An Immersive Cinema Experience at Home
The true home theater experience can take you away to another place. You become so immersed in the film you feel like you are part of the movie. In the film industry, they call this “the suspension of disbelief.” When planning a home theater, people often start out with an equipment list, but the design of the room is far more important.
The goal is to create exactly what happens in a movie theater, with the image from a high-quality projector reflecting to your eyes from a large film screen. In our blog on screen size, you will learn how to choose the right size screen for your room. Your screen size, its height off the floor, and how many rows of seats you have are factors to account for in your theater room design.
Sight Lines Are Key
You want all viewers to enjoy the entire picture without having to look over or around someone’s head, and you don’t want viewers to have to stretch their necks to see the screen. Audio Advice experts can help with this, laying out in CAD format almost all of our dedicated front projection home theaters. Line-of-sight is a tricky subject and can make or break a room where more than a couple of people will enjoy the film experience.
In designing a dedicated home theater room, you should not have to worry about anything other than making things perfect for sight and sound. (That’s why you made it a dedicated room!) We can help you with screen layout, plus projector, speaker, and component placement. Other important considerations are how it will look and how the room can be treated for acoustics. Many magazines and websites can give you ideas for the architectural look of your theater. Audio Advice also has decorators and designers we work with on theater appointments. We cannot stress enough how big a difference the proper acoustics approach will make in the enjoyment of your theater. Please read our acoustics blog for more information. Home Theater Acoustics
Ben Hur was one of the first movies to go wide and it’s been non-stop since then. Today, about 80% of the blockbuster movies are being produced in the wider aspect ratio of 2:35. The great news is you can now enjoy this in your home theater. Recent technology changes have made it possible to have the same ultra wide screen in your home as found in a movie theater. Today, over 75% of our dedicated home theater rooms being installed have the 2:35 option.
Acoustics and Soundproofing
In designing a dedicated home theater, speaker placement is extremely important. By far, the most important track in a film is the dialogue track. This is produced through the center channel speaker.
If you cannot understand dialogue, the impact of the movie is greatly reduced. In theater rooms with multiple rows of seats, hearing dialogue clearly can be a challenge.
Not only should your family and guests be able to see all of the screen, they need to hear all of the speakers. No speaker is more important than the center channel. It’s fairly easy to get sound right when there is only one row of home theater seating, but with two or more rows, the location of the center channel becomes critical. Our experts will help you with your design to optimize the center speaker position.
There is a good rule to follow for the best separation of the left and right speakers. We like to see them at about a 45 to 60 degree angle with the main seating position. Use a 45 degree position if the main use of the room is movies, spread the speakers further apart if you will also be enjoying concert videos or audio. Our staff can help you plot this out.
Movie theaters have always used a screen with perforations so the speakers could be placed behind the screen. Until recently, this was not a good idea in the home as you could see artifacts due to the perforation pattern. Now the technology exists to create a perforation pattern that has zero artifacts. The effect of having the speakers behind the screen and hearing the dialog come from the middle of the screen is a tremendous difference over having the speakers above or below the screen. Once you hear it, you will not want to go back. We can help you plan for this in your theater.
The subwoofer (the speaker providing deep bass effects) can usually be hidden under the screen. Again, we can help with design options. Remember that the worst spot for a subwoofer is in the middle of your room, the best, close to a corner. And the more subs the better – four is ideal!
Surround Speakers Placements
Finally, surround speakers can be positioned to your sides and on the rear wall. You should have one or more pairs of side speakers and one pair of rear speakers. Their placement will be related to how your seating arrangement works out. We can offer lots of advice here.
Dolby Atmos is the latest surround sound configuration and is a sound effect revolution. To get all of its benefits, we need to help you plan for the proper speaker placement. The great part is two fold: the movie studios are already creating films in these modes, and a regular Blu-Ray player can extract the signal. You can learn many more details about this exciting new technology here. We can help you plan for this in your future theater.
In most dedicated home theater rooms, equipment is housed outside the room to minimize noise. It is critical for the life expectancy of components that they have adequate ventilation. Your amplifier or receiver will put out some heat, but the cable box, satellite box, or video game radiate a great deal of heat. If you use an existing cabinet, passive ventilation by drilling holes is not sufficient to exhaust hot air. Audio Advice typically installs a ventilation fan in the cabinet to exhaust the hot air, and using a remote mounted thermostat controlled fan is even better. We can mount one of these in your crawl space so you never hear the fan noise.
Controlling It All
If no one can figure out how to turn the system on and make selections, it's obvious the enjoyment factor will drop! A well thought out remote control can make all of the difference! Reliable options now exist so you can hide all your components and get signals to them perfectly. We offer you a wide range of options. We still feel a dedicated remote is far better than trying to use your phone or tablet for control. Read about our tests in our blog here.
The Ultimate Home Theater
Imagine an area of your home decorated with a cinema theme, perhaps with a vintage popcorn machine & concession area setting off the area outside the screening room. Your invited guests gather here for wine and conversation before the movie begins. You invite them all into your theater room and with one button push start a video script that includes a personalized movie intro with your name just like at the movies! The lights then dim and the movie begins with no previews at all.
During the film, images have almost three-dimensional vividness, and you are enveloped in the music and effects of the soundtrack, clearly understanding everything that is said. When the movie ends, your friends comment that the experience is so much better than a movie theater, they can’t imagine why you would ever leave home! Is this your ultimate home theater dream? Whatever yours happens to be, our design team can help your dream come true.
You may find it interesting to read our blog on the build out of our reference theater in our Charlotte location in Pineville: Building the reference theater at Charlotte Audio Advice