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My Basement Home Theater

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
I've been reading these forums for damn near 5 years now, and registered for almost 2 of them. I want to thank everyone who has posted their construction diaries, it has helped me make a lot of the decisions I was faced with.

I started building my theater about a year ago. My plans were very basic, I had a decent sized room in the basement already finished, so all I needed was a projector, screen, shelving and paint. I'm very happy with how it came out considering how much it cost.

Anyways, here is the equipment I am currently using:

Projector: Optoma HD-70

Receiver: Onkyo TX-SR604

Speakers: Onkyo 7.1 SKS-HT540

DVD: Toshiba SD-4980SU

PVR: Mac Mini w/ HDHomeRun & EyeTV


REMOTE: Harmony 880
post #2 of 36
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post #7 of 36
Thread Starter 
That's it! I purchased the Toshiba HD-A2 yesterday with the amazon.com deal going on, so as soon as that arrives, the theater will be upgraded again. I still need to buy some more paint for some touch ups, and I want to replace all the light switches and wall plates with black ones so they match. But that's mostly cosmetic stuff, and can wait until I have more money.

I hope you enjoy!
post #8 of 36
Nice Job!

Are you leaving the top all in white? You will gain some serious contrast with a darker ceiling.

post #9 of 36
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by AirPlus View Post

Nice Job!

Are you leaving the top all in white? You will gain some serious contrast with a darker ceiling.


Right now, the drop ceiling is staying all white. I have looked into replacing it with a black drop ceiling, but the funds are strapped
post #10 of 36
I know the funding problem only too well

If you start to change them some day, try to do only the first few rows first. You should see a big difference already.

post #11 of 36
Nice job, looks great. I like the way you did the shelving by the equipment rack. I agree with airplus, I would darken up the ceiling around the screen when the funds permit. It will make a huge difference in the projected image.
post #12 of 36
Looks very nice. Some user's have painted the ceiling tiles. The fire winged dude poster is cool.
post #13 of 36
Thread Starter 
Well, these past 2 weeks have seen a ton of construction in the movie theater:

I have new couches coming in a week or two, which will require the construction of a riser.

Using a technique I found in another thread, I flipped my ceiling tiles over and glued some black landscape fabric onto them, giving me a black ceiling.

I've pulled down the big halogen lights, and I'm in the process of putting up some 6" recessed lighting.

I've also removed a 4' x 8' section of the drop ceiling in the center of the room over the couch locations for a star ceiling.

I'll have some pictures in a day or so. The drop ceiling is just about completed, I've put up 2 of the 4 or 6 recessed lighting I plan on doing. The riser and star ceiling are still just sketches on paper. I hope to have the riser done within a week, and the sky ceiling after that.

This forum has given me way to many ideas
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
After a lot of research and planning, I decided to convert my ceiling tiles to black to help with the contrast. I'm about 90% done with it so far, with just the custom cut tiles left along the edges. I ended up going with a roll of Landscaping Fabric and some 3M spray adhesive. It took about 3-5 minutes per tile to get them smooth and installed, so it was a couple of nights of work.

At this time I also ripped down the two huge ceiling panel lights I had, and put up some recessed lighting. I only have 2 of 6 planned lights up so far, but you can get a good idea. I really makes a difference in the mood.

You can see some before pictures above, I think these look much better.

Here you can see me placing the lighting can.

Unfortunately the cheapo landscaping fabric I bought had the logo embossed on it . Fortunately, you can not see it under normal lighting conditions. In this photo I have a home depot work lamp shining on the ceiling, so it looks pretty bad.

This is a much more realistic representation of what it looks like, but it's still brighter than normal.

The first light wired up

Illuminating a front speaker, that switch panel will be replaced with a whole new one, with dimmers controlling the recessed lighting, the rope light around the star ceiling, and the star ceiling itself.

post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
I decided to build a star ceiling after reading this thread. I placed my formal order for the hardware yesterday, so as soon as that arrives, lots of drilling will commence. My ceiling is going to be 45" x 95", just a hair under 4'x8'. What I did was remove a section of the drop ceiling, and wall it off. The ceiling seems so much taller now, the drop ceiling kills 6+ inches of the total height of the room.

Anyways, some preparation photos.

This is where I had pulled down most of the tiles, and clipped off the extra rails from the drop ceiling support system.

Here is most of the surrounding ceiling back in action

Starting to wall it off, that junction box is what the recessed lighting is connected to.

Most of the preconstruction done:

Another shot:

Another shot with a good shot of the recessed lighting:
post #16 of 36
Thread Starter 
I bought a dual couch set a few weeks ago which is due to be delivered on 3/12. It's a 3 person couch with both sides reclining, and a love-seat with dual recliners. It's pretty cool and wasn't that expensive, so it was real easy to make the purchase. It will be replacing the futon we've had down there for 2 years, which is very uncomfortable watching television on.

