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post #1 of 68 Old 12-20-2015, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Smile The Childhood Home Theater Build

Hi folks! Welp, just like I said I would in my old post, the wife and I bought our "forever house", which happens to be my childhood home where I grew up. The basement is mostly finished, but I'll need to fix a lot of the poor craftsmanship from the previous owners. First order of business is to determine a layout, so I come to you for help. Here are a few of the requirements/details:

  • My first priority is the theater, but it can't be 100% of the basement.
  • I need a space for kids toys.
  • I have a ping pong table that I'd like to set up if there is room, but that can go if needed.
  • My current screen is 120" 2.35:1 but I'm planning to build a new 16:9 one, so I can resize to fit a wall if needed.
  • There is an air return duct that lowers the ceiling height to 72 inches in a portion of the back corner.
  • Must seat 4 at minimum.
Thanks for any feedback! I'll keep the thread updated with progress and before/after pics, but this layout is step 1.

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post #2 of 68 Old 12-21-2015, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I wasn't very clear on what feedback I was looking for.... Where do you recommend I place the screen? Where should seating go?

One option I'm considering... Wall off and add door to the bottom right area to use as kid toy room. Then the main basement area becomes just a rectangle. Place screen all the way on the far right, with two rows of seating somewhere in the middle of the room. Thoughts on that? Can I build a riser for row two, maybe against the stairs?

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post #3 of 68 Old 12-21-2015, 09:04 AM
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Looking at your room layout, I'd close off that section you mentioned and make it a kids' area. Maybe for fun install a dutch door?

As far as where to put your screen...

On the one hand, if you put it against the far right wall, you could get in two rows of seating, but then depending on the size of your screen and if you chose not to go with acoustically transparent, you may have a tough time fitting (I'm assuming) floor standing speakers to the left and right of your screen. Also, from an acoustical standpoint you definitely don't want your first row of seating to be midpoint in the room. Ideally IIRC you want your main listening position to be about 1/3 from either the back wall or the front wall. That would make your first row of seating around 13 feet back from the screen. For some, that's too far away. Answer? Go as big as you can for your screen, and go with an acoustically transparent screen and put identical speakers at ear level across the front, left and center. From my experience, having the same speakers at ear level behind an AT screen has been revelatory. Also, you'd have lots of room to install ceiling speakers for Dolby Atmos if you chose to go that way.

Your other option I suppose would be put your screen against the long wall opposite the would be kids play room. You won't be able to go with a massive screen because you'll be sitting closer, but you could easily get four or more curved or straight home theater chairs in there. You wouldn't need to go acoustically transparent as you would have lots of room to put your L/R speakers. Also, since there's lots of room to the right and left of your screen, that will allow your L/R speakers to really open up. In the other config, you'd definitely want to put absorption panels at the first reflection point for your L/R speakers. Projector wise you're also limited to one that has a really good zoom/throw ratio (this config may rule out a DLP projector). Sorry if I'm inundating you with things to think about, but these are things that I've sorted out over the last few years.

If it were me, I'd go for the first option. Do lots of reading and research before you jump in. Be lazy, do things right the first time.
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post #4 of 68 Old 12-21-2015, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome feedback and thanks!

Yes, I currently have a AT screen, so definitely want that again. No replacement for the total immersion with no other "stuff" around the screen. And definitely thinking about installing 4 atmos in-ceiling speakers to future proof, even though my current receiver doesn't do it. Definitely planning on having a 7.1.4 setup wired in.

I dig the dutch door idea!

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post #5 of 68 Old 12-24-2015, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks, any other advice/opinions for my layout? I'm trying to nail down general location for screen, seating (1 row or 2, riser?), speakers (7.1.4), etc.
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post #6 of 68 Old 01-03-2016, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, deconstruction has started! I'm tearing out two walls that the previous homeowner added to split the finished side of the basement into three small areas, including two really crappy bedrooms. After I'm done, this L shaped area will be a big rectangle and a little rectangle. Still trying to figure out what exactly I'm going to do with the layout...

My current 5.1 setup is Polk tsi300 tower speakers for L&R, CS10 center, and monitor 30 bookshelf speakers for rear. In this new house, I'm planning to do a 7.1.4 setup.

My biggest concern is having the Monitor 30 bookshelf speakers mounted on the wall where someone will hit their head on them. The ceiling is not high enough to raise them higher. So, I'm considering installing in wall speakers for at least the side and rears, and potentially LCR.

