Building Stadium Style Seating - Platform For Berklines....

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Gary V, Oct 10, 2003.

  1. Gary V

    Gary V Extra

    Sep 20, 2003
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    Has anyone had expereince in building a stage or riser for a second row of stadium style seating? I am looking for some suggestions of construction materials (what type of wood?) and any tips on design. I am a big guy and I would like the platform to hold 4 people and a row of berkline seating. What is the best design & materials to accomplish this?

    I am pretty much as "white collar" as it gets, so any guidance would be appreciated.

    Unfortunately, my home builder was not very cooperative in helping me build stadium style seating in my theater. It is a rather large room and I want to have multiple rows of seating. I would like a couch as I enjoy laying down or sitting in different positions when watching TV & movies. But I would also like a second row of regular seating, maybe recliners.

    Any help or comments would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!!


  2. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

    Jun 11, 1999
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    I would definitely look over at the AVS Forum under their Home Theater Builder Section. Not knocking this site for construction tips, but that is where the bulk of HT builders hang out, especially Dennis Erskine. There are sight lines to consider, seating distances, the fact you don't want your rear seating to be right up against the back wall, and a miriad of other options to consider before starting construction.

    My advice to you would be to have one row with a couch/recliner combo and then another row of ergonomic theater seats (the prime seating positions should probably get the theater seats). Both should have backs that are low enough not to block or muffle surround sound information coming from the back and sides. To get an idea of what I mean, sit in a normally proportioned chair and then put a pillow behind your head. Play your system using surround active material with and without the pillow ... you'll know instantly what I'm talking about.

    Watch the Berkline models as many of them tend to have too high backs and head rests.

    Many home theater room professionals do not recommend recliners at all for other reasons such as: they position your body so you won't get the best audio experience possible, and you can easily become overly sleepy while watching a movie.

    The seating you go with is the most important aspect to your home theater design so choose very carefully.

  3. Scott Shearer

    Scott Shearer Auditioning

    Aug 24, 1998
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    You may want to pick up the latest issue of Home Theater Builder magazine. There is an article in the latest issue on this exact subject with construction details and pictures.

  4. pradike

    pradike Stunt Coordinator

    May 22, 2003
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    Smart Move to have 2 tiers of seating - you'll never regret it.

    We have 2 tiers in our Home Theater.

    Here's a link to the WEB site with photo album. You'll see the results of having stadium seating:

    Radike Home Theater

    As far as building suggestions - the riser should be either 8" or 10" high, made up of 2X8 or 2X10 framing (depending on which height you choose).

    Our contractor suggested 16" spacing of the main studs, with reinforced cross studs across the middle, so that no length over 24" is not reinforced. Based on this framing, you'll have a 300' per square foot weight load rating - more than twice what a sofa and 250 pound person represents combined. Make sure the depth of the platform includes enough leg room for the upper level with the footrests up (if you have them).

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
  5. Gordon Parr

    Gordon Parr Auditioning

    Nov 10, 2001
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    Well...I am on the finishing end of a 2 year HT project that Dennis Erskine designed.

    I have 2-tiered seating and it is about the easiest thing of the whole project to build!!!

    Simply make your frame out of 2x8 or 2x10...if you have the head room 2x10 is the ONLY way to go!!!. Support it every 16 inches and make sure you fill it completely with some sort of insulation...of utmost imnportance!!! Then 2 layers of sheathing and it is ready for padding and carpet.

    I have 5 Berklines 090. I am very tall from waist to head and opted still for the lower back 090 instead of the 099 just to make sure that I get the full 7.1 surround feel!!!

    Good Luck!!!
  6. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

    Feb 9, 2002
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    Home Theater Builder Magazine just had an excellent article for building a riser. If you subscribe, check it out!

    I'd scan and post, but am not sure if that's allowed. Well, that and I don't have a scanner. [​IMG]

    Cheers for the tip with insulation. They also recommend using roofing felt between layers of beams and plywood, etc..

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