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Ben's new cinema room....

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by benwillcox, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    I did at one point think about a hushbox, but the bottom of the box would drop lower into the room which I don't want to do, plus I would have to fart about with ducting and all that stuff to get rid of the hot air, so I decided against it.

    Actually the noise level from the projectors is very low - I would describe it as 'whisper quiet', although having said that one of the fans drones a little and needs replacing. Its the computer that makes a racket though, it sounds like a jet taking off, and I'll really need to do something about that!

    Cheers,
    Ben
     
  2. sunama

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    If you want to do things correctly, then watercool that pc. You will be guarenteed to bring noise levels as low as they can get.
     
  3. andyturner28

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    My PC is too noisy too. I think it is mostely from the power supply as i have Arctic cooling fans for the processer and graphics card. I would be interested to know how you quieten yours down as i cant do anything till the new year.

    Andy.
     
  4. MrMovieBits

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    Great looking install Ben!

    Look forward to seeing the finished article :)

    Dave.
     
  5. andyturner28

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    Hows it going Ben? Got any more pictures for us yet?

    Andy.
     
  6. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Hi Andy,

    I've not had much time to do a lot on the room recently, but I'm starting to get back into it!

    Heres the next bit of progress - the shelf around the perimeter of the room that will have downlighters and a ropelight set into it, and will also hide the cables that need to be routed around the room. I just cut a test piece of the shelf with one downlighter in as a test - the front will have some crown-moulding or something attached to it to cover the batten you can currently see:

    [​IMG]

    I've since painted all the wood black the same colour as the ceiling. Heres a closeup of the light - I'm planning to have 2 on each side of the room, and several more above the screen/stage section:


    [​IMG]

    The lamps I am using are 12V 20W halogens with an aluminium reflector - these are special lamps that are designed to reflect the heat downwards, and limit the light leakage from the rear of the lamp. Normal 12V dichroic lamps direct the heat backwards and have a large amount of light spill from the rear - as the top of the shelf is open, this would mean my ceiling would light up which I don't want, and the heat may damage any cables run on top of the shelf!
    Even with these lamps there is a small amount of light leakage from the rear of the lamp - I managed to reduce this to almost nothing by spray-painting the rear of the lamp with very high temperature black manifold paint!


    I've also been playing with the blend setup. Using my current self-built HTPC, there is some lag between the two sides of the images on panning shots, which I need to eliminate. I'm using a dualhead Radeon 9500 (or something), and the limiting factor I believe seems to be the bandwidth of the AGP bus (CPU is not maxed out whilst this happens). Also, the 2.4GHz P4 is not capable of blending 720p material as it just does not have the CPU power.
    So I tested the setup again using VLC with a Dell Optiplex 745 with a 2GHz Core 2 Duo and a Radeon X1300 dual VGA/DVI PCIe card. This time there is no lag between the two screens, and playing 720p material only uses about 20% CPU - much better! Oh, and the Dell is SILENT too! Shame I have only borrowed it!

    Also, have built my riser for the back row of seats. This was made from 8x2 flooring joists so will give a total height about 9 inches when the flooring material is on. I spaced the joists on 52cm centres so they exactly match with the mounting holes in the seats. The riser is 1.2m wide, which gives plenty of legroom, and meant that I got 4 lengths cut from a 4.8m joist.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Next job I think is to build the stage and the columns and put the shelf on properly.
     
  7. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Next installment......

    I got sick of falling over the projectors on the floor, so now they are on the ceiling!

    I used 2 x 3m lengths of 41x21mm unistrut channel, 8 x M8 channel nuts, several washers, spring washers, nuts and a length of M8 threaded rod.

    So the hard bit was firstly determining the projector position, measuring out accurately from the screen wall, and locating the joists. Once that was all worked out, we used M6 x 3 inch coach screws to fasten the unistrut to the ceiling. As the unistrut crosses the joists, we put one screw into each joist, which worked out at 6 for each length of strut. There is absolutely no way this stuff is coming out of the ceiling!

    Here's the unistrut bolted to the ceiling:

    [​IMG]

    The rear of the projectors are bolted straight into the channel nuts using M8x20 bolts. Because the projectors are closer to the screen due to the blending, the front ends are tilted down slightly, hence the threaded rod.

