Home cinema install: Award-winning eight-seat cinema with high-end AV

This bespoke movie room oozes cool and packs a serious punch

The award-winning project was undertaken by Midlands company The Big Picture, with the owner demanding a 'cutting-edge' cinema to match the modern-day tech of his new-build property. The installer was naturally responsible for AV, but also the interior décor, and the way both are mixed together is impressive.

The room's styling is described as 'understated but elegant'. All the walls are empty – there's no poster art here – and the grey colour scheme invites you to ignore it and focus on the giant four-metre Image iMasque projector screen. Perhaps the only flair touches are the runs of LED strip lighting along the bottom walls and in the ceiling installation, which serve to catch the eye and ensure you don't tumble down the stairs in the dark.

Yet beneath the surface, there's some acoustic cunning going on. The initial preparation stage included construction of stud walls to shape the space and deliver the best possible sonic performance – both inside and outside. A double layer of insulating plasterboard, comprising Kingspan and Celotex, provides heavyweight sound isolation so those in external rooms aren't affected. 

On top of this, the entire room is fitted with specialist acoustic treatments from US experts CinemaTech (which also provided the seating), including absorbent, reflective and diffusive panels. These are all then hidden from view by an 'acoustically translucent' stretched fabric system. 

Work at the business end of the room is even more complex. In order to eliminate resonances, the space in what would become the screen wall void was packed with open cell foam. 'This involved measuring dimensions of space between speakers and walls, ceiling and floors and between each stud,' reveals the installer. 'Every inch was packed apart from the speakers’ locations and a tiny gap around them.'

The speakers in question are all from Pro Audio Technology, a specialist custom theatre brand that you're unlikely to find on the high street. The cinema comprises a 7.2-channel array. The front soundstage uses a trio of the brand's SCR12sm models, each toting a 12in bass driver and a horn-mounted 1in compression driver. The surround channels are handled by smaller SCRS-6iw (in-wall) speakers. Multichannel amplification comes from Pro Audio Technology, too, as the company's loudspeakers are designed and tuned to perform best in conjunction with its range of power pushers. 

Processing is via an ADA Suite 7.1 HD, which provides eight-in, two-out HDMI switching and a slender rackable form factor.

Getting the perfect picture

On the visual side, the aforementioned projector screen features motorised masking, enabling easy switching between aspect ratios, and this works in conjunction with a Lumagen scaler and Panamorph anamorphic lens for 'constant height' viewing. The maximum brightness and resolution of the Digital Projection M-Vision Series Cine 3D projector is therefore always utilised.

The AV and scene-setting lighting in the room is controlled by a Control4 setup. A portable touchscreen with built-in camera and intercom allows anyone in the cinema to see and talk to other people in various locations around the house – a key feature, as the property is vast and you'd scream yourself hoarse trying to get their attention otherwise. Not that we'd imagine spending much time in the rest of the building when there's this cinema room to play with...

Installer info

The Big Picture
01922 623 000

Kit list

Digital Projection: M-VisionCine 3D Full HD projector
Image iMasque: Four-metre 2.35:1 acoustically transparent masking screen 
Lumagen: Radiance scaler 
Panamorph: FVX200 anamorphic lens 
ADA: ADA Suite 7.1 HD processor
Pro Audio Technology: 1 x PMA-4242 power amp; 1 x PMA-9942 power amp; 1 x PMA-2222 power amp; 3 x SCR-12sm speakers; 4 x SCRS-6iw speakers; 2 x LFC-15sm subwoofers 
Oppo: BDP-93EU Blu-ray player 
Control4: HC800 system controller; 2 x SR250 remote controls; 7in Infinity portable touchscreen with intercom/camera 
CinemaTech: 8 x Le Grande Valentino recliners; ARS room acoustic solution