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post #1 of 12 Old 08-07-2018, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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First Post - Dedicated HT

First off, hello to everyone! I'm astonished at how informative this site is - I've been lurking for a while but it is finally time to "fish" instead of just "cutting bait". I am an engineer by trait, so tend to conduct lots of research before launching into uncharted territory. Having said that, I will commit to do a fair amount of searching before posting, and will try to keep questions pretty specific instead of broad-based. I will hopefully be able to attach my hand sketches for reference. So on to my first question......I'm struggling a bit to lock-in my (projector) screen size. I am familiar with the SMPTE and THX recommendations and have downloaded several tools/calculators to assist, but I'm seeing if one has a 4K projector, the recommended viewing distances seem to be closer vs historical. For my given room size, I have a viewing distance of 8' to first row and 13.5' to second row - both assume the use of a "false" front wall where the AT screen will reside. Will a 110" diag screen be too large? This translates to a horizontal FOV of 53 deg (1st row) and 33 deg (2nd row). I believe I have all the other dimensions/locations lined up, but am uncertain about the screen size. I have options to reduce to 106" diag or 100" diag, but thought I should attempt to maximize since the "future" seems to be 4K (and I don't want to have buyer's remorse if I get something too small). Please share your thoughts. I thank everyone in advance, and will undoubtedly have many, many more questions.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-07-2018, 09:33 PM
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I think you will find screen size and seating distance is a very personal decision. I'd maybe start with where do you like to sit in the theater when you go to the movies? I think keeping side to side head movement to a minimum is important to keep fatigue from setting in. Also you will have to keep in mind screen height due to the 2nd row.

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post #3 of 12 Old 08-07-2018, 10:07 PM
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The standards are a good rule of thumb. It is a personal preference though, most people I know like the screen to be on the larger side.

I set mine up for a 40° viewing angle from the good seat. As luck would have it that just happened to make the front row 60° (~SMPTE closest recommendation) and the rear row at 36° (THX farthest). This kind of highlights the limitations of these recommendations; they’re geared more toward commercial theaters and the range is designed to give several rows worth of “money seats”. In a home theater you’re basically at the limit somewhere just by having multiple rows.

I think most people have practical room limitations around making the screen too big of the room is oriented to be deep. If your drawing is to scale it looks like you wouldn’t be able to go much bigger, though I suppose you could adjust the seats to change things some degree.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 06:44 AM
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I had buyers remorse on my first screen, it was too small.

If this is your first projection screen setup you can save yourself a lot of work and just hang your projector and shine it on some sheets on your screen wall, once you figure out what you like, order the screen. Looking at the plans one thing I spotted. If you are planning home theater recliners the tops of your heads are usually around 42 inches and the the eyes at 36 inches off the floor, you are showing eyes 6 inches higher in the second row. Another reason to hang your projector, check the actual sightlines and then order the screen. Some other items, you are showing a delta of 5 1/2 ft for the two rows, you won't be able to recline the seating without kicking the front row, you need 6 1/2. An 18 inch tall riser requires 3 steps up by code. You are showing 2. The max code step up is something like 7 3/4 inches. Always check your local codes as they do vary.

Keeping the rear row off the back wall is good but in my opinion not at the expense of forcing the front row to a 8 ft viewing distance. Maybe if the back row is where you plan to sit all the time and you will rarely have visitors. But then a 13 1/2 ft is a tad far for the captains chair. (it is actually 13 as drawn)

You have a tight space budget and you might want to consider much shallower speakers and only use one ft behind the screen wall.
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post #5 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 11:21 AM
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I'd definitely suggest testing out your screen size in the actual space. Even if you don't have a projector yet, you can set up some painters tape to mark out the screen size. Either use a sheet like Jeff suggests, or just tape on the back wall and remember that the actual screen will be somewhat forward from that point, so adjust your seating location forward the same distance when you try it out.

If you have any question about screen size, bigger is usually better. It would be a rare day when someone complains that their screen is too big. If that is really the case, you can easily mask it down and use a smaller portion of the surface. Also keep in mind that if you are watching 2.35:1 content on your 16x9 screen, it will fill the screen width, but not top to bottom, making for a smaller image. If you were to use a smaller screen, you would find that 2.35:1 content is even smaller, possibly too small for what you would want.

