Home cinema design is part science and part art. As a home cinema designer, we spend many hours working on each project. We create home cinema rooms that deliver stunning performances, within an equally remarkable environment.
In this post, we look at:
- What is a home cinema design?
- What goes into a design?
- When should you bring in a home cinema designer?
- The Cinema Designer – the ultimate home cinema designer tool, by Guy Singleton
- In Conclusion
What is a home cinema design, what does a home cinema designer do?
It seems a silly question, but what do we mean when we talk about the design of a home cinema room? As a home cinema designer; before we can think about the technical or aesthetic design, we have to consider what the room is, what it will be used for and therefore how we can create a plan to meet the design objectives.
You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.George Lucas, Film Director
Naturally, at the very beginning of the design process, we spend a lot of time talking to our client. We have to get a good understanding of their needs, preferences and hopes. A home cinema room should deliver a breathtaking theatrical experience. And it should look and feel aligned with the client’s wishes and even their personality.
We have to think about the types of media that the client will consume within the cinema room – movies, games, sporting events, box sets and so on. We consider how that will be delivered: BluRay, Apple TV, Xbox, movie server etc. We think about who will use the room – family, friends, guests. And we think about the client’s aesthetic preferences. Should the room tie into the general aesthetic of the home or does the client have a theme in mind?
When we create the design, each of the perspectives: the technical details and the room’s appearance, are considered together. This ensures that we deliver the perfect project, We have over 25 years of working as a home cinema designer and have installed countless rooms!
What goes into a design?
Firstly, every one of our projects is based on fundamental design and engineering principles. These include standards design criteria from SMPTE, THX, ISF, CEA and CEDIA. Also, as an approved NICEIC electrical company, we also have a practical understanding of electrical regulations and are qualified to design electrical systems.
We go on to calculate the technical elements, such as the requirements for the loudspeakers at the main listening position, the room modal responses and the projector throw distance. Since the advent of immersive cinema rooms, with multiple loudspeakers installed at height and at ear level, the trigonometry required to calculate the correct position is complicated and time-consuming (more on this below).
The next stage is to create detailed CAD drawings of the design; floorplans, reflective ceiling plans, baffle-wall construction drawings etc. These give detailed information about the layout of the room and the location of the equipment.
Following that, we complete an acoustic appraisal of the room. We calculate the room responses so that we can plan the acoustic treatments. (This is a whole topic in itself and there is more information about it in our post “Acoustic Treatment for Home Cinemas“.)
We create detailed cable schedules and rack layout drawings for the installation phase of the project. This ensures that the installation is smooth and drama free.
Design for other room elements
As we are experts in home technology, we also create designs for the lighting system, the integration of the HVAC, the control system and the window shading (usually motorised blinds and curtains). Having a comfortable and elegant environment is absolutely crucial to the client’s enjoyment of the room.
In terms of aesthetic design, we create visual renders and full-motion videos to convey our ideas and to give our clients an accurate feel for the appearance of the room.
The overall design, and each constituent part of the plan, may go through several revisions before the final version is agreed upon. Designs often evolve over several meetings and conferences into the eventual result. But that is fine with us because we work tenaciously for our clients until the perfect design is achieved.
The rear of the cinema: the design includes technical and aesthetic home cinema elements, electrical, control system and lighting design
When should you engage a home cinema designer?
The perfect answer to this question is of course, as soon as possible! Being able to contribute to the fundamental room design at an early stage will allow us to give the very best results. Having said that, we have experienced construction project professionals and we know that not every project will follow the guidebook! If you decide to have a cinema room in your home, please do consider bringing in your professional at an early stage, even if it is only to offer initial outline guidance. This should avoid the worst of any potential mistakes in the initial construction of the room.
Most often, our clients find us when they are planning their cinema rooms at the pre-construction stage. This is perfect as it allows us plenty of time to collaborate with the client and their build team, to ensure that the room fundamentals are right from the start.
The Cinema Designer, by Guy Singleton
Creating a comprehensive home cinema design is a complicated and time-consuming process. Our principal designer, Guy Singleton, has led our design team for over 20 years. He has created home cinemas of all scales and for all budgets. Some years ago, with the advent of immersive cinema rooms, the design process grew substantially more complicated and more of a “time black hole”. Guy became frustrated that there was no software available to streamline the process and create technically correct designs. And so he conceived of and created specialist software for specifically that purpose. The Cinema Designer was born – this was the genesis moment!
In fact, The Cinema Designer was born of the design in these very images. It was whilst working on this design here that Guy had the idea for The Cinema Designer. (There is more information about Cinema Design and The Cinema Designer in our article “Home Cinema Design”.)
Guy’s home cinema designer software is now used by thousands of companies across the globe, creating thousands of designs each year.
Our design work is born of our passion for creating the finest home cinemas. As home cinema designers, we use technical principles and creativity to deliver award-winning, scintillating home cinema experiences. Using formats such as full-motion videos and CAD drawings, we convey our ideas and plans to our clients. We continue, with energy and tenacity, to revise and hone our ideas, leading to the perfect design for our clients.
Finally, our technical credentials were manifested with the creation of industry software: “The Cinema Designer”, which is being used by our peers around the globe.
All art is dependent on technology because it’s a human endeavour, so even when you’re using charcoal on a wall or designed the proscenium arch, that’s technology.George Lucas, Film Director
We hope that we can inspire your home cinema design process.
For further reading, please see our ultimate home cinema “Luxury Screening Room” or this “Stunning Basement Cinema“. In this post, Guy explains a little about some of the technical elements of home cinema audio.