Vegas Light Show Gives Theater the Blues
Dazzling neon effects ensure these theater-goers a visual feast.
SILVER WINNER: Best Home Theater $100K-$250K
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May 03, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

This home theater changes radically every day - especially when these Cleveland homeowners want to treat guests to its Vegas-style neon light show.

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They had been in other theaters and, despite the traditional local architecture of the home’s exterior, had requested a decidedly nontraditional design. Interior designer David Hawkins and custom electronics firm Audio Video Interiors (AVI) had collaborated on providing a modern appearance and modern technology throughout the rest of the home’s interior, and they were tasked with creating a similar solution for the theater.

“They really wanted to knock people’s socks off and make it visually appealing,” says Joe Calderaro, project manager at Audio Video Interiors. “David designed the lighting for the whole house, which is very well lit and picks up a lot on the architectural elements. He’s very much an out-of-the-box thinker, so that’s where the style came from.”

Triggered by the Crestron control system, blue neon lights beam from the front wall and ceiling cove, while white neon shoots up from below the seating risers. Meanwhile, other pendant and accent lighting highlight the rest of the room’s architecture, including two bar areas on a side and rear wall. A false wall was built about 2 feet in front of the screen wall to allow depth for speaker installation behind an acoustically transparent screen.

“We knew David wanted to do something elaborate for the front wall so it would be pretty eye-popping when the owners opened the doors,” says Calderaro. “Once the screen was up we had the cabinetmakers build around it and the scalloped areas mounted to the wall. The scalloped panels are individually backlit, and we found some paint with a lot of texture and sheen to help reflection.”

The team extended that visual interest to the other walls, opting to install modular fabric acoustical panels with moldings brushed in reflective metallic paint that embellishes the neon, rather than cover the full wall with stretched acoustic fabric. The wallpaper on the walls and ceiling contains metallic paper, too, so the sheen all over the roughly 25.5-by-16.5-by-10-foot space enhances the light show.

To round out the room’s lighting impact, AVI programmed the Crestron system with simple scenes that turn on all the neon to show off, turn off all lighting when a movie starts, or bring the accents to a dimmed level when a movie pauses.

The owners also indulge in powerful A/V effects. The Stewart Filmscreen Electrimask display measures 10 feet wide in its full 2.35:1 CinemaScope aspect ratio, and can automatically mask the sides for 1.78:1 content (common to high-def TV programming and many movies). For the audio, a JBL Synthesis sound system was implemented because it could be fine-tuned for the irregular-shaped room via its proprietary amplification and processing.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

Installer/Equipment List

Systems Design and Installation
Audio Video Interiors
Medina, Ohio

Interior Design
David Hawkins
Akron, Ohio

Palmieri Builders
Cleveland, Ohio

Room Size
25.5 x 16.5 feet

Crestron CP2e Processor
Crestron TPMC8X Touchpanel
Crestron CLS-6 Lighting Processor
Middle Atlantic ERK A/V Rack
Kaleidescape KPLAYER6000
JBL Synthesis S650A (2)
JBL Synthesis S820
JBL Synthesis SDP40
JBL Synthesis SDEC1000A
JBL Synthesis S4AI (2)
JBL Synthesis S1M (2)
JBL Synthesis S1A CENTER
JBL Synthesis S1S-EX (2)
Runco VX6000D-CWAS
Runco DHD
Stewart Filmscreen Vertical Electrimask (10’ Wide / 2.35:1 / Ultramatte 150 Microperf)
Richard Gray 1200 Custom
Monster Cable Interconnects
Monster Cable OMC-2R Speaker Wire
CinemaTech Mezzanine Incliners (8)

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