Sunday, September 21, 2008

Opening Night!

We debuted the theater last night to rave reviews from friends and family! There's still a long list of little details to do but it's operational. Now I can sit back, relax and watch some movies!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Projector Installed

The projectors up!!! (Sorry, I get so excited these days, it's been a long project!) It's a Panasonic PT-AX200U purchased from It's a 720p projector. Overall I'm pretty happy with the Panny's picture quality (especially for the price!). Standard def dvds look a little ragged projected on a 10 foot screen, but the HD satillite feed looks spectacular. I'll get into Blu-Ray at some point but for now it's great. Plus the color and contrast are very film like, which was an important thing for me. Too many projectors have what could best be descibed as a 'video look', great for watching Monday Night Football but not so good for movies.

I'll build a themed enclosure for the projector once I'm finished with a few other things.

The carpet is in!

Yesterday they installed the carpet. To quote The Dude (The Big Lebowski) "It really pulls the room together, man." With the carpet in the room sounds really sweet! The black panels on the lower part of the walls are acoustic insulation to aide in the surround balance. They'll get covered with fabric panels.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Finishing the Projection Screen

It's time to get the screen up. The frame has been finished and sitting to the side for several weeks now. First I had to wrap the screen frame with black velvet. Velvet is used as it is the darkest, blackest material available. The projected image will be slightly larger than the white screen area and the black velvet will render this spill over virtually invisible.

Steel angle brackets where used to hold the corners together. The acoustically transparent screen material was stretched and fastened to be back of the frame with staples. The screen is actually a woven fabric roller shade material that an entrepreneurial fellow is buying from the manucfacturer by the 100 yard roll and selling off to DIYers like myself by the foot. Good on 'em I say. What am I gonna do with and extra 97 yards of the stuff!

Eventually there will be deep red curtains framing the screen.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Audio System Installed

Now that all the construction and painting is finished I can begin to install the audio and video components. Here are the front speakers. Those are Thiel CS2.4s for the front left and right, a Thiel MCS for the center and a Cerwin Vega subwoofer. The Sub's going to be visible below the screen so I'll have to build some sort of themed enclosure for it. The 3 front channel speakers have been elevated so that their tweaters are lined up across the center of the projection screen. One concession I had to make with placing the speakers behind the acoustically transparent screen is not being able to see them, and the Thiels are beautifully crafted. I had these made in a cherry veneer and the fit and finish of the enclosures is specatacular. Oh well.

The Patina of Age

My good buddies Gary and Mike came over yesterday and helped weather the theater. They're both professional scenic artists and did a great job adding a patina of age. It was mostly done with an umber colored glaze added here and there and then sprayed down with water to make it run. Occasional rust streaks were added as well.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ceiling Beam Installation Finished

All the ceiling beams are up! Yeah! That was the last major construction item to be done. Now it's all just (a very long list of) little things to get done. The beams really help to make the room feel more closed in, more claustrophobic. Which is the right thing for a submarine!

I also got the beam bolt downs all put in. Like everything else, they're made out of medium density fiberboard, even the bolt heads. Originally I was going to make one bolt head as a pattern, mold it and cast up the 24 needed. But it turned out to be faster just to cut them out and sand them to shape on the belt sander. Only took a couple of hours to make them.