Projector Seating Distance, am I too close?

Rocketrazor

Active Member
Hi All,

So, I'm not going to lie but thanks to this thread Movie screenshot eye candy and some nagging I might have just managed to convince the wife to let me finally (money and cost permitting) convert my (sorry our!) external garage into a dedicated cinema room, with the caveat I need to also be able to work in there (i'm home based) but that's an issue for another day. I've drawn up some very rough plans and measurements and i'm a little concerned about seating distance from the screen. By the time I get two rows in (each row has 2 seats for 4 people), the front row will be sitting approx 2m from the screen while the back is approx 3.3m. I was planning for a 100" or 106" screen but will that be too big for the front row? 100" has a viewing area of 2214x1245 while a 106" has a viewing area of 2347x1320. I had a look about recommended viewing distances but then when I see peoples set up I get the feeling these aren't always worried about?

The link here (hopefully mods I can put the link in? If not please let me know or feel free to delete it)

Would indicate that at 16 feet I should be ok with this size, but when I browsed the forums earlier looking at some recommendations I thought I worked out it would be too big. To add to this I recently watched my 50" Plasma at approx 3.3m and I found this to bright, which I'm guessing wouldn't have this issue with a projector but I found it to be totally immersive at that distance.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Rocket
 

Ataripower

Well-known Member
All these distance calculators are a decent guideline but it comes down to what you're comfortable with. I have a 92" screen with a single seating position at just 2.75m away and it's immersive and intense, especially with a 7.2.4 Atmos setup which most experts suggest my room is too small for, but it sounds fantastic.
 
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Rocketrazor

Active Member
See just from that id by looking at 8" more and 0.75 m closer. Would you go larger if you could or are you limited to your environment? It's not exactly the sort of thing that you can really demo easily as most places have it setup to a certain way and I can't exactly borrow one to check! My concern is that it might be too close for whoever is in the front row. The back seats I dont have a problem with and its a lot of money to fork out and then find out it's too close later and only two seats are ideal. I'm was also hoping for 7.2.4 and it would be the front seats that benefit must from the Atmos setup.

Thanks for taking the time to reply
 

alebonau

Well-known Member
So, I'm not going to lie but thanks to this thread Movie screenshot eye candy and some nagging I might have just managed to convince the wife to let me finally (money and cost permitting) convert my (sorry our!) external garage into a dedicated cinema room,
loved your post, just for this. love your dedication and also if the screen candy thread helped any ...

I've drawn up some very rough plans and measurements and i'm a little concerned about seating distance from the screen. By the time I get two rows in (each row has 2 seats for 4 people), the front row will be sitting approx 2m from the screen while the back is approx 3.3m

what is the actual room depth ? can I make a small suggestion... dont do 2 rows.... do one row and with a garage you should easily be able to get 3 in a row... place that to perfection... the rear just have some seats can pull up... or have some bean bags can pull up to sides or in front, or a couch to the side... its difficult a task optimising for one row and two rows adds a lot of complexity and can also mean a compromise for both rows... especially in a garage which can create its own challenges in itself...plus adding cost - to do well.

id work back from room depth... lets say its 5m... I find the rule of 3rds really works well here for both picture and audio... for four reasons... it takes your main listening position off the back wall - worst place to sit due to huge room gain that will mean you have to kill your sub/s and also kills coherency of your vocals and also means you dont sit in the middle of the room which is often usually worst space being a bass null. And thirdly it means you dont need a HUGE screen ! perception of screen size and immersion is a relationship between screen size and viewing distance ... and fourthly it gives you enough room up back for giving your side and height surrounds enough room to breath so not all on top of each other...

so based on say 3m(2/3rd of 5m) from the screen this to recommended THX spec for immersion will get you a 100" screen... I like this spec as it means you dont end up too big or too small a screen for the distance, it over resolves 2k so also get some benefit with 4k - by all means go bigger or smaller than this for screen size as suits your appetite ...

what this will leave you is a good 2m behind the main listening position... this is enough to have a desk down back there if work from home. also enough to place all your side and rear surrounds and height speakers with plenty of room for them to breathe and deliver their best....
 
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kenshingintoki

Distinguished Member
2 rows is difficult. One row will always be shortchanged to some degree as you calibrate for one row or you have to compromise ALL seating positions.

