Professional installers of home automation and home cinemas
In June 2014 we were invited to work on a project to create a 4k home cinema installation in cambridgeshire. This page is a case study of the project.
From the first conversation we were straight into calculating throw distances and discussing product features etc, so that we could advise our client of his options in terms of projector positioning , image sizes etc. This process ran for several weeks with a series of detailed conversations, discussions of room dimensions followed by several rounds of quotations for different combinations of equipment and services. We don’t charge for telephone and email consultations or for the resulting design work. This is of course slightly risky for a home cinema installation company because our clients are under no obligation to order the equipment and installation services from us, but usually we find that true enthusiasts appreciate this way of working and want us on board for the whole project. It was certainly the right approach for this project.
Our client’s requirement was for a Native 4K Home cinema installation and the Sony VPL-VW500ES 4K home cinema projector was an obvious front runner, as this home cinema installation in Cambridgeshire is almost certain to be used with true 4K content in the very near future. A draper euroscreens fixed frame screen was selected with a diagonal image size of 124 inches. This texture of the screen surface is relatively smooth on this screen, making it suitable for 4K images. We use a process of laser measurement and laser geometry to ensure that the projector lens is located in the optimum position in relation to the screen. We try to avoid relying upon measurements in relation to the walls etc as buildings are rarely built to sufficient accuracy. Opposite walls are often not completely parallel to each other, so we make sure that we position the projector accurately in relation to the screen. For this home cinema installation in Cambridgeshire we used a flush ceiling mount bracket, We often recommended this type of mount because we feel that it helps to make the projector less obtrusive. We have solutions available to flush mount more or less any model of projector.
The mount must of course be fixed to a substantial joist, the area of ceiling was surveyed, to map the locations of joists which coincide with the perfect positioning of the projector in relation to the screen. if this had not been achievable we would have added a substantial timber inside the ceiling. In this case an optimum location was found with suitable fixing points to two existing joists. 100mm M10 coach bolts are an overkill for mounting today’s relatively light home cinema projectors , but we use them anyway, just to be sure.
For this project we wanted to use a top performing blu-ray player and the oppo BDP-103D was selected. This version has the Darbee video processing chipset. The Darbee processor is a video enhancing chip that provides greater clarity and is able to embed Stereoscopic depth cues within the video, resulting in an increased perception of depth and a more dynamic, lifelike experience. The Amount of Darbee processing can be adjusted , which allows the user to customise it to their particular taste. It is claimed that the Darbee processor does not alter the image in a global fashion, so it is able to reduce the amount of image artifacts that are created. Also it doesn’t affect calibrated settings such as contrast, gamma, and colour alignments in the video signal.
We provided wired ethernet to the Blu ray player as well as to the AV Processor, The Sky HD box and the lighting control equipment.
We ran through a great many options with our client. Kef Reference series speakers were suggested fairly early in the conversation and R900 floor standers soon emerged as the client’s choice for the main front speakers with R600C for the centre speaker and 2X R400B for the subs. R800DS dipole speakers were considered for the side and rear surround positions. However there are windows with blinds located where some of the surround speakers would have ideally needed to be positioned, this led to the decision to locate the surround speakers and the ambiance speakers in the ceiling. The front high speakers were located high in the front wall. The in wall and in ceiling speakers needed to be a good match for the Kef Reference series front speakers, with this in mind Kef CI200QR speakers were selected for the in wall and in ceiling positions.
We suggested several choices of AV receiver to complement these superb speakers. Our client chose Yamaha’s flagship 11 channel Amplifier MX-A5000 and CX-A5000 processor. Balanced XLR audio interconnects were used to couple these together and after completion of the Yamaha YPAO automated EQ setup the sound was stunning.
After considering several options to add a finishing touch to his home cinema installation in Cambridgeshire Our client decided to accept our quote to install a modular Starscape infinity ceiling, manufactured by Starscape star Ceilings limited.
The Infinity system consists of a light source (there are several to choose from), a set of fibre optic cable assemblies, a set of ceiling panels, and a set of metal channels which fix to the ceiling to form a support frame. The ceiling panels were each to be attached to the support frame by magnetism. For this project we used one of the simpler light sources, a mini led 500. This can either be configured to produce a colour changing effect , or white light with a twinkle effect. We configured it during installation to produce white light with the twinkling effect.
The fibre optic cable assemblies convey the light to the ceiling panels. the light enters each ceiling panel via an assembly of optical fibres. This assembly looks like a thick cable and it’s diameter is about 12 mm. Inside the panel the assembly splits into it’s individual fibres of which there are dozens. Each individual fibre terminates at the surface of the panel creating a pinpoint of light. These pinpoints of light are distributed randomly across the black flocked surface of the panel and this, together with the twinkle effect generated in the light source, creates a very convincing night sky effect.
The light source is a small metal box, which shines light into one or more bundles of optical fibres. The light is LED generated, which helps to avoid generation of too much heat (although it does generate some). The twinkle effect is created by a small metal wheel which has a series of holes. This wheel is located in the path of the light just before the light reaches the bundle of optical fibres. As wheel rotates slowly the holes move past causing variations in the amount of light entering each of the optical fibres in the bundle.
In the case of our project there were six bundles of optical fibres emanating from a single port on the light source. We had decided to locate the light source above the plasterboard ceiling and below and the floorboards of the room above. Provision was made to be able to have access to the light source for maintenance etc.
We provided an RF remote controlled lighting relay to switch the mains source in order to allow the client to switch the starscape ceiling on and off from his i pad. It can also be switched on or off from a wireless master wall switch in the room (this just sends commands to the relay via RF). This wireless lighting control system also controls dimming of the wall lights in room.
The Starscape infinity was a wonderful finishing touch to the room, it seems to swallow any stray light and it’s easy to imagine that you are enjoying the spectacle of the big screen experience under a clear starlit sky. Here is a link to another case study of this project on the Starscape web site.
The motorised reclining leather seats were the last addition to this very generously sized cinema room (sourced by our client).
After the project was completed we received this very kind message from our delighted client:
We want to thank UK Home Cinemas for all your help and professional input in enabling the installation of our superb home cinema. You have been perceptive as well as patient in attending to and incorporating all our wishes into this complex project.
We had very high expectations for both sound and HD video quality. The reality is that all components of the system have excelled and surpassed these expectations. The picture definition and sound stage are breathtaking and the starscape is simply beautiful.
We watched Skyfall (blu ray) yesterday. In spite of a weak story line, the film was immensely enjoyable. We were literally blown away.
Thanks very much indeed once again and we wish you continued success for all your future projects.