Looking for some feedback/tips - First Home Theater/Media Room - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 2 Old 02-12-12, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: 96741
Posts: 14
Looking for some feedback/tips - First Home Theater/Media Room

Good afternoon everyone!

Some background: We finally got around to putting up drywall on the ceiling in the main (formerly kids TV Room) part of our basement - the kids weren't crazy about the "basement feel" ;-) My wife wanted the 52" TV up in the Living Room so after looking at replacement TV prices and then doing a fair amount of reading/research I had decided a projector was the way to go and the Epson 8350 was the best bang for my buck for my first projector...and then found it on sale before the Holidays so that purchase started the project moving forward quickly.

Ultimately I would love to have an Acoustically Transparent screen - but with 3 small kids - not a good idea. I wanted something that could easily be cleaned and repaired (if needed). I've read all sorts of reviews and the back & forth of opinions on what DIY screen is "optimal" - and initially started off thinking I would go with a painted MDF material - and stated trying to source a 5x9 or 5x10 sheet - and started reading the multitude of posts on paint formulas/shades. Finding the MDF has been tough and then I stumbled on a treasure trove of posts/instructions on using Wilsonart Laminate for a screen surface and have been excited since.

But not having ever used the projector (other than to determine the location so I could run cabling before the ceiling went in) - I want to make sure I'm headed down the best path for the COLOR of the screen relative to my viewing conditions and thought I'd post my specifics and see what y'all had to say.

Keep in mind that although the screen will be the prominent feature in the room, this is NOT a dedicated Home Theater. It will be the kids playroom, and home of the XBOX & Wii.

My hands are tied on the painting scheme (so far) although I was able to "negotiate" with the "designer" something acceptable for her tastes (she does do this color/design stuff for a living so I consider myself very lucky to have moved the needle towards a darker shade than she wanted!)

I won't have the typical HT seating or multiple rows - Basically there will be one large couch in the prime viewing location and either a loveseat and chair off to each side or a couple of chairs. Kids will use Beanbag chairs or the like when needed.

Here's the specifics and please refer to the screencap from my Home Planning software.

Room size: 19' deep, 18' wide
Ceiling Height: 7'
Windows: 2 small/high up windows that can be completely light controlled
Wall colors: A dark maroon/red color
Ceiling: White ...so far ;-)
Projector: Epson 8350
Screen size: 5' x 9' (roughly)
Proj. Distance: Roughly 13' 9" give or take a few - located off to one side - see diagram

The screen is in the middle at the bottom of the image. The projector is being mounted off to the left side of the room (when looking from the screen - the rectangle area with red hash fill) so as to allow the kids to still use the XBOX Kinect. We found that centered didn't leave them any room to work with but by using the projectors shift functions we could still get the screen placement we needed and mount the Kinect off to the opposite side on a wall mount. It's not optimal but it works so they don't end up in front of the projected image.

That horizontal line on either side of the couch and lining up with the back of the projector location is a bulkhead that runs across the back of the room so can't move the projector back any further. The current location will be a fixed shelf where the bottom is flush to the bulkhead and will hide all the equipment/cable clutter...and keep the kids from trying to hang from the projector

As noted, I have full light control and will likely not have any lights on when viewing movies - or may have some low (dimmed) recessed lights if the kids want to watch TV and not be in the dark.

So trying to determine exactly how bright my projected image will be given the Model and throw distance and room/lighting conditions. I've toyed around with the Projection Calculator at Projector Central but not sure I understand what it's telling me? Seems like the throw range is within norms - but not sure how the different Projector "Color Mode" settings impact the calculations? Looks like I end up in the Recommended Image Brightness "green" bands and the brightness says 18fL.

I've been leaning towards the Wilsonart Desginer White D354-60 as the screen material but I have read more than once that the image may be "too bright" in a dark room - but no references to what Color Mode - that would seem to make sense for the Dynamic (brightest) or Daylight Living Room settings - but I'm thinking the "Theatre" modes may be the ticket in that situation.

I know every room/setup yields different results so don't expect an off the shelf solution/answer - just want to put things into context given what I have to work with.

Things I can change:
1) if the white ceiling creates a psuedo ambient light situation - I'll try to convince "the designer" (aka mother of my children) to paint it a darker color - perhaps something complimentary to the walls. I'll never get black or anything that dark.
2) Size of the screen is negotiable - I do want the largest image possible (who doesn't?) but if the zoom at that throw distance is a problem - I can make it smaller (I believe that's the direction to go in to improve brightness) - but I'm thinking having enough brightness won't be an issue
3) Laminate color - if a grey is deemed to be better, certainly I like contrast and blackest blacks but want to maintain a balance in case there is low lighting on from time to time (dimmed cans)
3) seating location - well not really, it will be every kid for themselves...they typically lay all over

Everything else is pretty much fixed.

The other related aspect I need to decide on is how/what to mount the Laminate to. I've read posts of how wood frames bend/twist/warp over time thus causing the laminate to have waves/bows. I had been leaning towards using " Hardboard (like pegboard w/o the holes) - a few sheets joined together from the back (flush edges on the front) with 2 back mounted 2x4's cut into a French Cleat so the top and bottom are held secure to the wall and sit out a bit (to get a "relief" sort of look). Likely use 1x3 MDF to form a front frame and wrap in a black velvet that doesn't reflect light.

I do like the idea of a screen with no frame or a very minimal frame - but from what I've read the frame will "absorb" the overscan/overprojection and provide crisp viewing edges.

Thanks in advance to all that read/respond to this. There's quite a wealth of info out there and reading these forums has been extremely helpful and educational. I feel I've come a long way since December in my understanding and will likely make mistakes regardless of how much I research - but want to eliminate as much new HT guy error as possible using your collective feedback!

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post #2 of 2 Old 02-15-12, 10:56 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Siesta Key, Florida
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CSS Re: Looking for some feedback/tips - First Home Theater/Media Room

Looks like it is going to be a wonderful Room. I am going to move this to the Projector Subforum as I really believe the most helpful Posts will come from there.

Speakers: Martin Logan Vantage (Mains), Martin Logan Stage (Center), Martin Logan Vista (Surrounds), Martin Logan Montages (Surrounds) Hsu Research VTF-15h MK2, Martin Logan Descent i (Subwoofer)
Amplification: Aragon 8008bb, Parasound HCA-3500, Parasound HCA-2205 AT, Parasound HCA-1000a
AVR/SSP: Denon AVR-4520CI
Electronics: OPPO BDP-93
Gaming Consoles: Sony PS4, Xbox 360 S (250 gb)
Display: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Sony KDL-55EX500, Sony KD-34XBR910
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