I personally like bigger is better. Especially when it comes to films with black bars and 3D content.

I am doing 4M from a 110-120'' screen and have brought seating forward to 3M lol.
 

nadg63

Active Member
I too have a 110" screen and seating is approx 3m back.
 

kungfuman

Active Member
When I set up my room, I also used the calculator in your link. However, when I looked into it more, I recall the viewing angle recommendations there were based on 16.9 content. Is this room to be used for movies only or for general content (i.e. sports, TV, gaming, etc). Supposedly our eyesight are more sensitive to vertical screen height rather than horizitonal. So the viewing angle recommendation (which is generally horizontal) is generally lower for 16.9 content (36deg in your link) rather than 45deg for 2.39 content. My room is purely for movies, in which the content will be 2.39 ratio content 95% of the time so I based my calculations on this. Height comes into play too as this will vary the vertical viewing angle which if set too high (either too close to screen or screen is to high) then this will cause fatigue for viewer.

This is a link of industry recommendation for 2.39 content:

The width of my screen is 3.37m and I can project a 144" diagonal 2.39 screen (roughly equivalent to a 152" 16.9 screen) and I about 4m away which is pretty spot on 45deg viewing angle. This provides an immersive experience but does not feel overwhelming too. I'm the type of person that will choose to sit in the centre row of commericial cinema. At the end of the day, it really depends on what you and your family prefer.

Here's another useful tool for caluclating viewing angles but includes multiple rows and vertical viewing angle too:

 

Luminated67

Distinguished Member
Hi All,

So, I'm not going to lie but thanks to this thread Movie screenshot eye candy and some nagging I might have just managed to convince the wife to let me finally (money and cost permitting) convert my (sorry our!) external garage into a dedicated cinema room, with the caveat I need to also be able to work in there (i'm home based) but that's an issue for another day. I've drawn up some very rough plans and measurements and i'm a little concerned about seating distance from the screen. By the time I get two rows in (each row has 2 seats for 4 people), the front row will be sitting approx 2m from the screen while the back is approx 3.3m. I was planning for a 100" or 106" screen but will that be too big for the front row? 100" has a viewing area of 2214x1245 while a 106" has a viewing area of 2347x1320. I had a look about recommended viewing distances but then when I see peoples set up I get the feeling these aren't always worried about?

The link here (hopefully mods I can put the link in? If not please let me know or feel free to delete it)

Would indicate that at 16 feet I should be ok with this size, but when I browsed the forums earlier looking at some recommendations I thought I worked out it would be too big. To add to this I recently watched my 50" Plasma at approx 3.3m and I found this to bright, which I'm guessing wouldn't have this issue with a projector but I found it to be totally immersive at that distance.

Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Rocket

LOL This wasn't really my intent when I started this thread but getting a newbie into the hobby is a bonus.

Personally I can't sit this close to a screen but I am sure there are many who do, it really depends of whether you are comfortable having your eyesight possibly not seeing the entire screen all the time, OK with a scene that everyone is still but in an action scene were all hell in breaking loose it might be a bit much and only when you experience it can you decide either way.

I currently sit 9-9.5ft from my 112" CinemaScope screen, for me this is the perfect distance but other might want closer or even further away.

One thing I would say is 2M from a 100-106" screen you would ideally want either a Native 4K or True 4K projector, the Native is way more expensive but offers the best contrast (blacks).

If you were happy with the seating starting a bit further back the Epson 2K resolution wouldn't be an issue as I compared my Epson with a mate's Sony 360es and it took us till we were 7ft from my then 100" screen to start and see any difference in the added resolution of 4K over the Epson's 2K and you get closer to the level of contrast of the much more expensive Native 4K machines.

If I can help in anyway just drop me a PM. :smashin:
 
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AidenL

Well-known Member
I sit one screen width away from my screen.
 

crabby09

Active Member
We've tried to compromise for two rows... Went 160" with seats at 4 and 6m.

Its not a great setup - drop down screen in a family room etc... and we pull a sofa for the 4m row. But visually at 4m it's a peach and we adults use the 6m row when the kids are engrossed in a film on the 4m - still a decent view, but nowhere near as imposing which is nice when I really don't care what the teen titans are up to.
 

