Presenting my blank canvas

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by gtoast99, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    Hey everyone! I’m brand new here, just thought I’d introduce myself, I’m Tony from NC. I’ve been looking for a place to share my progress as I jump into the Home Theater adventure.


    I’ve known I wanted to design a home theater someday for a while now, but that someday never seemed to be this day. Well, for Halloween this year we decided to host a scary movie night, and had a bunch of friends over. One of them brought a projector, and we transformed our guest room into a theater for the evening. It was such a blast, my wife and I decided to host these more often, and we’re finally turning that room into a dedicated home theater!


    I’ve got all sorts of ideas running around in my head, but here’s pics of the test-run we did for Halloween. The basic layout will likely remain the same. The screen on the far wall is actually over a large window, so I’m thinking we’ll use blackout curtains on a rod so the window can be functional if we want it to be. The screen will be in front of those curtains. For seating, we like the idea of a modular sectional, which can be put together for a more intimate small group, spread out for more people, or easily placed along the side walls to open up the floor space for wii, dancing, etc. The entrance door is to the right of the filing cabinet (our makeshift projector stand). The door to the left of the filing cabinet shown in the pic is a closet. I intend to remove the closet door and replace it with a curtain, and use it as a small media/equipment area. Those speakers left over from my college dj days will be my main system for a while, they do a good job of filling that room. Red walls, large area rug, movie posters, lots of pillows, etc ought to round out the design. I’ve got about $600 budget for the projector (and some ideas in mind), already got the speakers, amp, dvd, etc. I don’t really have a great lighting design concept yet – I figure I’ve got enough on my plate, and I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it! So the major expenses as I see it are seating, projector, screen, paint, curtains, décor items, area rug… am I missing anything?


    Thanks for looking, and I’ll be updating with my progress (and probably asking lots of dumb questions) as I go along! [/url]
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Did you forget cables? And you'll need either a ceiling mount or a shelf for the projector. Are you looking for projector advice?
     
  3. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    I did forget a mount/shelf! I’m sure I can make a shelf on the cheap, but it doesn’t give me much room for placement vs a ceiling mount. Cables, let’s see… I’ve got cables from dvd to amp for sound, amp to speakers, dvd to projector for picture. So I don’t think I’ll need any new ones right away. I’d be happy to have projector advice! I’d prefer LCD to DLP, I think. I’ve been looking at the Epson EX71. WXGA native res, 2500 lumens, 2000:1 contrast, 4-5k hours lamp life, decent reviews and I’ve found it for 600. Thanks for the planning help!
     
  4. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Are you going to ceiling mount the projector? Is $600 your max. budget for projector? I'm not saying the EX71 is a bad projector, but it's not designed for home theater. It's an extra bright multi-purpose projector. In your price range, you're better off with a DLP projector, such as the Optoma HD66. It's a 720p projector designed for home theater, and it's also 3D ready(if you care about that). Is there a particular reason you don't want DLP?
     
  5. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    Well, goal number 1 is have a functional theater, so I’ll probably put up a shelf for now, but I’d like to ceiling mount the projector eventually so I can fine-tune the distance to have the picture fill the screen size exactly. With the shelf at the back of the room, I think the projected image will actually be a bit big for the screen (based on throw ratio calculators and my Halloween test run), and I’ll need to move the projector *closer* to the screen. So I’ll need to ceiling mount sooner rather than later for a finished looking product. A stupid question – are the projectors easy-ish to take on and off the ceiling mounts? We want to be able to project on the side of the barn for warm-weather gatherings a couple times a year.


    Yea, I had originally wanted to stay around 500, but I don’t want to compromise too much and just want to upgrade soon, and couldn’t find anything good that low. The ex71 was the cheapest one that had my min requirements (wxga native res, bright enough that I don’t have to be a worrywart about being *completely* dark, contrast ratio 2000+, 4k+ hrs). I like the hd66 though, and there’s an online seller who has it at 615 with free shipping. Twice the contrast ratio, 720p vs wxga, and 3d ready (totally frivolous, but neat to brag about LOL) for only 15 bux more? I can do that. Projected lamp life is about half, though, which worries me.


    I like the idea of LCD over DLP because, while I can deal with a bit of screen door when I project on the barn, were I or my wife (or our friends for that matter) to be significantly affected by the “rainbow affect”, that would be awful and I’d want a new projector straight away. I know it’s not a problem for most people, and not a big problem for most who can even see it. But the very idea of it maybe being a problem for one of my guests in the future is enough for me to shy away. And honestly, I’m not a huge stickler for resolution etc – good enough is good enough – so a bit worse image is preferable for peace of mind knowing that my projector mess with my guests’ heads. Am I being silly?


    Thank you SOO Much for helping out, answering my silly questions, and giving me some great options before I drop half a grand on the projector! I really appreciate it
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Are these speakers in the first picture the ones that you will be using? Are you going full surround sound or just a pair of speakers?
     
  7. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    Just the pair to start, cuz that's what I've got for free, and free fits the budget nicely!
     
  8. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    And so it begins! We took the plunge and started painting. No going back now [/url]
     
  9. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Are you aware that the EX71 does not have lens shift? If you put it on a shelf, you're going to have to use a LOT of keystone correction, and that is not good.
     
  10. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    I wasn't aware of that! Looks like the optoma hd66 doesn't have it either. Am I going to have to significantly up my projector budget to get one with lens shift and the other requirements I was looking for?
     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Look for a used Panasonic in the AE line. I'm still running my 5 year old AE900U. When I finally upgrade, I'm going with the current Panasonic model.
     
  12. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    If you ceiling mount either projector, you won't need lens shift. BUT if you use a shelf mount, you will need lens shift. Since you also want to use projector outside, I would use an LCD projector with lens shift and a shelf mount. But you won't find one for $500 unless it's used.

