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Booth Bijou Garage Theater

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Mark Booth, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    About twice a month, we invite up to 20 guests to join us for a couple of movies in our garage. I did a garage "makeover" several years ago, adding cabinets and B&W floor tiles. During most days and nights, we actually park our cars in there. But on movie nights, it gets transformed into the Booth Bijou Garage Theater. Since the makeover, it's actually a fairly attractive place to throw a party. However, once I hang our black "curtains" (black bed sheets), the garage really starts looking like a real movie theater! Guests bring their own folding chairs and a small cooler with their favorite beverage. We supply unlimited fresh popcorn and candy treats. We usually order pizzas for dinner between the two movies.

    The theater is equipped with a 120" 4:3 screen. However, I only lower the screen enough to create a 16:9 aspect ratio. That results in a diagonal screen size of just under 110 inches. The projector is an Epson 8350. Audio is a 5.1 system. The rear speakers (permanently mounted in the garage) are Polk Atrium 5. The front speakers and subwoofer are borrowed from our living room system (moved to the garage and back again as needed). They are Paradigm Monitor 9 models (L&R), Paradigm CC-350 (center) and Velodyne 1012 (subwoofer).

    The garage and living room share a common wall. Instead of moving audio gear back and forth (or buying additional gear for the garage), I opted to install speaker and HDMI patch bays on either side of the wall. That allows all of the gear in the living room to be routed to the garage, just by moving/plugging a few cables. The living room system is control by RF remote so I do not need to see the gear to operate it. The AV receiver is a Pioneer Elite VSX-94TXH and the Blu-ray player is a Panasonic BLT110. I also have a Toshiba HD DVD player in the mix.

    In addition to the fun of sharing movies with 20 people at the same time, our garage theater is heavily "branded" with regard to our pre-movie entertainment. We have all manner of custom Booth Bijou intros and audio voiceovers. Included in the equipment cabinet is a Mac mini, which is used as a dedicated home theater PC. I use VLC on the Mac to create a playlist and load up a string of custom intros, coming attractions trailers, and I always include a cartoon too. I also have a variety of movie trivia slides on the Mac mini that are played during the audience walk-in period (and in-between movies).

    One of my dreams in life was to own a small to medium size single-screen movie theater. Something with a classic art deco feel. No stadium seating, just a long slopping floor like the theaters I went to when I was a boy.

    Since that dream never came to pass (mostly because I wasn't interested in going bankrupt), showing movies in the Booth Bijou Garage Theater is the next best thing! :)

    Here are some photos...

    Our "blank canvas":
    [​IMG]

    The patch bay between living room and garage:
    [​IMG]

    Curtains in place, the theater ready to go:
    [​IMG]


    Back wall:
    [​IMG]

    Side wall with snack bar (that's a portable air conditioner in the middle):
    [​IMG]

    A few chairs in place, but side lights still on:
    [​IMG]

    With all the lights turned out:
    [​IMG]

    The photo with the snack bar above was taken before we got a 12-ounce popcorn machine. This is what the snack bar looks like now:
    [​IMG]


    I make 16-ounce batches in the 12-ounce machine. I mix my own using bulk products (Great Northern popcorn, Paragon Coconut Oil, and Flavocal seasoning). Our guests devour our popcorn! We typically go through four to five 16-ounce batches in a single evening.

    Occasionally, I get retro and fool around with anaglyph 3D (I have a couple of cartoons in anaglyph). You may remember famous photos from the 50s like this one:
    [​IMG]

    Here's the Booth Bijou's version of that:
    [​IMG]


    You can click the link in my signature to see some additional photos, including how the theater looked before we added the curtains all around.

    An 8-minute video demonstrating the pre-movie entertainment I play from the Mac mini can be seen here:

    http://www.thephotobooth.net/Booth-Bijou/bbgarage/15469874_3BGZHh#!i=1158336650&k=Z22rJzW

    If you'd like to look at the various Booth Bijou custom intros individually, they can be found here:

    http://www.thephotobooth.net/Booth-Bijou/bbintros/15399175_bWtwjp#!i=2161304621&k=j2vcXVn

    The last intro at that link is a voice-only intro done by a professional voice guy. It seems to be the one our guests are most impressed with. :)

    Mark
     
  2. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Well-Known Member

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    You made me hungry, I'm starting a batch of hot air popcorn now.
     
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  3. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Here's what's playing in the Booth Bijou Garage Theater in a few days:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    'Open Range' is my favorite "modern" western. Since it hasn't been released on Blu-ray yet, we'll be doing an iTunes HD rental for that.

    Normally we do our movie nights on a Saturday or Sunday. But sometimes we do one on a weekday night. Our attendance is usually lower because several of our friends still work for a living. Because we mostly get our retired friends on the weekday movie nights, we affectionally refer to them as "Geezer Movie Nights"! :)

    Mark
     
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  4. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Premium
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    Mark, this is absolutely beautiful!

