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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everybody, I've been reading the forums for a while to get ideas for my home theater in anticipation of my new house with unfinished basement. We're all moved in to the house and I'm ready to start the planning phase for finishing the basement. I want a home theater and an office down there and would like to make the most of my space (primarily for the theater). The problem space-wise is that there are two round metal support posts in the middle of the basement (indicated on the floorplans as brown dots). Here's a floorplan of the basement as it is now.
http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/729/basementoriginal.jpg

Here's what I've got planned so far for the layout:
http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/6318/basementoption1.jpg

The ceilings will be about 7 feet tall and I was hoping to do a 120"-140" 16x9 screen, and was hoping to two rows of seating, so a room 18 feet long seems like it would be on the small side. It occurred to me that I could move the back wall a few feet back, and put the post in some kind of pillar, which would allow me to move the seating back a bit, but I'm not sure how well that would work in real life having a pillar there.
http://img826.imageshack.us/img826/8568/basementoption2.jpg

I wanted to get some opinions from people who maybe have dealt with a similar issue, or at least people with projectors and a large screen to see what thoughts you you have on having a pillar in the room, or if there are other configurations you'd suggest. Let me know if you need any more information.
 

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With the last layout the only thing you would be able to do is add maybe a single seat on each side of the pole, But with the distance you are still limiting your screen size. I am currently running a 100" screen in my room at a viewing distance of 10ft and two of my friends has already said that its too close. Its final position will be at 12ft though which will be really good. Just can't put the seating back yet as I have the projector on a temporary shelving and not on the ceiling. So yea even in room layout 2 its going to be tight having two rows, real tight.
 

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I would go with plan 1..Having a post in the room limits seating placement and just doesn't look good..no matter what you do to it..
I would also suggest going for a smaller screen, if you want two rows of seating..
You need to locate your front row position first and then decide on what size screen looks best..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I hate pillars too, but I was hoping that having the pillar right behind the back row of seating and maybe having the projector hanging right next to it might make it not stick out so much. Putting seats on either side of it is an interesting idea that I hadn't considered, although that might make the post seem even more obtrusive.

To be clear, I'm not planning on doing a full-scale fancy theater with a stage and crown molding around the whole ceiling or anything, my main concerns are comfort, and function in terms of decent acoustic treatments and soundproofing. The vast majority of the room's use will by for me by myself, until my kids turn into teenagers and bring all their friends over to wreck it, so maybe the second row of seating isn't that big of a deal.
 

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OK..The other way to go would be to use plan 2..Make your back row position your front row (Immediately in front of the pole..for now) and you can throw some cushions or bean bags in front of the seats for any additional viewers..
Then you can consider the larger size screen..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's probably the way I'll go then. The other thing I thought of is that I could have two rows and have the back row my primary seats, but either way its something that can be adjusted after construction is done. In any case with one row or two it seems like shoving the seating all the way back to the pole is going to be the only way to use a really big screen in there, so as long as I can make the thing not seem too obtrusive I'm leaning towards plan 2. I was also thinking maybe I could integrate the pole into some kind of shelving or a counter/cabinet setup for snacks or something to make it look at least a little more like it's supposed to be there, rather than a ridiculous pole in the middle of the room. Anyone have any ideas on that?

Or does anyone think I should configure the basement differently to maximize the space? I don't really like the idea of walking through the theater to get into the office and utility room, but maybe that would work better than trying to deal with the pole in the room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Like this, I think is the only other option:
http://img99.imageshack.us/img99/1781/basementoption3.jpg

4 times as many doors in the theater room, a window to deal with and I lose the resell value of the office being marketed as a bedroom, the theater room is actually a bit shorter than in option 2, but not having the pole there lets me put the seating back a bit more, and I think maybe I'll be a little further away from the furnace, which would be nice.

The other thing is, how far back does the projector need to be from a 120+ inch screen? Will the pole get in the way of that?
 

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Personally I would just stick with the first design and eliminate the second row of seating. You really just don't have the room for two rows. Most of the theater seating is 40" Deep, plus and additional 28" when the recliner is out for a total of 68" deep for each row of seating. Figure for 100" screen I would be a min. and I mean min. 10ft from the screen. So you have your 10ft plus 40" to the back of row one seating and you are at 13ft-4". Now add another 68" plus say another 6-12" for room btw back of row one and a fully reclinded second row and you are at 20ft to the back of the second row, which you do not have. I see most dual seating theaters with at least 30ft of length. Just my $.02

Now as far as the projector is concerned, each projector will have its own throw distance rating meaning some can be placed closer than others and produce the same size image or bigger. Use this calculator to play around with different models.

http://www.eliteprojectorcalculator.com/
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I added couches based on the dimensions of my current reclining leather couch to the option 2 floorplan. Assuming it's 10 feet to the location of the person's head, I believe I have that in the first row, based on the option 2 floorplan, which allows 6 feet for the back row. I don't (at this time) plan to use segmented theater seats, my preference would be to use one reclining couch and one non-reclining couch, and if the view from the first row isn't entirely ridiculous, I'll probably keep both rows and use the back row primarily, with the front row just for overflow seating. If it's just impossible to watch from the front row location I'll just go with one row.



