Henry Shepherd is the Business Development Manager at Cornflake, the experts in home theatre installations. When he’s not busy helping clients bring the cinematic experience to their homes, you can find Henry catching up on the latest releases at his local IMAX.
Where do you begin when trying to recreate a cinematic experience at home? Cinemas and theatres typically feature a huge scale screen and three surrounding walls acoustically clad with dark material. But how does this translate to the home setting? Here, we’re going to take you through some of the most important elements in achieving the ultimate sound and visual cinema experience at home. So, let’s get started.
First, Choose a Dark Colour for Your Home Theatre
Because you want the ultimate home entertainment experience, you wouldn’t leave the lights on while watching, would you? That’s because otherwise the irises in your eyes would remain on daylight setting, and you would not see the movie as clearly as you would in the dark.
Did you know that light wall colours, drapes, furniture and accessories could have a similar, but less dramatic effect? Or that colours can cause problems too? For example, if you paint the walls yellow then the light from your screen will bounce off the walls and create a yellowish cast.
That’s why cinema theatres are decorated in hues of brown, black, grey, or other dark tones. Their interior designers know these absorb the light from the screen so it cannot bounce back. Decorate your ultimate home cinema using these self-same principles.
1. Next, Apply Proven Science to Your Acoustics
Did you ever notice how tinny everything sounds in an empty house before you move in? After you hang the drapes and set out your sofas everything miraculously improves. Although it’s not a miracle really – rather it’s just acoustic science, with sound absorbing materials helping to reduce this noise.
While sound absorbing materials help improve this tinny noise, by contrast hard, reflective materials like window glass, hardwood floors and mirrors have the opposite effect when sound bounces off it. This could lead to a number of conflicting sounds bouncing across the room, worsening the quality of your audio feedback.
Your best combination is having a lot of absorbent materials around the front of your home theatre. Carpet the floor and use soft furnishings to stop sound bounce where it starts. Put acoustic diffusers at the back of the room to break up and add life to the sound. A shelf piled with uneven books will make a great start!
2. Then, Get Rid of Everything That Distracts You
To allow yourself to be truly immersed in your home theatre, you want to ensure that there are as few distractions as possible. Seemingly small things like light creeping in past leaky drapes and blinds is something worth taking measures to avoid, as is light creeping in under a closed door.
However, perhaps one of the most important parts of creating a cinematic experience is ensuring that your home cinema is sound proofed and away from other noises in your home. Often a basement is a popular choice for a home cinema because of this, helping to keep sound out and offering the closest equivalent space to a professional cinema. However, we have also seen a lot of people convert free standing garages into cinema houses. Use your imagination to find the best place for a theatre – you’ll be glad you put in the time to find the perfect place.
3. Finally, Put Yourself and the Screen in the Right Place
You can’t use any old screen and the theory that the bigger the better is simply not true. If the screen is oversized and you sit too close to it, you could end up staring at pixels. If you sit too far away you lose out on big screen impact, which is likely why you would’ve bought it in the first place.
As a general rule of thumb the optimum distance is two to three times screen size. Depending on how good your maths is, you could work backwards from where you want to sit to decide the range of screen sizes to choose from. Now it’s time to relax and be entertained!