Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine
I started this sticky some while ago because this forum is a beehive of individuals building DIY home theater projects. I thought it would be useful for those who are starting on such projects to discuss the errors, omissions and "oh oops" that have been made by others to avoid making the same mistakes. Hopefully this has helped.
Our firm is a design/build/install organization with the ability to completely turnkey a project. Clearly, our business doesn't fit the profile of a DIY forum (with the exception of the designs we produce which many DIYers have utilized). Because we can turnkey an entire project, we have a view of the total project and can control the entire process...which is why we prefer turnkey engagements (but don't insist on them). Today, I thought I'd add just a few "errors" I've encountered with "disjointed" projects (the designer, builder, installer are different groups) and those where the lack of experience has resulted in some hair pulling.
1. Projector Mounting:
---- throw distances incorrect for projector/screen combination
---- projector mounted outside the range of it's vertical offset resulting in picture distortion
---- projector mounted higher than the top of the image area on the screen (a real problem with masking screens)
---- Radius seating (curved rows) where the seating radius is smaller than the radius of the seating platform.
---- Radius seating where the radius of the seats has the viewers on the ends of the rows looking straight ahead to the opposite side of the screen (most manufacturers will custom make the radii)
---- Front row viewing angle has the viewer looking upward more than 10-12 degrees to the center of the screen (uncomfortable).
---- Second/third rows don't have an unobstructed view of the entire screen area.
---- First row is too close to too large a screen, second row is too far for an immersive experience.
---- Elevated second row platform plopped on the floor as a island in the back of the room.
---- Attempts to put too many seats in the room, making it crowded, expensive, uncomfortable for "general" use and looking like you've tried to put 50lbs of potatoes in a 5lb sack.
---- Even in Fargo, ND in the middle of the worst winter, you MUST consider the cooling and ventilation requirements of these rooms.
4. Room colors
---- I don't like black "man caves" any more than your wife; but, light colors (tans, off white) and bright colors WILL ruin your picture.
---- Screen too big for the room. Screen widths should never be more than 80% of the room width. Keep the screen at least 3' off the floor (if not more) and don't mount it within inches of the ceiling. Big is not always better.
---- Screen too large for your projector budget. A dim picture is not wanted and will result in low utilization of a room you put a bunch of money into.
---- With all the "arm waving" and "oh, my goodness, it will ruin your sound" I hear about AT screens, the FUD factor will result in the big non-AT screen and then the speakers end up stuffed in the corner of the room. If you want to argue about the "damage" an AT screen will do to your sound, here's news flash ... what an AT screen might, or might not do, won't even begin to compare with the damage the corner stuffing will do.
6. Sound Isolation
---- I've said it many, many times before. You can read all of Ted's goodies, buy all the right stuff, and have little to no sound isolation when you're done. This is really, really anal stuff. 1/2 way is zero results. Get help.
---- The primary object of sound isolation is to keep the room quiet...not to keep adjacent rooms quiet (if my wife isn't in the theater with me, let her eat cake...hope she doesn't read this). Once you've done this proud work, why is all the equipment in the room room?
---- Now that you have this very quiet room and you can watch movies really, really loud, tell me...will you hear the smoke alarms go off in your house? (and, you were wondering if you bought enough bass traps from Ethan).
Nuff for now.