I also added a counter/shelf thing behind the couch where the pole is to the floorplan, which looks pretty appealing to me so far.

So let me ask this. If a 122" 16x9 screen is just way too big for two rows to deal with, would it make sense rather than going down to a 100" 16x9 screen, to go with a 128" 2.4:1 screen? if I'm doing the math right on that, it should give an image similar to a 100" screen for 16x9 content, but widescreen movies would end up being larger than on a 122" screen. Is the 10 foot viewing distance simply to keep you from having to turn your head to see the whole picture, or what?
 

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I like option 2 as you call it, except with one dedicated row of seating. This gives you a little more flexibility in viewing distance, and keeps the back wall away from the seats a good distance. Posts are a pain, but you can dress them up to become unobtrusive. Also check projector centrals website. They have a decent throw and screen size calculator, and it works based on make and model you choose.
Also...you mentioned this is a new house? Any reason why the ceiling is only 7 ft?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also...you mentioned this is a new house? Any reason why the ceiling is only 7 ft?
I couldn't tell you, it seems like all of the basements at the houses I looked at were around the same height, and most of them were new construction. I'm from Portland Oregon, where we don't really have basements, and just moved to Des Moines, so I didn't know if the ceiling height was unusual or not. The height from the cement to the joists is actually 7 feet 10 inches tall, but I wanted to estimate on the safe side for after putting a subfloor and carpet down plus a couple layers of drywall on clips. Hopefully the finished ceiling will be more like 7 1/2 feet tall.
 

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The viewing distances are based on either Dolby's or THX's recommended viewing distances. I have used the calculators to get an idea of where i should be. Now in real life to me, watching too close strains my eyes. THX actually recommends closer viewing distances than Dolby.

On a side note, you can help out with the loss of even more headroom when installing the clips and hat channel on the ceiling by installing blocking in between the ceiling joists and running the hat channel parallel with the existing joists rather than perpendicular to them. You just keep the blocking up inside the cavity and have it so you leave enough space safely btw the drywall on the clips and the existing ceiling joists. I know of one guy on here that actually made it so he had 1/4" btw drywall and existing joists, which is cutting it very close with no room for error.
 

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The viewing distances are based on either Dolby's or THX's recommended viewing distances. I have used the calculators to get an idea of where i should be. Now in real life to me, watching too close strains my eyes. THX actually recommends closer viewing distances than Dolby.

On a side note, you can help out with the loss of even more headroom when installing the clips and hat channel on the ceiling by installing blocking in between the ceiling joists and running the hat channel parallel with the existing joists rather than perpendicular to them. You just keep the blocking up inside the cavity and have it so you leave enough space safely btw the drywall on the clips and the existing ceiling joists. I know of one guy on here that actually made it so he had 1/4" btw drywall and existing joists, which is cutting it very close with no room for error.
This is what I did - although I went for 1/2" instead of a 1/4" as I was not that daring. It was actually pretty easy and saved a few inches in height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
On a side note, you can help out with the loss of even more headroom when installing the clips and hat channel on the ceiling by installing blocking in between the ceiling joists and running the hat channel parallel with the existing joists rather than perpendicular to them. You just keep the blocking up inside the cavity and have it so you leave enough space safely btw the drywall on the clips and the existing ceiling joists. I know of one guy on here that actually made it so he had 1/4" btw drywall and existing joists, which is cutting it very close with no room for error.
That's a great idea, I'll definitely be doing that now. On the subject of soundproofing, does it make sense to keep the walls separate from the ceiling in some way? My number one soundproofing concern is sound transfer through the ceiling (in both directions) and I have this idea in my head that I could build walls where the framing doesn't actually connect to the ceiling joists so sound won't transfer through the walls into the ceiling. I haven't seen anything about it online though, so I'm guessing there's a fundamental flaw with the idea that either makes it ineffective or structurally unsound.

I should probably mention at this point that I've barely done any construction, I'm more of a electrical guy, the extent of my dealings with sheetrock has been in running wires behind it and repairing the many holes I've made.
 

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Well, the way I handled it was to put up my OSB on the walls first. When I came to a corner, I would put up one side and stop it about 1/2" short of the stud (they were screwed to the clips so no need to go all the way to the stud) and then I butted the other side up to the 1st piece of OSB. I made sure to cut the height of them so that they stopped where the ceiling channel started. Then, when I did the ceiling, I butted them up to the wall OSB.

When all was done, I used the acoustical sealant on all my joints. So, in essence I created a new "corner" for the room that was floating about 1/2" or so from the stud corner.

When I did the second layer of drywall, I made sure to do the corners in the same order so that I did not create a straight seam from room to studs - it ended up looking like this:


___________
__________|
********||
********||
********||
********||

* - inside the room

Then, I sealed the joints again.

I hope this helps - if I did not explain it well enough, let me know and I will see if I can locate a picture.
 
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