    I got a couple of mates round to help with the heavy lifting - I did the difficult job of tightening the nuts while they balanced the projectors on their heads :D

    And the finished result:


    [​IMG]

    Spent a bit of time doing a rough setup of convergence and geometry so I have a watchable picture. Still a lot of tweaking and adjusting to do!

    I was worried about how low from the ceiling these things would hang down, but it actually looks much better than I thought. I have to duck to walk under them myself, but anyone shorter than 6 foot doesn't need to bother. The other thing I was worried about was the projectors obscuring the top of the screen when viewing from the back row, but its not an issue at all.
     
  8. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Things are progressing nicely.

    The stage is complete, just need to finish the boarding on top of it. I'll be building some columns at the side of the screen to hold the speakers and to cover the automatic masking system, and the centre speaker will be enclosed as I build out the bottom of the screen wall.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Seats are not bolted down yet, but I put some up to test the height of the screen and the riser to see if you can see over the heads of people on the front row. I had to raise the screen 4 inches from its original position, and the riser up by 1 1/2 inches to make a total riser height of 10 inches, and it seems fine unless there are 4 basketball players sitting in front :D
    Oh and the steps on each side are built too. The riser and step flooring is standard 18mm tongue and groove chipboard, the front edge was rounded over with my router to hopefully make the carpet easier to fit.
    [​IMG]

    And another shot of the two blended projectors. Because the projectors are closer to the screen due to the blending, they are actually in the perfect position. If there was just one projector it would be much further back to get this screen size, and it would be a big obstruction to people walking along the back row.
    [​IMG]

    Main construction left to do is the columns in all 4 corners of the room to hide the speakers, then lots of cabling needs to happen so I can wire everything back to the equipment rack.
     
  9. sunama

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    What is the size of your projection screen?
     
  10. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Sunama, the screen is 9 1/2 feet wide, in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
     
  11. robzter

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    im starting to get jealous now....
     
  12. waqaszaib

    waqaszaib
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    it looks like it cost you sevral grand but looks well worth it.

    am gona start mine in or some one to do all the diy work etc as i cant and am dreding the cost of it all, after reading all 9 pages of your topic.

    all the best and look to seeing it all finished soon.

    Waqas
     
  13. SpencerUp

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    any more progress with this? looks great so far!
     
  14. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Well, progress is slowing down a little now as I'm a bit skint. So near yet so far....:suicide:

    The frame for the window 'plug' is ready to have a sheet of <something> screwed to it that will be painted the same colour as the wall. Its a removeable panel that will be held in place with some magnet catches or something.

    [​IMG]

    Also fitted the extra lights towards the back of the room:

    [​IMG]

    I'm also working on my automatic screen masking system. Because this is a Constant Image Height system I only need side masking, so I am using a normal corded curtain track which will have black velvet curtains. I can therefore adjust the aspect ratio by opening or closing the curtains by different amounts.
    I want to automate this so I'm using a motorised opener to operate the track cord, however I'm modifying the unit to add an RS232 serial port to allow the HTPC to control everything.
    The VLC software player detects the aspect ratio of the video and outputs the ratio to its STDERR output. I am capturing this data using a Perl program and this sends the necessary serial commands to the curtain opener to set the position.
    The problem I have at the moment is accurately setting the curtain position on the track - my first design used 4 reed switches mounted to the track to set 4 different aspect ratios. This worked OK, except that setting up these positions is a bit fiddly, and 4 ratios isn't enough! So the new design has an opto sensor on the drivewheel, and will count the revolutions to allow any ratio to be set with only a single reed switch to mark the closed limit, for calibration.

    Here's the track mounted, it will be hidden from view eventually:

    [​IMG]

    And here's the curtain opener in its first revision, modified to add RS232 port and connection for the feedback switches:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. SpencerUp

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    Ben, looking really good mate, I am not suprised you are running out of cash! Are you doing this whilst still working?

    If you don't mind me asking, what are you currently up to financially on this project?
     
  16. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Oh yes, all the work is done mostly at odd weekends and the occasional evening after work. Thats why it's taking me so long!

    Hmm, this is a tricky one! I've started to note all the costs down in a spreadsheet, but there's lots of bits n bobs that I've probably forgotten to log down, but all add up in the end! According to my sheet Im up to around £3.5K :eek:
    Some of the larger costs were £1100 for the aircon, £450 for the plasterboard and plastering, £750 for the two projectors, and £530 for the seats.
    That doesn't include stuff like the computer, and amp and speakers, which I already had, but I would like to add new speakers and amp for when the whole lot is finished properly.

