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post #31 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-15, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question First attempt at 3D render; Black Ice HT

What does it look like!?

After mocking up the HT for my daughter's birthday pary, I just could not picture how my design will look. With this in mind and having seen some renders of HTs on the AVS forums, I decided to see if I could do this myself. After doing some research (and remembering back to my university days when I did graphic stuff), I happened across Blender. An impressive tool but with a steep learning curve... Learning new tech is right down my alley.

First, I cleaned my HT floorplan making several modifications based on my experiences so far. You will note the change in the seating, it now reflects the purchased seats that I got (when they ship ) from the Home Theater Authority powerbuy. Other changes include the proscenium, curved riser, elimination of the entrance way, and changes to the equipment closet.

So after fooling around with Blender, I managed to create the below pic. Not too much detail has be included and I still trying to master material/textures. Having done this, I now have a new appreciation for computer animation and the like. Is it ever hard to texture something as simple as carpet... In any case, it is still a work in progress (i.e. the screen is just magically floating!) and any comments, suggestions, help (<- especially on Blender materials/textures) are more than welcome!


Well... that all I can think of right now...

Cheers,
Kaoru
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post #32 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-16, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thumbs up The screen... is ready for paint!

The screen...

The following is based on research of numerous sites/people who have built similar screens. I acredit those en masse since I was not keeping track of all the pages I visited.

Materials:
  • Two 8' & four 6' 1x2 popular hardwood ($30)
  • 4 "L" brackets, 4 "T" brackets ($27)
  • 3/4" wood screws ($5)
  • 3 metres of 55" width blackout fabric ($30)
  • Four 8' 1/4 round ($23)
Method:

First, I determined the exact size I wanted the screen to be. Since the blackout fabric I bought was 55" wide, I knew that my screen height was going to be 52" since I need 3" to wrap around the frame. This is where the quarter round comes into play. My thinking at the time was if I used the quarter round, another inch would be required to wrap the frame. Since I wanted the largest screen, I decided to drop the quarter round (as previously mentioned in another post). I later realized that I did have enough width to use the quarter round so I did. My final dimensions was 92" L and 52" H, 16:9 format with a 106" on the diagonal. Since I'm limited to 3 pics, see the below pics on the frame's construction.

As above, I mitered (45 deg) the outside frame to give me 92"x52". The corners are glued and the "L" brackets are screwed on the back side. At first I centered the brackets on the frame which was a mistake since there was no room for stapling. I rescrewed the brackets to follow the inside edge of the frame (see pic). Following this I cut two support braces to fit between the frame and glued/screwed them with the "T" brackets (also following the inside frame edge). Flipping over the frame to the front, I mitered the quarter round to go around the perimeter of the frame with the curved side pointing inwards. The quarter round was glued and tacked with 1" brads. Note that the brad will poke out on the frame's backside. This was intentional since it creates teeth/grips that aids in the fabric stretching but you could go with a smaller brad if you want to avoid this. I sanded the frame's front side and rounded slightly all corners to ensure everything is even and smooth for the fabric.



So I'm now ready to put the fabric on... I laid out a clean drop cloth (but cardboard would have been better since it doesn't bunch up) and put the fabic down. Blackout fabic has two sides; one side being canvas/weave like and the other being a primed (all most rubbery) side. My first thought was to put the canvas side down so that's my painting surface. After some thought, I went with the primed side down since it was whiter and smoother (though rubbery to touch). According to my research, either side is good though I run the risk of have a different type of blackout fabric. It's only when I paint the fabric will I know if I made a good choice. Here is a pic prior to fabric stretching:



It's fabric stretching time! First of all, use a electric stapler (or air-powered) since I can't imagine using anything else. Also have some form of canvas stretching pliers (wide grip)... I didn't and your hands will cramp up doing this since mine did! Besides pain... such pliers will result in a more taunt fabric. Essentially the technique I used was simple... First some tips: Never touch the screen side of the fabric, just the edges. Keep your hands/work area clean (and if you have a cut/scrape that is (or may) bleeding get a band-aid!). Start by stapling the centre of one of the long sides. Switch to the opposite side and pull taunt until a center crease appears; staple center then staple ~2" on either side. Switch back to the first (opposite) side and staple ~2" either side of center. Do the same procedure on the short length sides noting that when you get the crease, it will be a triangle then diamond. After this alternate sides (going opposite to opposite) stapling the long sides more frequently to catch up with the shorter sides. The hardest part in all of this is stretching the fabric with one hand (pliers would really help!) and stapling with the other. Finish off by adding additional staples and doing the corners which is same as making a bed/hospital corners (learned in boot camp). Here is the result:



It's ready for paint in my case since I want to go digital grey (Goo Systems) to improve my blacks/contrasts. Still... I am impressed with it just as it is. Concerns: Will the fabric loosen up over time causing deformities? Will the paint adhere well, flake, crack, etc.? These questions will still have to be answered... I'm secure in the fact that I didn't spend alot of money if I have to redo something.

Well... that's it for now...

Cheers,
Kaoru
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post #33 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-17, 11:04 AM Thread Starter
 
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Lightbulb Flash a slug, get a web server!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gordonb
I run SuSE Linux - the box has been up for 9 months since I had to do a restart due to some Apache problems. Sr. Managemet (the wife) runs Windoze but all the in-bound traffic hits my Linux box and falls off the edge of the universe. Samba rocks! - now if I could only convince the to run it at work.

I'm also running OpenWRT on my WRT54gs and you can get rid of a lot of the scans using a fairly pessimistic IPtables ruleset ;-)
I prefer Linux myself but I also have Sr. Management to contend with (translation: wife gets upset when I mess around with the setup). I do have a slug (slang for Linksys NSLU2 attached storage) which can be overclocked to 266 (since it run 1/2 the speed its capable of) and firmware replaced with the Unslung set. This means I can put Apache on it and use it as a web server appliance. I just haven't gotten arround to setting it up.

Cheers,
Kaoru-sama
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post #34 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-17, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Will the fabric loosen up over time causing deformities?
Kaoru,

Mine did. It happened about a week after I placed the BO cloth. It has been perfectly flat since.

I took a different approach since I wanted to secure it to the wall. Here is what I did.

I got Rona to rip up a sheet of MDF (not particle board) into 4" and 6" strips (perfectly straight cuts). Next, I screwed 4 strips of the 4" MDF on the wall. I placed the BO cloth across the 16:9 rectangle and stapled it to the 4" strips. I stapled to the outer edge of the MDF. Next I screwed the 6" MDF pieces over the 4" strips. I ended up with 2" of outer overhang so that the frame looks like it is floating away from the wall and you can't see the 4" strip underneath. I counter sunk the surface screws, filled and painted the frame flat black. The result is the fabric floats above the wall by 5/8" and there is no visible hanging hardware or screws. Over all the frame is 1 1/4" thick.

I picked MDF since it is very rigid and will not warp like wood. Also it makes for very clean cuts and you can have clean corners.

PS: Great work.
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post #35 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-17, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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I'm holding off on painting the screen to see if the fabric begins to sag/deform (ie. no longer flat)... I'll give it some time and if it looks ok I'll put on the base coat for Goo. This should tighten up the fabric fibers (I think?) so I should be safe. If it does deform before painting... I could re-stretch the fabric (though I would have to pull alot staples... next time I should think of some rail/catch a la window screen frame). After painting, restretching is not an option (for obvious reasons )

Cheers,
Kaoru-sama
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post #36 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-20, 01:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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Talking The screen... has been painted!

After waiting for some time, I decided to paint the screen. According to the instructions for Goo Systems, first I applied the base coat by spraying. I thinned the base by 10% with distilled water however when I sprayed I got a (slighted) stippled effect... go figure. No matter what setting I put the sprayer at... same result. Any way I sprayed the entire screen then took my Dremel sander and with a fine grit sanded the screen *lightly*. I did two coats like this and I got a really smooth surface.