My riser is 52" deep and 72" wide, and 12" tall. Because of the limited space I have down in the room, I had to make it just big enough for the couch and place to stand. When the couch sits on the riser, there will be about 2" in the back and on the sides, and 10 or 11 inches in the front. It's filled with insulation, and "moveable", but it weighs about 200 lbs, so it won't be moving anywhere soon

The basic construction is 2x12's for the outside frame, 2x4's as the support joists, and a 1/2 piece of plywood for the 'floor' of it.

I painted it a BEHR Black Suede color, which matches the walls, and I'm planning on getting some carpet tiles that match the red on the walls. I have a trip to Lowes in about 30 minutes to go check it out.

Anyways, onto the pictures.

Here is the frame being built

Here is the complete frame, studs are 16" on center and are very sturdy.

Filling it will insulation

Almost completed riser, testing the height

This is my first attempt at moulding around the edges. I bought a small piece of L moulding at Home Depot, but it didn't come out as good as I had hoped. And, it was my first attempt at 45 degree angles on moulding, and I screwed it up. I ripped it off this morning and went with some proper moulding.

Here you can see the new moulding. I gave up on the L style and just went with a straight piece of wood. It came out much better in my opinion, and I got the 45 degree angles down pat.

First coat of paint:

2nd coat of paint

Last coat of paint

Another shot

If all goes well, and Lowes has the color I want, I should have the carpet tiles installed this afternoon, and then the riser is completed. I had toyed with the idea of installing some lights, or track lighting, but since the riser is technically mobile, and not attached to a wall, it would look pretty weird with a cable going to a plug in the wall. I am very happy with how it came out, and how solid it is. It was a fun weekend project, and was an excuse to buy a circular saw
post #17 of 36
Thread Starter 
Just an update on the riser construction, no pictures yet though. I did manage to get the riser carpeted, but I'm not sure I'm too happy with the results. I couldn't find any carpet tiles in a color I liked, but I did find an area rug at home depot for $35. I ended up buying that.

Since the area rug was much larger than my riser, I had two options, cut a square out of the center, or cut the rug down the middle both ways so I had 4 "corners" and then trimming them to fit.

Since I liked the edging on the rug, I ended up going with the 2nd option, and that's why I'm not too happy with it. It looks great around the edges, and fits perfectly, but in my eyes, the seams are pretty obvious.

The only saving grace is that since the riser is built almost exactly the same size as the couch that will be going ontop of it, 90% of the seams will be covered, there will be a single seam visible in the 10 inches of the riser you will actually see.

So, the riser is completed, the couch set will be delievered in 2 days, and then the theater is done...until the starceiling kit arrives

Pictures to follow soon, tonight if I can, otherwise wednesday after the couches arrive.
post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 
Ok, Some more pictures. The couches arrived last wednesday, I got the riser carpeted, the recessed lighting installed, and everything setup. It looks so much better down there. We watched No Country for Old Men on BluRay yesterday, and it was awesome.

post #19 of 36
Thread Starter 
This past week I started construction on my star ceiling. It's pretty much a 1/4 inch piece of wood, that is 46"x91". I have a frame already built into the ceiling, which will hold the moulding and blue rope light.

The equipment I am using came from startceiling-designer.com. You can find a lot more information in this thread here.

This is the backboard for the star ceiling itself, you can see the 1"x1" frame I screwed into the back to help support the ceiling while mounted.

This is the frame, I pulled it down from the ceiling to help take measurements.

Once the board had been trimmed, and a starfield selected, I used my projector to help mark everything, I flipped the image so it would align properly, and grabbed 3 different color sharpies, one for each size strand I had.

Here you can see all the stars marked, and constellations traced.

Here is the starfield with the projector off.

My new $19 corded drill I bought at lowes to help with this project. I was real tired of having my battery die on my other drill.

Starting the fiber runs. I suspended the roll of fiber from the ceiling so I can just pull it down as needed. makes things MUCH easier. I have 1000ft of .5mm filber, 100ft of .75mm and 100ft of 1.0mm fiber.

Close-up of the fiber runs. Each strand is taped down for support, and glued using normal wood glue. The strands in this picture have not been secured to the light source yet.

That's it so far. I've done about 40-50 more runs than you see in the picture above, but I don't have any pictures of it. I hope to finish the runs saturday morning. Then I'm going to trim them down to about .5", and using a soft roller, attempt to paint the front. I'm hoping the fiber will be stiff enough at that length to not bend over. Then I'll just trim them down and be finished with it.

Any questions, please ask.
post #20 of 36

Landscaping Fabric

Great idea.
post #21 of 36
Looking good and the star ceiling should look fantastic!

Keep up the good work. BTW I like your color choices.


post #22 of 36
Thread Starter 
Well, this morning I spent another 90 minutes running fiber, I think I have about 500 total stars, of which 400 of them are .5mm strands. I'm just over 50% done with the .5mm strands.

