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Old Fashioned meets High-Tech!!

5720 Views 35 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  spidrman
Well this is my second post here. I'm finally starting my home theater room. The over all theme is going to be "old fashioned". My wife wants it to look like an old time movie theater. However I'm picking all the electronics.

The room is 12 feet wide by 22 1/2 feet long. The side walls go up 8 feet, then angle in at 45 degrees and continue up to 10 feet. Once I have 5 posts I'll put up some pics.

The only piece of equipment that I have purchased is a Panasonic PT-AX100U projector.

I'll be documenting each step in this thread and I'm sure I'll be asking a bazillion questions too!
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Welcome to the forum.

Designing your room to look like an old time movie theater sounds awsome. According to the measurements you provided you have a good size room as well to work with.

Good luck on the old fashioned theme. I'm interested to see your progress.
Can't wait to see what you come up with! Do a Google search for "Cinema Palace" and you should get some pretty neat ideas for an old time look. Post 37 on my construction thread has a pretty cool home theater with the "old" feel. I'm planning on that style for my theater as well (but the size is scaled down :)

Have fun with the build!

Thanks for the welcomes!

Post 37 does look really cool. We originally had half columns planned (split down the middle and mounted on the wall, not half height) but decided that since the room is only 12' wide it would put limits on the width of our seating. There will be two rows with the back row on a riser.

There will be dark red velvet curtains and classic styled sconce lighting. Our budget will keep us from anything too fancy and elaborate. We just don't want it to look ultra modern.

Plus we're probably just going to use normal leather reclining sofas for seating since my wife doesn't life the "home theater" style ones with the fixed arm rests between seats. They end up being too wide for the room. I wish the room was 14 or 15 feet wide but there's nothing that can be done about that.

Today I blacked out the window in the room. I'll get a couple of more posts up and then I can start putting pictures in my posts.
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Well I think I decided on using speaker cable from Blue Jeans Cable. Probably the 10 awg stuff for the LCR's and 12 awg for the surrounds. I'm going to be running it behind the base boards since I want to replace the base boards anyway. I was originally going to buy those fancy looking wall plates for speaker connections but I decided that since they will all be hidden there was no point. Plus without them I'll have one unbroken connection from amp to speaker.
Woo Hoo!! 5 posts! Now I can put images up!

Here is a shot of the front wall of my room where the screen is going. Obviously a big window and theater rooms don't go well together:

I decided that it would be easier and cheaper to cover it with a removable board than trying adding black out material to the curtains that are going on the wall. One of my wife's rules for the room (and I fully agree with her on this one) is that the window remain functional as an emergency exit. So here is what I came up with.

One 5' x 4' piece of 5/8" MDF will fully cover the window with about an inch or so of overlap:

Same piece of MDF spray painted flat black. (black side actually faces OUT)

Next I added a strip of foam weather stripping to the bottom edge of the board that rests on the window sill and to the back of the other three edges:

I cut four other small pieces of the same MDF and screwed them to the wall almost flush with the black out board and mounted latches to hold it firmly in place. I also put two handles on the board to make it easier to remove if necessary:

Here's a close up of one latch:

And here is how it looks from the outside (the window on the upper left):

The black paint helps it to blend in with the other windows which have dark brown shutters. Its hard to tell in the photo but it really just looks like an empty room with no lights on from the outside. Now my neighbors can't tell what I'm watching at night by the image showing through my temporary sheet screen plus I no longer have to wait until 9 PM at night for it to be dark outside.

My next step is going to be painting the wall behind the screen and the ceiling black. The side and back walls are going to be painted a more neutral color. We haven't fully decided yet. And then I'll be making my own screen. The sheet on the wall IS NOT my real screen ...

Stay tuned!

PS - Are these pics too big? Should I size them down to 800x600 instead?
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Good looking project and great temp solution on that window. I'm curious if you will have any sound leakage issues.

When I look at the first picture my reaction is the screen (blue tape) looks kind of high for my taste. I would bring down to at least the top of the speakers.
Looking good so far. I am with Biggie, the screen looks a little high (maybe it is just the picture).
Actually you can ignore all the blue tape. That is an old layout. Just too lazy to take the tape down.
The main reason I tacked up the sheet was to test the screen size and height. My original outline is definitely too high. Plus I've decided to go with a 2.35:1 screen that will fill the space between the two square corner columns. It will be 118.5" wide by 50" high (actually 2.37:1). The bottom of the screen will be about 36 inches off the floor. If you look at the picture above showing the final mounting of the blackout board you can see a couple of small pieces of blue tape on the square columns. That is where the bottom will be.