    I love the design of the place and the custom branding, and how you're able to transform a functional garage into a pretty awesome movie palace. The popcorn machine is a really nice touch :)
     
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  5. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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  6. Mark-P

    Mark-P Well-Known Member

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    I do enjoy seeing pictures of people's home theater setups. I like the multi-use capabilities you have there. My home theater is a permanent set-up in our family room with a 9-foot wide screen, but I can only seat 4. :(
     
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  7. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    I REALLY enjoyed watching 'Open Range' in high def projected on our 110" screen! What a terrific movie. The iTunes rental wasn't up to Blu-ray standards, but it certainly looked better than the DVD.

    Coming up in two weeks at the Booth Bijou Garage Theater:

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    This showing "sold out" in less than 24 hours and we have three people on a waiting list.

    Mark
     
  8. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Up next in the Booth Bijou:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Mark
     
  9. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Up next at the Booth Bijou Garage Theater!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Mark
     
  10. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Our Hunger Games double-bill is tonight! The Booth Bijou is 'sold out' (25 people total between the two movies).

    May the odds be forever in your favor!

    Mark
     
  11. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Well-Known Member
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    Mark,

    I love reading about your scheduled bills. Interesting groups of films and a nice mix of current and classic. Bravo!

    Keep 'em coming!
     
  12. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Matt!

    The Hunger Games double-feature was a big success. And I loved seeing them on our big screen with the volume cranked nice and loud! :)

    We are showing 'Lone Survivor' next, but I'm uncertain what we'll show as the B movie. I think I want to go with something fun and lighthearted to counter the seriousness and action/violence of 'Lone Survivor'. I've got to make a decision by tomorrow so I can send out invitations.

    Mark
     
  13. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Up next in the Booth Bijou Garage Theater:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I wanted to balance the intense action of a war movie with something lighthearted and fun.

    Mark
     
  14. Mark-P

    Mark-P Well-Known Member

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    Which cut of That Thing You Do are you playing? The director's cut adds a whopping 41 minutes to the running time and really enhances the movie, but may make for a long night for a double bill.
     
  15. Bobofbone

    Bobofbone Well-Known Member

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    You might want to show Lone Survivor second. I haven't seen it, but from what I've heard, you might not be up for anything after seeing it.

    Light suggestions for a double feature:
    Stalag 17. Serous, but with lots of humor
    Kelly's Heros. Good movie, quite a cast, and lots of humor-some of it black.
    MASH. Lots of humor, a lot of it again, black. Maybe not the best to juxtapose with Lone Survivor.
    Das Boot-could be shown with MASH. By the way, Das Boot is based on a real story-it was written based on the cruise that the PR officer (in the movie) went on-he later became a florist, I believe in Bonn. My wife's uncle served in the submarine service during WWII in the Pacific, and had some of the same experiences. He later crewed on a U boat (the only one commissioned in the US Navy), and said the book, and later the movie were quite accurate.

    Off topic, but I thought you might find it interesting.
     
  16. Bobofbone

    Bobofbone Well-Known Member

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    By the way, Das Boot is not a humerous movie.
     
  17. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
    HW Reviewer

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    Dr Strangelove
     
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  18. Brian McP

    Brian McP Well-Known Member

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    Black bed sheets never looked better -- and that floor, ingenious -- looks like something from the set of "Casino Royale" (1967)

    And I love your eclectic double features -- you don't care what year they were made in or what studio they were from, as long as they were great movies.

    How about something like "A Night at the Opera" and "Transformers - Dark of the Moon" -- people will know they have lived after sitting through that double in a home cinema. Don't know if you can do 3D yet, but "Frozen" and the 3D "March of the Wooden Soldiers" would make a great Christmas double for all the kids there.
     
  19. Andretti

    Andretti Active Member

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    I'd definitely recommend Dr. Strangelove for a Memorial day viewing. Very humerus movie about a horrible thing....war.

    'Gentlemen, You can't fight in here. This is the war room!'.


    It would be a much easier movie to watch than say, 'We Were Soldiers', or 'Black Hawk Down' and likely a great double feature along with Lone Survivor (as MASH would be as well).

    Andretti
     
  20. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, everyone! I think 'Dr. Strangelove' might be a good pairing with 'Godzilla' when we show it! :) (BTW, 'Dr. Strangelove' is out of print and new ones are selling for about $75 on Amazon! Yikes!)

    We plan to show the theatrical cut of 'That Thing You Do' simply because of the butts in seats time factor. I watched the extended cut about a year ago and, while I agree that it added to the story, I didn't feel it was absolutely necessary.

    And, yes, 'That Thing You Do' is the "B movie" for the night, 'Lone Survivor' will be shown second.

    Mark
     

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