September 16, 2009
by Arlen Schweiger
Coming up with a theme for this theater room was the easy part. Executing it so it actually played the role well was the hard part ... treading rough waters may be the more appropriate way to describe it, in this case.
“When the discussion began of a nautical themed theater all involved looked at each other and said, ‘That’s fitting.” After all it is the east end of Long Island,” says Howard Zebersky of custom electronics pro Automatic Home Systems. “What we didn’t know was the amount of teak and mahogany wood interior the client and design team had in mind, as well as an arched and slotted wooden ceiling. Acoustics quickly became the first and major concern of the project.”
Zebersky got on the phone and called one of Automatic Home Systems’ acoustical partners, Bonnie Schnitta, president and founder of Sound Sense LLC to see what was required, and if the woodwork could be handled. “Bonnie and her team reacted quickly and told us exactly what we wanted to hear—‘it can be done.’”
A computer simulation of the room was conducted and a game plan was devised to use the materials Sound Tek, Noise Out 2 and Blue Jeans for the ceiling and walls, according to Zebersky.
To deliver a robust and optimum audio experience to the homeowner, whose nautical theater would be one of multiple systems he owns, Automatic Home Systems looked to California Audio Technologies (CAT) and its precision speaker and calibration expertise.
“The team at CAT worked countless hours with our engineering team to devise a system that matched what the room not only needed but to fit the budgetary parameters as well,” Zebersky says.
With an audio system that, in this case, would absolutely rock the boat, the theater would need high-performance video to match. Automatic Home Systems turned to the combination of Runco and Stewart Filmscreen. “We chose a Runco VX-22d projector including its famed CineWide and Autoscope features. A Stewart Cine V projection screen with electronic masking was then added to the equation allowing us to give the clients something they never had before—2.35:1 imaging,” says Zebersky, noting that the superwide 2.35:1 movies are delivered without those pesky top and bottom black bars because of the setup (and 16:9 or 4:3 films are masked).
All of the systems are tied together via Crestron automation. A Crestron TPMC-8X Wi-Fi color touchpanel handles all of the audio, video, lighting and thermostatic control options in the theater.
“When all was said and done we were still sitting on pins and needles for the theater unveiling, and within seconds we all were relieved,” Zebersky says. “Everything turned out as planned. The room was challenging to say the least but just as rewarding to be a part of.”
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.