from the side:

I had originally planned to use velcro to attach the panels. but, as everyone goes through, I changed the design (originally I was going to use just the frame and no hardboard) and these would have been too heavy for the velcro. I did not want any screws showing, so I (probably foolishly) opted for the liquid nails approach. I used finish nails to hold the panels up while the glue dried.

Now, for those of you who (like me) do most of your work alone, it was a little tricky holding the panel over your head, with the bead of liquid nails on the edges, trying to get them to line up in the proper position. Much cursing later, and I got them up, although I seemed to have the habit of rubbing some of the liquid nails off on an adjacent panel that was already attached. This was really alot of fun...

To fix that bumble, I applied a small amount of black paint over where I couldn't get the glue off the fabric... This was just how I had planned it to go...

Overall, the seams actually look good casually. If I look close, I can see where the corners don't line up, but the dazian cloth really sucks in the light, and you can't really see the seams. It also helps that I do not have any lights in the ceiling to hide the seams. I might come back and put some small molding in, but I am happy with the results for now.
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