Began Our New Home Theater This Week.....

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by SurfHB, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. SurfHB

    SurfHB Extra

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    Well.....we have cleaned out the 12 foot by 20 foot room that held all types of things. It had bikes, linens, towels, stereo's etc in it. This room was used as a work room for our rental business. We live above our business which use to be an old hotel back in the late 1940's. The walls are trimmed in very old wood, so we will not be painting them. Yesterday along the back wall, we built an 8 1/2 inch stage for the seating area to be on. As for the screen, I am still trying to decide if I should TRY to make my own, or just buy one. I am not very good at building things. I am shooting for around a 120 inch screen. Also, as for the projector, I am also trying to decide what I should get that is within my budget of around $2,500 to about $3500 at most, and what best suits my needs. I need a HD capable, ba able to play X-Box on it, watch televison and DVD's of course. This will be our living room so to speak. I hear that the new INFOCUS 4805 is suppose to be nice coming out soon. Anyway, I will have to read up on it. This project will take a while of course, and I will post pictures when I get near completed...hopefully within 2-3 months.
     
  2. ChrisTheg

    ChrisTheg Agent

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    Well I wish you the best of luck with your home theater. There are a couple things you should know about Front Projection Systems. The first is that you should never try to do them yourself. It is a very complex system and should only be done by a profesional. Another thing is, your not going to get a projector that delivers any level of quality for under 6000. Projectors in the lower price range lack many of the important aspects that help deliver a quality image and video experience. Remember that home theaters are not cheap and if your taking the time to put this much effort into it you dont want to skimp out. Feel free to ask my any questions, I would love to help.
     
  3. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    Building a screen is the easiest thing in the world. go to avsforum.com and check out the screen forum. There are many different ways to build a screen, they all take about 4 hours of work.

    Doing an entire home theater, thats a different thing entirely.
     
  4. Kevin Stewart

    Kevin Stewart Second Unit

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    As Mark suggested, visit avsforums (especially the under $3500 projector forum and the screen forum) and disregard everything that Chris said.




    Stew
     
  5. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    There are lots of suggestions on projectors and DIY screens on this forum. Just take a look around in this forum area and I know you will lots of ideas and recommendations.

    Parker
     
  6. James^Brian

    James^Brian Agent

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    I too am starting my home theater project. I've already bought my projector an Infocus X1 which is well below the price you quoted. I don't know this is "the proper way", but since I will be doing a DIY screen, I'm chosing to estimate the throw distance etc, and mount it before I build the screen. Then, I'll build a screen to fit. If you do it this way just be sure not make sure it's about what you need.

    Before any suggestions of projectors etc, I think a couple questions come to mind. What is lighting like in your room? In my room, with no windows and entries without doors, I could go with a projector with less light output and stil get a great picture. How do you plan on arranging the seating/screen? If you shoot on the narrow wall (my suggestion) then I would suggest a ceiling mount. If you try and shoot on the long wall you'll run into other problems such as screen door effects as you'll be sitting too close (a more expensive projector can help with this). Also make sure the projector you choose can do a "short throw" with the screen size you want from less than 11'.
     
  7. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    As someone who just completed there HT room on the cheap. I have to agree with Kevin and Parker. This forum and AVSforum saved me money, time, and most of all sanity. The resources and suggestions I found were invaluable.

    I decided on a DIY ME screen directly on my wall with a nice molding around it for a frame.(total cost: $30 CA.) and I was more than happy. Also I went with a sub $2000 dollar projector because that's all I could afford at the time and I am more than happy with the results for DVD movies, the HDTV digital box, and my XBOX they all look beautiful (IMO) and I wouldn't have been able to afford those extra toys to increase my HT experience if I had gone with a higher more expensive PJ.

    And before someone chimes in here "that if you only have tried a lower end model FPJ than you don't know what your missing" I have a Samsung HDTV that supports 1080i that I use in the family room for main TV watching. And I still would rather sneak down in my HT room than watch it on the Samsung.

