Home Theater of the Decade: The Hahn Theater - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Home Theater of the Decade: The Hahn Theater

As 2019 comes to a close, it's time to look back upon the last decade when it comes to home theaters and pick the Home Theater of the Decade. Based on AVS Forum member reactions to Home Theater of the Month winners, the choice is obvious: The Hahn Theater by Keith Yates Design is the Home Theater of the Decade!


The Hahn Theater by Keith Yates Design is the AVS Forum Home Theater of the Decade

Keith Yates Design has created a new web page that features photos, schematics and a ton of information to peruse. Check it out by clicking here... Keith Yates Design Group Portfolio: Hahn Theater

This no-holds-barred theater is well known to AVS Forum regulars who frequent the site and follow the Home Theater of the Month series... it sets the standard for performance. The theater’s owner, Rob Hahn is a retired Hollywood cinematographer with A-list credentials, which helps explain where the inspiration—as well as the resources—to build this epic theater came from.

It's been an exciting decade for dedicated home theater enthusiasts. Technological advances—including the advent of 4K, HDR and 3D immersive sound—deliver huge advances in video and audio fidelity, allowing home viewers to enjoy movies without any significant compromise versus commercial cinemas. It is now possible to beat the local multiplex in terms of the overall viewing experience. Moreover, on the audio side, object-based 3D immersive sound, combined with advances in DSP processing (room correction, etc.) allow home viewers to experience movies in a truly transportive, immersive manner where the practical limits are found the capability of the system itself and not the source material.

In this context, the Hahn Theater by Keith Yates Design represents an ideal—cover all the bases needed to deliver a "truly reference" viewing experience in a home theater. A man who understands what it takes to turn sound into something tangible, visceral, that tricks you into thinking what you hear is real... and then tie it into what's on screen in a manner that achieves transcendental suspension of disbelief.

As for Rob Hahn—who's been an AVS FOrum member for 15 years—he notes in the Home Theater of the Month article that despite a multi-decade career in Hollywood, he waited for the technology to reach a point where he felt it was worth doing. You can read the original HToM post here. And once he decided to go for it, he basically demolished half his house and built a custom theater—no shortcuts taken—from the ground up. And the result is epic. Fortunately there is a full build thread on AVS Forum along with a very extensive discussion, which you can find here.

Keith Yates had this to say about the award: "Rob Hahn first connected with me in early 2012 for what would turn out to be our tenth Black Label project, but this time with two pivotal differences: First, Rob’s infectious Passion sparked the architectural direction and animated our engineering discussions. And second, he ended up publicly sharing, in three AVS Forum threads, what we were up to and some of the art and science behind it. This Home Theater of the Decade honor is largely the result of Rob doing what he did for decades as a Hollywood cinematographer: Train the light on others. Thank you, Rob, my friend, and thank you, AVS Forum for honoring what our partnership with Rob has created. I hope Rob’s passion inspires the AVSF community as much as it did my team and me."

In case you are wondering what a Black Label project is... here's the scoop according to Keith Yates Design: "Few magnificent projects present themselves as candidates for our Black Label Service. At the core of each theater is a unique R&D science project to solve performance-limiting challenge with no known solution. In fact, these projects have resulted in a number of our industry-first inventions." Not for the "faint of heart" or "light of wallet" but as always, there's much that can be gleaned from an exercise such as this. Which is to say, the Hahn Theater was chosen for Home Theater of the Decade not merely because it it is an awesome theater, but also because it pushed boundaries and influenced others in this hobby with their home theater builds. And that would not be possible if this project were not shared here on AVS Forum.

It'll be 10 more years before there's another HToD. Congratulations Rob Hahn and Keith Yates Design for setting the standard and sharing the fruits of your labor.



(post still under construction)


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post #2 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 05:17 AM
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You can just label it Home Theater of the Century. Rob's theater is better than any commercial theater it just happens to be attached to his home.

