European Delight

Beginning with some postcards depicting old european towns and villages, the homeowners of this “French cobble-stone town” wanted a themed area that would lead into their theater. Designed by JP Themed Theaters along with systems integrator Audio Advice, this basement theater whisks you away to an early 20th century French Quarter.
“The whole-street scene idea was taken to another level when the homeowners asked for a unique way to incorporate their private collections,” explained James Potter, owner of JP Themed Theaters. “So, it was decided to create actual shops that you can enter off the street to view these collections.”

Visitors can mosey through the “shops”, chat in the courtyard and loose themselves in this quaint setting. When showtime comes, they enter the theater through two large wooden doors into an ornate and spacious area that seats eighteen. The overall size of the street area is 21 x 43 feet with the actual theater measuring approximately 27 x 36 feet.

In an effort to make the visual experience in the street appear authentic, Potter used a number of techniques. The building exteriors were plastered, then several layers of paint were applied using 3-4 different colors, creating a feeling that decades worth of maintenance and change had taken place. Utilizing a technique of his own, Potter aged the surfaces to imitate the effects of natural weather conditions. Posters were painted to further create the illusion of a specific time period. For a sense of depth, buildings in the front were painted lighter than the buildings in the back. The final touch is five zones of lighting, with the street lighting capable of representing different times of the day.

Larry Lawyer, of Audio Advice, said, “James and I developed this ongoing partnership throughout the entire project to ensure the design of the street space and the theater meshed perfectly.”

Once seated in this grand theater, you’re treated to a no-compromise cinematic experience featuring high-end audio components and a 2.35:1 image. For reference quality 7.1 multichannel audio, all Classé Delta Series products were installed including the SSP-880 AV surround processor along with the CA-3200, CA-2200, and CA-2100 power amplifiers, which drive PSB CW383 reference in-wall speakers and CHS212 reference subwoofers.

On the video side, a Runco VX44D-CWAS 2:35:1 Cinewide 1080p projector was paired with a Stewart 165″ Cinecurve Firehawk cinemascope projection screen. The projector is capable of brightness levels several times that of most projectors and the curved screen rejects ambient light while reflecting the projected image evenly to all seats, providing exceptional corner focus compared to flat screens. Additionally, the curved screen, along with an anamorphic lens attached to the projector, displays movies in their original widescreen aspect ratio while utilizing the full resolution of the projector, ensuring optimum image quality.

To hide the Runco projector from view, a custom mounting system was fabricated to place the projector vertically behind a faux building facade. The image is reflected off of an observatory telescope grade mirror and then through a 5” x 12” aperture in the building door. A custom cooling enclosure ensures silent and cool projector operation.

The theater’s equipment rack was located outside in one of the themed rooms with other whole-house equipment placed in a different room. For simple control from any location, a Crestron’s DM “Digital Media” ADMS Media Server was installed, which shared all the video sources with the theater and the rest of the house. A Crestron TPS-6X wireless RF 5.7” touchpanel is used in the theater to access media as well as control the AV gear, lighting and climate. An auxiliary TPS-6L wall-mounted touchpanel was installed just outside the theater for whole-house control.

“What makes this theater so amazing is the pristine video reproduction coupled with the finely detailed sonic performance of the Classé/PSB gear. It’s about as near perfect as you could ask for in a home theater,” concludes Lawyer. “Plus the operations in this fully integrated, state-of-the art theater are as simple as turning on a light switch. To say the least, the homeowner’s expectations were far exceeded.”

Photography by Jill and William DiMartino

Contact Information

Interior Designer
JP Themed Theaters
James Potter
Kansas City, Missouri
816-739-4534
jamespotter@me.com
www.jpthemedtheaters.com

Systems Integrator
Audio Advice
Larry Lawyer
Tulsa, Oklahoma
918-664-1933
www.audioadvice.com

The Ultimate Demo Theater

Prather Warren, owner of Innovative Home Media (IHM), had no idea what he’d signed up for when he agreed to take Triad’s CinemaPlus demo theater after the 2009 CEDIA Expo. It’s not uncommon for manufacturer’s to sell off some demo gear after a trade show so they don’t have to ship it back to the factory…but a whole room? A long time AV enthusiast, Prather founded IHM in 2006. However, the one thing he needed to take his high-end custom AV business to another level was a demo theater. To that end, he had plans drawn to add a floor to his house for a dedicated theater. As he was preparing to built-out the new space, a fortuitous discussion with Bill Ruark, a sales consultant with Triad Speakers, caused him to alter his plans.