I have two concerns with this; 1) will the quality of in-wall speakers be as good as bookshelf speakers? 2) two walls are external and two are internal and open on the other side to the unfinished area. Will the sound of the speakers be different from side to side?


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post #7 of 68 Old 01-04-2016, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm making a mess. Took out the wall in the main rectangle. Over the next few days I'll tear out the wall on the right around the doorway, then rebuild it with a larger opening. Thinking possibly about a barn door there.
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post #8 of 68 Old 01-05-2016, 09:41 PM
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New member (and fellow C-bus resident) here - Thanks for sharing your progress. I am just starting an install for a dedicated basement room, appreciate your shared info. You mention that you are switching from 2.3:1 to 16:9 - is that just to accommodate your dimensions, or do you prefer that ratio? I have plenty of space to to work with, so planning a 115" at 2.35:1.

Regarding your speakers, I have listened to in-wall installs at Genesis Audio and other local shops, they seem to sound great - I am going with Paradigm bipoles ( and Revel towers and center). I am also going 7.1 with prewire for Atmos.

Good luck with your project.
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post #9 of 68 Old 01-05-2016, 09:42 PM
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New member (and fellow C-bus resident) here - Thanks for sharing your progress. I am just starting an install for a dedicated basement room, appreciate your shared info. You mention that you are switching from 2.3:1 to 16:9 - is that just to accommodate your dimensions, or do you prefer that ratio? I have plenty of space to to work with, so planning a 115" at 2.35:1.

Regarding your speakers, I have listened to in-wall installs at Genesis Audio and other local shops, they seem to sound great - I am going with Paradigm bipoles ( and Revel towers and center). I am also going 7.1 with prewire for Atmos.

Good luck with your project.
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post #10 of 68 Old 01-06-2016, 04:50 AM
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Looking forward to follow this one!

Keep up the good work!
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post #11 of 68 Old 01-06-2016, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSGohio View Post
New member (and fellow C-bus resident) here - Thanks for sharing your progress. I am just starting an install for a dedicated basement room, appreciate your shared info. You mention that you are switching from 2.3:1 to 16:9 - is that just to accommodate your dimensions, or do you prefer that ratio? I have plenty of space to to work with, so planning a 115" at 2.35:1.

Regarding your speakers, I have listened to in-wall installs at Genesis Audio and other local shops, they seem to sound great - I am going with Paradigm bipoles ( and Revel towers and center). I am also going 7.1 with prewire for Atmos.

Good luck with your project.
Thanks for the note, and welcome to the site....a crazy good resource. The reason I am changing ratio is because my projector is 16:9 native. So to get on a 2.35:1 screen I had to zoom in, then spill the bottom and top bars past the screen. It worked pretty well, but then when I had a 16:9 movie I had to zoom all the way back out and it just never fit right. And the zoom was manual and clunky. I guess to do a constant image height (there's a whole forum section for that) you need a better projector or a panamorph lens or whatever. I'm just going to do a 16:9 screen and maybe create some black velvet masking for the top and bottom black bars. I'm far from an expert on the topics, so open to suggestions/opinions.

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post #12 of 68 Old 01-07-2016, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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More progress. Almost done with initial demo, so now need to clean up and figure out exact screen size, couch location, speaker locations, etc. Then will wire all that before fixing drywall.




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post #13 of 68 Old 01-11-2016, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Still cleaning up all the drywall shrapnel mess. Drywall dust sucks! I'm considering hiring someone to come frame up the one wall I need to add and frame around the soffit. Just don't think I have the skill to make it look nice.

Also thinking of keeping my 2.35:1 screen instead of moving to 16:9. My PJ (BenQ w1070) has a manual zoom, so it's a little bit of a pain to switch, but I think I'd rather have my scope movies be as large as possible. I'm height limited at 7 feet ceilings, plus a small window at the top of the screen wall.

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post #14 of 68 Old 02-18-2016, 03:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseyparsons View Post
Still cleaning up all the drywall shrapnel mess. Drywall dust sucks! I'm considering hiring someone to come frame up the one wall I need to add and frame around the soffit. Just don't think I have the skill to make it look nice.