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post #3 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 05:33 AM
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I can't even fathom what kind of home theater could top his. It is the very best of form AND function.

But, by his own admission, the only "shortcoming" (my word, not his) is that he isn't currently getting true HDR out of his 19' wide screen. I think he is running 4K/WCG, which based on my past experience, gives up only a smidgen to the real thing. But given his passion (and his eye), he will eventually get that solved given the rapid improvements in display technology.

Then, he wins Home Theater of the Millennium !!
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post #4 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I can't even fathom what kind of home theater could top his. It is the very best of form AND function.

But, by his own admission, the only "shortcoming" (my word, not his) is that he isn't currently getting true HDR out of his 19' wide screen. I think he is running 4K/WCG, which based on my past experience, gives up only a smidgen to the real thing. But given his passion (and his eye), he will eventually get that solved given the rapid improvements in display technology.

Then, he wins Home Theater of the Millennium !!
Yep... projection leverages the higher bit depth and WCG of today's HDR releases, but compared to 1000-nit and 4000-nit HDR mastered for flat panels, it's got more in common with SDR after all the tone mapping is over and done with. It will be interesting to see if the issues with micro-LED screens (that can easily do real HDR) get solved within a decade (cost, visible seams in the panels, no way to put speakers behind the screen) or if the answer will be found in some next-generation projection-based solution—especially if laser light sources get cheaper.

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post #5 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 06:10 AM
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Yep... projection leverages the higher bit depth and WCG of today's HDR releases, but compared to 1000-nit and 4000-nit HDR mastered for flat panels, it's got more in common with SDR after all the tone mapping is over and done with. It will be interesting to see if the issues with micro-LED screens (that can easily do real HDR) get solved within a decade (cost, visible seams in the panels, no way to put speakers behind the screen) or if the answer will be found in some next-generation projection-based solution—especially if laser light sources get cheaper.

That would be my bet. I just can't image how the micro-LED screens will ever solve the "acoustically transparent" requirement. Speakers above and below the screen and "fixing" with something like a Trinnov would be a really poor option (and expensive).
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post #6 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 07:58 AM
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It is a truly amazing theater with no equal

I'm a lucky guy.

My wife and I were invited out for a weekend to the Hahn theater and watched a movie and many demos in that room until late at night (and a wonderful dinner and wine).

Rob did it for sure. Never seen (or heard) anything like it!!

Bass (War of the Worlds... amazing - teeth rattling). Sense of space in The Revenant opening seemed like miles around me. Just something else!

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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^^ I think I would prefer to never hear/see his theater. I am VERY pleased with my theater and to be exposed to something like his would reignite the "what if" thinking that has cost me a bazillion dollars over the last 40 years!

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post #8 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 09:54 AM
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Excessive, extravagant, extreme, immoderate, inordinate, disproportionate, exaggerated, needless, overblown, over the limit, too much, uncalled for, undue, unnecessary, unreasonable, unwarranted, a bit much, going too far, exorbitant, steep, outrageous, lavish, unconscionable, insane.




I want one.

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^^ I think I would prefer to never hear/see his theater. I am VERY pleased with my theater and to be exposed to something like his would reignite the "what if" thinking that has cost me a bazillion dollars over the last 40 years!
You know, I just built a very nice theater - professionally designed and installed - It's awesome.... But.... Then We have Rob's room...

From the opening scene in the Revenant where they are hiking through the water in a fjord. It gave such a sense of space it was almost uncomfortable - it was so realistic (and cool). Dynamics and bass were off the charts. We watched Gravity and the low noise floor truly gave an amazing impression of space - particularly when the space debris exploded onto the scene. The dynamic range knocked me for a loop and even in my nice theater, I don't have that. I've never been in a more quiet room.

Simply amazing. His build thread says it all...Keith Yates, Fluid Dynamics algorithms for design and the best building principles, materials, construction and thinking.