Ruark felt that Triad’s CinemaPlus program might be the perfect solution for Prather’s new theater. CinemaPlus is a partnership between American-based Triad Speakers and PMI, Ltd., the company founded by Anthony Grimani, formerly of THX and Dolby. This partnership provides unprecedented support, expertise and resources for custom installation firms like IHM, allowing them to create theaters with performance levels well above the typical theater. A CinemaPlus system consists of a complete high-end Triad multichannel speaker system that is custom designed for the specific room, including a full one-off plan drawn up by PMI.

At this point, the theater changed in scope focusing on a CinemaPlus system. Again fortune intervened and Ruark informed Prather that Triad and PMI were planning to build a fully-engineered, ground-up, CinemaPlus demo theater room on the show floor of CEDIA in Atlanta, and asked if he would be interested in purchasing “some” of the system after the show was over.

Prather ended up flying into Atlanta a few days early to offer his expertise in what turned out to be an over-the-top demo. With theater seating, this would have cost about $400,000 if purchased at retail. Ultimately, Prather purchased a good deal of the components, speakers, acoustical treatments, cabling and all of the sound isolation materials.

After four days of continuous and impressive demos at the expo, the room had to be taken down carefully, all the gear packed properly, and somehow get it to Prather’s home in Baton Rouge, over 525 miles away. A dozen people worked for two days to unscrew drywall, pack amplifiers and speakers, coil wire, and disassemble the Triad BaffleWalls. The estimate of the total weight was at least 25,000 lbs., requiring an 18-wheeler to make the long haul to Louisiana.

“By now, the project had grown exponentially, and was well beyond the scope of the original demo room I’d envisioned,” recounted Prather. “However, I was confident we’d transform these materials back into a superb home theater again.”

After arriving in Baton Rouge, the shipping crates and pallets were loaded into smaller trucks and transported to Prather’s home. The shipment was large enough to fill his carport, back porch, courtyard, and a good deal of the driveway. Over the course of the next six months the materials were continuously sorted and rearranged to locate the pieces and parts that were needed as the project progressed. Moreover, everything had to be carried up a flight of steps since the theater was upstairs.

The actual construction of the room was anything but typical. In order to achieve a room that was perfectly quiet, the walls ended up being 13” thick including acoustical foam and several soundproofing materials from QuietRock (quietrock.com). The floor consists of 2 x 12s on 10″ centers designed to support the load. Rubber isolating material was placed on top of a 1-1/4″ layer of plywood flooring along with QuietWood and mass-loaded vinyl. All the seams were filled with QuietSeal. The finished measurements of the theater were 16′ 4″ wide and 23′ 6″ deep. An 18″ tall riser, 10′ deep, extended across the room and 50% filled with rock wool. The upper surface consisted of two layers of 3/4″ plywood, then sealed and glued with QuietGlue.

When the frequency response was measured, it was determined that 3/8″ diameter holes (1,523 of them) drilled across the entire top of the deck would naturally attenuate peaks at 45 and 63 Hz. An extensive rattle test was performed, however, absolutely everything had been glued and screwed together, leaving few issues to address.

The air handling capacity of the HVACs supply and return grills was implemented utilizing three times the surface area that would normally be specified for the number of cubic feet in this room, rendering it virtually silent.

Terry Hill of PMI spent a week applying the finishing touches including the projector housing and installation of a 300 lb. QuietDoor. Robbie Burns of Better Acoustic stepped in and installed the acoustically transparent fabric on the walls and ceiling, hiding all the acoustical materials and wall mounted speakers.

