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Twinseltown Theater

post #1 of 1806
Thread Starter 
This feels surreal to finally be starting my own construction thread.

I'll start off by saying that this will not be one of those threads that is a great resource for DIY technique. My skills are far below alot of what I see on the forum. I'm sure to receive far more information than I'm able to give.

I'm in my late 30's and finally moved into what I like to call our "forever" house. I've done a dedicated theater in our last house, but was restricted from doing what I wanted based on the fact that it was a short term house. Now, the only limiting factors are my skills and budget.

Onto the room. We're in a brand new one story home with walkout basement. The basement is 2000sf of unfinished space. We'll have the theater space which is set at 17'4" wide x 32' deep x 9' high. A gameroom at 17'4" wide x 26' deep x 9' high. A full bath, mini-kitchen, guest room, office and storage space. I don't need to do any demo work, but do have to install hvac and electrical.

I've included a plan and elevation of where I'm currently headed design wise.

I like 3 rows, a front row that can swivel for easy conversation, and a rear row of barstools and bar. The room will likely be 50/50 use for live sports events and movies. I like the idea of being able to eat at the bar while watching football, etc. The middle row will be a row of four coaster seats that we already own.

I would like to do a constant hieght 2.35 screen with side masking. I don't want any of the equipment to be visable in the room. The attached plan doesn't show a location for an equipment rack, so I'm open for discussion. (the whole room is open for disussion )

As far as schedule, there's nothing setting a deadline. In fact, I would rather it take several years and be done right than to rush things. If I had to guess, I would thing that the bones of the room might be completed in the next 6 months and the finishing could take as long as several years.

I know this is a sin, but I do want to use the room as much as possible during construction. I just can't go that long without watching the projector!

Budget for all of this is not really decided. I'm a "best value" kind of guy, and that is likely how I'll approach this room.

Well that's a decent background. Let the games begin!

I appreciate any and all input, and hope to have some new friends out of this process.



twinsletown layout 7-18-07.pdf 16.642578125k . file
post #2 of 1806
Thread Starter 
This post is reserved for a final photo of the theater. It will be updated as progress occurs. There's been enough new folks reading through the whole thread that I thought it helpful to have a shot here in the beginning that shows where we're heading!

This shot is posted 5-13-2011 (yes, coming up on the 4 year anniversary)

This shot is posted 11-16-2011

post #3 of 1806
Hey Tony,

Looks good so far and the pdf file works for me.
post #4 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dan.

I got the file to work too if you save it and then open. I do these plans in photoshop, and then want to size them to meet forum requirements, but they get too small to read well. I've been working at this for an hour now.

I tried uploading to photobucket, but for some reason they won't take jpg's made from a photoshop file, while it takes my jpgs from the camera just fine. ???

I want to post photos and plans so that they pop up right in the post instead of a link. Still learning.

post #5 of 1806
try the "export for web" option in photoshop. you may need to decrease the size of the image to 800x600 if it's bigger, then upload to photobucket, and link to there...
post #6 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Thanks RM. I think that did the trick. I did some testing in the test area and even figured out how to make it pop up instead of being a link.

So here it is.

I'd really like some feedback on general dimensions and layout. I've marked (in chalk) the plan onto the concrete floor and will position chairs accordingly and then watch some and see what I think. My gut is telling me that the middle row (sweet spot) would be better about 18" closer, but that makes things very tight for the front. I'm also curious if the space behind the barstools will feel large enough. I don't want to feel like you are squeezed right into the bar when you walk in the door.

post #7 of 1806
I can't tell what your screen size is, but looking at the dimensions, I'd guess around 10' wide. The sweet spot for movies, for a 2.35 screen, should be around 1.1x-1.3x screen width. Your sweet spot is around 1.8x screen width. You're going to regret it. Ditch the first row, put your recliners at 1.0-1.1x screen width in a first row (closer is better for bass response, given your room length - you want to be as close to 38% or 62% as possible). Put the swivel seating in the second row behind the recliners. Leave the barstools where they are - you may even be able to move them forward a bit. That gives you serious reclining seating without the front row sticking out like a sore thumb, for when you want to be immersed a movie. And now, the swivel seating and bar stools are for game time, when people generally don't care if they (and often prefer not to) sit close or have a recliner. And now, they can swivel back and talk to the people in the bar stools, leaving the front row undisturbed. You don't want to compromise regular movie viewing for those few times a year when you host a big sporting event party.
post #8 of 1806
Thread Starter 
I was hoping to get minimum of 11' width. Would realy like 12' width with a CH of 60". There is space for this, but will loose most of the "framing" portion of the proscenium.