Truly a one of a kind space.

Fortunately, I didn't kill my experience in my own theater... but my demos don't do justice next to Rob's..

The room is truly a masterpiece in design and performance.

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

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I think what amazed me when I first saw that thread was that they went out of their way to recreate and actual theater. That is not simply a home theater, or dedicated home theater, it is from the ground up a professional, I would buy ticket's to go see a movie there theater. But with none of the compromises, or VERY little, that commercial theaters have to deal with. It is a no compromise i want the best...period. And its truly stunning to behold and I am sure the photo's no matter how well done don't do it justice.
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post #11 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 10:23 AM
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I think what amazed me when I first saw that thread was that they went out of their way to recreate and actual theater. That is not simply a home theater, or dedicated home theater, it is from the ground up a professional, I would buy ticket's to go see a movie there theater. But with none of the compromises, or VERY little, that commercial theaters have to deal with. It is a no compromise i want the best...period. And its truly stunning to behold and I am sure the photo's no matter how well done don't do it justice.
100% agree with this. Please take my money. I could never build this theater but I would buy a ticket twice a week. It is a jaw dropping Cinema by any definition. I would get goosebumps every time I walked through the theater doors.

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post #12 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Keith Yates has informed me that the Hahn Theater ebook (that I link to near the top of the post) featuring the schematics and additional images and info is currently lo-res but that soon it'll be updated so you can click through to a hi-res version.

https://keithyates.com/portfolio/hahn-theater/
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This theater continues to absolutely blow my mind, and that's just looking at pics and reading articles. I cannot imagine the experience!
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An outstanding achievement for sure. The new Christie uber projector seems to be the natural choice for this theatre....
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An outstanding achievement for sure. The new Christie uber projector seems to be the natural choice for this theatre....
Yes but not sure he has room for it at 330 lbs. I am sure he can afford it. It is priced in the nice beach house range. LOL.

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post #16 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 05:05 PM
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Thanks to all for your extremely nice comments and to AVS forum for awarding my theater as Home Theater of the Decade! It's truly an honor. So many people contributed to the success of the final project - it's hard to single out anyone (and I'm afraid I'll inadvertantly leave someone out)! Keith does mention some of the special people on his website at the end of the piece on my theater. They were the ones who made it happen.

I would like to include John Hibbard - he was the site supervisor on our job and was superb in coordinating all the complex tasks for our entire home project. He quickly realized that he needed help for the theater portion and he and Rick Koch, Davenport's general contractor, decided that Bob Cebulski should be the guy. Bob worked closely with Rick's son, Gill and the theater's construction is as wonderful as it is because of their diligence and extraordinary attention to detail.

Even though it took 3 years to design and build, it was really a decades-long process.

First and foremost, having a resource like AVS Forum available was crucial in allowing me to dream about building the theater I'd always wanted in the first place. My computer is packed with threads and quotes from all the great people here who have shared their experiences online. That led me to contact people like Art Sonneborn, Jeff (thebland - respecting how he elects to show himself in public), Ash Sharma and Lon. They were so generous with their time as they invited me into their homes to experience their theaters - this exploration took me all over the country.

I'd like to thank Mark Seaton who suggested I contact a guy named Keith Yates as someone I should consider for help in designing my theater. I've written at length in the other threads about how special Keith is, so I won't repeat all that here. Anyone who can have Keith in his corner is an extremely lucky person! He is one of a kind...

I hope you all get a chance to click on the link (https://keithyates.com/portfolio/hahn-theater/). It takes you to Keith's website which tells a more detailed story about the building of my theater. There's information there that isn't in any of my 3 other threads. Although there are a lot of questions and answers in those 3 threads, I'm happy to talk more about the experience of building this labor of love if anyone's interested.