The final system consisted of CinemaPlus versions of Triad’s Platinum LCR in-BaffleWalls, six Gold Surrounds, and twelve 12”, 500-watt Silver DSP Subs. The Parasound Halo amplifiers delivered over 12,000 watts, capable of attaining peaks that exceeded 113 dB, however, sound levels outside the room were literally inaudible. Incorporating PMI’s 2.0 video projection solution, a Stewart Filmscreen’s Director’s Choice 2.0 160” wide 4-way masking screen was coupled with Digital Projection’s Titan 1080p Dual 3D projector. (For details about PMI’s 2.0:1 screen concept go to pmiltd.com.)

“I was amazed at the flat response of the room even before equalization,” said Prather Warren. “This really demonstrates how important it is to professionally design a room. When combining science and great equipment, it’s possible to create terrific custom theaters in a wide range of budgets and needs, and not just at the upper end.”

While the CEDIA attendees were wowed by the Triad demo, they missed the truly insane part of the story, which was disassembling an entire room, board by board and screw by screw, transporting it 525 miles, and then re-engineering and reassembling it into a world-class home theater.

Equipment List

Digital Projection TITAN 1080P Dual 3D projector
Stewart FilmScreen’s Director’s Choice 160” wide 4-way masking screen
3 )Triad’s Platinum LCR in BaffleWalls
6) Triad Gold Surrounds
12 ) Triad 12” Silver PowerSubs
12) 500-watt Silver DSP amplifiers
3) Parasound JC1 amplifiers
3) Parasound A21 amplifiers
Crowson Tactile Motion System
MSR Acoustic Treatment
Kinetic sound Isolation and suspended ceiling system
Denon AVP-A1HDCI Ultra-Reference preamplifier
Oppo BDP-83R Bluray player
DirecTV receiver
Lumagen Radiance XS Video Processor
Ashly ne24.24M Multi channel matrix audio processor
Fortress seating
Exactpower 10 kVA Powercore power conditioner
2) Middle Atlantic Racks
3) Middle Atlantic 293 CFM venting system
1) Dedicated 10,000 BTU portable AC unit for equipment rack cooling
Crestron AV2 control system and Crestron C2ENET-1 ethernet card
Crestron TPS-6X touchpanel
Crestron infiNET lighting

Photography by Prather Warren

Company Info

Innovative Home Media
Prather Warren, THX, HAA, CEDIA, ISF Certified
Baton Rouge, LA.
ihm@cox.net
225 766-0885
www.ihmllc.net

Basement DIY Theater

In 2008, I started to design and build the home theater my wife, Allison, and I always wanted. I spent months pouring over home theater magazines and DIY theater websites learning what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. Having toyed around with home and car stereo in the past, I decided that there was no need to hire someone to install and calibrate my system. Taking a “hands on” approach helped me understand every aspect of the project and in the long run it should be easier to integrate new components in the future.

Located in my basement, the theater is roughly 12.4′ x 21′ (8ft ceiling) with no windows. I wanted a space where I could control the light so my picture would have the best possible contrast and color accuracy. The back row riser is 7.5′ x 6′ and leaves a 32″ isle by the entryway and 26″ isles on the back and far side of the room. The first row of seats is set back 11.5′ from the screen and the second row is around 17′.

A few highlights of the room’s design include the pine columns and soffit (with rope lighting) that surround the ceiling, four Murray Feiss lighting sconces and twelve eyeball lights.

We budgeted $7000 for all the electronic components and were amazed at what we could get for this relatively low cost. What really helped was some do-it-your-self tricks I learned in all my research such as using a white laminate countertop material for the video screen. I paid $59 for a single 5′ x 12′ sheet of Wilsonart laminate (Designer White D354-60) to make a 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen. I coupled it with Sanyo’s economical PLV-Z2000 1080p Projector and a Home Theater Brothers Anamorphic Lens.

It took about an extra year, but there was a second phase where I hid the speakers, added wall panels by the entrance, installed a flatscreen TV to display movie posters, and incorporated a touch panel device to control everything.

Hiding the front speakers was important because I felt it would be less distracting and give the room a finished appearance. A hinged lid and acoustically transparent, removable panels was created so that the speakers and subwoofer could be accessed from the top and front of the stage.

