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Hard to find elements that really "make" it a Home Theatre. (1 Viewer)

Frankie_A

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Nov 26, 2005
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I have in my head exactly what I want in my Home Cinema, but while they are simple elements that would create a cinema environment, evidently not a lot of people incorporate them into their setup because finding manufacturers is a real challenge. I am not talking about the obvious -- speakers, amps, A/V processors, projectors, screens, etc., there you have so many choices that it makes your head spin. No; I remember what it was like going to the local movie theatre when I was a kid, and I want to have those thinks I remember were common back then, like curtains that opened for every show as the first frames of, say, the 20th Centure logo played across the opening curtain and the so very distinctive fan-fare and CInemaScope extension played in surround sound. As kids, we were impressed but didn't realize that kind of showmanship wouldn't last forever. Yah, I admit it, I have come to realize that all this stuff we do now is really just to get back the things that awed and thrilled us in our youth.

But I digress; So what I want in my home cinema is all those awesome accouterments the way theatres used to be. Easier said than done. For example, do you have any idea how difficult it is to find some companies out there that make curtain tracks, some even motorized, but try and find a company that makes a CURVED, motorized curtain track! Now all of a sudden it's like you are talking gibberish to the Home Theatre salesman. Sure, he's got a dozen different sub-woofers he'll gladly try to up-sell to you, but curved motorized curtain track and he's not interested, r if he was and thought it was an interesting idea, his Home Theatre store certainly doesn't have such an oddity.

I also want a dimming system that will allow me to control the "house lights," i.e., my room lights and my "curtain warmers" so they fade at different rates -- basically I want to set up cues that will dim the house lights, hold them at half while preshow music plays; as the music ends, then pull the house down to a glow, cue the ceiling star projector as the curtain warmers also fade to 4 /10 and then cue the curtain. I though I could accomplish this with an old X10 unit that connected to a PC. The PC is used to program it, but then it's disconnected and runs the cues independently. After speaking with someone from X10, I was told they discontinued those modules long ago now they are mostly into surveillance (where the big buck are). Sigh. So unlike the rest of the Home Theatre industry that have dozens, maybe hundreds of manufactures for electronics, there was only ONE that came close to a consumer level dimmer system and that's now bust, and NONE so far that sell motorized, curved curtain tracks, although I can't imagine they are not out there, only they certainly haven't tapped into the Home Theatre market...unfortunately for me and anyone else who wants to do old school showmanship.

Next on my hard-to-find list, is an acoustic transparent SILVER screen. Yah, yah, I know, there are quite a few manufacturers who make acoustic screens -- woven fabric that lets the audio thru without too much attenuation. True, BUT, here is the fly in THAT ointment -- I need it to be SILVERIZED so I can show passive 3D on it. And to my knowledge (and believe me I have been searching), the screen manufactured can't seem to do SILVER AT screen because the why silver screens are made is they are sprayed with the silverized coating and that clogs the fabric weave. Oh yah, did I mention, my screen has to be a CURVED screen like the original CinemaScope screens used to be (by Fox's specification actually -- they called it the Miracle Mirror screen and you had to have it installed or they wouldn't let you book CinemaScope films). And yes, you are fight, I need it for 3D. I happen to be one of those 3D freaks and I don't apologize for it either, you 3D haters! I will be using a multiplexing LCD polarizer to separate the Left/Right images. The audience could then use the RealD-3D circular polarization glasses to see the 3D movies. And that device, BTW, while I do have a supplier, it is by no means a commonly found item. Only the Chinese seem to think binocular cinema has value and one company offers a few models of the polarizers .

All that to just to ask...anyone know of manufactures who could supply:
1) motorized CURVED curtain track?
2) a SILVERIZED, acoustic transparent, CURVED screen and frame (10.5ft width/16:9ar)
3) a dimming system that can run a simple cueing system, maybe 4 to 6 channels.

Now yes, I probably can go to the commercial cinema supply route, and I did look into that for the curved track, but they are designed for theatre stages and aside from the exorbitant cost factor, they are monstrous and would pull my ceiling down. Same with 3D movie screens. They can't work at home because the way they are acoustically transparent is they have tiny holes in them that let the sound thru; they rely on your distance from them to make those holes invisible. At home where you are MUCH closer to the screen, you would see the holes. So that won't work. And, yes, you can get dimming theatrical dimming/automation systems that would cost more than all of your most expensive gear put together.

I guess i am also kvetching about the fact that you would think these items that are, at least in my mind, pretty integral to a home cinema experience, would be offered by a least a few manufacturers specifically for this home DIY Home Theatre consumer market. I mean, have you ever seen how many companies offer "theatre seating?" I'm just sayin....
 