I know Mark included the links above to my other threads but here they again:

Rob Hahn Theater Build:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ter-build.html

Home Theater of the Month:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/92-co...n-theater.html

An Evening with Rob Hahn:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ul...-rob-hahn.html

-Rob

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post #17 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob Hahn View Post
Thanks to all for your extremely nice comments and to AVS forum for awarding my theater as Home Theater of the Decade! It's truly an honor. So many people contributed to the success of the final project - it's hard to single out anyone (and I'm afraid I'll inadvertantly leave someone out)! Keith does mention some of the special people on his website at the end of the piece on my theater. They were the ones who made it happen.



I would like to include John Hibbard - he was the site supervisor on our job and was superb in coordinating all the complex tasks for our entire home project. He quickly realized that he needed help for the theater portion and he and Rick Koch, Davenport's general contractor, decided that Bob Cebulski should be the guy. Bob worked closely with Rick's son, Gill and the theater's construction is as wonderful as it is because of their diligence and extraordinary attention to detail.



Even though it took 3 years to design and build, it was really a decades-long process.



First and foremost, having a resource like AVS Forum available was crucial in allowing me to dream about building the theater I'd always wanted in the first place. My computer is packed with threads and quotes from all the great people here who have shared their experiences online. That led me to contact people like Art Sonneborn, Jeff (thebland - respecting how he elects to show himself in public), Ash Sharma and Lon. They were so generous with their time as they invited me into their homes to experience their theaters - this exploration took me all over the country.



I'd like to thank Mark Seaton who suggested I contact a guy named Keith Yates as someone I should consider for help in designing my theater. I've written at length in the other threads about how special Keith is, so I won't repeat all that here. Anyone who can have Keith in his corner is an extremely lucky person! He is one of a kind...



I hope you all get a chance to click on the link (https://keithyates.com/portfolio/hahn-theater/). It takes you to Keith's website which tells a more detailed story about the building of my theater. There's information there that isn't in any of my 3 other threads. Although there are a lot of questions and answers in those 3 threads, I'm happy to talk more about the experience of building this labor of love if anyone's interested.



I know Mark included the links above to my other threads but here they again:



Rob Hahn Theater Build:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ter-build.html



Home Theater of the Month:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/92-co...n-theater.html



An Evening with Rob Hahn:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ul...-rob-hahn.html



-Rob
Thanks for sharing with us your amazing theater. Any updates to the theater or any plans in the works. Inquiring minds want to know. LOL .

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post #18 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 07:49 PM
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Keith Yates has informed me that the Hahn Theater ebook (that I link to near the top of the post) featuring the schematics and additional images and info is currently lo-res but that soon it'll be updated so you can click through to a hi-res version.

https://keithyates.com/portfolio/hahn-theater/
Confirming that sometime tomorrow (Tues.) we should have a working download link to a hi-res eBook PDF of Rob's Theater. Aside from being sharper and more readable, there will be some add'l content toward the end of the book. Hope you like!
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Confirming that sometime tomorrow (Tues.) we should have a working download link to a hi-res eBook PDF of Rob's Theater. Aside from being sharper and more readable, there will be some add'l content toward the end of the book. Hope you like!
Can't wait!! said in my best Bart Scott voice.

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post #20 of 105 Old 12-23-2019, 08:40 PM
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Congratulations both Rob and Keith!
Looking forward to the next time we meet and talk Keith! It's always a great conversation on Sound
and ways to improve it!
Let me know when you're down back in LA and we'll meet at "The Dub Stage".
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I will probably be the only person in this thread to offer a criticism, if you can call it that . Rob so generously shared his experience from beginning to end, and the Hahn theater is such a stunning achievement, that it's frustrating that at the end of such a monumental effort, there are only a few dark photographs and no high quality photographs of the final result. The theater and it's associated equipment rooms deserve to and should be professionally photographed by an outstanding architectural photographer to properly document the achievement .
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I will probably be the only person in this thread to offer a criticism, if you can call it that . Rob so generously shared his experience from beginning to end, and the Hahn theater is such a stunning achievement, that it's frustrating that at the end of such a monumental effort, there are only a few dark photographs and no high quality photographs of the final result. The theater and it's associated equipment rooms deserve to and should be professionally photographed by an outstanding architectural photographer to properly document the achievement .
I'll need to make a trip and take some shots.