    Cheers,
    Ben
     
  17. sunama

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    A question about the air con unit.
    Ive been thinking about getting one of these for my living room, which houses my projector. The ones Im thinking about are the sort which has 1 unit outside the house and 1 unit inside the room. Is this the sort that you are using?

    Ive seen these types of air con units for as little as £570.
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/24-000-BTU-Sp...2QQihZ013QQcategoryZ20711QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    I have seen some cheaper units, as low as £290.

    What unit did you get and can I ask why you didnt opt for a cheaper unit like that which I have listed above?
     
  18. SpencerUp

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    Cheers for that Ben, Well make sure you don't forget to post pics soon. Can't wait to see it all finished!
     
  19. CFS

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    I can't believe how much effort has gone into this build, v. excited to see final product.
     
  20. benwillcox

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    Thanks for all the comments! :smashin:

    Sunama, yes it is a split unit that I installed. There is some discussion about it right back at the start of this thread. To recap, the aircon I installed is a Dual unit, so it has one outdoor unit and 2 indoor units, (one in each room) so less common than the single models you have linked to.
    If you're installing yourself you'll need a vacuum pump and pipe flaring tool to do the job properly - without the flaring tool you have no way of cutting the pipes to the correct length.
    Also you probably want an Inverter model, which means the unit can vary the speed of the fan and compressor to modulate the temperature control - some units just switch on and off to regulate temperature, which means they're not as quiet as an Inverter type.

    Cheers,
    Ben
     
  21. SpencerUp

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    Overall - Very impressive. Ben have you got a 360? If not, when you have finished this project you need to go out and get one. I bet it would play awesome on that!

    Looking forward to more pics!
     
  22. surrey lad

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    That's a lovely pair you have hanging there :)
     
  23. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    No I don't have one, I'm not really into games much! However it's a good job, because one of the limitations of the VLC blending system is that it only works with video files that can be played back through VLC, i.e. no plugging in games consoles, sky boxes etc.

    Oh I also forgot to mention another thing about the aircon, that £1100 price allowed for the vacuum pump hire, unistrut for wall brackets, 20A external isolator and extra lengths of copper refrigeration pipe & insulation and other bits and bobs needed - stuff you might forget you need to add on to the price!

    Ben.
     
  24. sunama

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    What is the 20A external isolator used for and where does it go?
     
  25. SpencerUp

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    Nooooooo! I am shocked at this! So what exactly can it play back?

    :confused:
     
  26. benwillcox

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    Over a certain size, the split aircon units need a separate mains supply direct from your consumer unit. The isolator is basically an outdoor weatherproof switch that terminates the supply, and the unit connects into. You can see mine here (the red/yellow switch on the right) http://www.avforums.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2621123&postcount=11
     
  27. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    It can play back media files including HD material from an HTPC, and of course DVDs.

    Im not really interested in anything else at the moment, although I know for a lot of people that is what puts them off the VLC blending method. Some others are looking into to get around this, such as HD capture cards streaming to the VLC player etc, but I'm not fussed about this right now.

    I wouldn't let my Sky box anywhere near this lot, their mpeg streams are compressed so much it would look nasty, and they crop movies to 16:9 :eek: - yuk!


    :D

    Ben
     
  28. SpencerUp

    SpencerUp
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    Fair enough, that make sense. Just out of interest how does the rest of your place look? Have you got any nice setups in your living room etc?
     
  29. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    Actually no, the living room has just a 10 year old 4:3 TV stuck in the corner! If I didn't have the cinema room then I'd definately put more effort into having a decent system in the living room, but as it is I don't mind keeping it basic in there.

    Cheers,
    Ben
     
  30. benwillcox

    benwillcox
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    OK I got the last bits of chipboard flooring for the riser and stage, and filled them with insulation and screwed the boards down:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I've also got my automated masking system working! I've done a little write up on my website, you can find it here.

    Also got some speaker cable and co-axial cable for the subwoofer so have started running those in. Got some nice matt black sockets too for the projector supplies, and for the subwoofer. Hopefully will get those all fitted in soon!

    Ben
     

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