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Ricketty Rabbit said:
Reviewers have noted that perforated screens are dimmer than non-perforated, so if you're using a typical low-brightness LCD or DLP projector, you may prefer a better image with dialogue coming from below (or above) the screen to better dialogue location but an inferior image.

Ricketty
Absolutley. It should be inferior. Depending on the 'weave' of the fabric, there could be up to half the light reflecting back to your eyes and really affect the image quality.

Try below the screen. Experiment. Leave long speaker wires.

You can also have a centre above AND below the screen. A bit too in depth for explanation, for me... (and may not work with the speakers you have chosen).
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Front free-standing speakers...

Since I'm dealing with a not so expansive theater, having free standing speakers could be more problemic... both in terms of acoustics (though you can move them) and in looks. I weighed the options and felt in-wall will go better since I get the looks... while using the directional tweeter to adjust the direction from mid-to-high frequencies. Combine this with my Sony AV receiver (which is an older high-end one)... and its ability to adjust/equalize all channels separately.

Moreover, the curved theme is functional since it allows sound diffusion instead of hard reflection... I was reading an article that essentially noted that alot of home theaters try to stop reflections and "deaden" the room through panels and such. Regular rooms (with furniture, items, etc.) have so many surfaces that sound is diffused... and tend to sound ok/lively. I've tried to incorporate this idea... of course I could always add panels, adjust the speaker direction, and calibrate the levels.

In short, it's going to be a learning experience.

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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VERY COOL! Niceto see all the planning that will go into this rm!

Things I noted:

Behind the screen might be a good place to hide a safe too!

1. What are the red circles? The small boxes with circles in them are the floor supports right? if so the back ones are right IN the chair, and one is right in the middle of your door swing?

2. It seems you're cutting off ~1ft of width on each side because of wall-bulge in the middle, to add to the amphiteatre feel you could reduce that distance between new wall & cement wall at the back only. OR build some built in shelving back there for memorabilia?
Edit: hmm, upon further review, that might be where you want to curve the ceiling only??

3. Are you going to have a wetbar down there, you might want to plan for some counter space, again maybe use space at back for storage of munchies and maybe small fridge/microwave.

4. The square area beside your door is where all your equipment is going right?

5. How is the basement in the spring when all the snow melts? Where's the drainage for that room, are there windows?
 

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Kaoru,

The problem with "muddy" dialogue in home theatres is not discussed all that much, but it's a very common problem. Much of the problem is apparently due to low frequency acoustic problems in the ~ 50 to 200 hz. frequency range, which are much more difficult to control when the speakers are placed flush with the wall. If you want your HT to turn out great, it's worthwhile to read this thread -- it's long, but definitely worth reading. Don't take my word for it -- read the thread. Just a few unfortunate choices in speaker placement and type can significantly degrade the quality of your HT acoustic experience. Imagine not being able to hear all the dialogue . . . .

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=624867

Better yet, here's a final report by the guy who started the thread above.

http://www.sbrjournal.net/currentissue/articles/acoustics/Acoustics.htm

Ricketty
 

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Discussion Starter #25
dawtcalm said:
VERY COOL! Niceto see all the planning that will go into this rm!

Things I noted:

Behind the screen might be a good place to hide a safe too!

1. What are the red circles? The small boxes with circles in them are the floor supports right? if so the back ones are right IN the chair, and one is right in the middle of your door swing?

2. It seems you're cutting off ~1ft of width on each side because of wall-bulge in the middle, to add to the amphiteatre feel you could reduce that distance between new wall & cement wall at the back only. OR build some built in shelving back there for memorabilia?
Edit: hmm, upon further review, that might be where you want to curve the ceiling only??

3. Are you going to have a wetbar down there, you might want to plan for some counter space, again maybe use space at back for storage of munchies and maybe small fridge/microwave.

4. The square area beside your door is where all your equipment is going right?

5. How is the basement in the spring when all the snow melts? Where's the drainage for that room, are there windows?
1) The red circles are the I-beam support poles and are covered by the column. The other black square/circles are light cans.

2) Well, in the plans, it's 9"... can't help it because of the poles. When I drafted the plans I mocked up a wall and checked out the column, it looks ok. The only concern is the aisle to get to the second row.

3) Though its not part of the plans, my basement is as big as my upstairs. When fully finished it will have a wet bar/kitchenette, dining area, sitting area, game room, bathroom/double shower, office, guest bedroom, and a workroom... besides the home theater.

4) Yep!

5) I have no drainage problems and my basement is completely dry. I do have two static/hairline cracks in the foundation (my house sits on rock so its not due to settling; caused by neighbour house being built and all the backhoe jackhammering) (Though it could be caused by these Ottawa earthquakes too :D ) In any case, when the snow melts and the foundation warms up (5 degrees)... I'll do an poly-injection before drywalling to be on the safe side. Yes, I do have an window in the HT which will be covered over (with black shield board on window side of studs). It will be framed so that in the future the window could be uncovered.

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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Kaoru said:
For the equipment rack, I would like to have a Middle Atlantic rack (there's a factory here in Ottawa/Stittsville but I don't have a contact... yet!) but that can be pricey. If not, custom wood shelves will suffice. I'm still debating whether or not to put a glass door on the front (for noise; more on that later). The equipment closet will have a ventilation fan (essentially a bathroom fan) linked to a temperature switch. I still don't know what I will do for the hush box in terms of ventilation but I think it will involve a temperature switch and inline duct fan (maybe to the closet?) . Any thoughts welcome...
Hi Ted White at AVS Forum has a design for a heating vent sound trap that might be of use.