    One other option you have is to use a low table with projector sitting upright. This way you can use either a DLP or LCD, without lens shift.
     
  13. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    Thanks for the info! Since I want a ceiling mount eventually anyways, I may as well just move that up the list and not have to change my budget or buy used. They don't seem that expensive. I'm not looking for super-awesome quality for my outside shows, anyways, so not having lens shift for those events won't be a big deal. Thanks!
     
  14. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    Hopefully you won't be using it outside much. Because taking the projector down and putting it back up will be a pain in the ass. And each time you do it you'll have to re-align it and re-focus. That will get old pretty quick. What I'm not sure of though is what kind of offset the EX71 has. How tall is your ceiling?
     
  15. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    Well, we plan on using it outside maybe 3-4 times a year. Sad to hear it will be a pain, BUT it seems I don't really have much choice in the matter, so we'll deal. The ceiling is about 7ft.


    I know I'm putting the cart before the horse, since I still don't have seating, or a projector, or a screen. But The projector won't be until Christmas (my folks are helping me out in affording this bit), and the seating won't be until a few more paychecks (and/or my craigslist items sell). So this is what I can work on for now!


    We finished painting the room. I know many of you will suggest painting the ceiling, too, but it's a pain in the butt and it looks good as-is SO I'm going to wait until the projector is up so I can see how it looks. If I'm getting too much reflection I'll paint it then. I was going to hang my movie prop from the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead, but I had seen some nice displays on the net where people had framed movie images where the prop is used in the film. So I searched the house and found some photo paper from an old school project, and made this display. While I was searching the basement I came across these six white backed picture frames, so I went ahead and used the photo paper to print posters from some of our favorite movies (Snatch, Sleeping Beauty, Mirrormask, High School Musical, Gettysburg, and Clerks II). I had intended to get some full-sized posters for the room (we already have one, for Moulin Rouge), but I like how these little ones turned out so I think I'll stick with these! Plus, I can change the pictures just by printing off a new one. I still need to get a frame for the Moulin Rouge poster so it'll look a bit more professional like the other ones, but I went ahead and hung it for now anyways. The other display is for our autographs of singer/actresses Aly Michalka (Easy A, BandSlam, TV's Hellcats) and AJ Michalka (Secreteriat). I again used the photopaper to print out scenes from some of their movies to accompany the signed pictures, ticket stubs, and backstage passes from the musical tour.


    In the alcove where the prop/autographs are I put a black desk that I've had forever, which will at some point house a microwave and minifridge. I also put up blackout curtains, which do a pretty good job and I think it will be fine for watching movies in the daytime. I took off the closet door in the back, and replaced that with a blackout curtain as well. Inside the closet I assembled a black shelving unit for equipment, and I'll move the DVD collection to the shelves above it when the projector arrives. The equipment on the rack is a regular ol DVD player (Sony I think?), Korg mixer (from my DJ days, but functioning as a make-shift receiver, preamp, and karaoke unit lol), Onkyo amp, 5 disc cd changer, and a "Supreme Model 666 AF/RF Signal Generator" just cuz it looks cool haHA. Not the best setup, but it's functional and didn't cost me anything, which is the name of the game right now.


    So far total investment: $100 for curtain rods and blackout curtains, $50 for paint. Not including the sound stuff, table, shelves, pictureframes, and photopaper that I already had. It's really come a long way for 150 bucks, LOL! Still saving up for that nice modular sectional we've got our eye on...


    That's it until next time!! Hope you enjoyed :)


     
  16. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    I’ve come quite a ways since that first Halloween party, but there’s still a lot more to be done for sure. Anyways, I wanted to put up some new pics of the setup. Went with the Epson ex7200, and I’m very happy with it. Yes, I’m still using a sheet, but a real screen is the next thing on the purchase list. I also got a bluray with 5.1 analog outs, since I already had enough speakers and amps to run them. So the analog outs got to separate amps for the front l/r, front center, back l/r, and a powered sub. It’s kindof an awkward setup, but it was the most economical decision for me, and the results turned out really great. We didn’t get the seating we want yet, but we took 2 parts of our 3 part sectional from the living room for the time being. Although there’s a lot more to go before it’s just the way I want, it’s a usable room with fairly impressive results as far as I’m concerned. We LOVE having the big screen at home and the surround sound. It’s a really great place for us to unwind at the end of the day and to entertain. Hope you enjoyed the update :)

     
  17. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    Excellent work on a tight (nonexistent?) budget! I bet that room gets plenty of use.
     
  18. gtoast99

    gtoast99 Auditioning

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    Thanks! It’s gone from the least used room in the house to one of the most used. In fact, I’m watching x-files on the big screen as I type.


    The budget is indeed small. Seems as soon as I save up some more money it needs to be spent on something else, lol. The speakers and amps I’ve collected over the years, the furniture we had, the projector was a Christmas gift from my parents and siblings.


    The latest on the theater, I’m still using a sheet “screen”, but I’ve secured it better than in the pictures above, which helps. I’m also meant to be picking up my newest toy tomorrow, a used Outlaw 950 preamp. I’ve had the bluray analog outs going to separate amps for front r/l, center, rear r/l, and powered sub. The preamp should make volume changes to the entire system at once and a more reproducible sound quality. It’ll also give me more i/o options for when I eventually hook up our wii and a home theater pc to the system.


    Thanks again for the kind words, it’s a fun project :)
     
  19. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    We thought the same thing when I finally set up our theater 5 years ago. Movies and a big sports game now and then. I turn on the living room TV once a day when I'm on the treadmill. All other TV watching is done via the projector.
     

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