‘ART WALL’ THEATRE

Wave­train de­liv­ers an un­usual twi­nuse me­dia room.

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You might call it a home cinema, you might call it a me­dia room. It’s cer­tainly a unique space — com­bin­ing two pro­jec­tion sys­tems on the one screen — and also a suc­cess­ful one. But the project, part of a larger home ren­o­va­tion, was not with­out its chal­lenges. “The pri­mary goal was the cinema,” the owner tells Sound+Image. “I wanted a great cinema ex­pe­ri­ence from the pro­jec­tor and the screen, and ob­vi­ously on the au­dio side of things as well. But a sec­ondary ben­e­fit was what I call an ‘art wall’ — some­thing I thought would re­ally en­hance the space, if it was tech­ni­cally pos­si­ble.”

The idea of the ‘art wall’ was to de­liver a full seven-me­tre-wide fea­ture wall that spanned the en­tire width of the room from floor to ceil­ing.

“So the whole wall is ef­fec­tively a screen,” con­firms the owner. “I can put an image on that screen, or a video, what­ever I want.”

Then when re­quired, this sys­tem would trans­form into the de­sired sta­teof-the-art movie cinema.

Quite the plan! So how to trans­form this bold con­cept into re­al­ity? The owner con­tacted David Mose­ley of Wave­train Cin­e­mas.

“The client found us by search­ing through CEDIA Award-win­ning com­pa­nies, and then he dropped in for a chat one day,” says David Mose­ley. “What he wanted to achieve cre­ated an in­ter­est­ing chal­lenge — and that’s ex­actly the sort of project we love. We pride our­selves on help­ing a client to achieve their dreams.”

Fight­ing the light

The owner was al­ready aware that a full-wall video image was no small ask.

“The art wall was the big chal­lenge,” the owner con­firms. “The throw dis­tance be­tween the pro­jec­tor and the wall was

quite short, so we had to find a pro­jec­tor that would work at the short dis­tance and give us the bright­ness that we needed.”

And as you can see from the pic­tures, the po­ten­tial bright­ness is­sues were com­pounded by am­bi­ent light flood­ing in from the win­dows along one wall.

“A pro­jec­tion sys­tem is just not go­ing to com­pete with the Sun,” as David Mose­ley puts it bluntly. “We brought out an ex­tremely pow­er­ful pro­jec­tor to the site very early on to prove the point. When the light wasn’t di­rect we could pro­duce an image, but it would not in any way be uni­form.”

The first part of Wave­train’s sug­gested so­lu­tion was to add a sheer cur­tain and some be­spoke light block­ing.

“The cur­tain al­lows for a fairly con­sis­tent image in the morn­ing,” says David. “Then once the sun swings around in the af­ter- noon, a blind at the screen end drops down to cut the light hit­ting that end of the screen di­rectly. There are three blinds in to­tal, plus block­out and the sheer cur­tains.”

Screen specs

With the light­ing thus mol­li­fied, Wave­train turned to tech­nol­ogy to fur­ther as­sist the image qual­ity.

“To im­prove con­trast gen­er­ally we needed to use an am­bi­ent light re­ject­ing screen,” ex­plains David. “Op­ti­cal wasn’t go­ing to be suit­able for sev­eral rea­sons — freight­ing a seven-me­tre-wide op­ti­cal screen would have be ex­tremely dif­fi­cult, and have blown the bud­get on the image only. It would also mean hav­ing com­pro­mised au­dio, us­ing in-ceil­ing speak­ers for the front speak­ers. We needed a wo­ven acous­ti­cally-trans­par­ent screen, and se­lected a Sev­ert­son TAT4K 0.8-gain screen, both to as­sist in am­bi­ent light re­duc­tion and to im­prove black lev­els.”

Next came that tricky choice of pro­jec­tor — which in this case was ac­tu­ally two choices.

“For the art wall we needed to achieve ap­prox­i­mately 32 foot-lambert (lu­mi­nance) to have any chance of creat­ing a good image in the day­time,” says David. “So with the neg­a­tive gain screen we needed a very high out­put pro­jec­tor, and one with ap­prox­i­mately a 0.9-to-1 throw ra­tio. And since we were pro­ject­ing a very large image with a short view­ing dis­tance, it had to be a high res­o­lu­tion image as well. The best fit for this was an Ep­son com­mer­cial pro­jec­tor.”

The re­sult is cer­tainly im­pres­sive. “Yes, the art wall paid off,” the owner tells us. “It’s ex­actly as I hoped it would be.”

For movies, how­ever, a dif­fer­ent so­lu­tion was needed, and for this sec­ond sce­nario the

am­bi­ent light from the win­dows would be less of an is­sue.

