Designing Your Home Cinema – Interview with Adept IS
One of the most amazing things about being a self-builder is the freedom in designing your dream house and tailoring it to your lifestyle, around your hobbies and past-times. This article is dedicated to the movie enthusiasts who dream about transferring the experience from cinema into their own home. As technology keeps moving forward and prices keep lowering, it is no surprise that the dream of including a Home Cinema is becoming reality for more and more people.
To find out why you should start designing a Home Cinema at the outset and what are the most recent innovations in tech (and how much this luxury may cost) – we decided to interview our friends and award-winning provider of Home Cinema and Automation Solutions, Adept IS.
High-End Entertainment solutions are becoming more popular, and are implemented in self-build projects more often. They used to be installed only by very wealthy individuals. However, the current development of technogies and various options from very luxury to quite basic (but still impressive) home cinemas, let self-builders find the solution they can afford and meet their budgets. This article will help you to decide whether building a home cinema is for you!
WHO ARE ADEPT INTEGRATED SYSTEMS AND WHERE CAN OUR READERS FIND YOUR SHOWROOM?
Adept Integrated Systems is a company offering bespoke home cinema, entertainment and automation solutions to, primarily, Private Residential Properties, and Multi Dwelling Units within the UK and Europe. We have a small passionate team of just over 10 full time employees as well as long standing relationships with specialist contractors which enables Adept to perform projects of any size. Our first 2500 sqft showroom opened in August 2016 in Sunningdale, Berkshire where we have five rooms demonstrating some of the finest home cinema, audio-visual and automation products available within the industry today.
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
Adept offer full design and installation of the following systems:
- Home Cinema and Media Rooms
- Multi Room Audio
- Home Automation
- Lighting and Shades
- Building Management Systems – Heating, Ventilation etc.
- Security, Fire and CCTV
- Hi-End Entertainment
AT WHAT STAGE OF A SELF BUILD PROJECT, SHOULD HOME CINEMA DESIGN BE CONSIDERED?
We often get pulled into a project a little later in the game than we should. Ideally we should be involved in a project from planning stage as people often forget to consider what is involved in a cinema room. These rooms create noise which may need to be isolated from the rest of the house. This often means making a larger “box” to accommodate sound isolation. Usually on our most successful projects we become part of the design team along with the architect and any other designers involved on the project.
WHAT ARE THE PROCESSES OF DESIGNING A HOME CINEMA? WHAT DOES EACH ASPECT INVOLVE?
There are many steps involved in designing a home cinema however as a rule we try and follow the following process:
1. Budget – Create a Realistic Budget and sign off on this before any design process has started. Usually we audition cinemas and gauge expectation and make sure that we are meeting all requirements including the important financial ones. This is often difficult reaching the approved budget but is highly valuable to avoid wasting design time on something that is out of budget.
2. Room Dimensions – Look at the space, if an existing room, or look at the client’s needs in terms of how many people will be required to be seated within the room, how do they want to be seated, cinema seats, sofas, day beds. Then discuss the purposes of the room also, not all cinemas are just for movies. These elements will help offer the optimal room size required to fulfil these needs. At this stage we also need to look at how much space will potentially be lost based on room treatment and sound isolation covered in more detail below.
3. Equipment – Discuss the location of equipment, often we have the AV equipment in a separate room which can sometimes be designed to take the projector also.
4. Heating and Ventilation – Discuss and agree needs for the cinema and AV room if separate.
5. Sound Isolation – How important is it to stop noise travelling out of the cinema room and to what level? Is there a child’s bedroom above the room? Do we need to stop all sound or will some isolation be adequate? Requirements are different on every project and there are best practises which again can suit budget and performance.
6. Cinema Design Details – The fun now begins where we look to model the room and fine tune the room to a finished design. The use of 3D visualisation software allows for us to show in detail what you can expect your finished cinema to look like.
7. Detailed Cinema Design – Here we go into a construction design element where every element of the build is detailed for manufacture. This will include room treatments, speaker locations and full room detailing with electrical and construction.