At first I wondered how you'd get around the front row of seats, since they take up the whole width of the room. Then I saw that you have two sets of doors. Having the seating that close to the wall is less than ideal for many reasons, especially sound, but I assume that you are willing to make those compromises to fit in more seats.

I see that the seats in the rear row have unused space between them. You'd be better off pushing them next to each other and having the extra space on the sides of the room.

If you are not already planning on this, you may want to consider the rear row as the "good seats", with the front row as the "overflow".
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 11:28 AM
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Another thought, it looks like you need the riser height to be able to see over the heads of the people in the front row, but an 18" riser in a room with an 8' ceiling leaves only 6-1/2" of headroom. That may feel a bit claustrophobic, but others have done it and been satisfied. One alternative is lowering the floor where the front row is, but that comes with a big price tag.
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post #7 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 12:07 PM
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another option is building a 14 inch riser then putting a mini 4 inch tall booster riser under the second row seat bases. Same final result but now your ceiling is a tad higher in the back row.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 05:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brazensol View Post
I think you will find screen size and seating distance is a very personal decision. I'd maybe start with where do you like to sit in the theater when you go to the movies? I think keeping side to side head movement to a minimum is important to keep fatigue from setting in. Also you will have to keep in mind screen height due to the 2nd row.
Agreed. Sounds like a common theme. Thanks for sharing.
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post #9 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sor View Post
The standards are a good rule of thumb. It is a personal preference though, most people I know like the screen to be on the larger side.

I set mine up for a 40° viewing angle from the good seat. As luck would have it that just happened to make the front row 60° (~SMPTE closest recommendation) and the rear row at 36° (THX farthest). This kind of highlights the limitations of these recommendations; they’re geared more toward commercial theaters and the range is designed to give several rows worth of “money seats”. In a home theater you’re basically at the limit somewhere just by having multiple rows.

I think most people have practical room limitations around making the screen too big of the room is oriented to be deep. If your drawing is to scale it looks like you wouldn’t be able to go much bigger, though I suppose you could adjust the seats to change things some degree.
Exactly what I am fighting here, some room limitations. I guess I should explain a bit more. The entire front wall and right side wall are existing, as is the first 5' of the left wall. I am building the remainder of the left wall and rear wall. I want to keep the new left wall in alignment with the existing left front wall. The rear wall might have a little flexibility, but not much. I intend to install some chairs along the outside of that wall, and there is a fireplace about 8 feet further out from that wall, and I need to maintain a walkway between the fireplace and chairs (fireplace hearth is actually 6' from that new rear wall). Should also note this entire area is above a garage, so I will need to consider adequate sound proofing of the floor (or ceiling of garage). I'll be asking for ideas on that later.

Thanks for sharing.
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 06:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
I had buyers remorse on my first screen, it was too small.

If this is your first projection screen setup you can save yourself a lot of work and just hang your projector and shine it on some sheets on your screen wall, once you figure out what you like, order the screen. Looking at the plans one thing I spotted. If you are planning home theater recliners the tops of your heads are usually around 42 inches and the the eyes at 36 inches off the floor, you are showing eyes 6 inches higher in the second row. Another reason to hang your projector, check the actual sightlines and then order the screen. Some other items, you are showing a delta of 5 1/2 ft for the two rows, you won't be able to recline the seating without kicking the front row, you need 6 1/2. An 18 inch tall riser requires 3 steps up by code. You are showing 2. The max code step up is something like 7 3/4 inches. Always check your local codes as they do vary.

Keeping the rear row off the back wall is good but in my opinion not at the expense of forcing the front row to a 8 ft viewing distance. Maybe if the back row is where you plan to sit all the time and you will rarely have visitors. But then a 13 1/2 ft is a tad far for the captains chair. (it is actually 13 as drawn)

You have a tight space budget and you might want to consider much shallower speakers and only use one ft behind the screen wall.
Good catch on the dimensional inconsistencies - you are a detail-oriented person (and I appreciate that)! I was trying to avoid erasing and re-drawing the sofa, but alas you "outted" me and I have since revised the drawing. I have the furniture already and have set them in the approximate locations (riser excluded), so the clearances shown will work ok (these are not true HT chairs, but are some pretty high end recliners that are very comfortable). I might consider shifting back the rear row, and subsequently the front sofa, a tad - I had originally laid it out this way because initially I had the door to the rear row along the back wall, and that 2' space along the wall was going to be the walkway. Due to the projector and rear surrounds, I elected to move the door to the side wall, in front of the recliners. Not ideal by any means, but simply don't have room for stairs along the side of the couch on the inside of the HT. The "money" seat is currently the couch, and not the rear center seat, so shifting everything back a tad might be beneficial. I also like the idea about the mini riser under the recliners if it will avoid a second step while also providing a bit more headroom in the back.

