Bring the movie home
Cinemas have had fantastic sound and projection systems for years. These days, the rise in subscription channels and larger, flat-screen televisions have allowed some of that essential movie-going experience to seep into home viewing. Maybe Samsung’s The Wall is a bit too large for many people, but TVs are more significant than they used to be.
Tech companies have been quick to jump on the bandwagon, with all manner of gizmos and gadgets to better your audiovisual experience. Arguably, it is now possible to have authentic cinema-quality sound and projection in your very own home cinema.
After all, when you can buy a home golf simulator that gives you the VR experience of playing courses you have never visited, it should be perfectly possible to have the same experience watching a film.
Have a separate room?
For the ultimate movie experience, if you have the space, making a designated room the AV room is the ultimate perk. Admission by permission only for the younger members and pets, of course. So why shouldn’t audiovisual fans have their home cinemas and audio rooms? Well, gamers have mancaves, academics and writers have studies, and DJs and musicians have home studios.
Make your setup the focal point of the room
My German friend’s family built their own house, so of course, their audiophile dad ensured the very best setup for their TV and audio collection. A wall-mounted projection screen, not just a TV; floor-to-ceiling shelving for vinyl, CDs, DVDs and videos along with all the kit to see and hear them on; a luxurious leather sofa and chairs with footrests; blackout curtains. The works.
During the day, it was just the living room. He commandeered it to lie on the sofa and listen to his extensive music collection on weekday evenings. Friday and Saturday nights were movie nights, and the family assembled to spend several hours together watching something.
Consider surround sound
Surround sound for TVs is now on version 7.1. Meanwhile, for audio lovers, there are binaural versions of some releases. These both need speakers up to the task. In the case of surround sound, this means eight separate audio channels.
You could opt to make speakers or integrate a soundbar into your setup. In case of breakdown, cables should be hidden but accessible to be replaced as needed.
One way to do this could be to hide the cables behind removable panels. Another more adventurous idea is to mount the speakers on the ceiling. This is ideal where space is limited and adds to the surround-sound feel of an action movie or a concert DVD.
Many DJs and musicians have soundproofing in their home studio spaces to minimize disturbance. If you’re in a smaller area of the room that shares a wall with a bedroom or your neighbors, you should consider this.
Lighting is key to ambience
Once you’ve sorted out the location of your speakers, you need to decide how fancy you want to be with the lighting. Some systems can be automated to dim or raise lights at preset points, so you can see the screen when you’re watching it and your feet when you need to go for food or a comfort break.
Take a seat, a comfortable one
My German friend’s family knew the importance of being comfortable when watching a movie. A constant complaint from anyone under 5’5” is that average-sized seating is not made for them. The seats are so high that their feet dangle in midair, which is uncomfortable after a while. Seats with built-in support for legs and feet can alleviate that issue, making a film experience far more enjoyable.
If the feel of a movie is as important as the look, some seats will react to screen action, rumbling and shaking to bring the screen experience to life.
In addition, the seats should be positioned parallel to the screen for the best experience.
Create a nostalgic cinematic feeling with a projector
If the room doubles as a living room, dining room, home office or kitchen, you can hide your projector as well as your screen.
A motorized projector lift will move them safely out of the way to a hole in the ceiling or a tabletop.
Keep the room dark
Dark paint colors work better for a room used as a home cinema. Alternatives include blackout curtains and drapes, already shown to be effective at blocking light in many bedrooms. There is less reflection and distraction.
These curtains also add layers to keep a room warm in the winter, so if your living room has sliding or French doors, floor-to-ceiling curtains might be expensive but are worth it.
In the summer, of course, it may be possible to open the doors behind the curtains to let some air in or allow exit into the garden. This also means you could have a movie night with a barbecue or even host a full-on outdoor movie night.
Streaming and home entertainment have become more critical in the last few years. Many people have taken to binge-watching TV series, films are now released to subscription channels at the same time as the cinema, and the rise of VR means 3D universes are becoming more common. It’s worth investing in a decent audiovisual set-up to make the most of your streaming platform subscriptions.