Wall panels not only add a nice accent to the room but also help to eliminate audio reflection points. I followed good sound reproduction guidelines by using hard (or reflective) material on half the surfaces and textured (or non reflective) on the rest.

One of the most unique things in the theater is a dynamic piece of wall art, which is a vertically mounted 42” plasma TV (720p) that displays movie posters, There are 500 posters in rotation, which I got from www.impawards.com . To make it work, I used the TV as my monitor on an Apple Mac Mini computer and rotated the “desktop” image to 270 degrees. The free software running the slideshow is called Boxee and is available for Mac or PC. With this program I can control how the images are displayed. Now that I’ve used it for a while, I’m finding other content to display such as free-to-use images from around the web and various screensavers.

To control everything in the theater, I use an Apple iPad with the HSTouch app for controlling HomeSeer-compatible components. This was a natural choice because HomeSeer has been running the home automation in our house for years. The app allows me to program the interface to my liking and the iPad is a great solution because of its low cost and flexibility.

There is still more that I want to do with the theater and have a third (and final phase) planned for this year. I want to add wine velvet stage curtains, which will be controlled by the iPad app, Tuscan tapered round columns above the stage, and something (maybe a tapestry) to liven up the back wall of the theater.


Equipment List
130″ CIH Screen (optimized for 2.35:1
Sanyo PLV-Z2000 1080p Projector with a Home Theater Brothers Anamorphic Lens
DVDO Edge Video Processor
7.1 Surround Sound via the Emotiva UMC-1 Preamplifier/Processor
Emotiva UPA-7 Amplifier
Elemental Designs Custom 6T6 Towers in the front & center
Emotiva ERD-1 rear surrounds
RC55i Polk Audio 5.25″s side surrounds
Playstation 3 for games and Blu-ray
HTPC Including XBMC Media Center Software with the Aeon Skin, 3.1Ghz Dual Core AMD 6100 w/ 4 Gigs Ram, MSI Geforce 8600 GTS 256 HDMI Video Card, HT Omega Striker 7.1 Sound Card

A Show House with Dramatic Stylings

Building a theater was part of the plan for a designer’s show house that entailed the complete renovation of an old mansion for community events. Everyone donated their efforts and the two key contributors to the theater were Interior Decisions, who created the design, supplied the decorative appointments including custom cabinetry/millwork and Woodbridge Stereo/Video, who donated their integration services, the AV equipment, acoustical wall fabric and seating.

“For this project it was critical that we had tight coordination with Craig DeAndrea, one of the partners with Woodbridge Stereo/Video. We created the design and then Craig worked with us to provide suggestions for the most effective implementation,” said Karla Trincanello, owner of Interior Decisions.

The theater was placed in the basement, where they once stored coal. The walls and floor were concrete and since it had never been heated, the project included a new Gio-Thermal heating system. The result was ductwork on two walls and the ceiling, which made it necessary to designfalse walls and a drop ceiling to hide them. Threehorizontal steps on the soffit facade concealed the ceiling drop. By continuing the stepped soffit design on all walls, a balanced perimeter was created. The ceiling medallion provides a sense of more room height and the monochromatic aubergine color offered a highly dramatic effect. Interior Decisions designed a custom cabinet/bar unit for the lobby, which also housed the AV equipment.

“We knew this show house would attract a wide range of people from both the design community and general public,” said Criag DeAndrea. “We wanted to demonstrate a modest music and cinema system that provided an emphasis on quality sound reproduction.”

A pair of KEF XQ40 floor standing speakers were selected for the front L/R channels with a matching XQ50c placed on a stand for the center. Rounding out the 7.1 channel system are four KEF CI200.3QS in-wall speakers concealed behind the upholstered acoustical wall treatments, plus two KEF HTB2 powered subwoofers were neatly hidden behind the draperies flanking the screen. The electronics included a Marantz SR8002 receiver and BD8002 Blu-ray player. For video, a Marantz VP15S1 1080p DLP video projector was placed discretely behind the rear wall and projected onto an 82” Da-Lite wall mounted screen. This kept the ceiling free for decorative painting. Rounding out the system is a Lutron Grafik-EYE to manage the 6-zones of lighting and a URC MX900 remote control.