8. Commencement of works – Once the drawings are signed off, actual works can commence on the build.
9. Final Finish – Once the construction element is finished we move into a final finish stage where the equipment will be installed and room finish and detailing will be installed.
10. Hand Over – Once finished the room is handed over to you for a final once around and any finishing touches including programing and performance tweaks before we leave you the remote. You can now enjoy your new home cinema.
WHAT ASPECTS OF ROOM DESIGN PRINCIPLES ARE CONSIDERED WHEN DESIGNING A HOME CINEMA (FOR EXAMPLE – SHAPE OF THE ROOM, LAYOUT, POSITION OF SEATING)?
In answer to this question, EVERYTHING. Room size and shape can play havoc with room acoustics, the same applies to seating positions, window placement, brightness of projector, speaker placement and amplifier power. We work along industry guidelines from various leading bodies including CEDIA, SMPTE, THX, and The Home Acoustics Alliance to name but a few that enable Adept to ensure that the room is designed to perform optimally.
WHAT IS THE PRICE RANGE OF A HOME CINEMA? IS IT ONLY A LUXURY FOR WEALTHY SELF-BUILDERS?
When we talk about “Cinema” to me this means creating a reference sound pressure at the seating area, amongst other things. To do this with any manufacturers speakers and amplifiers you need a fair investment. Adept have created cinemas from as little as £25,000 to over £540,000, however it is possible to deliver a very nice Surround Sound System for even less than this, so you can still have a big screen cinematic experience from as little as £3,000 nowadays, just a scaled down approach.
WHAT PRINCIPLES NEED TO BE ADHERED TO, TO ENSURE THE OPTIMAL ACOUSTICS AND SOUNDPROOFING OF THE ROOM?
So for soundproofing in the best case scenario we would decouple the room from the rest of the house and create a “room within a room”. This can often be difficult and costly and often compromise is made. The answer to your question is really defined by individual project basis, however this is the best solution.
In terms of acoustics to improve the sound quality of the room again we look at problem areas and again discuss budgets. We can offer a full acoustic treatment, or partial again to suit each project. Each element would treat the room generally by either absorbing or diffusing the sound within the room, we also treat different problem frequencies.
WHAT ARE THE NEWEST HIGH TECH SOLUTIONS COMING TO MARKET IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS?
At the moment we have some pretty amazing changes which have been available for a little while now but Immersive Audio is proving very popular. There are several formats but generally all of them are using more speakers over head to create a real sensory extravaganza, which gives you the feeling that the roof has been lifted off the cinema.
Also we have 4K which is ever evolving with High Dynamic Range colour enhancements, and I dare say this will continue to improve, we have already seen 8K and there are companies talking about 16K too! First run movies are now available with specialist equipment you can have access to films even before they premier in your country!
Virtual Reality is also becoming more wide spread, however the application for cinema rather than in gaming is not clear (as yet). This tech may go the same way as 3D did, great in cinemas but not at home. One of the reasons 3D has not become more usable (at home anyway), is the need to wear glasses, so 3D without glasses is also something that should be coming through in strength. The great thing about our industry is possibilities are endless so watch this space!
HOW WOULD YOU COMPARE A TV SCREEN TO A PROJECTOR SCREEN. WHAT ARE THEIR PROS AND CONS?
In terms of picture quality and performance in the right installation there is no reason why one should be better than another. Usually for cinema we would use a projector as we can then use an acoustically perforated screen which will allow the centre speaker to be located perfectly. With a TV this centre speaker needs to be mounted above or below, which is a compromise. When you want a really big screen, over 90” projection is normally far more cost effective.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP 5 TIPS FOR ANYONE CONSIDERING A HOME CINEMA IN THEIR SELF BUILD?
Top tips would be:
- Speak to a specialist
- Be realistic about budget
- Look for a demonstration of what you are going to buying
- Check the market for latest products
- Think about how your family would use the room.