When watching 16:9 material from the back rows, I think I would need that extra size.

Interesting concept about making the recliners the first row and make sure they are in the most "imersive" position. I also like the idea of putting the swiveling chairs with the bar. Maybe the bar becomes a two sided multi-level bar that serves the rear and middle rows? I like the "social" aspect of that for sporting events. I'll draw a plan exploring some of those thoughts.

Having four great seats for movies is probably all that's necessary. That's probably all the critical viewers I would have at one time anyhow. Heck, when companies over, I don't have to be a critical viewer.
post #9 of 1806
What's behind the rear wall? Could your equipment go in there?
post #10 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Behind the rear wall is the gameroom. The rectangle you see above is the edge of a pool table.

Here's a copy of the whole basement plan. Disregard the details of the theater in this one. This was very early on. But all the walls were framed this way.

I'd rather not take up space in the game room with equipment, but could. One good thing about that would be it gets the heat out of the theater. What if it were in a closet in the theater but the equipment faced out to the gameroom? I probably have space to build an actual walk in equipment closet in the theater room. Could have a panel on the backside so that I accessed wiring from the Office.

post #11 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Here's a photo from the gameroom into the theater. You can see our temporary setup! Yes, we're already enjoying the room. The screen is a 108" wide, to give you an idea of scale.

post #12 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Here's from the screenwall looking back to the rear and the gameroom beyond.

post #13 of 1806
Thread Starter 
I've been playing with a new scheme based on yesterdays comments. The Coasters are now shown in the front row at about 1.1 times the 141" screen size. The swivels are now shown in the middle, and the rear of the room now shows an equipment closet and media storage closets.

I gave up some space as you enter in the back, but feel it was okay, as the gameroom will act as the "lobby" space.

I'm not sure how I feel about this scheme? The platform in the middle is not big enough to be used for reclining chairs if I ever decided, and I like knowing that it would be possible.

I'm going to put chairs in these positions tonight and see how it feels.


post #14 of 1806
I think I like number 2 better. Looks like it will be a little more conducive to high-fives when watching the game. Plus you have 4 good seats for chilling and watching a movie.
post #15 of 1806

After looking at it and considering what you said about the way the room will be used, the second layout may work better. It will certainly allow those who want to watch the movie/game to do so in the front row while the more "social" get rowdy behind them. It certainly allows for some great seating for those critical viewings.
post #16 of 1806
If possible, I'd try to move your seating back a little bit to improve low frequency response. You want to be as close to either 38% or 62% room length. You're almost right at 50% room length, which is the worst place for smooth low frequencies. The angled back walls should help remedy this some, but I'd still suggest moving back, if you can give up some foot space for the swivel chairs. Anyhow, I agree with the other two posters, layout 2 looks like a more practical seating environment.
post #17 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input guys. I do like the social aspect of version two also.

Lindahl, if I'm understanding correctly, you're saying the front row (my critical seating) should be at 38% or 62% of room length. So, not counting the 24" behind the screen I've got 360". 360*38%=137" OR 360*62%=223"

If I move it to the 38%, it will be slightly closer than 1 time screen width. If I go with 62% then it falls right where I'm currently showing the middle row. If this is critical to the low frequencies, then maybe that's an arguement to go with the critical seating from scheme#1? I don't see the 38/62 rule working otherwise.

I want to try another scheme with the bar being curved and have it a a two level/ two sided bar, so that the swivel chairs can turn around and have table space.

Once we settle on horizontal spacing, I'll use the riser calculator and see what hieghts I'll need for the given layout. I'm hoping for minimal risers.
post #18 of 1806
Thread Starter 
I suppose I should also consider that 50% of the time I'll be watching 1.85:1 which will be 111" wide. With critical seating at 155" (as shown) that would put it at about 1.4 times screen width. With that being said, I feel like 155" is a good spot (outside of bass response). What would be some solutions to working around the bass response issue?
post #19 of 1806
WOW!!!! Just WOW!!

I want a space like this.