Also thinking of keeping my 2.35:1 screen instead of moving to 16:9. My PJ (BenQ w1070) has a manual zoom, so it's a little bit of a pain to switch, but I think I'd rather have my scope movies be as large as possible. I'm height limited at 7 feet ceilings, plus a small window at the top of the screen wall.
Time for an update Casey!!

Glad to hear you decided to stick to the 2:35:1 ratio!
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post #15 of 68 Old 03-19-2016, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all, need your help! I'm ready to start running speaker wire but can't decide the best option for surround speakers. I currently have a 5.1 Polk setup with Monitor 30 bookshelf speakers in the rear, but now I am moving to 7.1.4 and need to figure out what speakers and placement for the sides and rears. The room is a rectangle with the couch basically dead center.


Option 1:
Keep two Monitor 30s and buy an additional pair.
  • Pros: low cost, great sound
  • Cons: Speakers will hang far off the wall over walkway area, so will basically be in the way. Especially if mounted at ear level, people will bump into them.

Option 2:
Get new in-wall speakers, probably from Monoprice
  • Pros: cost fairly low with Monoprice, Sound quality still pretty good
  • Cons: Speakers wont "aim" directly at seating location, especially the rear surrounds. Monoprice has one that shoots at an angle, but is too deep at like 6.5 inches. One wall is exterior, so only 3-4 inches of depth to mount the speaker in wall.

Options 3:
Get all new tiny satellite speakers
  • Pros: Small size, less in the way compared to bookshelf
  • Cons: More expensive, sound quality not as good with no bass response, still kind of in the walk way if I mount at ear level

Option 4:
Some other great idea I haven't thought of yet... Help!?!

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post #16 of 68 Old 03-20-2016, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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The projectorcentral.com calculator says seating should be around 13-20 feet for me with a 120" 2.35:1 screen. That feels too far back and not immersive enough. Would I be crazy to only have my couch around 9ish feet from the screen? Figuring out all dimensions now because the speaker location is dependent on seating location.

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post #17 of 68 Old 03-22-2016, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Current status: Found a little mold in the corner, so went nuclear and removed the bottom four feet on all exterior walls. Removed old-school vapor barrier to allow the wall to breathe better and replacing with mold-resistant drywall. Framing and cable running tomorrow morning. Maybe drywall in the afternoon.
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post #18 of 68 Old 03-27-2016, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Ran speaker wire to all 11 speakers, RCA cable for sub, HDMI and power outlet for projector. All wires (except outlet) terminate underneath the stairs where we're building a cabinet into the wall with rear access on the other side of the stairs. Photos to come in a few days. Also adding a few more can lights and updating to LED.

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post #19 of 68 Old 03-27-2016, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseyparsons View Post
Hi folks! Welp, just like I said I would in my old post, the wife and I bought our "forever house", which happens to be my childhood home where I grew up. The basement is mostly finished, but I'll need to fix a lot of the poor craftsmanship from the previous owners. First order of business is to determine a layout, so I come to you for help. Here are a few of the requirements/details:
Haha......ummm would that not be you and your parents? LOL

Looks good and I second what you did with the drywall and seeing mold. I would also look into spraying some bleach/water mix or some off the shelf mold killer in the area where you found it just to make sure you got the source.

If you are running wires/cables I would suggest if there are any other locations where you might want a sub now or maybe in the future run RCA to those locations as well. I took the mentality that speaker wire/cable is cheap and much easier to run when the walls are opened up.

If you are unsure about screen size then you can always experiment where you are comfortable with regards to screen size.

On the options you provided I would go with the inwalls especially if you are worried about people hitting their heads on them. Once too often they will come down.

Looking forward to seeing this come together.

Regards,

RTROSE

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post #20 of 68 Old 03-28-2016, 03:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseyparsons View Post
The projectorcentral.com calculator says seating should be around 13-20 feet for me with a 120" 2.35:1 screen. That feels too far back and not immersive enough. Would I be crazy to only have my couch around 9ish feet from the screen? Figuring out all dimensions now because the speaker location is dependent on seating location.
for projector placement, I found projector central's calcs to be pretty far off with my benq w1070 - I suggest putting a ladder in there and test it out.