Next was the topcoat which doesn't require thinning. It sprayed on nicely but did have some rough spots. This too got a *light* sanding. Since I ran out of time, I finished with one coat only. This allows me to do another coat at a later time incase I notice some imperfections, etc. after it cures; a safety measure. Here is the final results:




A screen shot with the Goo paint screen... I'm really impressed with the contrast/blacks as compared to the unpainted screen. On the unpainted screen, the black bars were greyish... now they are black! Goo digital grey does work great to improve the contrast levels that LCD projectors tend to wash out.





Well... that's it for now...

Cheers,
Kaoru
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post #37 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-28, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
 
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Screen finished... And I have seats!

My screen is finished! After two more coats of Goo (top coat) completed the screen... final dimensions is 92" long 52" high with a 106" diagonal. The mounting is done using a french cleat style using some spare 1x2 pieces with stud tie plates for the cleat. At a later time, I'll trim out the screen with moulding (painted ultra black) depending on size. For ~$150 not including the Goo this screen is impressive. The digital grey makes the blacks black as they should be while keeping the gain high. The resultant image is vibrant though my only base of comparision is drywall painted white (or a bed sheet ).

Following this, I took delivery of 7 Coaster Showtime series home theater seats. These are great, comfortable, and high quality chairs. I purchased them on the powerbuy put on by Home Theater Authority. I must say that I'm impressed with the seats and equally impressed with the service that I received from Serge. Based on my experience, I highly recommend the Home Theater Authority. I'll have more info... and pics... at a later time.

But with the seats, I was able to refine my floor plan. The short of it, the seats (two rows, 4 and 3 seats respectively) fit perfectly within 12' given aisles on each side. This means that if I push out the width (and incorporate a column around the support pole) I actually lessen the aisle space. So I brought in the wall to the I-beam which means I have no required columns, or soffit. Instead I will do a faux barrel ceiling and quater round light tray in the soffit's place. Again, I will have more info, pics, and plan at a later post... watch for it.

Cheers,
Ed.
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post #38 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-28, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaoru
So after fooling around with Blender, I managed to create the below pic.
Heh, another Blender hacker. I know what you mean about the pains of using it.

I came across an animated Blender file last month that is an almost perfect replica of the 20th Century Fox intro that you can modify to put your own home theatre name in. I rendered it in 1280x720, added the Fox soundtrack to it and the resulting custom intro is just too cool!! I can send you a copy if you want your own custom intro.
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post #39 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-28, 02:42 PM
 
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Ed,

looking good. I wonder if the digital grey screen would be an upgrade over my current Dalite HC Damat screen. I get good blacks but only .8 gain. Keep up the good work, excellent job so far.
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post #40 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-28, 03:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcP
Heh, another Blender hacker. I know what you mean about the pains of using it.

I came across an animated Blender file last month that is an almost perfect replica of the 20th Century Fox intro that you can modify to put your own home theatre name in. I rendered it in 1280x720, added the Fox soundtrack to it and the resulting custom intro is just too cool!! I can send you a copy if you want your own custom intro.
That would be cool!... I just upgraded my HTPC's software, making tweaks here and there. The one thing I upgraded is the DVD Library plugin (the software I run is Snapstream's Beyond Media/TV) which has the ability of having my DVDs as ISO files, VOBs, *AVIs*, etc. This means that I could have a opening... (Though I don't know when the hook to allow trailers, etc. before the main feature will be completed). In either case, I could configure a Girder script to play the opening, dim lights, play movie when I press play on the remote (I have a Harmony 880)...

Maybe you can post the link to the blender file on this thread (or PM me). I will be getting into how I built my HTPC and my current plans in configuration for the Black Ice Theater. It'll be cool to have a "howto" for an end-to-end DIY HTPC for dedicated home theaters.

Cheers,
Kaoru
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post #41 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-28, 03:16 PM
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I use the Snapstream softwares too. So far, I burn my intros and trailers into a DVD ISO that I play before the main feature, but it's not automated and it bugs me, but it's the best I can do so far. I asked the author of the "DVD Library" plugin if he could implement a new feature for intros/trailers.