The biggest challenge were the acoustic treatments. Since the space was small, thick ceiling and wall treatments couldn’t be used. Moreover, the acoustical solution had to be economical, yet, capable of isolating the theater from the floor above. For the ceiling, a combination of mineral wool insulation coupled with an isolation method that reduced the ceiling height by less than 2” was employed. For the walls, rather than having fabric-covered acoustical wall panels that were fabricated to fit, they used a ” flexible acoustical material that was laid in place on the walls and then upholstered over with an acoustical fabric, which was also carried into the lobby area. The combination of this treatment and the solid surfaces of the columns and soffits provided the perfect acoustical balance.

Due to the limited ceiling height in the rear and the room’s overall shallow depth, a combination of commercial-style theater seats on a low riser in the back and two sets of high-quality, fully-reclining, leather theater seats for the front, were chosen.

By working closely together and staying open to suggestions from both the design and integration perspective, the end result was a beautiful space that sounded and looked fantastic. Not surprising, it was the hit of the entire show. CONTACT INFO

Interior Design


INTERIOR DECISIONS, INC.
Karla Trincanello
140 Columbia Tpke
Florham Park, NJ 07932
973-765-9013
intdecinc@aol.com
www.interiordecisions.com

Systems Integration

WOODBRIDGE STEREO/VIDEO
Craig DeAndrea
751 Amboy Avenue (Route 35 South)
Woodbridge, NJ 07095
office: (732) 636-7777
craig.deandrea@woodbridgestereo.com
www.woodbridgestereo.com

Terminator Theatre

You never know where a service call can take you. We were called out to install additional wiring to add satellite receivers to other rooms in the homeowner’s house. While there I happened to ask the owners if they had any plans for the room where they currently had a Sony projection TV. They said they wanted to replace it with a plasma and while a dedicated theatre interested them, they didn’t know the first place to begin. Well, that’s where we come in.

I convinced them to consider a projector/screen combination rather than a plasma. They didn’t want to always be in a dark environment and I explained how current projectors and screen combos provide a high level of quality even in high ambient light conditions.

Since both the homeowners were unanimous that The Terminator was their favorite movie, it seemed natural to transform their 14’ x 21’ bare room into a “Terminator” themed theatre. The adventure had begun. This had to be an over-the-top theatre so I watched all the Terminator movies from the beginning that night well into the morning, taking notes on set design, shooting locations, and what elements we could integrate into the design. The majority of the design elements were inspired by the second movie: T2 – Judgement Day.

Our design team was to give a fresh spin on the vault in the Cyberdyne building where the T-800 arm and chip were housed in the movie. Seeing as this was supposed to be a vault, the original door was replaced with a steel door, the door frame was built out and covered in aluminum plate with the trademark vault bolts surrounding the frame on both sides of the entrance. A decoy security camera pans back and forth activated by a motion sensor. A customized “Skynet Research Containment Facility” sign was placed next to the entrance to complete the illusion.

The colors and decor were based on the lobby entrance of the Cyberdyne building. Special drywall techniques were used to replicate the ‘layered’ effect of the lobby wall panels. The “research components” consisted of a full-scale endoskull modified to have the eyes glow red at the push of a button. There is a scale Sideshow collectible Endoarm and a custom-fabricated Neural Chip placed here. Specially machined metal serial number plates with fabricated tech specs flank the airtight sealed display boxes. A custom made stainless steel /acrylic LED Cyberdyne logo is located above the screen.

The electrical panel was stealthy installed inside the theatre behind the cabinet doors to the left of the front wall. However, all the electronic components were housed in the mechanical room, three rooms away. Since this was going to be an industrial style decor anyway, the decision was made to run an oversized exposed armoured electrical cable across the ceiling and into the cold air return. A second hollow armoured cable run would be used to house the video and control cabling to the projector . The cabinet doors were trimmed with diamond plate inserts and Halon control/First Aid signs to hide the electrical panel location. To further the industrial look, large laser cut foam gears were designed as a centrepiece on the ceiling to take attention away from the conduit runs. The entire ceiling was surrounded by a custom made “I-Beam” made of MDF, with a metallic look. The LED lighting was installed in the I-Beam to provide the appropriate eerie blue glow. The LED lighting is controlled via a URC MX-3000 touchscreen through 6 RF dimmers and switches.

