Part Home Theater, Part Laser Light Show


GOLD WINNER: Best Home Theater over $250,000

Mood-setting fiber-optic LED constellations precede show time in this staggering 174-inch screen theater.

May. 03, 2010 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

It’s difficult to decide what’s most impressive about this stunning theater.

(Click here for additional photos.)

The 174-inch screen?

The dusk-to-dawn time lapsed constellation-filled sky ceiling?

The 200-pound, ultrahigh-performance projector?

The airtight 350-pound custom door that seals the room like Fort Knox?

The chairs’ frosted glass cupholders that glow with LED lights?

The answer is easy: all of the above. But one factor that Jeffrey Smith of theater designer First Impressions Theme Theatres doesn’t want to understate is how utterly quiet the room is before the sound comes on, and how that impacts the impending home cinema experience.

“The first thing you do is bring guests in and go, ‘Shhh … what do you hear?’ Nothing,” Smith says. “Then we know we’ve done our job. You literally hear your heartbeat — no HVAC, footfall, electronics or projector noise — we really work hard at that.”

As guests are settling in, other aspects feed their anticipation. A walk-in mode programmed into the Crestron control system keeps the room well lit and fills the sky ceiling with daytime blue and “happy clouds,” Smith jokes.

Then show time begins. A programmed 7-minute delay lowers the lights and fades the sky into coral, magenta and finally a midnight blue. Fiber-optic LED constellations appear, and shooting stars streak overhead. When the homeowner presses play on the Crestron touchpanel’s Blu-ray page, the room fades to black and the projector and screen take over. After the film, the homeowner presses a button to trigger the effects in reverse.

Open Sesame

The entry to this theater is certainly not your average door.

To suppress and isolate sound as much as possible, designer First Impressions Theme Theatres installed a 350-pound, 3.5-inch thick door that effectively locks down into a threshold. Its sides and top are pushed against rubber gaskets for sealing, and the door opens and closes automatically after being pushed or pulled. Five cam-lift hinges allow the door to lift slightly out of the threshold and open.

The wood appearance is only a veneer, according to Smith. It covers layers of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), limp-mass sound barrier and fiberglass material. “It’s a weak link in the sound suppression,” says Smith, “but not too weak.”

First Impressions worked with A/V installer HED South and interior designer Holmes Newman to create the entire structure, down to every nut and bolt, in North Miami, Fla., before shipping and reconstructing it in the owners’ upstate New York home.

“The entire theater was standing up in our facility. The owners walked the risers, sat in the chairs,” Smith says. “Everything is modeled here like it’s going to be in the home, so it’s installed in sections like a puzzle: prefit, precut and numbered.”

Finishing Touches

First Impressions housed the massive Digital Projection International Titan projector within a steel-bracketed soffit behind special optical glass that eliminates noise leakage. “You just see the flicker of light come out, like at the movie theaters,” says Smith.

For the theater design, the homeowners desired something slick and contemporary to fit with the rest of the house, as this room would be a signature addition to a signature house designed by renowned Peter Gluck and Partners.

The unorthodox blue and charcoal colors help achieve a modern feel, while the special ceiling and lighting — including downlighting, effects, step and stage lights — are definitely slick.

So is the four-way masking on the 174-inch screen that covers the unused top and bottom portions when superwide 2.35:1 aspect ratio movies are shown. The slightly curved, overlaid and LED-backlit acoustical panels, as is the concealed and powerful Genelec surround-sound system. And don’t forget the supple and slick Italian leather CineLounger seats, manufactured by First Impressions and custom-dyed to match the wall panels.

There’s even a companion seat for the homeowners’ dogs, who chow on Pup Corn, naturally.

Design & Installation
First Impressions Theme Theatres
North Miami, Fla.

A/V Systems & Installation
HED South
Hollywood, Fla.

Interior Designer
Holmes Newman
Miami, Fla.

Room Size
29 x 21 feet

4½ months

1 Lexicon Music and Cinema processor MC-12 Balanced HD EQ
1 Genelec center channel 3-way Active Mid field monitor 1038BCPM
2 Genelec 3-way Active Mid Near field monitor 1038B
4 Genelec 2-way Active Compact in-wall loudspeakers AIW26
4 Genelec New construction bracket for AIW26 272-0005
2 Genelec Single 12” 400W Home theater subwoofer
1 Stewart Custom Luxus Screen Wall, Image size: 85.25” X 151.75” (174” diagonal) 1.78:1 ratio SN174HFHG3WMX
1 Digital Projection TITAN 1080p-250 Pro Series Projector 106-242
Chief inverted heavy duty projector mount VCM-70P
1 Chief flat ceiling plate CMA-110
Chief Extension Adjust Column 9-12” CMS-009012
LG Blu-ray Disc & HD DVD Player BH100
Kaleidescape Base DVD Server (KSYS-Base-Movies 3U)+ Upgrade includes: 1 Kserver-5000, 3 Kdisk-750-L, 1 Kplayer-5000 (Movie Player 2), 1 Klicense movies; 1 Kaleidescape 1U-3U Server upgrade KUPGR-1U-to-3U
1 Kaleidescape Music Playback/Guide Upgrade (KUPGR-Music-Add), includes 1 Klicense-music
4 Kaleidescape Disc cartridges 750GB KDISC-750
DirecTV High Def Receiver s/HD DVR HR20
1 VocoPro Karaoke Player DVX-880 Pro
1 VocoPro Dual-channel wireless microphone UHF-6800
1 VocoPro digital echo mixer equalizer DA-1050 Pro
1 Crestron Isys 15” tilt touchpanel TPS-15B
1 Crestron Control System PRO2; Crestron single Port Ethernet Card C2ENET-1
Crestron 300-Watt power supply C2N-SPW-S300
1 Lexicon Rack Mount Kit for MC-12 MC-12/B RMK
1 Crestron Rack Moynt for SPWS300/NPA8 C2N-RMAK
2 Genelec Rack adaptor kit for RAM 1 amplifier RAM1-401
1 Richard Gray Power House RGPC
2 MIddle Atlantic Rack System AXS
2 Middle Atlantic Service Tracks Track 50
2 Middle Atlantic Access Svc Stand TS1640
3 Middle Atlantic Rack Shelf w/face plate RSH-4A
12 Middle Atlantic Slotted Vent Panel VTP-1
1 Middle Atlantic 3 Space Rack Drawer D3; 2 Tributaries Interconnects for rack
Wire, Jacks, Plates for Audio, Video HD & Control - Straight Wire products.

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