Oxfordshire Cinema Room Ready for Christmas
Just before Christmas we were approached by the new owner of a manor house in Oxfordshire. He’d just acquired the keys for his new purchase and was keen to significantly upgrade the AV capabilities as part of the renovation prior to moving in. We installed a Ruckus managed Wi-Fi system to ensure there was good internet coverage throughout the home and provided Sky Q Ultra HD and new wall-mounted Sony televisions in several rooms; but the main part of the project was the media room.
The existing media room had a TV and a basic Bose surround sound system. The homeowner was keen to convert this into a fully-fledged home cinema room. He knew he wanted the visuals to be 4K capable but wasn’t fully up to speed with the latest cinema audio available. In addition, he had already purchased the U-shaped sofa to be used in the room.
Challenging Our Home Cinema Designer
The biggest challenges for our home cinema room designer were that the room was asymmetrical, with two windows on one side and three windows on the other and the owner’s desire to have a pair of double doors at the front of the room. To ensure the finished cinema room had a balanced aesthetic we built a framework within the room that not only housed the projection screen and front speakers but also created a fake window to give the room a symmetrical effect of three windows on each side. Faux columns were then constructed between the windows that were used to house the surround speakers.
To ensure the room had the right acoustics, several treatments were employed. The fake wall at the front allowed us to incorporate extensive acoustic treatment behind the wall. The screen was acoustically-transparent so the front left, centre and right speakers could be installed in the perfect position behind the screen. For the windows we used acoustic curtains from Vescom that absorb sound whilst still allowing light to pass through them (ideal for when the room is being used a general socialising/entertaining space). Behind the curtains are motorised blackout blinds to allow films to be watched during the day. A bar was constructed at the back of the room which allows the room to also be used as general entertaining space, not just a dedicated home cinema room.
And, of course, the owner wanted his home cinema to be fully functional in time for Christmas… …that gave us a three-week turnaround. The pressure was on!
We presented four different options of bespoke cinema system of increasing specification; each providing the best audio and visual performance for the budget. The chosen solution was a Dolby Atmos 9.1.2 surround sound installation with 4K Ultra HD visuals provided by a Sony VPL-VW760ES projector onto a 3 m-wide Screen Research Supreme 3 ClearPix acoustically-transparent screen.
The audio was delivered using an Anthem AVM 60 processor paired with Anthem MCA and AVM amplifiers. These were all driving the array of Triad Silver speakers. Three Triad InWall Silver/4 speakers behind the screen are the main LCR (Left, Centre, Right) speakers; six Triad InWall Silver/4 speakers for the side wall surround and rear wall surround speakers and a further two Triad InCeiling Silver/6 Sat speakers for the Dolby Atmos height channels. A total of four subwoofers were installed, two Triad OnWall Silver Sub at the front and a further two at the rear of the room.
The processor, amps and source equipment (Sky Q, Apple TV) were installed in an equipment rack located outside the main room to ensure fan noise couldn’t be heard, and this was linked to the projector with an optical fibre HDMI connection.
Our lighting designer specified three main lighting approaches; downlights, wall lights and LED striplights around the windows. In addition, Lutron lighting control was added to the blackout blinds.
Easy Control and Automation
To ensure the cinema room was easy to control, a Savant Pro control system was included. A Lutron wallplate with custom-engraved buttons allows easy selection of the right lighting scene for uses such as ‘music’, ‘film’ and Savant automatically powers up and selects the correct AV components. When you’re ready to start the movie, pressing ‘Play’ on the remote will automatically dim the lights and close the blinds as the film starts. Need to great a drink from the bar? Just press ‘Pause’ and the movie will stop and the lights gently fade up.
Christmas Movie Magic
We managed to get the room fully functional in time for Christmas although there were still some finishing touches to be completed in the new year. The client commented “We used the cinema room over Christmas and it was fantastic!”. We’ve since been back to perform a full ISF calibration of the projector to ensure optimum brightness, colour and contrast is being achieved; along with the final touches to the light fittings and room aesthetics.
We’ll be producing a full case study on this project soon, watch out for this…