HiTracey

Active Member
Despite the recommendations of the experts and various charts and calculations, within reasonable parameters it's all down to personal preference and what you are trying to achieve. If a properly cinematic effect, a rule of thumb is that you should not be able to take in the entire 'scope image and should be obliged to actively follow the action, albeit most will generally be in the centre of the screen. That is, if something happens extreme left or right, you would expect to turn your head. Whereas for flat ratio you should be able to take in the entire image without moving your head. A seating position that achieves both of those objectives is a good starting point.
 

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HiTracey

Active Member
Oops, I should have said that you'd need a CIH set-up for that to work; if not, more compromises need to be made.
 

xxGBHxx

Well-known Member
For most of us building a cinema is a compromise.

I took the following approach. I spend ages working out "optimal" and "ideal" sizes and positions and figured out the maximum recommended screen size and seating position.

I then realised my room was too small to accommodate it so I completely ignored it, took a "practically what do I want" approach and built the absolute biggest scope screen I could fit onto the wall. I then put in 2 rows of seats as tight to the back wall as I could with about 5cm tolerance between each row to allow for reclining and built it. I've not regretted it at all.

For the first 4 months I only had the back row and truth be told that's my optimal place to sit visually. But then I had to compromise the sound because the back row is only about 15cm off the back wall. It means the rear speakers are too close, the overheads are too far forward and so are the sides. When I then added the front row this was absolutely perfect for the sound but it's a little close to the screen (I've not measured exactly but it's about 8"9' from a 130" or 2.6m from a 3.3m scope screen)

This is at least .75 to 1m too close even for the minimum distance according to those calculators but the truth is I really don't notice any more. Adjusting from the back to the front row did take a few weeks but now I choose the front row out of preference. The MLP is the centre seat in the front row and the screen from that position is centred and huge. It give a VERY cinema like experience.

There is a perfect ideal of course but even going to a commercial cinema is a compromise as there are always optimal seats there too. Even though they are spending £100000's and using state of the art everything in a custom designed area you can't optimise every seat for perfect sound and perfect vision - it's always a best average.

My advice, don't obsess over it. As humans we adapt quickly to whatever is put in front of us and it's unlikely you're going to be able to build it perfectly, to spec in all areas as you're always going to be compromising something as it's not a custom built environment.

G
 

Rocketrazor

Active Member
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I'll try and answer any questions in the one reply here but apologise if I miss any

To alebonau

I’ve been trying for years now, first off an extension didn’t work out and got replaced by a drive. Then a garage conversion didn’t work out in favour of a dedicated outbuilding at the bottom of the garden, this changed into a patio (it’s where the sun is for most of the day). Then we were changing the lounge round and putting a stud wall in, that didn’t happen either. I now need to vacate the study and the only real option is to use some of the garage so I thought why not try again in the garage!

The internal measurement once done will be approx 5.1m x 2.35m external measurements are 5.5m x 2.75m so I've allowed a loss of 20cm each side for brick work and insulation etc. (hoping that's about right, as I said rough idea's at present!!!) I've attached a PDF if it attaches with my rough ideas. I did look for some seating that included 3 seats but couldn't find any that allowed me to get past the seats! It's not something id rule out as to be honest it's likely to be only me most of the time using it. I just need to find something I can fit in that's also comfy!

I like the idea of the rule of 3rds, will have a look into that, and I think I might try 2/3 seats and bean bags. Yes the bean bags won’t be optimal at all but for what they get used for it’s not going to really matter. I don’t think I’m going to have enough room at the back for a desk, my idea was to try and do a drop down from the wall so it can be raised out of the line of site of the screen when not in use. I was planning on losing almost 80cm for the screen, frame, sub and I’d utilise the space behind and underneath to store Blu-rays etc as well as place all my equipment. A local firm when I had a demo a few years ago did there screen on hinges so you could easily lift it up to access behind it, really good idea and it opens the wasted space behind the screen right up for use.

To kenshingintoki

I love my 3D and I’m aware it will look better if it’s bigger, just worried about being too close for everything else. My screen would be 16:9 as I’ll watch series and game on it but would plan on covering the black bars somehow. I’m thinking I really need to concentrate on one row and add the other when necessary, it will mainly be me after all that uses it most of the time!