I turned on the light unit for the first time today, and was amazed. StarCeiling designer does some great work. I turned on the twinkle mode, and it was awesome. I laid down under my workbench to check it out and stayed there for a few minutes. I can't wait to get this up.

I did have to take a break to rest my back, leaning over the ceiling running fiber is killer .

Anyways, I took a few pictures, but left my camera in the basement. I'm hoping to do some work on it tonight and tomorrow morning, so I'll get some more pictures up soon.
post #23 of 36
Thread Starter 
Today I finished running all of the fiber stands, glueing them down, and ziptying the bundles together.

Testing the lights

With the lights out

Running Fiber Complete! Now I have to glue:

I tried taking a picture laying under the panel, but I moved too much:

Glued, Zipped, and Testing:

The completed panel from the back.

The next step is to trim the ends o StarDesigner f all the fiber on the Light Source end. recommended heating up a hobby knife and slicing through them, so I will be doing that tomorrow. Once that is complete, I'll be hooking up the light Controller, running some tests and then mounting it in the ceiling so I can paint the sucker.
post #24 of 36
Looking really nice! I have the same idea on creating a star field by transferring an actual star map. Hopefully, some day...

As far as trimming the fibers, wouldn't a good pair of nail clippers be easier and quicker?
post #25 of 36
Thread Starter 
I've been using a pair of small wire cutters to trim each individual fiber, but the hot hobby knife comes into play to trim the bundle. You want all of the fibers end at the same point so it's an even distribution of light. Fibers that are closer to the LED's are brighter.
post #26 of 36
I really like how you have done your theater, and being able to see the progression over time. You have a true DIY-hobbyist style that matches my own inclinations... a project here, a project there, rework things when you are not satisfied. I was surprised how well the embossed trim on your equipment rack looks painted in black. I would have thought all the detail would disappear.

And most of all, thanks for adding the star ceiling to your home theater build thread. I have wanted to see a full build of star panels from stardesigner's stuff with a large number of stars (500+) in a small area (4x8 approx). You are doing a great job! Keep the posts coming.
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
Last night I finished a huge step. I got the ceiling wired up and temporarily mounted. It looks awesome, it's really coming together.

Anyways, I was trying to mount this myself, I want it to be a surprise for everyone the next time we have people over, so I was struggling with how to do it. Thankfully, the ceiling fully assembled was only about 20lbs or so, so not heavy, just akward. I ended up drilling some screws into the frame to rest the ceiling on, and just slid it up there, adding some extra screws for support. The next time I can steal away an hour or so I'm going to properly mount the sucker, fill in those holes and get it ready for paint.

You can see the fiber strands are still pretty long, I left them that long so I can paint the surface and then trim them back. I still may have to trim them shorter so they don't bend in the paint, but time will tell.

Anyway, onto the photographs:

This is a closeup of the fiber bundle that connects to the Light Source, before it was trimmed. StarDesigner had recommended that I heat up a hobby knife and do a clean slice, but I had no way to heat one up cleanly. I ended up with wire cutters and trimming them about 10 strands at a time. Came out great in the long run, just much more time consuming.

Here you can see the bundle 1/2 through the trimming process.

The left-hand side all wired up. The wire that is heading up towards the left of the picture connects back to the light controller. The wire running down towards the bottom left corner is coming from the other light source.

This is the other light source, again, the wire coming from the right goes to the other light source, the wire running to the top connects to the controller

The fiber poking through

Temporarily mounted. You can see some of my "screw mounts" holding up the ceiling

Closeup of the ceiling

Extreme closeup of one of the screws. Friction is holding the ceiling above this screw, but I left it in there just in case.

Another closeup, each strand extends 1"-2" down from the ceiling.
post #28 of 36
Thread Starter 
All lit up.

All lit up again.

Final shot, it was real hard to get these, the camera was keeping it's lens open for a second, which is long enough to capure every shake
post #29 of 36
Thread Starter 
So, I'm planning on getting some painting of my star ceiling done this weekend, and I had a slight change of plans. Originally I was just going to paint the entire thing a dark blue, but I've been looking at some other options.

I found this image on google.

I would love to create an effect just like the one in the image above. Basically, I would love to have the sky ceiling look like dusk when the rope light is on, reddish clouds, reddish light, and as it dims, the coulds disappear and all you see are the stars.

I am assuming that all this requires is some fancy paint work, but no special paint or lighting, just proper colors. Would that be correct?

Has anyone done anything like this before and have any tips?
post #30 of 36
I have toyed with the idea of a star cieling. I can't wait to see your's "done"....
Looks a little more involved than I'd like to get into in the near future.

Not that I have any usefull information for you. But I came back to your thread here several times today. I really like the directions you are going here with the changes.
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