A good home theater designer comes armed to a project with an arsenal of high-tech knowledge. He’ll be able to tell you all about the latest audio setups, like Dolby Atmos, and recommend a video projector that boasts all the coolest capabilities, like 4K and 3D. But having a home theater isn’t just about having the right kind of gear. The room design can make or break the entertainment experience, so it’s important to team up with a home theater designer who’s just as on trend with the furnishings and color scheme as he is with cutting-edge audio and video.
“I had been thinking about doing something like this (a completely black-and-white) theater for some time,” says David Huse, CEO and founder of Theater Advice, of Frisco, Texas. “I wanted to create an environment that would make people feel as if they had stepped into a black-and-white movie, void of all color, not even a punch of color from a pillow.” Huse pitched this unique design concept to the owners of our featured theater, who were eager to renovate a 25-by-13-foot barebones media area in their Texas home, and they gave Huse the green light immediately.
The incorporation of a black-and-white color scheme may seem, well … fairly black and white, but as Huse explains, choosing the right shade can be tricky to maintain a completely monochrome color palette. “Blacks can have a blue undertone; whites can give off a slight shade of pink.” Touches of gray were added to soften the room a bit, and provide a subtle hint of yellow to mimic the patina of film. Lighting had to be as void of color as possible, too. Anything “too cool” could look a somewhat blue; too “warm,” and the owners could be dealing with something pinkish in color. “We worked closely with the electrician who installed the home theater lighting to ensure that the LED lights were of a color temperature (7,000 Kelvin) to produce a pure, white light,” says Huse.
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Another important factor besides choosing the right tone of the paint is that it be matte rather than semi-gloss or gloss. A matter finish would prevent light from bouncing off the walls and onto the video screen, producing an annoying glare. For extra assurance of a glare-free viewing experience, Huse chose a 120-inch Black Diamond screen from Screen Innovations, which is noted for its ability to reject light and its “zero edge” design (the zero-edge design makes it look more like a flat-panel TV than a standard projection screen.)
Huse paired the Black Diamond screen with an Epson 4030 video projector, an economical choice that helped the homeowners stick to their modest equipment budget of $8,500. (The total cost of the project was $30,000, which included structural renovations, design and installation, and equipment.) The projector’s advanced “keystoning” capability was another winning feature that helped streamline the installation. Huse explains, keystoning enables the video from a projector, no matter how the projector is positioned in the room, to be aligned perfectly on the screen. This is sometimes difficult to accomplish on a zero-edge screen, like the Black Diamond, but thanks to the Epson projectors ability to keystone in multiple directions (up, down, left, and right), the video could be rendered to fit the shape of the screen without any bleeding off the edge.
Complementing the video is a 7.1 surround-sound system comprised of THX-caliber Klipsch speakers and subwoofers which Huse tucked into the wood paneled walls at ear level and painted the grilles to blend in with the wall surface. The audio and video components go unnoticed, as well, having been stowed in a nearby closet.
Last but not least was the addition of a control device. In another cost-cutting tactic, Huse opted for a simple programmable handheld remote from URC. One button activates all the necessary gear; another turns everything off. No lighting or other room elements were integrated. “We just kept it basic and simple,” says Huse—an approach that’s right in line with basic and simple the black-and-white design.