Every movie buff dreams of having a home cinema. That is, if they haven’t already got one.
Few are the televisions that offer a good, immersive sound quality, but buying and connecting a whole sound system in your living room can be a little overwhelming.
No matter how ambitious your home cinema projects are, they all need planning and design. From the room dimensions, the type of equipment you decide on, to the furniture in the room — all of these factors will impact the sound and picture of your movie experience and must be taken into consideration.
Here’s a quick list of things to consider when setting up your first home cinema.
(Room) Size Does Matter
First things first, make sure you know the dimensions of the room before designing, buying, or arranging anything for your new home cinema. A rectangular room with very few windows is best.
Do make sure it’s in a quiet part of your home. The ideal room is the one that is away from the hustle and bustle. If your home doesn’t have an unoccupied room, think of the attic or basement, which lend themselves well to this type of project. Or, why not your garage?
Select the components according to the size of the room and the distance you are able to set between the screen and the seats. Confused as to what the right size for your TV or screen is in relation to the size of the room?
Here’s our rule of thumb: the normal distance at which you watch a television screen must be at least one and a half times the width of your screen.
Furniture is a question of taste. You could go the actual movie theatre route and have a few rows of comfy seats, or have large plush sofas and loads of cushions for everyone to lay down.
Soundproofing your Home Cinema
Getting the best acoustics in your home cinema doesn’t only come down to speaker quality. The acoustic treatment of the room makes it possible to optimise the sound reproduction for the spectators, but also to isolate the room.
This means no-one will be bothered by external noises, nor will you disturb your neighbours during movie time.
If the sky’s the limit, consider installing an insulating material behind the walls to avoid both outdoor noise coming in and the movie sound from escaping out. Insulating the ceiling with a fake suspended ceiling is also a good idea.
If you’re on a budget, thick curtains and wall posters are great. In either case, a carpet is an absolute necessity, as hardwood floors will reduce the sound quality.
Soft lighting will make a world of difference! Try emulating the same soft lighting style as in a real cinema for the perfect ambience.
If you’ve opted for the suspended ceiling mentioned above, you will have a lot of flexibility for built-in light options. The main lighting of the room can be done with spots or wall appliques that will highlight your wall decorations.
Having another source of indirect light is also a good idea — it makes it possible to have a very dim light during a movie screening, so that the viewers are not in total darkness.
The use of controllers or smart lights will give you extra control to gradually dim the ambient light at the beginning and the end of the session. As a side note, be extra careful not to place your screen or TV in front of a light source (this includes doors and windows), as they may cause glare during your projections.
Television or Projector?
Both options have pros and cons, and it’s hard to provide a definite answer, as it depends on what you want to privilege. Some will prefer good blacks and strong contrasts, where others will focus on the image size.
In addition, it will also be necessary to look at the context (the amount of ambient light in the room, for example) and the budget. It will be difficult to obtain a good contrast with a projector in a room that isn’t fully light-proofed, so that is one thing to consider.
Generally speaking, when you want a large image of two metres wide or more, it becomes difficult to turn to televisions in terms of price.
Last But Not Least, the Sound!
At the most basic, you’ll want one speaker on either side of the screen, and ideally some behind you as well. If you have trouble wiring the rear speakers, wireless ones are a fantastic option.
We recommend also having a subwoofer between the front speakers, which you can fine tune to get a better sound effect in the room. Always place the speakers so that each of them is in front of you and the audience.
And there you have it. Want to get extra fancy? A fridge with refreshments and a popcorn machine will for sure turn this into your favourite room!