Making a Mark on Home Theater
A personal touch added to the complexity of this cool, elegant install.
Making a Mark on Home Theater
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June 12, 2008 by Rachel Cericola

It isn’t the animal print carpet that makes this room a real tiger.

A proscenium-styled setup, a sexy monogammed soffit, and dark subtle colors make this room pop—and the show hasn’t even started yet.

As with all installs, this one had its challenges. Hiding the Marantz projector in an enclosure in the rear soffit proved to be tedious. “A few extra inches would definitely have helped,” says Jim Pearson, president of Creative Media Designs. 

Instead, the company decided to max out the screen size, which also reduced the size for the left and right prosceniums needed for aesthetics, acoustics, subwoofers and mains. “Our projector was inside a custom enclosure with a film port lens opening. As we pulled the projector back in the custom housing, we noticed that the image was going to have a problem escaping untouched from within the box,” says Pearson. “When the lens opening was made larger, that problem was solved. It was our goal to deliver the biggest and best screen and we needed to pull back as far as possible in the housing to do that.” That solution was a bit of a compromise, but it resulted in a room that now houses a 110-inch screen and a 7.1 surround sound system, which includes two 10-inch subwoofers. 

As an added personal touch, Creative Media Designs installed a monogram design element that dropped below the soffit a few inches. When they were first toying with the idea, the company was worried that if the monogram got caught in the crosshairs of the projector’s line-of-sight, it would have created a shadow on the screen. “The team at First Impressions agreed to rework the monogram if that was the case because they were quite certain that they were safe by at least a quarter of an inch,” says Pearson. “They were correct with their measurements and even though it is extremely close, it is perfect and could not have been designed or installed by the Creative Media Designs team any better.” 

The long-throw projector was at the fringe of the minimum tolerance for a 110-inch screen. It was necessary to factor in the additional throw distance necessary for the key stoning, in order to fill the screen. In theory, they knew it should work—and it did. However, they didn’t know for sure until the projector was installed.

When it came to audio, the goal was to conceal two pair of surround effects speakers in 5-inch deep columns, conceal a flush-mount speaker under the screen, and create an acoustically well-balanced room. “No equipment, speakers, electronics, etc., are visible, but when you turn the system on to watch a movie and the lights dim, it is a ‘wow’ experience that becomes a wonderful escape,” Pearson adds. 

Four flush-mount effect speakers were concealed in the columns. The center-channel flush-mount speaker has directional tweeters that were adjusted for optimal sound dispersion. That is located right under the screen. The left and right speakers and two 10-inch subwoofers are concealed behind acoustically transparent material within the front proscenium. When all was said, done and tested, the room achieved the reference level of 100db. 

Of course, it’s not just about what’s on-screen—or installed under it. There are 12 loads of lighting, which can be accessed and managed from the Crestron keypad at the entrance to the theater and the Crestron remote, which also controls the Xbox management.

The icing—or maybe ice-ing—on the top of this install is the cooling system. The room has its own dedicated HVAC ventilation system. All of the equipment is housed in an air-cooled closet located in the Cinebar area at the entrance to this small glamourous seven-seat theater. “This was the perfect area to locate the equipment because it does not distract from the theater experience and is easily accessible by the Crestron remote,” says Pearson.

On thing the remote can’t quite capture: The popcorn machine and mini fridge in the Cinebar area, which completes the movie experience. 

Quick Look:
Room Size: 13 feet, 9.5 inches wide x 20 feet 5.75 inches long
Total Hours to Complete: 402

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

Equipment List

Crestron CLS-C6 Lighting Controls (2)
Crestron CNX-B4W Keypad
Crestron MC2W Control Processor
Crestron ST1700C Touchpanel
DirecTV HR20 HS Satellite Receiver
Marantz DV7600 DVD Player
Marantz SR9600 Receiver
Marantz VP 12S-2 Long Throw Lens
Middle Atlantic AX-s Rack System
Middle Atlantic RSH Custom Faceplates (8)
Panamax M5500 Surge Suppressor
Sonance Son of Sub Subwoofers (2)
Sonance Cinema Two Speakers (2)
Sonance Cinema Two Surround Speakers (4)
Vutec 110-inch Pearl Brite XWF Screen

System Design and Installation
Creative Media Designs
Boca Raton, FL

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