Best Home Cinema (£40,000 - £100,000)
Winner: Finite Solutions for What Lies Beneath
A cinema with a real 'wow' factor and provides a ‘great social space’
This stunning subterranean home cinema scooped the top prize in the Best Home Cinema £40,000-£100,000 category at the CEDIA Awards 2014, where it impressed the judges with its flair and innovation.
Finite Solutions faced a tough brief to create a unique and truly immersive big screen experience in the basement of the client’s home. Key requirements were that the cinema screen needed to be as big as possible for the ultimate ‘wow’ factor. Image quality was hugely important as the system would be used by the family for watching movies, quality TV series and sporting events. Sky HD, Apple TV, Blu-ray, DVD, CD and PS4 gaming would be the sources to be enjoyed, with the potential for Kaleidescape and other sources in the future. 3D capability was considered a bonus, but not essential.
Sound quality was to be of an excellent standard and the client desired dedicated custom cinema seating for seven viewers. Simple intuitive control of the system, lighting and automation were also an important part of the detailed brief. Automated blinds were to be installed on the walkover skylights in the ceiling and integrated with the cinema control.
Storage in this room was very important to the client so the bespoke joinery had to be easily accessible with numerous cupboards, shelves and drawers. Overall the client required a breathtaking cinematic experience which would convey a genuine sense of luxury and quality.
Starting with a carefully planned 3D model of the proposed design, the client was able to visualise the finished room layout and ensure the design would deliver his brief. The model allowed the client to see the finished joinery, seating tier, seating, projector and equipment positions and the scale of the proposed cinema screen in the room, which he was delighted with. The planning and preapproval of the technology specification reassured the client that the entire audience would be completely immersed in their cinema experience.
Finite Solutions made recommendations on the level of equipment to deliver the audio visual performance, control and automation the client required whilst being conscious of assigning budget in the areas that were most important. The client was pleased with the equipment specification and design and instructed us to proceed.
As the client wanted to have excellent image quality and access to lots of storage in the cinema room, the custom installer opted for a subtle electric drop down screen to allow access to the front wall storage. A high quality 3.3m wide tab tension model from Screen Research's 'Supreme 2' range was chosen. The JVC DLA-X95 projector was specified to complete the display product mix; together these products deliver fabulous image quality and 3D capability. The front 3 speakers, subwoofer and a Middle Atlantic 'Pull Twist' style rack were built into the front wall joinery. These are subtly disguised behind speaker fabric and give the front wall a unique look when the screen is raised. The screen is also acoustically transparent as it covers the speakers when it is dropped. The carefully selected processor and amplifier drive a selection speakers and a subwoofer, delivering fantastic sound quality to match the big screen imagery.
At the rear of the room, the bespoke joinery has three roles. It conceals the projector, increases the storage capacity in the room and allows the second row of seats to be on a raised tier. The joinery design particularly impressed the CEDIA judges who commented that they “loved the joinery with the drop down screen in front, it’s incredibly clever… and everything is tightly put together.”
To ensure the system was simple to use, Finite Solutions added a URC universal remote programme to control all aspects of the system, lighting and automation. To make changing disks simple and near at hand, the installer placed the Oppo Blu-ray player and the PS4 at the rear of the room besides the seating.
These are connected to the main AV rack via a local 4:1 HDMI switch. This has the added benefit of increasing the HDMI inputs available so products can be added here should the client wish. All the other components, which the client should never need to access, are housed in the hidden main AV rack.
Careful consideration was given to the lighting design. Star capsule lamp fittings are randomly dotted across the ceiling to create an interesting lighting effect. Wall lights and cabinet lights make up the rest of the lighting in the room. The light circuits and the skylight blackout blinds, are controlled from two Lutron Grafik Eyes allowing several pre-programmed lighting scenes to be easily accessed and adjusted from the cinema remote or the wall keypad.
To ensure the client and his family and friends are comfortable when enjoying their luxurious home cinema experience, two rows of Matinee style Fortress cinema seats were chosen. These high quality dedicated home cinema seats are very comfortable and all have full electric recline. The suede wall coverings and the leather finish of the seats complement each other, bringing the colour tone and the overall aesthetic of the room together.
The client is extremely pleased with his bespoke cinema room and delighted with the system performance and the simplicity of controlling it. They are hoping to add to their enjoyment by introducing a Kaleidescape movie server to the system in the near future.
The installer endeavoured to bring all the elements of the brief together including aesthetics, technical design and ambience. The end result is a cinema with a real 'wow' factor and provides a ‘great social space’ according to the impressed CEDIA judges. The client comments: 'The whole family enjoy movie nights in the cinema and we love watching rugby matches on the big screen. The screen is huge and the picture quality is amazing, exactly what I wanted.”