I don't have much to contribute since I'm just starting out but I'll keep an eye out on this thread since this is eventually what I want to do in the future!

post #20 of 1806
Thread Starter 
My reasoning for the "false" wall in the front is mainly because I want the stealth apprearance of not seeing equipment or speakers. I've seen on several threads that seem to say the preference is for this wall to be acoustically transparent. Is that generally desired? The other reason for the screen being 24" off the front wall is to allow room for the sub to be behind screen. I suppose I could put the screen flush to the rear wall which buys another 2' for the viewing distances. I could then have a short "bench" type wall in front of the screen that would house the sub (s).

Any thoughts on this? I'll play with a scheme like that today. That might be the 2' that gives me room for the above mentioned double-sided bar.?
post #21 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Never knew a Gonzo in my life, and now two of them!

Mikeloxlong, thanks man. Like I said on your thread, you've got plenty there to enjoy, and well deserved! To tell you the truth, I'm a bit scared of this build. I want to do it as well as I can. I'm on a modest budget and skill, but high in passion for Home Theater, just as you.
post #22 of 1806
Originally Posted by tony123 View Post

I suppose I should also consider that 50% of the time I'll be watching 1.85:1 which will be 111" wide. With critical seating at 155" (as shown) that would put it at about 1.4 times screen width. With that being said, I feel like 155" is a good spot (outside of bass response). What would be some solutions to working around the bass response issue?

It's not a hard fast rule at 38% and 62%. As you get closer to those percentages, there's improvement. However, there's a few bad spots to avoid. Mainly, where the room length lands on a low even multiple of the seating position (25%, 50%, 75%, etc.). I wasn't so much saying that you should land right on 38% or 62% (which are ideal), but you should bias your seating away from 50%. Since you're just over 50%, moving away from 50% by moving your seating just a bit back (forward works too) should yield improvement. But, like I said before, the angled walls in the back of the room may break up some of the modes that would normally exist at 50% of the way into the room. I wouldn't completely change your layout just to sit at 38% and 62%, since the improvements made from an 'average' seating position to an 'ideal' seating position won't be that significant. It's mostly just trying to get you out of the 'bad' seating position.
post #23 of 1806
Originally Posted by tony123 View Post

Never knew a Gonzo in my life, and now two of them!

Hummm, this could get confusing
post #24 of 1806
I like the little corner closets for media and equipment--the angles would add interest as well. It's shaping up!
post #25 of 1806
Thread Starter 
I understand now. I also understand that some of these "rules" are more about avoiding the worst cases instead of getting the perfect case. Let's face it, form needs to follow function as much as possible.

I didn't anticipate struggling like this. I thought 32' of depth would give me room for anything I could dream up, but..... LOL
post #26 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mbgonzomd View Post

Hummm, this could get confusing

Okay, mbgonzomd, you're now officially Gonzo#1 as it refers to this thread. Mike, you'll be Gonzo#2

Thanks, fatawan, seems most people like the closets. I do too. And apparantly, they offer some acoustical benefit. The one labeled "equipment" will have an access door on the rear in the gameroom. The other may be pull out drawers and open shelves. Actually, it may be able to house a second sub?
post #27 of 1806
Originally Posted by mbgonzomd View Post

Hummm, this could get confusing

Lol, I'll still go by Mike, no worries!

post #28 of 1806
Tony--You'll have to weigh whether you want to put another hole in the walls for access to your equipment from the other room. It might be easier to just get one of the racks that allows the whole thing to roll forward so you can access the backs of the equipment. That way, you eliminate a sound "leak".

You could definitely do a second sub there, but whether its ideal placement is the big question.

If you want to move your screen back to be against the wall, you could build areas on either side of the screen that could house a speaker above and a sub beneath behind fabric. Put your center on a stand in the middle.

As for seating, what is the most likely number of people you will have in there regularly? We have 4 in our family, so I plan for that.
post #29 of 1806
Thread Starter 
Fatawan, We're a family of four and love to entertain, so I think our seating needs break down like this.

30% two people
50% four people
15% six to eight
5% more than eight

I keep a movie log, and we watch right at 100 movies in a typical year. So about 20 times a year would we have more than four.

I am playing with a new layout right now that has the screen against the back wall. It's working out much better. Being "stealth" is really important to me, so I don't want the center to be obvious. I'll likely have something below the screen that houses the center.

Hope to post the new layout by tomorrow.

post #30 of 1806
Since you'll only have more than 8 people 5% of the time, I think I'd consider getting 4 more coasters for the middle row.
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