I'll have manualy adjustable curtains for masking when watching 16:9 material (going for constant height) and in the beginning will be zooming the projector to fill the screen with 2.35 material. Eventually I want to get one of those anamorphic adapters so I don't have to zoom the projector but for now it's not in the budget.
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Looks like you have thought out things well. I have the same style latches on my hush box. I cant imagine what ppl must have thought driving by seeing that in the window..is that some sort of new decoration lol. The photos load good.
Well today I started painting. I painted the front wall (where the screen is going) and the ceiling flat black. It took two coats and almost two gallons. Here are some pics:




I also installed a ceiling fan (won't interfere with the projector):

Also I can't express how much I like my Panasonic PT-AX100U projector. Just for craps and laughs I turned it on my flat black wall to see if it was even usable. Here is the result (still from a Keith Urban concert DVD my wife put in):

The fact that it projected a very usable 10 foot wide image on a flat black wall from 22 feet away just blew me away. I think it looks better than the white sheet I was using! Better blacks for sure. Of course I had to use one of the brighter modes. Cinema 1 was very dim in comparison.
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Well we went round and round trying to decide between real theater seats and reclining couches and in the end the couches won. Comfort won over looks. We bought two and obviously the back one will have to be on a riser. That will probably be my next project after I finish the screen.

Here's a shot of the couches:

The side walls are going to be red velvet curtains and a darker paint than is currently on the side walls. Here's a shot of a curtain sample with a paint sample. We're leaning towards the darkest of these paints:

Tomorrow I'll post some shots of the frame I'm building for my AT screen.
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Hm, I would say what the projected image on the black wall tells me is that you need some black velvet on the wall or at least obviously the frame of the screen, [I done use a frame around mine] because any overspill will clearly be visible on your current wall. Are you doing an Smx screen? also what are you doing to deaden that screen wall? Seems that room offers more than a few acoustic challenges.

Even though I am not a couch in theater person, I love that type of leather look.
If it becomes necessary I'll add some black felt above and below the screen. The sides will be framed in by black velvet curtains. I'm not using the smx material but rather the stuff it was based on, Phifer ShearWeave 4500. Also, to get the image usable on the black wall required turning the brightness up much much higher than is necessary with the real screen. Even if I had spillover it would pale in comparison to the image on the screen.

As far as acoustic treatment goes, there will definitely be something on the back wall (and some on the side walls). I'm still looking for a local source for either the Owens Corning 703 or LinCoustic duct insulation. I plan on covering the entire area directly behind the screen (which is where the speakers will be).
Actually it was NOT based on the 4500, that was just one of many things tested and rejected.

But some others have been happy with it. Also be advised that black felt is still more reflective than the velvet. I tried felt first and ripped it down. I went with my entire screen wall other than behind the screen with stretch Black velvet. which is also Acoustically transparent so works well for me.

you really want that entire screen wall or I should say entire wall behind screen treated. also are your speakers rear ported or sealed?
My mistake on assuming it was based on the 4500. I have a small sample and am happy with it. My order should actually arrive on Wednesday this week. The screen I'm making is 120" x 67.5" which is most of the back wall. I may eventually treat the small area over and under the screen as well but right now we're not sure what kind of decorative material we want there and I don't want to be staring at bare acoustic treatment.

The speakers I haven't made yet. I'm looking at building one of the designs from the Missions Accomplished thread over at htguide. Since they will be crossed with a sub I'll be using a sealed design with an "on wall" crossover.
Well I'm finally putting together my DIY screen. I couldn't find any regular lumber straight enough so i decided to "make my own". I bought 3.5" x 1" x 10' MDF and 2.5" x 1" x 8' MDF and glued and clamped it to make my own MDF 2x4s and 2x3s. Here are some shots:

The raw, primed boards ready to cut to length:

Fun with glue


More clamping: (having a nice long flat counter helps to make them straight!)

I clamped each pair for about 40 minutes before I moved on to the next one. I let them sit for 24 hours them before working with them. Next post will show he frame assembly.
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Before assembling the frame I decided that I needed to paint the frame pieces black. I tested with my screen material and with the frame white you could see it reflecting through the fabric but with a test piece painted black you could not see the frame through the fabric. So I painted it.

Here's a shot of the best painting accessory you can have when it's 90° outside. A newspaper covered ping pong table indoors.

While waiting for this to dry for a day, my screen material arrived!!

I used metal corner brackets and flat metal brackets to put it all together:

Here's the frame on top of the screen fabric:

Trimmed the fabric:

Here's a tip: I trimmed it too close. It made it a pain to pull on when stretching it.

Mostly done:

Corner detail:

I noticed that all these shots had a fuzzy section. Too bad I didn't notice the big fingerprint on the lens sooner!

Tomorrow I'll be hanging the screen. Stay tuned!!
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Looks like a great build!

Are you going to do anything with that ceiling? Seems to me like with a little creativity, you might be able to do something stunning with it, additionally you might have some acoustical problems with the vault....

I saw some speakers in one of the pics, are those going to be the speakers you use?
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