Also I like to sit FOV 50 which is as far back from the screen as the screen is wide. This is a very personal preference though and I recommend you measure out (with steps) where you like to sit in your local commercial theater. I tend to sit not in the floor seats but in the first 3 or 4 rows of the first balcony / riser stepped area. I measured it out (yes I looked like an idiot) and that's how I figured out the 1:1 preference.
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post #21 of 68 Old 03-28-2016, 12:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Haha......ummm would that not be you and your parents? LOL
Haha, good catch! I am fixing some of my dad's "handiwork" from long ago, but most of the problems were from the owners in between. My parents sold the house to some random people who lived there around 15 years and did very little maintenance and then I bought it from them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post
Looks good and I second what you did with the drywall and seeing mold. I would also look into spraying some bleach/water mix or some off the shelf mold killer in the area where you found it just to make sure you got the source.
Way ahead of you.


Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post
If you are running wires/cables I would suggest if there are any other locations where you might want a sub now or maybe in the future run RCA to those locations as well. I took the mentality that speaker wire/cable is cheap and much easier to run when the walls are opened up.

If you are unsure about screen size then you can always experiment where you are comfortable with regards to screen size.

On the options you provided I would go with the inwalls especially if you are worried about people hitting their heads on them. Once too often they will come down.

Looking forward to seeing this come together.

Regards,

RTROSE
Thanks!

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post #22 of 68 Old 03-28-2016, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
for projector placement, I found projector central's calcs to be pretty far off with my benq w1070 - I suggest putting a ladder in there and test it out.

Also I like to sit FOV 50 which is as far back from the screen as the screen is wide. This is a very personal preference though and I recommend you measure out (with steps) where you like to sit in your local commercial theater. I tend to sit not in the floor seats but in the first 3 or 4 rows of the first balcony / riser stepped area. I measured it out (yes I looked like an idiot) and that's how I figured out the 1:1 preference.
Ok cool, thanks for the feedback/opinion. So I will just figure out where the seating feels best to me and not worry about the calculator. Thanks!

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post #23 of 68 Old 03-28-2016, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRock3x8 View Post
for projector placement, I found projector central's calcs to be pretty far off with my benq w1070 - I suggest putting a ladder in there and test it out.

Also I like to sit FOV 50 which is as far back from the screen as the screen is wide. This is a very personal preference though and I recommend you measure out (with steps) where you like to sit in your local commercial theater. I tend to sit not in the floor seats but in the first 3 or 4 rows of the first balcony / riser stepped area. I measured it out (yes I looked like an idiot) and that's how I figured out the 1:1 preference.
I too did a looksee at my local megaplex cinema. Walked right up to the screen and took a good look at it as well as the fabric on the wall etc. etc. My wife was less than pleased and I think the few people that were in the theater (we got there really early) found my scrutiny somewhat amusing.

This is why I suggest (as I did already here) to experiment with different screen sizes/seating distances to see what really works for you it your particular space.

Regards,

RTROSE
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post #24 of 68 Old 04-24-2016, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Made a bunch of progress the last few weeks. New drywall around the exterior, built a new wall to separate the back square, new baseboard and crowne, new custom shelf under the stairs. I'm wired up for 7.1.4, though the cost of receivers to run that will keep me away for a while. I think I may try to do 5.1.4 for now, as I can do that with a 7.1 atmos receiver and separate 2 channel amp...around $500. Pics!



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post #25 of 68 Old 04-25-2016, 10:57 AM
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not sure if I've asked you this before but what is your opinion / take on the Pioneer? I have the 524 and I'm not super thrilled with it. Base audio functionality is fine - when the movie is rolling it does it's job but I've been seeing weird handshake issues with the projector over the last couple weeks - scattered green bars all over the screen for half a second and then it blinks and it goes away.

Not a deal breaker just weird.

Have you seen anything like that?
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post #26 of 68 Old 04-25-2016, 10:18 PM - Thread Starter
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not sure if I've asked you this before but what is your opinion / take on the Pioneer? I have the 524 and I'm not super thrilled with it. Base audio functionality is fine - when the movie is rolling it does it's job but I've been seeing weird handshake issues with the projector over the last couple weeks - scattered green bars all over the screen for half a second and then it blinks and it goes away.

Not a deal breaker just weird.

Have you seen anything like that?
Jrock, no I really haven't seen anything like that. Mine has worked pretty flawlessly and I have liked it for basic playback. When I got it I needed 5.1 and lossless codecs so the Pioneer 524 fit the bill for not much money. I don't use any fancy features other than that.

Definitely haven't had the screen blank and flash issues that you have. Sounds like hardware issue...

