Black and Tan Theater Construction Thread (Just upgraded to Dolby Atmos)

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Adam Gregorich, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. Adam Gregorich

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    I'm a little late with this as the finishing touches are underway, but I figured it might be helpful to others to see my theater construction pictures. I'll start with a finished shot and then start at the beginning. Here is where it is at today: (UPDATE: Dolby Atmos has been added. Updated pics in this post)

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    We built a house several years ago with a space set aside in the basement for a dedicated theater. Drywall was done while the rest of the house was under construction. The rest waited for both time and money to become available. Our theater was designed by Dennis Erskine who now heads up the Erskine Group. We paid him to generate the blueprints for the room while the house was being designed. Our room is approx 16.5 wide X 23 long. Anyway, on with the show, I'll be adding additional pictures to the thread detailing the construction process over the next week or two.
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    This is looking towards the front of the room. The wires and outlet box in the foreground are for the projector. The opening on the left is for an equipment/movie storage room. The walls have 2x6 plates and staggered 2x4 studs with the exception of the equipment room interior wall.
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    This is a shot of the same area a few months later just prior to Sheetrock. The walls have been packed with insulation. You can see the speaker wire coming out of trim rings on the front wall. We have also installed hat channel on the ceiling in preparation for RISC clips. The orange pipe on the left is a drain for the house fire sprinklers--required since we are too far from a hydrant.
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    Here is a view of the back wall. The left side is covered by OSB since it is a shear wall. You can see the projector wire bundled up hanging from the ceiling. I wasn't happy with the window in the room, but there are some things that we had to do. We can up for a plan to deal with that that will be revealed in future pictures. There is a future dryer duct above the window. The blue circles on the ceiling are fire sprinklers. The ducts are air returns for the furnace. We used a zone controller to make the theater is own zone.
     
  2. Gerry S

    Gerry S Stunt Coordinator

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    Looks great!

    Can you provide more details about the window plug?

    I know you said it was removal but it looks permanent to me unless you dissemble the back wall.

    How does it look from the exterior of the house?

    I have a large window in the back of my future room as well, hence the questions. Did you consider some type of motorized shade?

    Thanks,
    Gerry
     
  3. Adam Gregorich

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    Sure. It is removable. Takes about 45-60 seconds if you are trying to be careful, 15 if the room is on fire and you just want to get out .

    The first step was to make a frame in the window sill. It was set back approx 1 and 3/8ths from the edge and it keeps the movable panel flush with the rest of the wall. The panel was made out of 3/8 plywood. It has 1" think trim around it to add to rigidity, and give the 1" of space I needed for acoustical treatment and batting. The top of the panel is approx 1" taller than the size of the opening. it is like a tab that slides into a gap between the top trim inner frame and the soffit. I put Velcro at the two bottom corners to secure them. To remove the panel all I do is grab the chair rail that hides the seam between the two fabric colors and bull the bottom out enough that the panel clears the sill. I then lower the panel so the top tab comes out and then I can move it out of the way.

    It looks permanent because I wrapped the fabric around the the window side of the panel where I stapled it. My goal was for no one to know that there was a window there.

    Currently from the outside you see the plywood on the back of the panel. My plan is to just get a cheap set of blinds and close them so it just looks like closed blinds from the outside. I haven't got around to it yet since that window backs up to a greenbelt and is on a side of the yard that no one ever sees. I will get to it this summer (along with filling in the nail holes in the trim).

    I thought about a shade, but the panel allowed me to use acoustical treatments, and looked better. Keep in mind that this isn't a multi-purpose room. If it was a shade would be more convenient as the panel isn't that heavy (30-40lbs) but is bulky.
     
  4. Gerry S

    Gerry S Stunt Coordinator

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    It looks great - I'd never guess you could remove it. Thanks for the reply.

    -Gerry
     
  5. Adam Gregorich

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    Panel Covering the Window

    Thanks Gerry. You can see the small gap between the raised 1x material (actually a ripped 2x) on he panel and the MDF on the soffit and the columns.
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    This is an even better shot where you can see the slight gap

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    But once the acoustical treatments are on its harder to notice as it looks like the wall from a distance, although you can still see where the panel meets the column. Now that the fabric is on, you would have to know its there to be able to tell, and even then its hard to.
     
  6. Adam Gregorich

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    Riser Construction

    The riser is made of pressure treated 2x12s over roofing felt. We used glue and lag bolts to attach it to the wall. The blue boxes on the front are for audio and video connections and outlets. They are wired back to the equipment rack. The grey conduit is for future use.

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    The face had been put on. The electrical boxes that we used are depth adjustable so we were able to make them flush with the face of the riser. We cut the back of the boxes off for the low voltage cables. The extra electrical cables are going to feed outlets to be installed for powered chairs.

