Cinema in a general room
It is obvious that the possibility of creating a special cinema room pertains more often to owners of houses rather than flats or small apartments. Not everybody can afford the luxury of setting aside space just to watch films, even though it is the ideal solution to create that special atmosphere for watching films on Autumn evenings.
Also in this case, there is one rule: the earlier you start planning on your home cinema, the better. Think it through already when designing your home.
In today's fast-paced world, having so little time to relax and entertain yourself, you stress comfort most. Nothing can match a date at the cinema, but when you have enough of your neighbour crunching potato chips at your side, and don't have to wait too long before a new film is released on DVD, you may decide to install a cinema in your home or flat. The TV or audio set are not enough for us anymore. We value comfort and quality, dreaming of relaxation for the whole family after a tiring day.
These are the reasons we decide to install a home theatre system in the lounge or living room. Most importantly, the room shouldn't lose its function, but for that you need a thought-out plan, knowledge, and experience in the installation of audio/video equipment.
Once you have decided to install an audio/video system in the living room, you should arrange the interior already in the building shell phase so that the installation itself is as invisible as possible. It's best to lay the cables under the floor and along the walls, and distribute power outlets appropriately.
The room should best be rectangular because it's acoustically much better than a square one. Remember also to select a tall room, especially if you decide to install a projector that should drop from the ceiling. Do not forget that a living room usually has many windows - that is why it should be properly darkened using some kind of blinds, as well as proper lighting.
An ideal solution is the installation in representative rooms of light scenes. You already know that the system in an intelligent home lets you change the atmosphere of an interior with the touch of one button, depending on the activity that you are planning. So, when having dinner you would probably light the main lamp above the table and gentle decorative lighting, and when watching a film you will probably shut the lamps off so that nothing will disturb your reception. You remember of course that an intelligent home allows the integration of all systems in the house - so the selection of an appropriate light scene will also switch on or off a selected set of lamps, shut the blinds and turn up the heating, so as to create for the viewer the perfect setting to enjoy a film.
If total darkening of the living room would not be possible, suggest to the customer a screen able to reproduce sharp, colourful images irrespective of the lighting. The equipment can be calibrated to automatically pick colour intensity and contrast depending on the current light conditions.
Furniture manufacturers know very well that technical progress has to go arm in arm with comfort and functionality. That is why the designs of modern furniture fit in well with the newest equipment.
For the living room you should best select shapes that will properly house and expose (or if you want - conceal) the audio/video system, collections of music, the plasma television set or projector showing the films. A good effect can be achieved by furniture of modern design, incorporating glass and aluminium. The components of a furniture set, shelves, supports and cupboards - supplemented by transparent or coloured glass and aluminium elements - provide unique interiors.
Also, pay attention to comfortable furniture: couches, sofas and divans. On the market there is furniture available that you can adapt to the position you are in - you will sit differently when watching a film, and differently when having coffee with friends. Reclining back supports and adjustable foot supports will definitely increase the comfort of the time spent in the living room. The relaxed freedom is further underlined by accessories - soft cushions allowing you to pick the most comfortable position you like.
Colour of the room
The colour palette of the room, in which we want to install our cinema system, is a very important subject. Here you also have to look for a compromise. Start with interesting decorations. Stencils for the wall, which are so popular nowadays, should rather be left for the bedroom. The viewer's eyes should not be drawn away during a film or a music evening by strong decorations. That is why, for multi-purpose rooms designed for watching films, meeting friends and eating, one should rather go with calming pastel colours in darker shades. Remember that in case of selection of a suspended projector, the ceiling should also be dark, and the paints used should have a matte texture.
If not all members of the family agree to such a solution, it is up to you to convince them that at least the wall on which the screen hangs should be dark, so as not to reflect light.
Of course, a room designated to be just a cinema is prepared in a special way.
One can aim to create quite good acoustic conditions in a multifunctional room by using a few tricks. Soft couches, armchairs, a carpet, will let you create optimum conditions for the sound. Bookshelves, paintings, fabrics all absorb and disperse sound.
A good solution is the choice of a soundproof door, which will provide comfort both to the viewer, who will not i. e. hear any voices from the kitchen, as well as other family members, who might not be interested in the film. This is, however, a big hindrance, and another aspect that requires a compromise. Modern and comfortable 'open spaces' have no door between the living room and dining room or kitchen, thus creating a larger space that needs to be properly supplied with sound. The family members thus have to decide what is more important for them: spaciousness or comfort (and savings on power) when using audio/video equipment.
Set-up of the equipment
A home theatre system is composed in most cases of a television set, or in a growing number of systems - a screen with a projector - and sources of sound and images, i. e. a DVD player, a multichannel amplifier with built-in surround sound decoders, as well as at least five speakers and a subwoofer. In a living room that is not supposed to be just the cinema room, the most flexible solution is an LCD or plasma screen. Notice that it requires less work than a projector and screen, and there is no need to make the room completely dark. Of course, the larger and more modern the television set, the higher the comfort of watching films, especially from a digital source like Blu-Ray discs. For more expensive systems, recommendations we meet often include a large projection screen that is easy to hang on the wall or hide in a suspended ceiling. The projector will provide a larger image to the viewers, thus ensuring absolute comfort.
Speakers are a very important component of the home theatre system. After all, it's upon them that the quality of the music depends (if you should treat the cinema set as a hi-fi set as well), as does the quality of reception of the film. You know that in most cases, five speakers and a subwoofer, responsible for the basses, are used. Remember that if the room is not of grand proportions, you shouldn't install large speaker sets. Front and central speakers should be of the same class in order to avoid changes to the sound tone and character when the surround sound passes between the speakers.
Distribution of the speakers is the basis for proper use of the home theatre system. The listening point should be set centrally in relation to all of the speakers - the couch should be placed in the centre, in front of the screen. Two main speakers (music, special effects) should be flanking is, whereas the central speaker (speech, whispers, breath) should be placed as close to the screen as possible - above or below the screen, at best in one line with the main speakers. The two surround speakers (back, side) should be placed on opposing walls, ideally one metre behind the viewers, ca. half a metre above the head. The subwoofer (for powerful blasts of low tones) can be installed anywhere you like.