I'll post the blender file tonight when I get home from work. And use the link below to get an AC3 file of the Fox intro soundtrack that you can merge with your animation.

http://bucketfoot.com/temp/Foxac3.htm
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post #42 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-03-28, 07:15 PM
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I can't post the file. It's 1.6MG in size. But this is what it looks like. This my HTPC's background.

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post #43 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-04-04, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
 
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Question

Ceiling mounting my Hitachi PJTX100... what to do?

Well I got my seats, mounted my screen in the location of its final destination, and temporarily mounted my projector. Here's a pic of the mockup.



As you can see, the projector is mounted but I'm not sure if this is the best way. By this I mean that my Hitachi PJTX100 has only three threaded mount points. Moreover, the lens is to one side of the projector which makes my use of a Draper Accuset universal projector mount interesting. Essentially, I have the mount brackets positioned so that the center/pivot point is in the center of the lens. I did this so that I can align the lens exactly to the center of the screen. What bugs me is that it's not the center of gravity for the projector hence alot of stress will be put on the ball joint of the mount.



The documentation doesn't really say where the center of gravity is nor do I feel like dangling my projector to find out. My assumption is that its in the center of the projector. Any suggestions onto where to put the pivot point. My first guess is to center it on the projector to put the least stress on the ball joint except down straight and offset the mount pole to center the lens on the screen. However, if I do this and change projectors in the future, the mount would be off center. This means that the mounting flange may move... which is a problem since I have to drill a two inch hole for cables.



Since safety (ie. no projector falling on someone's head) is important, I'm curious what other people have done for their ceiling mounts/supports, hush boxes, and/or cable routing.

Cheers,
Kaoru

Last edited by Kaoru; 2006-04-04 at 11:10 AM.
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post #44 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-04-04, 10:08 PM
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Some random thoughts.

Don't worry about changing PJs in the future. Chances are the throw ratio or drop ratio will be different and you will have to go back to scratch positioning it anyway. The horizontal offset of the lens will be minimal. Does your PJ has a lens offset feature? Not keystone.

That mount looks pretty complicated. Mine is about 3 pieces and luckily it was designed for the PJ thus it is centered on the chassis and balanced. But not centred on the lens. I am sure the metal ball-joint can take the 10 or 15 pounds of torque. Do you have reason to think it might be more? I installed my PJ first then installed the screen as the rough outline I had on the wall needed to be tweaked.
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post #45 of 354 (permalink) Old 2006-04-05, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
 
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake
...snip...
That mount looks pretty complicated. Mine is about 3 pieces and luckily it was designed for the PJ thus it is centered on the chassis and balanced. But not centred on the lens. I am sure the metal ball-joint can take the 10 or 15 pounds of torque. Do you have reason to think it might be more? I installed my PJ first then installed the screen as the rough outline I had on the wall needed to be tweaked.
My thoughts exactly in terms of complicated hardware... you should see all the left over parts I have (and it still look complicated ). Actually, it is a bit of a concern since that many screws/threads make for multiple failure points. Alot of people don't realize that threaded bolts/nuts can loosen/unscrew by hot/cold expansion cycling. I've had a couple times where a glass dome from a ceiling light fell even though the retaining nut was well secured. It just worked itself loose due to heating/cooling. One time it nearly hit my daughter's head so I've become paranoid about these things. I will be putting on a safety cable... one of my other hobbies is building high power rockets so I know how to do DIY retaining cables (small & lightweight) that can withstand a tremendous amount of force (a falling projector is nothing compared to a 2 kg rocket deaccelerating abrutly when its parachute deploys prematurely; I've seen steel links and 1" tublar nylon ripped apart ).

After putting some thought into it, I'm going to build an enclosed box that will fit in between the joists and have the appropriate outlets for cable, power, etc. Then I will have two angle brackets that will securely support a cross member which the mount will be attached to. Since the cables can be routed through the support pole (see pic in prev. post) I can adjust the location of the projector easily to center it for the screen. For vertical adjustment a new pole length is all that is required (cheap 2" threaded steel pipe from HD). Projector distance from screen can only be adjusted marginally but that is not much of a concern.

Cheers,
Kaoru
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