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    Additional views:

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    We topped the 2x12 frame with a layer of 1/2 inch plywood, felt, 3/4 inch plywood, felt, and 1/2 inch plywood. Each layer of plywood was screwed and glued down.
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    Here is a shot of the finished riser. The steps still need to be installed. The round holes in the deck are outlet locations for power under the chairs. The large hole in the wall is the location of the equipment rack. The white wires hanging from the wall are surround speaker wires. The bags on the riser are 4000lbs of sand that will be going into the front stage when its built.

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  7. Kevin Campbell

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    maybe a noob question.... but whats the sand for and why?
     
  8. Adam Gregorich

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    The Stage

    Kevin-
    Good question. In my setup the front speakers and subwoofers are on the stage behind the screen. If the front stage was hollow it could vibrate and resonate. To keep that from happening we built the stage different from the riser. We used the same pressure treated 2x12s and the same combination of screwed and glued 1/2 inch plywood, roofing felt, 3/4 inch plywood, roofing felt, and 1/2 inch plywood as we did for the riser, but instead of bolting the stage to the wall, we actually held it back about 1/4 if an inch all the way around, lined the cavities with plastic and filled them with sand, so it is very dense, doesn't resonate and can't transfer any vibrations to the theater walls.

    Here is the framing for the stage. We used 2x12 pressure treated lumber for the structure and two layers of plywood for the front radius. Here we are cleaning out the cavities before we put the plastic down. There is a curtain control wire (never used), HVAC duct, smoke detector, and electrical for lighting hanging from the ceiling. Speaker and subwoofer cable is coming out of the wall behind the stage, and the boxes right above the stage are outlets.


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    We put down 6mm plastic--the same thing used for crawlspaces-- then filled the cavities with sand. We used 4000 pounds. NOTE: This is fine for a concrete floor, but I would check with an architect, engineer, or your builder before you do this over a wood subfloor, like over a crawlspace or on a second story.

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    Skipping a few steps ahead here is the finished product. The stage is done, the soffits are under construction (you can see where the HVAC registers will be) There is also an inner screen wall. The speakers will be mounted behind this and the screen will be attached to it. The opening is approx the size of the screen: 124" diagonal.

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  9. Adam Gregorich

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    I noticed that I never talked about sheet rock. We installed 3/4 inch drywall and taped it. Then we installed a 1/2 inch layer and taped it.All electrical boxes and other cabling holes were either caulked or foamed. All right, onto the soffits, pillars and other room elements. We used glue and molly-bolts to secure 2x2s to the ceiling and then screwed the soffit face to them. We used the same method to attach 2x2s to the wall to secure the bottom of the soffit. The circles on the walls are junction boxes for wall sconces.


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    Here you can see the 2x2 attached to the wall. The wiring on the soffit is for lighting. The plan called for dimmable florescent ballasts for 6500K lighting, but at $500 for each 3 foot fixture rope lighting was substituted to help contain costs. The stage wall is connected to the soffits, and the rectangular hole in the soffit face is for an air duct.


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    This is the other stage wall. You can see the air duct sticking out. Our soffit rope light is actually three loads each of which can be dimmed separately: Front, back and sides.


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    Here is a view of the same area after the screen wall was put in. The gap is to allow for a curtain in the future.


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  10. Adam Gregorich

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    The entire front stage area (back and side walls, ceiling, and the back and front sides of the stage walls) was covered with 1" thick insulshield acoustic insulation. It came 4ft wide 100' long roll. It took almost a full role for the stage area. Knowing I was going to cover the entire front with black fabric I painted the screen wall and any furring strips black so the wood wouldn't show through. Here I am test fitting the screen. You can see the 1" thick furring strips have been painted black. I did this so could keep a sharp corner on the front edge of the stage wall.


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    The screen has been taken down and speakers are in the process of being installed. This was not the final sub placement. You can see the insulation on the walls. The speakers were put on bases made of 2x10s and filled with sand, The bottom half of the speakers were sand filled as well. The front three speakers are Atlantic Technology 8200e LCRs and the subs are their 642e models. The silver strip at the top is the screen frame bracket.


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    Here is another view of the front showing the acoustic insulation installed on the front right screen wall.