To nadg63 and Inked

3M at 110” – 120” seems to be the sweet spot at the mo! So 100” or 106” if I can get 2.8M to 3M seems ideal.

To kungfuman

I looked at the viewing angle recommendations and to be honest my head started to hurt so I gave up! I’m would go 16:9 for a few reasons. It’s going to be used for films, gaming, major series like GOT, Vikings, The Last Kingdom etc the sort that deserve it and I figure I can always mask a 16:9 down to other sizes when required. Might as well watch in full length and height best I can. Watched Avengers Assemble the other night and that’s 16:9 and I’d miss all the IMAX scenes from other films as well which would annoy me. I also tend to try and aim for centre or just slightly forward for commercial cinema, my best mate books the back seats as no one kicks you but it’s not as immersive way back there! I’ll have a look at those tools though, thanks.

To Luminated67

Ha ha, I’ve really enjoyed looking through the pics and it’s given me that extra push to try and go that extra mile to see if I can do it. If I can’t at least I can say I tried. It might be the funds that catch me out but you gotta give it a go and you only live once! How did you find 7ft from your 100” or were you seated slightly further back? I think I’m the type of person who likes to be immersed, but enough where I don’t have to move my head left to right, I want it all in one field of vision so I can see everything going on. Thanks for the offer of the PM, if I get this going I might just take you up on that!

To Saul Goodman

Thanks, 3M from 3M sounds good, following this I’d need to be about 2.5M from 100”

To AidenL

Thanks, 1 screen width again puts me about 2.5M so that would be good

To crabby09

Wow, that’s massive! I can dream!

To HiTracey

I found this line particularly interesting “If a properly cinematic effect, a rule of thumb is that you should not be able to take in the entire 'scope image and should be obliged to actively follow the action, albeit most will generally be in the centre of the screen.” As it goes against my liking to not move my head! I need to google CIH now.

To xxGBHxx

I know what you mean about obsessing to much. To be honest I’d prefer to build it and find out I could have got a bigger screen than damn, it’s too big. I guess one option would be to work out the sound first, optimise that and then once all in I could work out the screen size. That could be amended on the fly by amending the frame. It’s certainly given me something to think about.

Thanks all for taking the time to reply, it’s very much appreciated.
 

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HiTracey

Active Member
Hi Rocket, CIH is constant image height, which self evidently means you vary the width of the picture, not the height. The result is that scope films fill the entire screen, and the other formats only the centre. Otherwise scope films tend to be a thin band across the screen and a smaller image than flat ratio, which is the wrong way round, assuming it's accepted that scope is intended as the most impressive image, IMAX aside.

If I was working with your space I'd have a 2.4 ratio screen and a distance of 2m (roughly 2x image height) to the front row eyeballs. You could on that basis perhaps move all the seats forward and thereby help the acoustics.

Just my 2 cents.
 

Rocketrazor

Active Member
Hi HiTracey,
I guess I need to work out if I want a 16:9 for series, IMAX scenes and Games and a trade off that films will appear thinner but the same width (CIW) or if I want a 2:4 screen where by the 16:9 content will appear thinner with bars either side due to the CIH.

If I went 2:4 id also have to watch all IMAX scenes or 16:9 films in a smaller window or miss the top and bottom

Um, decisions decisions!

Cheers
Rocket
 

HiTracey

Active Member
Hi Rocket

Yes, it's all a compromise. For example, I've yet to find a solution to getting my electronics out of the room, and having the speakers behind the screen wasn't an option either. Not that I would have anyway, as my personal prejudice is that it compomises the picture and the sound. I stress, that is just me; I know others disagree.

I ended up with a variable masking solution such that flat and scope movies were CIH, academy somewhat taller and Imax very tall. For variable ratios (as in Nolan) I open up the whole screen and abandon masking. I'd note that in a light controlled (blackout) room, masking is a 'nice to have' but isn't essential, so depending on your budget I wouldn't be too concerned. My masking comprises curtains and blinds for which I need some 'gather' area top and sides, which might also prove a problem in your set up as you're a bit tight for space.

Great to have a blank sheet of paper, and that you're gathering opinions. Good luck with it all.
 

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