Before I got into writing about AV, I photographed architecture including commercial theaters for the Regal Cinema chain.
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post #23 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 04:55 AM
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I'll need to make a trip and take some shots.



Before I got into writing about AV, II photographed architecture including commercial theaters for the Regal Cinema chain.
Let me know if you need someone to carry all your equipment. We don't want you to risk injuring your hands.

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post #24 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Hahn View Post
Thanks to all for your extremely nice comments and to AVS forum for awarding my theater as Home Theater of the Decade! It's truly an honor. So many people contributed to the success of the final project - it's hard to single out anyone (and I'm afraid I'll inadvertantly leave someone out)! Keith does mention some of the special people on his website at the end of the piece on my theater. They were the ones who made it happen.

I would like to include John Hibbard - he was the site supervisor on our job and was superb in coordinating all the complex tasks for our entire home project. He quickly realized that he needed help for the theater portion and he and Rick Koch, Davenport's general contractor, decided that Bob Cebulski should be the guy. Bob worked closely with Rick's son, Gill and the theater's construction is as wonderful as it is because of their diligence and extraordinary attention to detail.

Even though it took 3 years to design and build, it was really a decades-long process.

First and foremost, having a resource like AVS Forum available was crucial in allowing me to dream about building the theater I'd always wanted in the first place. My computer is packed with threads and quotes from all the great people here who have shared their experiences online. That led me to contact people like Art Sonneborn, Jeff (thebland - respecting how he elects to show himself in public), Ash Sharma and Lon. They were so generous with their time as they invited me into their homes to experience their theaters - this exploration took me all over the country.

I'd like to thank Mark Seaton who suggested I contact a guy named Keith Yates as someone I should consider for help in designing my theater. I've written at length in the other threads about how special Keith is, so I won't repeat all that here. Anyone who can have Keith in his corner is an extremely lucky person! He is one of a kind...

I hope you all get a chance to click on the link (https://keithyates.com/portfolio/hahn-theater/). It takes you to Keith's website which tells a more detailed story about the building of my theater. There's information there that isn't in any of my 3 other threads. Although there are a lot of questions and answers in those 3 threads, I'm happy to talk more about the experience of building this labor of love if anyone's interested.

I know Mark included the links above to my other threads but here they again:

Rob Hahn Theater Build:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-de...ter-build.html

Home Theater of the Month:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/92-co...n-theater.html

An Evening with Rob Hahn:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ul...-rob-hahn.html

-Rob
Hi Rob,

Nice to see you here. I remember you from the CEFORUM days on CompuServe. Great theater! Would love to see it in person someday. Has Marc Wielage been over yet?

Happy Holidays!
Dawn Gordon Luks

P.S. I know I've told you this before, but you did an amazing job shooting Searching for Bobby Fischer - my favorite movie of all time.
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post #25 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 07:30 AM
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Rob, congratulations on this much-deserved acknowledgement. Your theatre is truly magnificent, and has been a source of inspiration to many of us.

Keith, same to you. You and your team did a phenomenal job on this one of a kind work of functional art. It is incredible to see what can be done with almost no constraints.

Well done!


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post #26 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Rob Hahn View Post
First and foremost, having a resource like AVS Forum available was crucial in allowing me to dream about building the theater I'd always wanted in the first place. My computer is packed with threads and quotes from all the great people here who have shared their experiences online. That led me to contact people like Art Sonneborn, Jeff (thebland - respecting how he elects to show himself in public), Ash Sharma and Lon. They were so generous with their time as they invited me into their homes to experience their theaters - this exploration took me all over the country.