On another note, the stage design should look familiar to you.

Thanks for sharing.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-08-2018, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveClement View Post
I'd definitely suggest testing out your screen size in the actual space. Even if you don't have a projector yet, you can set up some painters tape to mark out the screen size. Either use a sheet like Jeff suggests, or just tape on the back wall and remember that the actual screen will be somewhat forward from that point, so adjust your seating location forward the same distance when you try it out.

If you have any question about screen size, bigger is usually better. It would be a rare day when someone complains that their screen is too big. If that is really the case, you can easily mask it down and use a smaller portion of the surface. Also keep in mind that if you are watching 2.35:1 content on your 16x9 screen, it will fill the screen width, but not top to bottom, making for a smaller image. If you were to use a smaller screen, you would find that 2.35:1 content is even smaller, possibly too small for what you would want.

At first I wondered how you'd get around the front row of seats, since they take up the whole width of the room. Then I saw that you have two sets of doors. Having the seating that close to the wall is less than ideal for many reasons, especially sound, but I assume that you are willing to make those compromises to fit in more seats.

I see that the seats in the rear row have unused space between them. You'd be better off pushing them next to each other and having the extra space on the sides of the room.

If you are not already planning on this, you may want to consider the rear row as the "good seats", with the front row as the "overflow".
I initially kept the spacing between the rear recliners because I had intended to install the door on the rear wall. I have since moved the door to the side wall, so I can set those recliners closer together now as you suggest. I might also toe them in a bit as well. I have the furniture already, so there are some concessions being made with respect to spacing and room width, unfortunately. I did want to maximize the number of seats when I ordered the furniture, probably put the cart before the horse on that one. I think I will employ Jeff's mini-riser idea to provide some more headroom in the back.

Thanks for sharing.
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-10-2018, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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On to construction help

Thanks for the comments on screen size. I think I have a plan. I want to get the rest of my plans finalized so I can begin the demo/framing process. If you recall my layout, I need to construct a new left wall and a new rear wall. I plan to utilize SPC Wall Solution 2, where I keep a single layer of gypsum on the inside of the new wall (that will keep the new wall and existing wall in alignment) and utilize sound clips/channels + 2 layers gypsum + green glue on the outside of the new wall, all of which will be sealed with acoustical caulk. So I think I have the walls set. My current struggle is what to do with the floor. The room sits above a 2-car garage. I have added isloators on the opener, but it is still pretty loud if I am sitting up there and someone opens/closes the garage door. I am uncertain if there is even any insulation between the upper floor and lower ceiling (hopefully so, but it may be woefully undersized). If not, there will be before I am done. Currently, the garage ceiling consists of what appear to be 4x8 plywood sheets, and the floor of the room above appears to be engineered laminate that is suppose to look like a wood floor. It actually doesn't look too bad and appears to be relatively new (I bought the house about 4 years ago so I don't know the history). I intend to keep the floor as-is outside of the theater, but carpet over the floor inside the theater, and recall I will be installing a front stage area and rear risers. Do you have recommendations of what to do with the theater floor? Obviously I plan to install padding under the carpet, but should I consider installing a layer of plywood, or green glue and plywood, or mass loaded vinyl, or roofing felt, or some other material before installing the riser and stage? I could also add to the garage ceiling if necessary (with clips/channels and new sheetrock), but I'm really not that concerned about sound leaking to the garage, although I am concerned about the garage door actuation sound infiltrating the theater (I realize these go hand in hand and there is no "check valve" on sound). This may seem like a stupid question, but do I need to address the floor before I start framing the walls? I was planning to simply nail the walls directly to the laminate, and catch the floor joists underneath. Living in south Louisiana, I'm probably going to add quite a bit of insulation between the theater floor and garage ceiling, just from a thermal perspective. Thanks as always for any guidance.
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