DIYer Puts the Wide in Widescreen

widescreen theater

Vote for this DIY Theater

Wayne Hanson had a small space to fill -- and went with the gusto of 2:35 screen setup.

Dec. 31, 2007 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

And now for something completely different—Wayne Hanson’s home theater.

Hanson is not your typical do-it-yourselfer with dreams of home entertainment grandeur in 16:9. Instead, he opted for a more constant height of 2:35 for his home’s setup. “As I became more experienced on the online forums and interacted with more of its members, I was introduced to this alternative way of watching a movie,” says Hanson, who credits the AVS Forum for his new way of thinking.

Even though the format seemed new, for Hanson and his wife Jocelyn, home theater has always been a way of life. Both got the bite while living in the Big Apple, in an apartment with a first front-projection setup. Now that they live in Jocelyn’s home state of Wisconsin, in their very own condo, they can afford the space—and were willing to flip for the expense to create the 2:35 setup. “It can cost more to view a movie this way because of the extra equipment that one may require,” says Hanson of the extras, which include an anamorphic lens and 2:35 screen. “However I think the end result is well worth the added expense.”

Hanson says the 2:35 setup transforms just watching movies, into a total experience, which is why he decided to go with the wider screen format in the first place. “I think that DIY is what you make it and although I think many DIY front-projection projects start off as 16:9, more are converting theirs to a more native widescreen cinemascope format,” Hanson says. “It seems to be a growing trend with DIY’ers and custom installers alike.” The experience is certainly complemented by 10 feet of Da-Lite Cinemascope screen.

Although he goes for the gusto on when it comes to his equipment, at just over 13 by 17 feet, Hanson has a much smaller space than our typical electronic house. While some may think it would be cheap and easy to fill such a small space, it actually posed a challenge when it came to some of Hanson’s ideas. “I would have liked an overall larger room with more room for tiered seating and enough room to do a false wall and have speakers behind it, a drop ceiling would have also been nice.”

The brand new ceramic floor left behind by the condo’s previous owner wasn’t exactly working in his favor either. Since typical carpet wouldn’t work, Hanson tried Milliken’s Legato, a floor-covering product that is assembled in pieces. Hanson says this also makes it easy to replace portions of the non-skid surface, if any areas are stained or damaged. “No one has ever noticed that it was not traditional carpet,” he says.

Other features include diffuser and high-frequency absorber panels, which Hanson recycle from his first home theater. Bass traps, which cushion the booming sounds, are located in the front and rear corners of the room. Also, the equipment can be found in a rack that’s built into the wall to the right.

Over the years Hanson has replaced a few pieces, but considers himself to be pretty fortunate. “I usually do a fair amount of research before making a purchase and usually try to purchase from a dealer with a good return policy,” he says. It’s also important that Hanson keep up on current technology, since he launched the consulting firm Hanson Theater Designs in 2005. “It’s not a major production, but for now I’m just having fun.”

While Hanson boasts the benefits of 2:35, he says that no matter what format DIYers decide to go with, it’s important to keep a positive attitude and just enjoy building process. Of course, he would love a bigger room and more seating, but he certainly isn’t complaining—he’s too busy being entertained.

Quick Hits
Year Completed: 2004
Room Size: 13 x 17 feet (approximate)
Length of Project: 1 month
Total Cost: $30,000

  • American Power Conversion Smart Ups 1500
  • Anthem D2 Audio Processor
  • BenQ W10000 1080p DLP Front Projector
  • Berkline 090 Theater Seats (4)
  • Da-Lite 133-inch Cinema Contour Screen
  • D-Link DWL-200 Access Point
  • ISCO III Anamorphic Lens
  • Lutron GRX-3105 Lighting Controller
  • M&K S-150p Powered Monitors (5)
  • M&K SS-200 Dipole Surrounds
  • Monster HTS-5100 Power Center
  • QSC DSP30 Subwoofer Equalizer
  • Real Traps Bass Traps (4)
  • RPG Ceiling Diffuser Panels (4)
  • RTI T3 Remote Control
  • Sony PlayStation 3
  • Seaton Sound SubMersive 1 Subwoofer (Custom)
  • Toshiba A2 HD DVD Player
  • Assorted high frequency absorber panels

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