Stewart StarGlas Gives Texas Home Theater a Wide Angle

Combining the best features of two distinctly different screens yields an unbeatable image.

When the tech-savvy owners of this beautiful Texas Hill Country abode decided to remodel, a home theater with a larger-than-life 4K Ultra HD system was at the top of their wish list.

Unfortunately at the time, there were few Ultra HD projectors available for residential use, and no defining connection standard. Additionally, the homeowner wanted both deep black levels and an image bright enough to watch movies during the day in a room with no less than 13 windows. Add to this a stunning, but colossal, 12-foot Stewart StarGlas projection screen that wouldn’t fit through the front door, and you can see how custom electronics (CE) professional Dennis Erskine of The Erskine Group, Atlanta, Ga., had his work cut out for him both technically and logistically.

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The Stewart StarGlas had to be lifted into the home with a crane.

To meet the homeowner’s expectation for a bright image with good black levels, Erskine had to look beyond the residential market to commercial projectors. “In no way would a residential 4K projector be able to produce 65 FootLamberts on a 12-foot-wide screen in this room,” says Erskine. Ultimately, he specified a Display Development Digital Film 4K projector. The image from this six-figure custom engineered unit was poised not only to be bright enough, but to create images in ultra high-definition. The projector throws the image to a system of mirrors positioned in a light-controlled room behind the Stewart Filmscreen StarGlas rear-projection screen. These mirrors effectively “flip” the projected image before it reaches the screen.

Check out another cool home theater, Ultimate Garage Theater, by Dennis Erskine.

Originally, Erskine designed the system with a StarGlas model that incorporated variable vertical masking, but in mid-production the homeowners decided they also wanted horizontal masking (together, the vertical and horizontal masking can alter the shape of the screen to accommodate a variety of different video formats). Without a turnkey solution available, Erskine asked the engineers at Stewart Filmscreen to fabricate and ship to the project a Director’s Choice system—which is capable of four-way variable masking. Erskine and Stewart Filmscreen then worked together to apply the Director’s Choice masking system onto the StarGlas. The result: A truly stellar StarGlas installation that provides a unique, one of a kind product incorporating Stewart’s four-way masking system with a rigid screen.

To complement the stunning video, Erskine installed a total of nine Procella speakers and five subwoofers, and constructed portions of the room for top-notch acoustics. The homeowners wanted the windows in the theater to match the rest of the home, yet Erskine refused to have sound seeping in from the outside world. Therefore, he designed a second set of double-paned interior windows to match those on the outside. “When the theater was finished, we couldn’t even hear the workers using jackhammers to install the swimming pool outside,” says Erskine. Each window has a motorized shade on the outside as well as in between the two windows for both acoustic purposes and natural light control. The addition of a sound-attenuation entry door, which is four feet wide and has a concrete center, also prevents outside noise from entering the theater.

The entire A/V system, as well as the motorized window shades and color-changing lights, are controlled by a Crestron MTX-3 remote.

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