-Rob
Rob,
Congrats on the much deserved accolade .... and also to Keith Yates and others who helped you build this magnificent theater, and AVS where we all learn and share our hobby - we are only as good as our advisors.
And this is much deserved for a humble no pretense guy like you ... Happy Holidays and may 2020 and beyond give your loved ones and you Good Health Peace and Prosperity.
Ash

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post #27 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dawn Gordon View Post
Hi Rob,

Nice to see you here. I remember you from the CEFORUM days on CompuServe. Great theater! Would love to see it in person someday. Has Marc Wielage been over yet?

Happy Holidays!
Dawn Gordon Luks

P.S. I know I've told you this before, but you did an amazing job shooting Searching for Bobby Fischer - my favorite movie of all time.
Wow, Dawn! How amazing to see you here! CompuServe started the whole thing for me - so it's wonderful to 'see' an old face from there! We left CA after the Northridge earthquake in 1994 and now live in CT, so I haven't been in contact with Marc since then but I'm sure we would pick up right where we left off!

Thanks for the kind words about "Searching for Bobby Fischer." But the very great Conrad Hall was the Director of Photography on it, not me. I was the Camera Operator - Besides being the operator, I did shoot all the 2nd unit chess stuff as well (a lot of it in Washington Square Park in NY) and I also took over as DP for 2 weeks when Connie had to leave to color correct another movie. Fun fact, Albert Maysles also did some camera work in Washington Square for the movie (uncredited), so I got to work with two legends! It remains one of the greatest experiences I've ever had.

Anyway, nice to connect with you here - let me know if you're ever in the neighborhood...

-Rob
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post #28 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by David Haddad View Post
I will probably be the only person in this thread to offer a criticism, if you can call it that . Rob so generously shared his experience from beginning to end, and the Hahn theater is such a stunning achievement, that it's frustrating that at the end of such a monumental effort, there are only a few dark photographs and no high quality photographs of the final result. The theater and it's associated equipment rooms deserve to and should be professionally photographed by an outstanding architectural photographer to properly document the achievement .
Wow - you really know how to hurt a guy!

So I took all those pictures and on my build thread I uploaded them in a fairly hi-rez format. The theater _is_ dark so the pics are representative of what the theater actually looks like (well, kind of - nothing beats the real thing). I am a professional Cinematographer so I'd like to think I did a decent job but you're right - it wouldn't hurt to get another set of eyes in there and see what they come up with. It's a tricky room to photograph because it's a fairly contrasty environment.

More projects!

-Rob
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post #29 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 01:46 PM
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Absolutely love your theater Rob!
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post #30 of 105 Old 12-24-2019, 01:57 PM
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You know, I just built a very nice theater - professionally designed and installed - It's awesome.... But.... Then We have Rob's room...

From the opening scene in the Revenant where they are hiking through the water in a fjord. It gave such a sense of space it was almost uncomfortable - it was so realistic (and cool). Dynamics and bass were off the charts. We watched Gravity and the low noise floor truly gave an amazing impression of space - particularly when the space debris exploded onto the scene. The dynamic range knocked me for a loop and even in my nice theater, I don't have that. I've never been in a more quiet room.

Simply amazing. His build thread says it all...Keith Yates, Fluid Dynamics algorithms for design and the best building principles, materials, construction and thinking.

Truly a one of a kind space.

Fortunately, I didn't kill my experience in my own theater... but my demos don't do justice next to Rob's..

The room is truly a masterpiece in design and performance.
Thanks Jeff! You'll have to come back when all the UberSubs are working! (I had an amp fail so a few of these behemoths weren't operational when Jeff & Karen visited). Still, I'm glad you got the idea.

Thanks again for your hospitality when I visited you in 2008 (wow, has it been that long)? You'll never know how much my visits to you & Art (and Ash & Lon) helped me!

Best to you & Karen for the Holidays,

-Rob
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