Build your own home cinema: The 3 secrets of a stunning first build

DIY home cinema with a view on the projection screen

I got in touch with Tony when he needed a floating projection screen for a home cinema that he was building. It needed to be floating, because his room had sloped ceilings. And it was his first time building one.

He wanted to build a frame originally to hang the screen from. I suggested to hang it from wires.

The result is a great looking room. And this article takes you through it. Step-by-step. So you can do it yourself or learn from Tony’s experience.

Let’s first look at an interactive view of the complete room. This will explain how the cinema was set up. I’ll then go into detail about the different aspects of the room. And – of course – I’ll let you see exactly how the floating projection screen was installed and which parts were used.

The interactive view of the floating screen cinema

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The kit list

The kit list is the list of all the equipment that has been used. And here it is:
Sony VPL-HW10 Projector
Sony STR-DA5400ES Receiver
Sony BDP-S5000ES BluRay
Atacama Equipment Rack
Kef KHT3005SE 7.1 Speakers
Atlas cables Hyper 2.0 (fronts) Element 1.25 (surrounds)
QED Performance Sub Cable
Lindy mains conditioners and cables
Lindy HDMI cables
Beamax A Velvet fixed screen (10564)
Seating from Evertaut Ltd the Orion range.
Mounting hardware for the floating part of the screen available from Shopkit (see below for details) Buy it directly here

The 3 secrets to this great installation

I am not sure if Tony would agree, but I think these are the 3 secrets to this great room:

1. Partner Support

Tony said his wife supported him all the way. That’s important, because you will be spending a lot of money and time on a home cinema project. At least – if you want a home theater built to a standard as this one.

And it’s not just the time building it. It’s the research that goes into it. And the fact that you’ll be in construction-mode for a long time. Count on months.

If you have a partner that doesn’t support you, you’ll either run out of funds at some point, or you run out of time. Simply because your partner is fed up with the whole thing and wants to finally just watch a movie.

That means you’ll have to rush things or make compromises, which isn’t great.

Which leads us to the second secret: patience

2. Patience

You need to have enough patience to complete your room. When it’s a first attempt, you are bound to make mistakes. That’s OK, as long as you take the time to fix them.

If you leave them as they are, you’ll regret it down the road.

I know from experience that it’s a pain to re-do things. Especially when what you’ve done is 80% OK. However, for a top result, you need to look at the details.

And remember, you’re building something that will last.

So make sure you have months to finish the project. Spend most of the time researching, watching examples and learning from others. Then, start your build.

If you don’t want to wait or do all this, hire a professional company…

3.Vision

Last but definitely not least is vision. Without knowing what you want to achieve, you’ll never get a great result.

Sure, you can improvise on the way, but only if you know what you want your cinema room to look like at the end.

Don’t get hung up on certain components, like a specific type of projector or amplifier. Something new is coming out on a weekly basis and things get discontinued without any notice. Or simply are out of stock, because the sales office messed up the forecast…

It’s more important to know what you want to achieve in terms of looks and performance. Find examples on forums and in magazines and see what they’ve achieved.

Then mix and match so it fits your room and budget.

And since we are talking about looking at examples, I am going to show you exactly how Tony made is awesome floating projection screen.

How to create a floating projection screen

Let’s first look at the room and focus on the projection screen, so you can see exactly what it looks like (click to get a full size image)

Side view on a projection screen hanging from wires

The screen

The screen is a fixed frame projection screen. This is an ideal screen for home cinemas, as it has tension on 4 sides. This 4-way tension ensures the projection fabric is perfectly flat. An absolute must-have if you want to enjoy a distortion-free projection.

The model Tony used is a 10564 A-Velvet from Beamax. It’s a velvet-covered frame of 8 cm wide (just over 3 inches) and has a diagonal of 211 cm (that’s almost 84″).

The screen has a matt white fabric with a gain of 1.0 This is a good set-up for a room with little ambient light.

The ceiling and floor fixtures

You don’t want a screen to be moving. It’ll ruin the movie experience and potentially damage your screen.

Now how would it be moving when it’s just hanging there, you ask? Well, here are a few potential reasons (not necessarily for this cinema):
– People walking in the room and touching or walking into the screen (children in particular ;-))
– Air displacement because of a draft
– Air displacement from speakers
– Other “accidents”, while cleaning or using the room in general

To ensure the projection screen was securely fixed, the wires were attached to the roof and the floor. This was done on both sides of the screen, so it would be secured in 4 positions.

This is the part that was fixed to the floor:

Image of the floor and ceiling fixation bracket for the floating fixed frame screen

You can see here which part was used for the ceiling (all of them came from Shopkit (which has an on-line shop) here):

The floor fixation points to attached the wires of the floating screen to the floor

On the ceiling side, you might remember that Tony had a sloped ceiling to deal with. The bracket was designed just for that. This allows the bracket to be fitted at an angle, while the wired run down perfectly.

What that means is this (seen from the front). As you can see, it’s a very clean-looking connection, that’s hardly visible.

Front corner view of the projection screen hanging from steel wires with a focus on the ceiling bracket

This is what that looks like from the back:

Image of a sloped ceiling with a projection screen hanging down from it

You see how the projection screen is attached to the wires already, so let’s look at that in greater detail.

How to fix the frame screen to the wires

The great thing about attaching the frame to the wire connector from Shopkit was the fact that there was no drilling required. The predrilled holes in the A-velvet projection screen.

Here’s the parts that connects the screen to the frame:

Photo of the parts that connect the wires to the projection screen

As you can see there are three pieces.

First, you fix the left 2 to the frame, by driving the screw into the corner bracket of the screen’s frame:

How to fix the first 2 parts to the back of the projection screen

Next, the third part is driven in and the wire is run through. This last part has a small screw inside, which is loosend and then tightened to run the cable through and fix it in the right position.

You can see an image below of the third piece installed, but the wire not run through it yet.

Second piece of the wire brackets installed to the back of the screen

When fixing the screen to the wires, make sure your screen is level, so you can easily align the image of your projector to the screen. If the screen isn’t level, your image won’t fit the screen and will be partly on the black border.

Conclusion

This whole cinema has a clean look, to which the floating projection screen really adds a lot. Now you know how to easily create this installation yourself. Even if you want to do the projection screen part only, you will already have an installation that looks like a professional has done it.

Let’s look at a few more shots of the room from different angles, and as usual, if you have any questions or comments, do let me know!

The left front corner of the cinema room, from the spectator’s point of view:

Left front corner view of the floating projection screen cinema

And here’s the view from the seats:

A front view of the floating projection screen theater

Thanks,

Otto

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