Achieving the Perfect Home Cinema

The perfect home cinema is more than just a big projector screen and room filled with comfy looking seats.  With several years of expertise in creating home cinemas, Inspired Dwellings know how to build the perfect one, and consequently we have put together a guide to point out what your client needs to consider when enquiring about home cinemas.

Inspired Dwellings make sure that everything is connected together and works properly on the technical side of things.  For example, HDMI cables are used to transfer the sound and video from the Blu-ray player into an AV amplifier, which acts as a switching device, and sends everything out to the projector or smart television via another HDMI cable.  While considering all of the four elements listed below, Inspired Dwellings work with our suppliers to deliver our clients the perfect cinematic experience in their very own home. 

1. Furniture Selection

As an audio-visual consultancy and installation company, furniture may not be our niche, however we work with our client’s interior designer and our suppliers to deliver the best result.  Cinema seating is a crucial decision, and it is important to get as many seats within the ‘listening sweet spot’ as possible.  The aim of this is to balance the audio levels to ensure everyone in the room is hearing the same quality of sound.

Some of our suppliers, such as D-Box provides unique cinema seating, where the chair is able to vibrate and move in time with the film you are watching in order to offer your client a more surreal cinema experience.  For example if the car in the film is accelerating, their seat will automatically move forward to mimic the movement of the screen.

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2. Projector Screen/Flat Screen & Projector

Projector screens are key in delivering the visual side of things.  The size of the screen should be dependent on the size of the room; it is important to let your client know that a small screen can still deliver good results.  Along with the size, the aspect ratio of the screen needs to be considered.  16:9 (which produces a widescreen format) projector screens are the standard for HDTV, however, many motion films ate filmed in the aspect ratio 2.35:1, an even wider screen format.  The advantage of choosing a 2.35:1 screen is that no black bars will appear above or below the picture, and consequently it gives a true home cinema experience compared to the conventional 16:9 format.

If the home cinema room is more of a media room, your client may think that a projector screen might impose on the room décor too much.  Thus, in this case a smart TV can be sufficient, and via online streaming they are able to access popular apps such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer to watch the latest television and films.  However, like in our North London Home project, another option could be to have a hidden projector screen, which only comes down in the evenings for family and friends film nights.  This way the interior décor of the room would not be compromised.

However, colours will have to be a key consideration by the interior designers because it can be picked up on the projector screen.  Therefore it is important to choose the room colours wisely – dark colours are often used for the majority of cinemas.

When considering a projector, the key thing to take into consideration is the brightness; a home cinema projector does not need to be as bright as the light produced by the projectors in large theatres.  It only needs to produce light to fill the projector screen with a good contrast, and consequently a projector with lumens between 1000 and 2000 is a common choice for home cinema projectors.  Projectors with lower lumens can be used in darker rooms, however if the client intends to use their cinema room in daylight or watch a film with the lights on, we would recommend a higher lumen projector.

Lastly, in terms of the resolution delivered by the projector, the higher the resolution, the better.  It refers to the maximum number of distinct pixels that can be displayed in an image.  Projectors currently can deliver the following; Standard-Definition (SD) = 720x480, High-Definition (HD) = 1280x720 or 1920x1080, Ultra HD 4K = 3840x2160, 4K DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) = 4096x2160.

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3. Speaker Set-Up

A 5.1, 7.1 or 9.1 surround sound system in your client’s home cinema will help recreate a similar layout to their typical local cinema.  The first number refers to the number of traditional surround speakers (front, center, surround), whilst the second number refers to how many powered subwoofers you can connect to your receiver.

According to Dolby, a company particularly experienced in their home cinema speaker set-up, the 5.1 surround sound system is the “essential and most popular layout”, the 7.1 is “the studio standard for the best in cinema sound”, and the 9.1 system is where “front height channels add a new dimension” to the audio.

Dolby also brings a new idea to home cinemas with their Dolby Atmos product; for example instead of a 7.1 surround sound format, Dolby Atmos goes a step further with a 7.1.4 system speaker to deliver a true immersive cinematic experience for your client, with an additional four in-ceiling speakers.  The number on the end refers to how many in-ceiling speakers are in your Dolby Atmos setup, thus the sound will come from above as well as around.  This is what enables 3D surround sound so for example you will hear the true path of sound of a plane as it takes off.

Finally, no matter the size of the room, it is important to consider acoustic treatment.  In order to eradicate the echo, sound absorption wall panels will have to be correctly placed in the room. 

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4. Room Set-Up and Extras

To complete the perfect home cinema, Inspired Dwellings brings you some extra tips to pass on to your client.  Firstly if your client is thinking about having multiple systems installed into their home, they can link all the systems, including the audio-visuals, to a single home control system.  Inspired Dwellings home cinemas are personalised through the use of a Control4 or Crestron home control system.  This way, they can also link all the equipment in the home cinema to a single home control remote, iOS device or touch panel.  It allows easy access to the clients preferred media devices such as Blu-ray players, Apple TV, Sky Box, audio systems and gaming stations.

Further, they are able to control the rest of the technology in their home such as the lighting from the comforts of their cinema.  Integrating a Lutron or Rako lighting control system complements a home cinema and enables the perfect mood to be set.  With different lighting modes programmed to suit your clients preferences, select the ‘cinema’ mode just before the movie begins and some lights will automatically dim, whilst others will turn off completely.

Kaleidescape is also a great addition to any home cinema.  It is a dedicated movie server with an inexhaustible supply of movies.  Kaleidescape drives the high-end speakers and projector screens we install with professional-grade hardware and high quality Blu-ray movies.

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If your client is interested in creating a home cinema, please direct them to Inspired Dwellings on 020 7736 6007.

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