    Anyway just my two cents. I hope your HT exp. turns out as well as mine did.

    Cheers,

    Zed
     
  8. SurfHB

    SurfHB Extra

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I am definately into saving money. Zoran, what did you use for your screen materials? I would like to make my own screen for now...then later buy one if I need to. Today, we finished the seating stage. I hope this all comes together well....then my wife will say she likes it too and then it will be easier to upgrade...lol I will follow the info in these forums and get all the help I can. I don't mind stopping and "asking for directions"..:) Thanks again guys!
     
  9. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    I decided to use "Misty Evening" by Glidden Paints. It is a regular paint that you can buy from Home Depot. In the U.S. I believe it's under the Behr Paint brand. I bought one gallon for $20 CA.. and still have almost half a gallon left (after four coats). Some people paint the blackout cloth with this paint and then hang it on a frame. I was lucky in that I had a nice smooth wall.

    so I just mounted my projector where it would be and fired it up. Measured and masking taped the screen area on the wall. Primed the wall first and then applied 4 coats of the "misty evening" paint. I then bought some nice MDF molding at Home Depot that was on sale, painted it with some black paint I had left over from another project, framed the screen area with the molding and that's it.

    I also have access to a nice portable screen from work and I have to say that my DYI screen has a nicer color contrast, especially with the blacks and whites.

    If you want more information on how to apply the paint or for building a screen to apply the paint to (I know this will sound redundant but...) AVSforum and this forum have plenty of step by step posts. People have used all kinds of different surface materials for their DIY misty evening screens.

    Oh and before I forget, I haven't seen it mentioned yet in this thread, but if you do buy a FPJ then I suggest building (or getting a handy friend) the mount for the projector. These can eat up anywhere from $100-$200 of your budget. I made mine for about $15 CA and it works perfectly, Epson wanted almost $200 for their mount with delivery.

    cheers,

    Zoran
     
  10. SurfHB

    SurfHB Extra

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    Thanks Zoran....Unfortunately, my wall is not smooth. I have to actually make a screen. The wall is old sheets of lumber that is stained. This buildiing was built back in the 1940's. It was used as an old hotel here at the beach. I have been using the ideas of the AVS forums to get some ideas. Thanks again for your help.
     
  11. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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  12. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    Also alot of people have had success with Parkland Plastic 4X8 sheets. Which are fairly light and relativly cheap.

    The only problem with alot of these "board" solutions is that if you want a 120 inch screen at a 4:3 ratio you would need a sheet that was 8x5. or if you wanted a 120 inch 16:9 ratio you would need almost a 9x5 sheet. Which would mean seams.

    Some individuals to get around having seams have just taken 2 sheets of 4x8 drywall cut them to the size they wanted and attached them to a frame. Then just mudded and taped the seam and screw holes. If you do a good job sanding, you will have a perfectly smooth screen. I have seen a few different screens done like this by members in this forum.

    If I remember which HT rooms I have seen these done in I will post them for you to check out.

    cheers,

    Zoran
     
  13. mark alan

    mark alan Supporting Actor

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    I didn't realize he wanted a screen that was bigger than 4x8. That limits somewhat the DIY options.

    I guess I should read the posts closer. I got distracted by Chris's comment that you can't get a decent projector for less than 6K
     
  14. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    One of the HTF members has a link to their HT setup under FPJs in the Theaters list. The URL is:

    http://home.attmil.ne.jp/a/westfall/hometheater.htm

    they used an interesting idea for a 119 inch screen. Quote from site: "It measures 106" X 54" and is 119" diagonal. It is made from the backside of floor linoleum that was cut to the proper size." Maybe they can provide you with some insight as to the results and costs of that method.

    cheers,

    Zed
     
  15. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    To add to a previous post, apparently Parkland Plastics now sells their PolyWall from lengths up to 12' and widths up to 5'. Which would be more than adequate for a 120 inch screen.

    I would post the link to their site, but I'm not sure if that would be against forum rules.