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    You can see a lot has happened in this picture. The columns have been installed using construction similar to the soffits. They were screwed and glued to 2x2s that were attached to the wall using molly-bolts and glue. Because the acoustic insulation is 1" thick we ripped down a bunch of 2x4s into 1" thick pieces and used those as furring strips to eventually staple fabric into. The staples will be covered by millwork. You can see them around the light switch, the lights (the squares), and right above and below the black insulation on the walls. Other than the stage we used the acoustic insulation on the bottom section of the walls and on the bottom of the soffits. The top part of the walls just got 1" thick polyester batting to make the entire wall even. The black frame around the white part of the wall was a track to stick the wall fabric into for crisp seams. It made the job a LOT easier. I purchased it along with the fabric online from Fabricmate. There is also furring strips on the bottom of the soffits. This was so there would be a crisp edge with the acoustic insulation. The surround speakers are recessed slightly into the columns so they will be covered by fabric and become essentially invisible. They steps are in as are the HVAC ducts.


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    Here is a view of the other side of the room before any insulation giving you an even better view of the fabric track and furring strips around everything. You can see a roll of insulshield in the foreground.


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  11. pamato

    pamato Auditioning

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    I am impressed. Besides the drawings from the designer, did you have blueprints to build or did you use the designers drawings and figure out what/how to build? Did you have help from a contractor or DIY? I love the step by step pics.
     
  12. Adam Gregorich

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    Paul-
    Thanks for your kind words and welcome to Home Theater Forum. The documents I got from the designer showed locations and dimensions of the stage, pillars, soffits and riser. We had to make a few small tweaks, but were able to follow them pretty closely. He had included some specifications in his drawing, but thankfully he wrote a series of articles for a now defunct magazine called Home Theater Builder (?) on how to build a stage and a riser that were very helpful. There were some other things that I had to figure out as I went along like how to install acoustic treatments and fabric. I was able to ask some followup questions of the designer if I got stuck. We had the insulation and drywall done as part of the home construction (but some friends and I did the hat channel and RISC clips). I had some carpenters that I paid to help me with the stage, columns and risers as they had the tools and woodworking experience that I didn't. I helped/supervised and made sure that it was done the way I wanted--things like no nails, everything screwed and glued, etc. After the wood, I installed all the fabric track, acoustic insulation, fabric, paint, racks and cabling.
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

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    I continued working my way around the room with the Insulshied including the underside of the soffits:

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    You can see the rear channel speakers (Atlantic Technology) build into the rear and side columns. The large wood panel in the center back of the room is covering a window. It can be removed in about 30 seconds. The equipment racks are starting to be installed. One of the best things we did was order a yard of several "finalist" fabric colors. The six inch swatches aren't big enough to see how it will actually look on the wall. We made several different mock ups to see which we liked best. Our third favorite color with the small swatches ended up being our favorite color when we saw the bigger piece on the wall.

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    Here is a larger view of the mock-up complete with trim and carpet. You can also see how the fabric will cover the surround speakers.

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    Carpet installed and ceiling painted. We went with a solid black carpet on the stage. The front wall and side soffits have fabric installed. This may sound funny, but the couch was a rental. We were still selecting final seating, but wanted to be able to use the theater so we rented a sofa love seat set for two months.

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    Here is a view of the back. I did the wall fabric around the rack so it could be installed. Ceiling is painted, and I am working my way around the soffits with fabric. The rental couch and love seat were worth the cost for two months.

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    Final seating arrives! We opted for Bass Celebrity seats. They are very comfortable, are a bit more compact so you can fit more in and have a low back that doesn't cover your ears.

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    Fabric is FINALLY finished. I'm very happy with how it turned out but it look a while to come up with a plan for installation and actually get it done. The basic wall sections were pretty easy the stage, soffits and equipment rack pieces were pretty difficult. It required a lot of patience. Still need to install crown molding.

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    View of the almost done right side wall. The piece of paper is a temporary "cheat sheet" for the light switch.

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    View of the almost complete left side wall.

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    Equipment racks. Still need to finish crown molding on columns.

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    The back of the equipment racks. The wires in the foreground are coming from the front of the riser. The wires in the ceiling are going to the speakers and projector. This room allows access to the back of the gear and is where we keep movies.
     
  14. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    Adam, your Theater looks incredible.
    Love the look of everything, from the seating to the door. Just looks fantastic.

    Hope you get some quality viewing out of that puppy.
     
  15. Adam Gregorich

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    Thanks. It was a long process but well worth it as we really do enjoy it, I just wish we had more time to watch movies.
     
  16. Troubledgemini

    Troubledgemini Auditioning

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    Is your projector 3d capable?
     
  17. Lewisclan

    Lewisclan Auditioning

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    Awesome set up
     
  18. DrGerm

    DrGerm Auditioning

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    Going through these pics and descriptions is inspiring. Thanks!
     
  19. Adam Gregorich

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    No. I am eying the new Panasonic 7000 3D projector, but I will need something super bright because I have a woven screen which eats a lot of light compared to regular vinyl screens.
     
  20. Adam Gregorich

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    Thanks!
     

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