Pros and cons of a blacked out room

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
For dedicated cinema rooms only

I'm interested to learn what professional installers think about room design, as well customers who have a dedicated room.

Many of the DIY rooms I've seen here have the front section of the room blacked out, with black velvet or similar, but many of the professional installations I see stick with lighter colours (well, not light colours, but lighter than pitch black).

Could it be because those employing professional installers are often wanting their rooms to be dual purpose, or perhaps that even when it is a dedicated room, they're not solely focused on the resulting image, but also on how the room feels? Or do many professional installers feel that even dedicated rooms are better when they're not blacked out at the front?

Thanks
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
Thank you for that. I doubt we can see photos, but I'm sure that's an amazing room you've created. Could you clarify something though:
Without a shadow of doubt, a proper Cinema Room using Cam Stage Tracking and Acoustically Transparent material along with their Sound Treatment will give you a Bat Cave.
What colour material are you talking about? AT, yes, but are we talking a non reflective shade of blue, or grey (for example), or deep non reflective black?

Thanks
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I know mine isn't a dedicated room, but it's quite unique in that I can transform it from a light coloured living room, to a black pit (at least up to 3 metres from the screen). The difference in picture quality and how immersed I feel when viewing with the black pit set up is stunning: It's like I swapped my projector from an old Panasonic LCD I used to own, to the JVC X7500 I own now.

I always feel disappointed when I see a professionally installed room with light colours. Since I didn't pay for it, I guess it's not my problem, but it always seems a missed opportunity to me in a dedicated space.

Interesting thread Triggaaar; I'll be following it to see how the pros respond. :)
 

alarmers

Standard Member
It was black AT with no reflections whatsoever. You cannot see your hand in front of your face if you turn the lights off.
 

alarmers

Standard Member
I know mine isn't a dedicated room, but it's quite unique in that I can transform it from a light coloured living room, to a black pit (at least up to 3 metres from the screen). The difference in picture quality and how immersed I feel when viewing with the black pit set up is stunning: It's like I swapped my projector from an old Panasonic LCD I used to own, to the JVC X7500 I own now.

I always feel disappointed when I see a professionally installed room with light colours. Since I didn't pay for it, I guess it's not my problem, but it always seems a missed opportunity to me in a dedicated space.

Interesting thread Triggaaar; I'll be following it to see how the pros respond. :)
Totally agree with you!
We often turn down work due to some of the quite daft ideas we come across.
More often than not once we show a client one of our installations they soon go for our specification.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
It was black AT with no reflections whatsoever. You cannot see your hand in front of your face if you turn the lights off.
I guess you also install the AV equipment out of the room/in a separate space too? That's another thing that disappoints me when I see a stack of AV equipment (and all of it's bright LEDs) under the screen, or worse still, at the side of the screen with the LEDs shining onto it.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
It was black AT with no reflections whatsoever. You cannot see your hand in front of your face if you turn the lights off.
Great, thank you for clarifying.

Maybe it's because rooms like that are obviously designed for the ultimate movie picture, and don't look so good in photos, that we don't see so many like that on this section of the forum. Or maybe it's me being blind, as most of the pro-installs I've seen have lighter walls.

When the owner/guests would arrive and go to their seats, would they simply see a completely black room, save for the lights bouncing off their seats, the screen and carpet, or did you add anything else to make the room feel a little 'nicer' prior to lights out?
 

alarmers

Standard Member
I guess you also install the AV equipment out of the room/in a separate space too? That's another thing that disappoints me when I see a stack of AV equipment (and all of it's bright LEDs) under the screen, or worse still, at the side of the screen with the LEDs shining onto it.
Yes, the AV Gear is always out of the room in its own rack.

By the way, your room is very good and I have read your comments over time,
 
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Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
We try and steer our clients to a fully blacked out room. Some want this and some want a room to look sexy.

Our main demonstration cinema room is totally black.
570714DF-8AED-469A-905F-A198A56332B2.jpeg
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Some clients want rooms similar to the one we built here.
0980E9F2-C7C9-484D-BB20-4AF5DF0CD2EC.jpeg
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
We try and steer our clients to a fully blacked out room. Some want this and some want a room to look sexy.

Our main demonstration cinema room is totally black.
View attachment 1317174
Thank you. I like what you've done with the ceiling to add a little to the room. Is that white coving lit up by an LED strip light?

Of course each to their own, and plenty of lovely rooms have been built with columns and paneling that give the feel of an old school theatre, but it's a lot of work and I can't help feeling that the image they see at the end is not as good as if they'd just made the walls black.
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
This room below that we built a while back has a JVC N9 and 5m wide screen. We wanted to fabric the walls but the client insisted on Farrow and Ball paint. We will now be adding fabric to the walls soon 😂
CC5592F5-BC9B-4F12-9FEA-0B1CC97A7E57.jpeg
252EC588-73BC-47C5-85FE-BE32F0F82054.jpeg
1BF03D94-B7DE-4754-9494-0D65DC203FDD.jpeg
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Thank you. I like what you've done with the ceiling to add a little to the room. Is that white coving lit up by an LED strip light?

Of course each to their own, and plenty of lovely rooms have been built with columns and paneling that give the feel of an old school theatre, but it's a lot of work and I can't help feeling that the image they see at the end is not as good as if they'd just made the walls black.
You can add detail to a black room with clever lighting. We are currently re fitting some lighting into our main cinema room to add some detail and interest.
It’s just an LED strip above the pelmet with a diffuser. We can select RGB/W via Control4.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
You can add detail to a black room with clever lighting.
This has to be the best solution. Including those fancy starry ceilings.