    I know that alot of members here and at AVS have had very good results with this product and it is pretty inexpensive for what you get.

    cheers,

    Zoran
     
  16. SurfHB

    SurfHB Extra

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    Man...I did not realize so many people on here are willing to help me out. I have thought about the Parkland Plastics
    Poly-Wall. Hey Mark...thanks for the link. That is a nice looking frame. An Zoran, I am really impressed with the back of the "floor linoleum" idea. Hmmmmmm... very interesting. You guys are great...I will look into both of these ideas. I know I can get an awesome deal on the floor linoleum. My dad is in the Real Estate business here at the beach and he also designs and builds houses. So he has a lot of contractors that work for him. Maybe I can find some leftovers. I also thought about doing the 2 sheets of drywall. I will call around in the next day or two and see what I can find.


    PS) If I wanted to have one screen that would accomodate 4:3 for regular TV...and a one for 16:9, what is the exact size I would need a screen size of 120 diagonal inches? I know you said I would need ALMOST a 9x5. Can you give me the exact? I am terrible at these things. Thanks

    Also, thanks for the tileboard idea Mark...
     
  17. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    for a 120 inch 4:3 you would need a 96 by 72 inch screen
    and for a 120 inch 16:9 you would need a 105 by 59 inch screen. Also keep in mind that the 2 different screen sizes will depend on your FPJ's native throw ration.

    for example I have an Epson S1 it is a 4:3 native PJ so when I built my screen I made it 4:3 ratio that was 98 inch diagonal (which means it is 79 by 59 inches). Now when I watch 16:9 ratio programs/movies the screen has to be 79 inches across or I would have to change throw distance or use a zoom, so in 16:9 it is 90 inches diagonal (79 by 45 inches). Let me know if this makes sense sometimes things I type seem to make sense to me but not anyone else. :)

    Now that's not to say you can't have two different screen widths (although I would recmmend a masking system, which is what I use), depending on the FPJ you can adjust the zoom to compensate. (as I mentioned above) however when you mess with the zoom it has been my experience that you start to have light overthrow on one of the screens. Also you are technically losing resolution (I know it's not a lot, but when you are talking about sub $3000 FPJ you want as much resolution and contrast that the PJ can spare. Maybe someone else can give a better explanation.

    Cheers,

    Zed
     
  18. SurfHB

    SurfHB Extra

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    Thanks again Zoran..I think I have it now...lol. I am in the market for a projector now. I think I will wait on building the frame until I get a projector. One more question....How far back is the proper seating distance in a room that is 20 feet deep, and has a 120 inch screen. Thanks
     
  19. ZoranM

    ZoranM Stunt Coordinator

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    Seating distance varies from viewer to viewer. A good rule of thumb is between 1.5x your screen size to 2.0x your screen size. which in your case would be 15 feet(which is 1.5x your screen size)to 20 feet (which is 2.0x your screen size) so anything in between and you should be fine.

    The only thing is that at a distance of 1.5x screen size (15 feet) you might notice SDE if you have a lower end PJ. That said I have one of the cheapest FPJ's you can buy and I sit 12 feet away from a 98 inch screen (which is 1.5x my screen size) and I don't really notice SDE at all.(I have read that Misty Evening or grey type screens in general can help hide SDE a bit)

    It is a good idea to see if you can demo a fpj that way you can see if rainbows or SDE bother you. I know that here in Canada you can take an FPJ from Best Buy/ Futureshop, home and try it for a up to 2 weeks to see if you like it with a full refund if you don't keep it. Which also let's you have some time to see if there are any dead pixels. I went through 3 FPJ's in a week before I found one I liked with no dead pixels.

    cheers,

    Zoran
     
  20. SurfHB

    SurfHB Extra

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    Great...My couches will be about 17-18 feet from the screen. So I am in good shape there. I have already built the stage for teating. NOw...If I can just decide on a projector...it will be even better. Thanks for your time and knowledge on these subjects. I am surf I will be back...lol

    Shane
     

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