The dark night

Needing an escape from reality, this cinema was built to give the homeowner some much needed time to himself. Winning the Best Home Cinema Level I at this year’s CEDIA Awards, Amy Wallington finds out if it does the job.

Everyone needs some downtime to enjoy the finer things in life, and for this customer, it’s watching a good film in the comfort of his own home on an excellent cinema set up. A bit of a workaholic, the client recognised he needed to make some time for himself every now and then and so commissioned integrator, Sound Sense to build his dream home cinema room. 

Taking place in the Indian district of Anand in Gujarat, Sound Sense took charge of the entire build, which only took just over two months to complete. Commencing on 16 May 2019 and completing on 25 July 2019, this was a very fast and fairly straight forward project.

A high-end electronics and home appliances showroom owner, the client had a decent understanding of home cinema set ups and home automation integration and therefore had a good idea of what he wanted. 

Ankur Bhatt, founder and director of integrator, Sound Sense explains: “The client has a busy life and spends every waking moment of the day at the office. The home cinema set up is integrated adjacent to the client’s office space and is there to offer the client a chance to make time for himself every now and then.

“The main requirement of the client was to have a unique, discreet, world class home cinema set up with a large screen and a seating capacity for five to seven people. The cinema set up was to be audio video calibrated and all features of the cinema set up were to be controllable from a single device at the touch of a single button.”

Although created for himself, the client wanted the cinema to seat up to seven people to allow for family and friends to come over and enjoy the room with him. This also meant that the system had to be straight forward and easy to use so that his guests are able to use it too. “The user friendly one-touch system control has been programmed in such a manner that it can be easily operated by even the most tech averse person,” Bhatt points out. 

“The user friendly one-touch system control has been programmed in such a manner that it can be easily operated by even the most tech averse person.”

The cinema room was newly built so did not have to contend with any existing systems or other infrastructure, eliminating issues with retrofitting technology. However, the structural planning of the room had to be considered before build could take place due to tricky stair placements. 

“The entry to the cinema room was from the rear centre of the room,” says Bhatt. “The placement of the steps leading to the room needed to be worked out as the steps immediately followed the door opening when exiting the cinema. We selected curved steps to allow for enough space between the doors and the landing of the steps to make it safer.”

Situated opposite his office, noise isolation was a top priority to ensure that any sound from the home cinema did not infiltrate the adjacent office area. This was something that had to be carefully thought through during the planning process. 

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Bhatt continues: “The home cinema room, located on the first floor of the client’s showroom, was adjacent to the client’s office space, and was on the floor above the showroom’s demo floor. We carried out floor isolation to restrict all sound from the home cinema. Additionally, we used door seals and automatic specialised drop-down door seals for even better sound isolation.”

The lighting design is a very standout piece of this project and is used in the room to set the ambience to whatever the client wants. Sound Sense designed the lighting using Dialux software, specifying RGB lighting and integrating it into the Crestron system.  

Once the planning issues had been resolved, Sound Sense were able to design different room layouts for the client to choose from based on his requirements. Using Modus VR, the integrator was able to give the client a realistic view of what his room will look like. 

“We designed a room layout for the client in virtual reality taking into account all of the client’s specifications as well as the room’s size and noise isolation requirements,” adds Bhatt. “We had the client step into the virtual room set up with us and guided them through the possibilities – from room lighting to sound movement and reflections, to varying screen sizes and video experiences based on room size and seating capacity. This VR tour helped the client make changes and finalise room variables early in the project.”

Eventually, two varying room layouts were proposed to the client through the Modus VR platform and he was able to choose which he liked best. 

Following completion and handover of the cinema build, the client is very pleased with the outcome, according to Sound Sense: “He has been able to reignite his love for music and movies after a long stretch of time. Additionally, the client now has a fun gathering/entertainment area for his family and friends.”

A few months after the project was completed, the projector reached 300 lamp hours and Sound Sense went back to install a Murideo Prisma video processor to carry out a 3D LUT calibration for video output optimisation. “At the start of the project, this suggestions had been mentioned to the client to keep under consideration and we provided a reminder at this point, as such calibrations are most optimum only past 200-300 lamp hours, when tuning of the projector becomes critical to obtain the optimum output,” explains Bhatt. 

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At this year’s CEDIA Awards, Sound Sense won the Best Home Cinema Level I award for ‘The Dark Night’ cinema. Costing a total of $64,200 USD, this project hit the client’s brief and delivers an immersive 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos cinema room for him to escape reality every once in a while. 

Tech Spec
Apple iPad Mini
Cisco SPF90D-08 5 Port Internet Switch
Crestron CP3 Automation Processor
D Link GO-SW-5G 5 Port Internet Switch
Grandview Projector Stand
iPort Launchport 
JVC UH1 UHD 2000 lm projector
Legrand Valrack
Marantz AV 7704 Processor
Marantz MM 7055 5-Channel Power Amplifier
Marantz MM 8077 7-Channel Power Amplifier 
Milan Acoustic Transparent Fixed Frame Screen 
Murideo Prisma
Nvidia Shield
Phase Tech CI 7.3X Atmos Speakers
Phase Tech CI 70X Surround Speakers
Phase Tech CI 130 LCR Speakers
Phase Tech Power FL12 Subwoofers
Recliners India Milano
RGB Lighting
Sony BDP s1500 Blu-ray Player
Tata Sky HD Satellite TV
Ubiquiti UAP Access Point