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First Home Theater: Attic/3rd floor Conversion (1 Viewer)

jpb1138

Auditioning
Joined
Mar 5, 2015
Messages
1
Real Name
James Burke
Hello all, this is my first post and first attempt at a true* home theater. I have always enjoyed the theater experience and my living rooms have always been my theater and were always good quality for that aesthetic. However, I have the opportunity and the space to build my first dedicated theater. The best space in my house is my third floor/attic space. I would consider it a budget project. will be doing most of the handy work myself along with a contractor friend.

There are several pros and cons with my planned set-up and I have a few questions.

Pros:
Isolated from the house
Have the ability to start from scratch (after plaster wall demo)
-in wall wiring/speaker mounting, projector mounting, recessed lighting, etc.
dedicated theater room that can be completely light controlled

Cons:
Low ceilings... 7'
sloped side ceilings... This really limits my screen size
room is more wide than long (could be perceived either way)
8.5' viewing distance from main seating location

Basically my main question is: I can either fit a 92" 16:9 screen on the wall (would sit a little higher on wall than 2.35), or about a 103-105" 2.35:1 screen... Area wise they are very similar, but with the cinemascope widescreen my '16x9 diagonal' is about 83". I am a film lover, and have an estensive blu ray collection and prefer epic movies and sci/fi fantasy large sized dramas basically. So the 2.35 screen will get its use. Am I headed the right way here? I think the 83" 16x9 image would be suffice for my 8.5 foot main viewing distance...

Also: I am planning on getting the Epson 5030ub or 5025ub and mounting it on the ceiling. I have enough room to do that. Now I know this projector isnt the best for CIH setups but I love the image quality. Thought about the Panny pt-ae8000 as well, but I love the epson. I don't think I will mind setting up the projector for when I watch tv or switch back to 2.35.. again, thoughts?

I will be doing this throughout this spring/summer/fall and should be done by the NFL season(which is another factor, big NFL fan) so it really comes down to a few questions related to what is important i guess.

I have most of the gear picked out otherwise, Just want to make the right choice on screen. Side walls will be a dark red, and the screen wall and ceiling will be black.

I will share my progress as I go, and will be posting pics of the process too. I appreciate anyones help and I am looking forward to being a part of the forum...

Thanks,

James
 

Bobofbone

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
292
Location
East Tennessee
Real Name
Bob
If you like movies and have many in 2.4:1, then you should go with a screen with that aspect ratio. You can use a constant height for the 16:9 images, and if the light is controlled, and the room dark, the unused screen tends to no be visible (at least to me). If you are really a purist, you can mask the unused portion. It would look better if the lights are on, but, truthfully, nobody who has beenin my theater for something like the Superbowl with the lights on low has made any comments. I made a pitch to my wife about using curtains for a mask, and she wasn't impressed with the idea.


Concerning projectors, I'm using a Panasonic 7000U. It can be programed to sense the aspect ratio, and automatically zooms to fill the height of the screen. If I'm watching satellite TV it sometimes changes (usually during commercials) and I sometimes turn it off, but it works fine at other times. What screen size you use might be more dependent on the throw distance. If the projector you are going to use can shift the image, it can be mounted high enough to miss the heads of the audience, and not be directly opposite the center of the screen. Depending on the design of the projector, you may also need clearance for ventilation-some projectors have rear vents, and can't be mounted flush with the wall behind the projector and have adequate ventilation without overheating. Check the owners manual before you buy if that's a consideration.


There are a some web sites that offer suggestions on screen size. However, I did my own calculations by going to a Saturday afternoon performance that was nearly empty, with a widescreen movie. My wife and I tried different locations, and paced off the distance from the screen that we liked and paced off the width of the screen, We duplicated the ratios in my own theater. We are viewing a 12' wide screen with a 2.4:1 aspect ratio, at a distance of about 10', with a single row of seating. While this is larger than the THX calculations indicate is optimal, we like it, and haven't had any complaints. Since it's going to be your theater, do it the way you like it.


Concerning size and throw distance, there are some ways to get around the room dimensions. I needed a throw distance that put me about 3' past my back wall. I figured that out when I decided on the room configuration, and during construction, I had the soffit in the next room reinforced to support the weight of a hanging projector. I put port through the wall (if your wife objects the idea, it's a good idea to make the hole to show her what you had in mind. Mine kind of warmed up to the idea after awhile. Make the hole smaller than what you need, though. It's easier to make a hole bigger) and framed in an optical glass to project through. If noise transmission to the area the projector is isn't a consideration, you can dispense with the glass. The other solution if your throw distance isn't far enough, is to mount the projector to project parallel to the screen, and reflect off a front silvered mirror. Many of the rear projection large screen TV's did something similar to create a larger image before large flat screen TV's were available. I used to have one. I've also seen this sort of set up in a conference room.


There's lots of information on this web site as well as others about sound isolation and acoustic treatment, colors, and other considerations. If you are starting from and empty space, it's a good idea to plan out what you will be doing before you start.


Post pictures as you progress!!
 

Bobofbone

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
292
Location
East Tennessee
Real Name
Bob
I'd also suggest you make, paint or buy the screen you are using after the projector is mounted. You can fine tune the size of the image, and get the right sized screen that way.
 

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