PS Can't see your pics - it looks like your hosting at home and either Rogers renewed your lease and your IP has changed or your server is down
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Server back up...

gordonb said:
Hi Ted White at AVS Forum has a design for a heating vent sound trap that might be of use.

PS Can't see your pics - it looks like your hosting at home and either Rogers renewed your lease and your IP has changed or your server is down
That would be my server down... I'm running it off one of my Window XP boxes which periodically shuts down the network card (exhausts network buffers!?!)... My network can get busy since I run six boxes continously (don't you just love Windows Networking... not! :D ) and I have VoIP phone service. And on top of that, I continuously get pelted with bootpc datagrams and other port scans. Of course, I run a custom firewall/gateway (linksys WRT54GS with OSS firmware) and WallWatcher IDS... which is on the same box as server. I haven't figured all the quirks out yet... not much of a priority.

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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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 ;-)
 

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Kaoru,

One more suggestion: put the pot lights in your ceiling on two circuits so you can turn off the ones closest to the screen while leaving the others on dimmed. Ours are all dimmed, in ~ the same places as yours, but we find leaving them on even at the lowest setting spills enough light on the screen to slightly wash out the image. Sometimes -- e.g. when having friends over for a movie, it's desirable to leave the rear lights on in their fully dimmed setting so guests can leave the room without stumbling around and disturbing others. OTOH, you could put a dim rope light on the edge of your riser so those in the back row won't trip in the dark and sue you. My wife keeps saying we should get our guests to sign a form releasing us from all liability before viewing movies in our HT, but I assured her they're worthless. ;-)

Ricketty
 

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Discussion Starter #30 (Edited)
Just a start... continued

Be forewarned... this is a long post!

It continues with a party...

After putting in some thought into my design... I've finally refined things to need another post so I don't forget. Sorry for not posting sooner but such is life. Suffice to say that it was my daughter's birthday and I decided to have a movie party. So... with what I have on hand I created a makeshift home theater. This was an opportunity to see how the theater will look like size wise. The following pics show what kind of space that I'm dealing with.

This is what the basement looked like after I cleaned things up.

As shown in the below pic, I put up some black plastic where the inside wall would be. Of course, since this was for the party I had to rotate the screen (a white bedsheet) 180 degrees and the projector was put on a cabinet.

Since this a mockup of what my screen would look like, I threw in a screen shot... Remember that the screen is a bed sheet which isn't bad image wise.


The screen...

Speaking of screens, the challenge was to do a DIY screen with a small budget. When I started looking into screen ideas, I found Goo Systems... which I purchased with my projector. The idea was to paint on drywall for the screen. This was before my HT plans were drafted. Well, seeing that things changed... a fixed drywall screen would not cut it. So my research lead me to this solution: a screen made like a painter canvas (which I can spray the Goo digital grey)... This is not a new idea; actually my research yielded several people who have done this so I don't claim credit for my solution... and my apologies to anyone if it looks similar since I was not keeping track of all the pages I visited.

Materials: several lengths of 1x2 hardwood (I used popular; the cheapest hardwood at $30), 4 "L" brackets and 4 "T" brackets ($27), 3/4" screws ($5), a length of 55" width blackout fabric ($30), and an electric stapler (with 5/8" T50 staples; $54). As a option I got several lengths of quarter round ($23) as well but I will not be using it so it will be returned. The cost tally was less than $150 (not including taxes and quarter round).

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. If I used the quarter round, another inch would be required to wrap the frame. Since I wanted the largest screen, I dropped the quarter round. This gives me 52" in a 16:9 format which means a 92" length and 106" on the diagonal; not exactly my 110" but sufficient.

Second, the construction consisted of mitering (45 deg) the outside frame to give me 92"x52". The corners are glued and the "L" brackets are screwed on the back side. The support braces are cut to fit between the frame and glued/screwed with the "T" brackets. Now if you're using only the blackout fabric I suggest using the quarter round. It goes around the perimeter of the frame with the curved side pointing inwards. The purpose of the qtr. round is to lift the fabric from the frame so that it remains unseen. But since I'm going to spray on Goo (Goo Systems does note that a frame like this can be used as a substrate/base) I don't need to worry about it. I sanded the frame's front side to ensure everything is even and smooth.

So I'm now ready to put the fabric on... I haven't started yet but the instructions are simple. You stretch the fabric onto the frame using the same technique as artists wrapping a canvas. Google the web on how to make a canvas to get instructions. The goal is stretch the fabric taunt with no wrinkles, that's what the electric stapler is for; to make things easy when stretching.

More on lighting...

... which will be a howto for the Lutron Spacer system, scenes, and zones.

Where to put those speakers?

... which will be ceiling/inwall via Polk Audio.

Hot equipment + enclosed space = need ventilation

... which will be a howto on fans and temp. switch.

DIY equipment rack... cool!

... using simple shelf brackets and creative construction.

The entrance that departs...

... increasing rec room area, replace entrance with pocket door?

Seating, riser, and future butt kicker!

... framing an appropriately sized riser that floats on rubber.

Proscenium... well sort of.

... a wall disquised as a proscenium.

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

Cheers,
Kaoru
 

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Discussion Starter #31
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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Discussion Starter #32
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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Discussion Starter #33
Flash a slug, get a web server!

gordonb said:
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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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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Discussion Starter #35
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 :D )

Cheers,
Kaoru-sama
 

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Discussion Starter #36
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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Discussion Starter #37
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 :D ).

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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Kaoru said:
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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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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Discussion Starter #40
MarcP said:
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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