We are currently re fitting some lighting into our main cinema room to add some detail and interest.
It’s just an LED strip above the pelmet with a diffuser.
What pelmet? Is that something that goes around the whole room, and what colour is it?
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
This has to be the best solution. Including those fancy starry ceilings.

What pelmet? Is that something that goes around the whole room, and what colour is it?
It’s basically a dropped section that runs around the top of the walls. We fabric it with the wall fabric and you can install speakers, lighting etc.
A cinema that we have recently been involved with costing £1,000,000. Lots of lighting going on here but totally black when the movie starts.
A7505E47-F6CC-48FF-87E5-99A122C0FB83.jpeg
 

mb3195

Distinguished Member
If you want performance, black black black black - all velvet.

Downside is that you can’t see bugger all in there even with all the light switched on.

I gave up on my Xbox as I couldn’t see the buttons!!
 

ShanePJ

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
I'd really say it depends upon which projector technology you are going to use. If its DLP, a totally blacked out room isn't always the best option as a small amount of ambient light to the rear of the room helps people who can see effects of the rainbow whereas if its SXRD, D-ILA, LCD or 3 Chip DLP then the darker the better in my opinion
 
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Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
I guess you also install the AV equipment out of the room/in a separate space too? That's another thing that disappoints me when I see a stack of AV equipment (and all of it's bright LEDs) under the screen, or worse still, at the side of the screen with the LEDs shining onto it.
Yes, the AV Gear is always out of the room in its own rack.
Hi guys. Why is it 'always' out of the room Phil? I assume the gear shouldn't be too noisy, and I'd have thought that LEDs can either be switched off, or if not, covered or placed somewhere they're not seen (eg, behind the seating).

I'll be starting my build soon, and while I can put the gear in an adjacent room, it does add some complications with sound proofing (running wires etc).
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I moved mine under the stairs on the other side of the wall from my room. For me it has multiple benefits that outweigh the hassle of running the cables, etc:

I found that not all LEDs can be turned off, so that was my main issue having gone to the trouble of making the room as dark as possible (for a multipurpose living room at that).

I use PA type power amps to power my DIY subs, so it doesn't matter that they have noisy fans as I can't hear them outside the room. I could have modified them with quieter fans, but I question the long term reliability of doing such mods.

I don't care about the appearance of the equipment. Only how it functions and how good the picture and audio are. It means I don't buy gear based on how pretty/impressive it will look in the rack, though I confess I recently tidied up my rack and put some black mesh grille vents between equipment rather than have gaps for cooling.

It means I'm far less restricted to which gear I can fit: I've seen a few posters lately who buy a power amp, then struggle to fit it in a standard 'TV cabinet'.

Last: When you got to a cinema, you don't look at a pile of amps, players, etc under the screen do you?

Here is my 'ugly' rack. ;) I've got a temporary old NAD stereo amp powering a pair of speakers because I recently upgraded to 7.1.4 from 5.1.4 it doesn't look very elegant, but it does the job for now and there is plenty of room for a power amp later:

Main Rack Full.jpg


You can just see a glimpse of my 'bass' rack to the right. This has the noisy PA amps for the subs and a separate amp for the bass shaker in the sofa. Even a MiniDSP is hidden behind the mesh grille section.

Here's a better view:
Bass Rack 3.jpg


I use a Harmony RF remote with a 'hub' (on top of the main rack) so I don't have to 'aim' the remote at anything from the other room...it just works and has 'activities' to switch the right equipment on (apart from the sub amps as they are manual only sadly).
 

Thatsnotmynaim

Distinguished Member
It’s basically a dropped section that runs around the top of the walls. We fabric it with the wall fabric and you can install speakers, lighting etc.
A cinema that we have recently been involved with costing £1,000,000. Lots of lighting going on here but totally black when the movie starts.
View attachment 1317205
I’ve sat in that room, well both rooms in that very nice pad, and is the main reason I ripped out my React Screen and bought lots of MVEL22 velvet to build a dedicated room!! Once you’ve experienced not being able to see your own hands right in front of your face you’ll not forget it!!
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
I get that effect all the time, but it's usually because I forgot to put on my reading glasses. :D

Just thought of another thing pro outside the room: Power amps with humming transformers such as mentioned in the IOTA AVXP1 thread just now.
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I’ve sat in that room, well both rooms in that very nice pad, and is the main reason I ripped out my React Screen and bought lots of MVEL22 velvet to build a dedicated room!! Once you’ve experienced not being able to see your own hands right in front of your face you’ll not forget it!!
We installed the fabric and control systems for both of those rooms in that very nice pad. 🔥
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
I moved mine under the stairs on the other side of the wall from my room. For me it has multiple benefits that outweigh the hassle of running the cables, etc:
So LEDs and noise.

I don't care about the appearance of the equipment. Only how it functions and how good the picture and audio are.
Same. I realise how that's important for some, but in a totally blacked out room where you can't see your own hands, it still wouldn't matter to me how they look.

Last: When you got to a cinema, you don't look at a pile of amps, players, etc under the screen do you?
I'm not sure that's a great comparison. Our rooms won't look like a commercial cinema anyway, and when blacked out you won't see the pile of equipment.

I use a Harmony RF remote with a 'hub' (on top of the main rack) so I don't have to 'aim' the remote at anything from the other room...it just works and has 'activities' to switch the right equipment on
Yeah I have the elite in my living room, I'd never tried it from a different room. Is there no trouble using it through thick walls?
 

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