“This was al­ways go­ing to be a pur­pose­built room,” the owner tell us. “We were only ever go­ing to watch cinema con­tent when the blinds are drawn. So when I want to watch a movie I switch to a dif­fer­ent pro­jec­tor, and the pic­ture fills a slightly smaller space on the same screen.”

That ‘slightly smaller space’ is still an im­pres­sive 140-inch image di­ag­o­nal.

“The client had orig­i­nally thought we could zoom the image down or cre­ate an image in­side of the pro­jected frame,” ex­plains David. “But the dif­fer­ence in throw ra­tio is too much, and the pro­jec­tor needed to be a much higher qual­ity 4K image. We se­lected the new Sony VW760ES — it pro­jects an image around 140-inches wide at about 14 foot-lam­berts. We might have pre­ferred 16 foot-lam­berts and we demon­strated the dif­fer­ence, but the owner pre­ferred the larger size — which is very much a per­sonal pref­er­ence, like de­cid­ing how close to the screen you like to sit in a cinema.”

Sound and si­lence

Reg­u­lar read­ers will know from pre­vi­ous pro­jects how Wave­train pays great at­ten­tion to achiev­ing a low noise floor from which the true dynamics of a movie sound­track can be achieved. In this case it re­quired a sig­nif­i­cant re­work­ing of the pro­posed cas­sette-style air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem — “which is an in­cred­i­bly noisy de­sign,” says David Mose­ley. “To ac­com­mo­date the re­quired full ducted and now silent sys­tem took lit­er­ally weeks of back and forth be­tween the A/C com­pany, the joiner, builder and Wave­train to get the fi­nal work­able out­come. In the end it re­quired a com­plete re­design of the bed­room join­ery which backs onto the cinema.”

In ad­di­tion the pro­jec­tors needed to be placed in a hush box to elim­i­nate their noise, while the AV rack, which in­cluded a gam­ing PC, needed to be not only ven­ti­lated, but ac­tively cooled.

Was the owner sur­prised by this ded­i­ca­tion to the sound of si­lence?

“Sur­prised? Prob­a­bly not, as I could sense that David was like that…”, the owner tells us. “‘Im­pressed’ is prob­a­bly the word. The fact that he’s like that is im­pres­sive, be­cause a lot of peo­ple wouldn’t be — and they wouldn’t need to be to de­liver an ad­e­quate room. But David just takes it to a dif­fer­ent level. His at­ten­tion to de­tail en­sures that the room is

al­ways go­ing to be spec­tac­u­lar across so many dif­fer­ent as­pects. And with­out his work on the air-con­di­tion­ing I would have a pro­jec­tor that turns it­self off ev­ery hour or so be­cause of over­heat­ing. He did a great job.”

The au­dio sys­tem uses Pro Au­dio Tech­nol­ogy speak­ers driven by two of the com­pany’s mul­ti­chan­nel am­pli­fiers, with three front LCR speak­ers (bi-amped with 400W) be­hind the screen, four At­mos ceil­ing speak­ers, and two rear speak­ers match­ing the front trio. Two sub­woofers be­hind the screen were care­fully lo­cated to can­cel two stand­ing waves across the width of the room and one in the height, along with ju­di­ciously-ap­plied ab­sorp­tive and dif­fu­sive room treat­ment.

“The seats were po­si­tioned to pro­vide even bass re­sponse and then cal­i­brated to en­sure the flat­test fre­quency re­sponse,” says David Mose­ley. “As in any Wave­train Cinema, the end re­sult met our high stan­dards and ex­ceeded the clients’ ex­pec­ta­tions. In this case the owner’s last com­ment to me was that he wished he had spent less on the rest of house and given me more money for the cinema, as it’s the best part of the house.”

The owner con­firms the en­joy­ment they get from their new home cinema/me­dia room.

“Be­ing able to sit and watch a movie with the sound and feel of a com­mer­cial cinema — it’s a pretty special ex­pe­ri­ence,” he says.

Which pleases Wave­train just as much it does the owner. As David Mose­ley says: “Noth­ing bring us more joy than a client who uses the cinema more than they ever ex­pected.”

▲ In ‘art wall’ mode, the en­tire 275-inch front wall be­comes an art­work, with images pro­jected by a com­mer­cial Ep­son pro­jec­tor.◀ For movie view­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion switches to a 4K Sony VW760ES pro­jec­tor, illuminating a 140-inch por­tion of the same screen.

◀ The seats were po­si­tioned to pro­vide even bass re­sponse, and then cal­i­brated to de­liver the flat­test fre­quency re­sponse. Note also how neatly the rear wall in­cor­po­rates the pro­jec­tion ‘hush boxes’and cab­i­netry (above), all of which is ac­tively cooled to en­sure op­ti­mal op­er­a­tion of all elec­tron­ics.

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