Given carte-blanche for the project – something which very rarely happens – The Big Picture’s client, Steve, was new to home cinema so didn’t have any inspiration as to what he required. As the bulk of installers will know, most clients have some idea of what they want to achieve, and by and large that’s a room which is clean and uncluttered with an understated yet sophisticated elegance, colours chosen to maximise video performance and all speakers hidden completely. Naturally, there would also need to be some quirk, some spark of originality added to prevent it from being plain and boring, and lighting output would enhance such features while not becoming features themselves.
This being the case, that’s what the experts from The Big Picture set out to achieve, starting with creating renders to run by Steve, just to make sure their vision was what he envisioned too. To cut the suspense, he loved it.
The other main unique features are included in the lengths The Big Picture went to ensure they got the absolute very best performance out of the equipment supplied; but more about that later.
This was a substantially large (mostly new) build by local standards at 16,500 sq. ft. Interestingly, as the original house was built in the 1930s in the Art and Crafts style, Steve kept the façade to the building and razed everything else. A massive basement complex was excavated then the three story house built above.
The designated cinema room was in one corner of the basement and was well over seven metres by five metres, with filled earth to two sides of the metre-thick walls, Plant room behind at the back and the door through to hallway leading to games room to the left.
Steve and Carole have one child, James, who celebrated his 21st birthday whilst the installation was completed. None of them had lived in an automated house until now and it has left them surprised at just how much they use the automation features we incorporated.
When it came to those essential elements of smart control, The Big Picture went down the Control4 route, choosing a portable touchscreen with built-in camera and intercom, allowing cinema occupants to see and talk to visitors at the gate, front door or other occupants around the house from around six or so other locations. As the house is vast this saves a lot of walking and/or prevents movie viewers having to get up whilst relaxing in front of a movie, just to talk to another in the home.
They also designed and had fabricated a small table in anodised aluminium that attaches in to the cup holder of any of the chairs. This houses the touchscreen and can easily be swung out of the way as pillar is off centre. Covering all bases, they also included a couple of handset remote controls that rely on muscle-memory to find buttons easily in the dark.
The control system is programmed to operate all of the kit in the cinema and relevant kit in the main rack upstairs, whilst viewers can also manually switch formats on the multi-aspect screen.
In other automation, when the projector is turned on an announcement screen pops up on the touchpad saying that the ventilation system has been activated with a picture of the panel itself on the wall.
As Kaleidescape has embedded information of an individual film’s video-output-format, The Big Picture also employed this information (via RS232) to switch screen format automatically without intervention from the viewer.
On other sources, there is currently no way to track output ratio, so if the video source is changed the screen resets back to 16:9 to ensure any source can be seen in its entirety, simple custom buttons allow changing to optimise viewing if a 2.35 movie is output by any source. Also, when the room is turned off the screen automatically masks back to 16:9 for best compatibility for when next used and the heat recovery system on the projector runs on for half an hour.
On to the lighting elements, this was linked to the Kaleidescape system so that, upon entering any menu (cover selection included) the lights would automatically go to Scene 3 – low enough to watch a movie, but with some light on seats in centre, thus readying eyes for the dark. When the movie plays the light automatically lowers on slow fade to Scene 4 – movie on mode, with only 10% on back spots, 3% to rear LED top and bottom. When the movie is paused the lights go back to Scene 3, to allow exiting of room, finding drinks/phone etc. With other sources, such as the Blu-ray player, when the play button is pressed the lights drop to Scene 4, when paused they rise to Scene 3, and when ‘room off’ is called from the remote, Scene 3 is recalled to prevent the occupants being plunged into the darkness enabling one to safely make it to the doorway.
Finally, as mid-movie visitors are inevitable, when a doorbell is pushed, if the room is in use, a top front LED pulses up and down for eight seconds to a 20% level, so as not to ruin the eyes but ensure alert is recognised without a sounder spoiling the movie.
ROOM WITH A VIEW
So, despite starting out with no real idea of what to expect, was Steve pleased with the final design? “It is absolutely outstanding!” he says, “Although Carole and James have always been keen movie fans, I have never been that bothered; well not any more. The room has added a new dimension to our home entertainment and is getting more use than anything else we have had put in to our new home. We have been in the cinema most nights since even before you had totally finished. From both a visual and acoustic point of view we are delighted, also the overall appearance and wonderful feel the room has compels us to be in there all of the time.”
Outstanding indeed; and this ingenious combination of tech and design is clearly what also compelled our Install & Technology Solutions Awards judges to push this installation to the top of the Best Single Home Cinema category too!
1x Digital Projection DPI-MVIS-CINE3D-L M-VisionCine 3D / 1.85 to 2.40 lens (5500 Lumen – 2000:1 CR)
1x Image iMasque proAcoustically Transparent Masking Screen 4K - 2.4:1 150-inches wide
1x Lumagen LUM-RAD-Mini Scaler (2x Video Inputs)
1x Panamorph FVX200 Cylindrical Anamorphic Lens – Fixed
1x ADA ADA-Suite 7.1 HD Cinema Processor 8 HDMI in 2 out
1x Pro Audio Technologies PHC-PMA-4242 Amp 2x 450W and 2x 200W. Integrated crossover & DSP
1x Pro Audio Technologies PHC-PMA-9942 Amp 2x 1000W, 1x 450W and 1x 200W. Integrated crossover & DSP
1x Pro Audio Technologies PHC-PMA-2222 Amp 4x 200W. Integrated crossover & DSP
3x Pro Audio Technologies PHC-SCR-12sm 12-inch woofer and 1-inch Compression Tweeter (was 1925 - 3850) up
2x Pro Audio Technologies PHC-SCRS-6iw 6-inch woofer and 1-inch Compression Tweeter – Passive
2x Pro Audio Technologies PHC-LFC-15sm 15-inch Subwoofer up from 3850
1x Oppo BD-93EU 3D Blu-ray player
2x Control 4 HC800 system controller
2x Control 4 SR250 remote control
1x Control4 portable touchscreen
1x CinemaTech Le Grande 8x Valentino in Grade 1 Alcantara
1x DMX controller for 4 LED RGB circuits
1x Kaleidescape feed from main system
1x Sky free from Main system
1x Control4 lighting from main system
1x PS3 & X-Box Client supply
1x Proctor housing and rack surround custom build