The standard hush box we normally use to house the projector would not work with this design, so an open design was utilized to ensure adequate ventilation. The hydraulic arms used to hold the diamond plate shelf were custom built from scratch using various types of metal rods, piping, wiring, hoses, MDF and assorted hardware. Using the Panasonic PTAE4000 projector’s quiet fan and superb picture helped maintain the design and kept the video under budget. A Screen Innovations Black Diamond HD fixed screen was coupled with the Panasonic to enable the video system to be used with the lights at any desired level without sacrificing picture quality.

The robotic plane appears to come out of the back wall of the theatre and is a full-scale (6 feet wingspan) replica of the Hunter Killer aerial drone that flies through the hallway of the Skynet facility in the third Terminator movie. The plane was painstakingly carved entirely out of high density Styrofoam over two weeks. Various metal and wood elements were used to create the underwing missiles, cameras, spot lights, machine guns and plasma cannons. Remote controlled LED lights give the “Eyes” the red evil color. Time consuming sanding & painting techniques and multiple coats were used to create the brushed metallic finish.

Finally, over $2000 worth of diamond plate aluminum sheeting was used to cover the entire proscenium, door inserts, and speaker columns. Using all of this metal should have had an adverse affect on the sound quality, but actually improved it by creating the perfect reflection points so very little had to be done as far as acoustics after calibration.

Equipment List

Panasonic PTAE4000 1080P Projector
Screen Innovations Black Diamond II HD 1.4 wall screen
DVDO VP50 THX Pro Video Scaler
Octava 1080P Active HDMI Video Balun
Onkyo Pro THX ultra2 PR-SC55886 Preamplifier
Parasound THX ultra2 M5125 5 CH Power Amplifier
Audiocontrol Bijou THX Room Correction Equalizer
BG Radia PD-6LCRi Planar In-Wall Speakers with PDR 3” ribbon tweeters
BG Radia PD-6i Planar In Wall Surround Speakers
Velodyne SC-IW Vibration Cancelling In-Wall Subwoofers
Velodyne SA-200 Subwoofer Power Amplifier
Buttkicker LFE Transducers
Buttkicker BKA 1000-N Power Amplifier
Universal Remote MX-3000BLK RF Touchscreen and MSC-400 RF Basestation
APC H15 Power Conditioner and J15 Power Conditioner/Battery Backup
Sony Playstation 3, X-Box 360 and Nintendo Wii game consoles
Bell Express Vu 9142 Dual Tuner PVR
Sony Blu Ray Disc Player
Apple TV
Monstercable THX/Ethereal cabling

Categories: Moderate, Pro Interiors, Theme

The Place to Be

My wife and I have always loved movies, so I decided to make a small Home Theater in our unfinished basement. We had lots of space so made half the area a theater and the other half a bar area. The design and floor plan were totally inspired by Home Theater magazine, of course.

I’m a union pipe fitter and I’m pretty handy, but I still had a carpenter buddy of mine do the walls in the basement. I did all of the wiring myself, including speaker wires, HDMI cables, GFI’S, dimmer switches, etc.

One of the biggest obstacles we encountered was a low air duct that was visible as soon as you entered the theater. To solve this, I moved the screen slightly to the right and painted the ceiling black. It’s still there but now, no one ever notices it.

My wife and i use the theater at least three times a week, even more for me because i like to play my Playstation 3 games here, too! My two year old daughter is even starting to realize that bigger is better when it comes to watching movies like Toy Story 3.

It has definitely become “the place to be” whenever we entertain friends and family. We love our little theater and hope to inspire other people to do the same.

EQUIPMENT

Sony VPL-VW100 Projector 1080p
Carada 106″ fixed screen
Dennon 3808ci Receiver
Klipsch RB-61 Home Theater 7.1 System
Sony S550 Blu-ray player
Sony PS3 60GB
Harmony 1000 Touch Screen Remote