Alpal

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Alan Bond
Good luck with that. As a kid I once dreamed of having a home cinema, 2 16mm projectors, theatre seating, curtains opening etc, etc, and of course, etc.

To cut to the chase this is what I have with todays technology and cheap enough too.

1. A Benq 3D cinema quality video projector with a 50,000 to 1 contrast ratio. 300w lamp. A900 bucks ex-demo from Benq Australia.

2. A Sherwood Amp with DTS 5.1 capabilities. A250 bucks from JBHiFi.

3. Left/right speakers. A200.

4.Surround speakers and a sub-woofer...A69 bucks from Coles over 15 years ago!

5. Remote dimmer control from a local hardware store (I got sick and tired of getting up and turning the lights off and on!)

And 6. A 10ft wide (135") motorised screen, that comes down from the ceiling (again remote controlled) and the price was A299 from Officeworks. Put it up in May this year.

All in all tremendously fabulous! Absolute knockout with picture and sound. The 3D is terrific with comfortable glasses. Have the classic 3D and polarised movies. Have the restored CINERAMA SmileBox movies too.

Have Blu-ray players with a region free one. Also now download to USB sticks for playing in this set up.

Having run a movie theatre, I am quite satisfied with my set up. I personally just like movies, and the bigger the picture the better.

Best of luck with what you want. But sometimes you may have to rethink ideas for today.
 

Type A

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The challenge for me is in what pays the biggest dividends and what I can get away with in the space I have to work with. While I think most can appriciate your ideas may bring back a wonderful touch of nostalgia I think most also would agree its fleeting, gimmicky, expensive and just plain impractical for most folks in this hobby.

My case in point. Sadly Ive had only ONE dedicated room for my home theater in the 30+ years Ive been building home theaters in my home. And even then that room was a mere 10' wide room and in a rental home, hardly practical or even long-lasting. Otherwise my 'home theater' has always been built in a multi-use room, a 'living room' that is also a TV veiwing room, socializing room and carried with it a certain level of WAF. Frankly I envy the crap out of those that have a decent-sized dedicated room for their home theater. I suspect that with the price of housing these days most home theater enthuiasts dont have the luxury of dedicated rooms and thus I think products you seek are not in high demand.

You can get away with filling a living room with electronic components, subs, speakers and a retractable screen but the screen, curtain and lighting you seek really require a dedicated room that most dont have. If you have a dedicated room thats great and certainly half the battle but I think these products cant be found in mainstream retail industry for a very good reason; most spend their time and money on the best sound and picture they can create and tend to ignore the nostalgia for the reasons stated above. As a niche market I think youll be stuck designing and building the specialty touches yourself or spending a fortune to have someone else do it. Good luck Frankie and I would be interested to hear of your future progress.
 

John Dirk

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The challenge for me is in what pays the biggest dividends and what I can get away with in the space I have to work with. While I think most can appriciate your ideas may bring back a wonderful touch of nostalgia I think most also would agree its fleeting, gimmicky, expensive and just plain impractical for most folks in this hobby.

That pretty much sums up my point of view as well. Even though I have a dedicated room and an accepting [not to be confused with understanding] wife, I prefer to concentrate my dollars towards upgrades that return practical and tangible value. I do have a popcorn machine but retired it after I realized I actually didn't want people eating in chairs that cost me nearly 2 grand. Also, about 98% of the time I am the only one even using the room.

That said, when I do see really well-appointed rooms I appreciate the thought and effort that must have went into them.
 

DaveF

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People do these things. This degree of ultra-lux, high-end, DIY home theater is not really HTF's domain. But I've read threads elsewhere about custom passive 3D, motorized screens, homemade curved screens, etc. It's all doable. But it's going to be a major hobby for the next few years, or it's going to be a big budget custom build from a high-end installer.

What you want is largely achievable (except maybe the curved silvered screen, I've not come across that, myself).

Good luck fulfiling your dream theater!
 

nightsky

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I can't help with the motorized screen ( I remember them opening for the previews, closing, and then opening again for the main attraction... sigh), but I can help you with a star ceiling (as long as it isn't projected). If you want to freehand one, find a DIY Kit, or have someone paint one for you... I can help with that.

That sounds like a fun theater. We had a balcony that we used to sneak up to because we were too young to go by ourselves.

Good luck!
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Hmmm... if you get a curved screen, wouldn't you also need an FP that can project properly on one? OR do they simply make expensive add-on conversation lens for that... kinda like an anamorphic lens used on some higher-end FPs for 2.35:1 CIH projection?

I would think they very likely go together if they exist on the market at all. IF you can actually locate an FP and/or add-on conversion lens for that, you'd very likely have a very good lead to the curved screen. Certainly, don't just buy or make a curved screen w/out making sure you can have a good FP (and/or conversion lens) for it...

_Man_
 

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