The equipment is certainly impressive, but it’s the theme inside this 470-square-foot home theater that keeps us coming back. Aside from the obvious “Terminator” connection, the room also includes a life-sized Darth Vader, letters from Viggo Mortensen (Aragon from “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy), and other memorabilia. “The Cyberdyne Cinema was designed from a concept I always had of the old-time sci-fi and horror movie sets,” Mortensen says. “The cinema is really a salute and celebration to a genre of movies that I have enjoyed watching as a young boy on our old black-and-white Zenith console television.” Even the movie-poster cases are made to look like hydraulic presses—as a nod to both “The Terminator” as well as “The Fly.”
Movie monsters are huge, not unlike Mortensen’s project. However, this didn’t keep the enthusiast from completing most of the installation himself. At one point, he did call in Trammel Construction to help with building a wall and solid core door entry. “At the time I was out of state tending to my son after a traumatic car accident,” Mortensen says. “Trammel Construction stepped in and provided their services under my remote direction.”
Thankfully, Mortensen’s son was OK, and so was the theater. Promising himself (and his wife) not to take out loans or use credit for this project made choosing the equipment a challenge—one he took on alone. He worked extra hours, saved for purchases and soon had the big screen, and other equipment, which included Rotel for the audio portion. Aside from the sound, Rotel provided both the individual components and the industrial design that Mortensen wanted for his theme theater. “Needless to say, each and every component was carefully selected and scrutinized before it was allowed to be integrated into the Cyberdyne system.”
The theater was completed five years ago, but Mortensen wasn’t ready to say “Hasta la vista” to the home theater game—so he formed Cinema at Home, LLC. “I created Cinema at Home to provide unique and tasteful entertainment environments for the Kansas City area,” he says. “Many of the systems I saw being installed in my area were less than adequate, and had that cookie-cutter feel and look.”
From there, Mortensen studied anything and everything associated with audio and video. “I found myself becoming a sponge,” he says. After jumping through a few hoops, he joined the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association and became a certified CEDIA installer. However, his education is still ongoing. “You cannot become complacent or stagnant in this field; technology moves too fast—with or without you.”
Now he uses “real” software programs, which could possibly be used in the theater’s upgrade. Although he’s pleased with his theater’s “simply surreal” experience, Mortensen wants to replace brands and models to reflect what his company currently offers so clients know he truly stands behind his work—even if it comes in a full metal jacket.
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Editor’s Note: This article was first published in December 2007.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.