The brief from our client was that we must create a high performance, immersive, dedicated home cinema in his basement room, which would aesthetically coordinate with the games and bar room outside. It was to feel like a special event, somewhere the busy family could put their hectic lives on hold to enjoy a few precious hours of suspended reality.
A Home Cinema Room for all of the Family
The basement room was a great location for this immersive home cinema. Certainly, the room was a good size, and well constructed, and there was space for a separate projection room. Also, the bar immediately outside would provide an opportunity for the family to enjoy drinks and popcorn for their special movie nights.
During the early stages of the design, the client mulled over the idea of having a themed room. In the end, because he wanted the room to coordinate with the adjacent bar and games room, he decided against having a room with a theme.
Once a themed room had been ruled out, the aesthetic design started to take shape, with stretched fabric panels selected. In fact, these would contain the acoustic panels and hide the loudspeakers perfectly. They would also give a warm, elegant and calming feel to the room.
During the design process, we undertook an acoustic response analysis. This determined the room modal responses and allowed us to plan the acoustic treatments accordingly. We subsequently used acoustic panels to provide reflection, absorption and diffusion (there is more information about acoustic room treatments in our article Acoustic Treatment for Home Cinemas).
Product Selection – The Details
To achieve the technical design objectives, we opted for a Barco Orion projector and a fixed Screen Research screen. The large 140″ acoustically transparent screen features a 2.40:1 aspect, two-way lateral masking and ClearPix 4K fabric. The screen is native at 2.40:1, which means that the projected image is at near cinematic movie aspect ratio. With the lateral masking providing 1.78:1 and 1.33:1 aspects, the image is also perfect for TV and streamed media.
The Barco projector is equipped with a high-capacity 2.37:1 native aspect DLP engine, delivering up to 2,000 ANSI Lumens. Accordingly, the images are razor-sharp, with vivid saturated colours and rich contrast.
The immersive home cinema sound is configured 9.1.4, with in-wall and in-ceiling loudspeakers, and two in-room subwoofers. The loudspeakers were from Bowers & Wilkins Custom In-Wall range.
In the front loudspeaker array, the speakers have a 1″ diamond dome Nautilus™ tube-loaded tweeter, a 5″ Continuum™ midrange driver and two 7″ Aerofoil™ bass drivers. Similarly, the remaining loudspeakers have a 1″ diamond dome Nautilus™ tube-loaded tweeter and a 7″ Continuum™ cone bass/midrange driver with anti-resonance plug.
Low frequencies are provided by the two in-room Custom Theatre subwoofers, each with a 10″ paper/Kevlar® bass unit. These use a rigid mushroom diaphragm construction to deliver unparalleled bass effects.
To provide amplification for this immersive home cinema, we used a Rotel. Importantly, this delivers 5 continuous channels at 250 Watt per channel. Being Class D, it is designed to remain cool, which is perfect for housing in the equipment rack. With all channels driven, the amplifier could also double its output to 5 x 500 Watts at 4 ohms.
In addition, to provide the electronic audio processing, we selected a processor from Trinnov, with a 3D codec option. The standard version of the Altitude32 natively decodes Dolby Digital Plus®, Dolby TrueHD®, DTS Digital Surround® and DTS-HD Master Audio®. With the 3D Audio optional package, we could also provide immersive sound. The Trinnov processed the latest technologies by Dolby Laboratories®, DTS Inc® and Auro Technologies®.
To provide media sources for this immersive home cinema, we installed a Kaleidescape movie server, a Denon BluRay player, an Apple TV and an X-Box. This gives the family the ability to watch high definition content and play games within their cinema.
The chocolate brown seating was from Fortress, California, with recliners and cup-holders, for an authentic cinema experience. These comfortable seats have a 22” seat & back width.
Above all, to provide control for all of the cinema electronics and environmental systems, we installed a Crestron hand-held touchpanel remote. Consequently, this allows the client to control the cinema, the lighting, HVAC etc at the touch of a button, meaning that he could just sit back and enjoy the film.
Construction and Installation
We created a baffle wall to house the front loudspeaker array. This extended from floor to ceiling and across from side-wall to side-wall. The wall was rigid and well-constructed, to avoid resonance issues. In the same vein, the loudspeakers were decoupled from the structure, to minimise low-frequency energy transfer from the speakers. Similarly, to prevent resonances, the void between the baffle wall and the structural wall was filled with absorbent material.
Our installation team built and tested the equipment rack off-site and, once the room was ready, transported it to the client’s home for installation.
Once all of the cinema components had been installed, we commissioned and calibrated the room for optimum performance.
We are really pleased with the performance of this immersive home cinema – it is a welcoming and comfortable place to escape for a few hours and, moreover, the client says it is his favourite room in the house!
For more about home cinemas and media rooms, please see our article What’s the Difference Between A Media Room and A Home Cinema. To see another project, please see our Stunning Basement Cinema.