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Home Theater

Hidden Projector, Glowing LEDs Make for Epic Movie Nights

Ceiling dome and acoustic panels glow in LEDs, while hidden projection system and James Loudspeaker/Velodyne surround sound make movie nights epic.


(Photos: Joachim Schirmacher)

Photos & Slideshow

Arlen Schweiger · May 22, 2013

Sometimes form follows function, sometimes function follows form. In the case of this gorgeous home theater in Fresno, Calif., the Best Home Theater $75,000 to $150,000 Bronze Winner in the Electronic House Home of the Year Awards, the design choices were first and foremost. Red colors pop throughout, an illuminated flower blossoms overhead in the ceiling’s dome, framed acoustic panels glow in LED lighting, and rich curtains add a dramatic touch to “showtime.”

Hi-Tech Home in Clovis, Calif., teamed with award-winning designer Michael Weil to deliver plenty of A/V sizzle and aesthetic splash. “His thing is that he never wants to do anything the same way twice,” Hi-Tech Home’s Chris Green says of Weil.

Unique would certainly describe the hand-painted flower ceiling dome, which Green says is a visual element that Weil wanted to work into the room from the beginning. Plus the homeowners can brighten, dim and make the color-changing LEDs up there “chase” each other around thanks to a remote operating the Control4 automation system. The reddish hue of the LEDs washing over the acoustic panels does not change color, but as with the dome, as soon as the owners press a button to start a movie the lights fade while the curtains part and the electronics spring into action.

In tandem with Da-Lite’s motorized masking for its 133-inch screen, the Control4 system knows whether to unveil the screen in a 2.35:1 or 16:9 aspect ratio, depending on if the homeowners select the 400-disc Sony Blu-ray changer as the source (2.35:1, since its mainly movie content) or satellite TV or Apple TV (16:9 mode), plus the masking can be changed manually with a button press. The horizontal masking fabric will cover the extra space on the sides of the 2.35:1-shaped screen when the narrower 16:9 content is showing.

Systems & Equipment

Control: Control4
Screen: Da-Lite
Projector: Digital Projection International
Speakers & Subwoofers: James, Velodyne
Processing & Amplification: Sherbourn
Motorized Drapes: Mechoshade
Projector Lift: Inca
Equipment Racks: Middle Atlantic

Weil did not want any electronics to be seen until there was a movie playing, so Hi-Tech Home installed motorized velvet drapes in front of the screen and hid the Digital Projection M-Vision LED projector within the ceiling on a customized Inca lift. There’s little wasted space in the lift design, so Hi-Tech Home had to program the electronics shutdown sequence into the Control4 system in a way that automatically removes the projector’s motorized anamorphic lens away from the regular lens before the projector could rise into the ceiling (the anamorphic lens is used for the 2.35:1 super-wide movies).

“There’s no room for play on that at all, probably a half-inch between the front of the lens and the lip of the lift,” says Green, noting that recessing the projector was not an option with the cement rear wall.

The surround-sound speakers and subwoofers are also concealed, as is all the A/V gear - it’s not even in the room. Two packed, full-size Middle Atlantic racks that serve the entire home along with the theater are stored behind glass doors in a hallway of this multifaceted lower level. There’s also a gym, sauna and wine room, and you must pass through the wine room to get to the theater, whose exterior doesn’t let on to the grandeur that awaits. “It’s a standard wooden door leading into the room,” Green says, “and then when you go in and there’s all the LED lighting it’s quite a wow factor.”



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  About the Author

Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at arlen.schweiger@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics


Home Theater · Displays · News · Media · Slideshow · Digital Projection · Home Theater · Installation · All Topics
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