Taking your work home

Seán Holland catches up with Qubix to explore a home theatre installation in India that brings the raucous experience of a South Indian cinema to the home.

When a keen cinema lover and professional in the film industry purchased a second home, they wanted a state-of-the-art home theatre that delivered a full movie experience. After turning to integrator Qubix, they started on a mission to transform a car park into a sanctuary for entertainment.

The car park space offered a blank canvas to the installation team at Qubix led by the company’s chief technology officer Rhythm Arora.

Arora credits this as the reason why his team was able to build to exact specifications with superb results. “With concrete walls we could control the bass and the home theatre could be executed to sound perfect,” says Arora. “The screen is at a higher height while the seats dip down adding an extra cinematic dimension to the room that give a feeling of going down into the space.” To add to the comfort of the room Arora commissioned custom-made seating from Indian manufacturer Little Nap.

When it came to the technology within the space, the client’s brief was “do whatever it takes to build the best cinema”. With this freedom Arora was able to experiment with the room.

Sights and sounds

A Christie M 4K25RGB projector was installed. “Out of the box this is a 25,000 lumens projector and, when calibrated in the room, it is just over 10,000 lumens, says Arora. Qubix paired this with a Lumina Accupix Pro screen measuring 4.9m x 2.1m. “Calibrating the projector was simple as the gamma colour reference values were straightforward,” adds Arora. “Some light colour correction was completed to reduce colour saturation.”

Qubix custom-built a hush box for the projector to block out any excess noise as well as a specialist cooling system.

A JBL cinema system was selected for the audio in the space, with Arora explaining: “The South Indian movie market is completely different to Bollywood and the Mumbai market. The South Indian movie industry has a different language, artists and filmmaking style, as well as different sound mixing. The South Indian market takes their films very seriously, offices will even close for the day to see the major releases. A movie release is akin to a festival, major cutouts of the lead actors tower over billboards and audiences participate throughout the film. The popularity of film has bled into public life with many famous actors holding positions of office. Therefore, people who grew up with this kind of experience of cinema are looking for something different. The sound they relish is the sound of a large cinema hall.”

With adults in South India having spent childhoods going to glamorous cinemas with loud, cheering crowds, the demands of this movie professional reflected that. Arora continues: “This is not a room for an audiophile, and we could have created a set up that produced a clearer sound. However, the rough sound is what the homeowner wanted; he wanted his own personal movie theatre, not a home cinema.”

The result is a sound that is strong and punchy. There are two JBL 4645C 18-in subwoofers at the front and two smaller SSW-3 in-wall subwoofers at the back. The JBL system was rounded out with three C221 ScreenArray cinema loudspeakers, eight SCL-7 in-wall loudspeakers and six Control 322C ceiling loudspeakers.

All speakers are powered by Powersoft amplifiers with two Quattrocanali 1204 DPS and three Quattrocanali 2404 DSP units installed. At the heart of the cinema is a Trinnov Altitude 16 AV processor. An HDFury Maestro was used for signal transmission and extension while Qubix selected a Lumagen Radiance Pro 5348 for signal processing. Arora notes that the Lumagen Radiance 4K processor is a key part of the cinema set up with an unprecedented ability to minimise output-jitter and electrical noise, ensuring content is viewed in as close a way as possible as the director intended.

Films are played from a First Day Show movie server from UFO Movies as well as an Apple TV. The First Day Show server also provides the option to subscribe to ClubX (the same digital server often used in commercial cinemas) and, via a satellite dish connected to the terrace, this subscription provides access to movies the day they come out. The cinema room also features a Zidoo 4K hard drive player so the homeowner can view films that are still in completion and under edit.

Automation for the room is powered by Control4 control processing with control functions accessed via a Neo remote that has presets for quick access to movies and common room set ups. Lighting can also be controlled by a Control4 8-button lighting and dimming keypad and the Control4 systems interfaces with lighting using a C4-DIN-8TVE DALI lighting bridge.

Qubix also had to integrate with the air conditioning and lighting in the room and, using the Dali protocol, brought the environmental technologies into the Control4 system for easy access and control.  

The rack room is in a separate room to the cinema room and, to avoid any complications with deliveries or building within the rack room, the entire rack was built in the Qubix office and transported to the site. All equipment is housed in a Middle Atlantic rack.

As this is the homeowners’ second home, the system is completely turned off when not in use, including the electricity, so it is not a fire hazard. Only the control processor is left on. Once a week a member of staff turns everything on and makes sure everything is running smoothly for when the homeowner wants to use it.

Arora notes this was an unusual project as the client had such a wide brief and his team was largely left to get on with the technology choices and the installation themselves. But the free reign paid off; with Qubix given the space to get creative, the result is a special room in which movies can be enjoyed in the style the homeowner requested.


Apple TV

Christie M 4K25RGB projector

Control4 EA-1 entertainment and automation controller

Control4 Neo remote

Control4 C4-SAPD240-N lighting and dimming keypad

Control4 C4-DIN-8TVE DALI lighting bridge

HDFury Maestro signal extension

JBL 4641 18-in subwoofers

JBL SSW-3 in-wall subwoofers

JBL C221 ScreenArray cinema loudspeakers

JBL SCL-7 in-wall loudspeakers

JBL Control 322C ceiling loudspeakers

Lumagen Radiance Pro processor

Lumina Accupix Pro screen

Middle Atlantic rack

Powersoft amplifiers

Trinnov Altitude 16 AV processor

UFO Movies First Day Show movie server

Zidoo media server


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