How long have you had yours? Always done it or got worse? Dis you call the manufacturer?
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post #27 of 68 Old 04-26-2016, 03:32 AM
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How long have you had yours? Always done it or got worse? Dis you call the manufacturer?
It was a refurb I bought on the cheap - never intended it to be my last AVR so I'm not terribly heart broken over it. Thanks for your thoughts!
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post #28 of 68 Old 04-27-2016, 08:55 PM
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I scanned your thread but didn't see the final layout. How wide is that main section of the basement? Can you mark your layout and dimensions on your initial schematic?

Like RTROSE I too prefer a 1:1 width to seating distance ratio for scope screens.
I also have paced off distances in a commercial theater and inspected the screen and masking material close up. My wife was some what embarrassed as well.

I have the BenQ W1070 as well and use it to zoom out for wide screen content. You are likely going to find that an offset adjustment is needed in addition to zoom and focus. I have mine mounted upside down on a funky home made two part shelf and simply use a piece of 1/4" screen molding to lift the front slightly when I zoom to scope. Yes, technically changing the angle would necessitate keystone correction to keep the image square, but it is such a small amount and completely within the border of the screen that it isn't noticeable at all. Takes me literally 30 seconds to switch formats.
You will also find that the W1070 doesn't have quite enough zoom adjustment to fill a scope screen then be able to shrink to keep 16:9 content fully within the border. This also means that you are locked down to one very specific spot to install your projector. Any closer and you won't fill the 2.40 screen width, any further back and 16:9 content will spill outside the borders.

I actually use a constant area screen with a ratio of about 2.1. (114" X 55") Not to get into the detail, but it makes adjusting for the various formats much more manageable given the W1070's limited zoom. I have it mounted such that scope requires full zoom, which puts the 16:9 image at about 1/3 zoom to fill the 55" height.

Last edited by DavidK442; 04-27-2016 at 09:03 PM.
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post #29 of 68 Old 04-27-2016, 08:58 PM
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That's pretty cool by the way that you bought your childhood home. My children will likely inherit theirs when the wife and I kick off. So much work and so many memories that I couldn't image leaving.
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post #30 of 68 Old 04-28-2016, 11:48 AM - Thread Starter
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I scanned your thread but didn't see the final layout. How wide is that main section of the basement? Can you mark your layout and dimensions on your initial schematic?

Like RTROSE I too prefer a 1:1 width to seating distance ratio for scope screens.
I also have paced off distances in a commercial theater and inspected the screen and masking material close up. My wife was some what embarrassed as well.
David, thanks for the feedback. The main area is about 12.5 feet wide. I appreciated the advice that I should find a seating distance that works for me and I can ignore the calculators. 1:1 might be too close for me... My seating will be about 9-11 feet from the screen. I have some flexibility to move the couch around as needed.


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Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
I have the BenQ W1070 as well and use it to zoom out for wide screen content. You are likely going to find that an offset adjustment is needed in addition to zoom and focus. I have mine mounted upside down on a funky home made two part shelf and simply use a piece of 1/4" screen molding to lift the front slightly when I zoom to scope. Yes, technically changing the angle would necessitate keystone correction to keep the image square, but it is such a small amount and completely within the border of the screen that it isn't noticeable at all. Takes me literally 30 seconds to switch formats.
You will also find that the W1070 doesn't have quite enough zoom adjustment to fill a scope screen then be able to shrink to keep 16:9 content fully within the border. This also means that you are locked down to one very specific spot to install your projector. Any closer and you won't fill the 2.40 screen width, any further back and 16:9 content will spill outside the borders.
Totally agree. This zoom method is what I did at the old house. I found the magic spot for PJ placement where zooming all the way one way is good enough for 16:9 and zooming all the way the other way is perfect for 2.39:1. I'll just plan on doing that again. I considered building a new 16:9 screen so that I didn't have to mess with the zoom, but decided against it and that I wanted to keep a scope screen. I use the theater for 99% movies and the vast majority of those are scope.

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Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
I actually use a constant area screen with a ratio of about 2.1. (114" X 55") Not to get into the detail, but it makes adjusting for the various formats much more manageable given the W1070's limited zoom. I have it mounted such that scope requires full zoom, which puts the 16:9 image at about 1/3 zoom to fill the 55" height.
Really interesting idea. Good job making it work.

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