The Tree Trunk Theater

Retrofits always have their unique challenges and Canadian systems integrator Graytek was faced with a highly unusual challenge when designing this basement theater. The room had three tree trunk posts, which were part of the structural integrity of the home so they had to stay intact. Since they were in the middle of the room, it was necessary to work around them while still maximizing the screen size and seating area.

For instance, to maintain the specified 120" screen, it was necessary to notch out the side of one pillar to provide a path for the image to project through. The seating area is build around the posts using them as a decorative element. To maximize the seating for comfort and appearance, two oversized armchairs were custom designed for the back row. To compliment the client's request to refrain from using wall treatments, heavy suede draperies and shading were used to improve the acoustics.

The client had certain expectations with respect to quality and performance, so top-end products featuring the latest technologies and calibration techniques were essential. To make the theater easy to use and highly functional for all family members, operations had to be ultra simple regardless of the system's complexity.

The centerpiece of the theater is the curved screen with a Cinemascope aspect ratio (2.35:1) combined with a Vidikron 3-chip 1080p projector outfitted with an anamorphic lens. The beauty of this configuration is there are no bars displayed across the top and bottom of the screen when projecting movies in their original theatrical aspect ratio.

The combination of Bay Audio speakers and subwoofers in this 8-channel system was carefully chosen and engineered to maximize the depth of the room, creating a high volume performance without distortion. Bass levels are perfectly balanced with three custom subwoofers that are built into the custom cabinetry/millwork beneath the screen. The left, right, and center speakers are placed behind the transparent screen. Each speaker and sub was custom designed and engineered to fit into the cabinetry and behind the screen.

A Crestron-based automation system controls the lighting, drapes, and audio/video components using both Crestorn keypads and an RTI handheld remote control.

To obtain the best possible audio performance, preliminary calibrations were performed using an audio analyzer, which tuned and balancing the three subwoofers. Each sub was isolated and listened to with the main speakers to check for phase, crossover, and in-room performance. Once adjusted individually, the subs were then tested together and adjusted to create a 2-way subwoofer system that enhanced the over all quality of the bass. Audyssey MultiEQ XT Pro, accessible from the Integra surround preamp, was then used to optimize and correct each speaker based on its location in the room. Some filter suggestions were adjusted and a custom curve was created. In this particular setup, the separate subwoofer calibration was crucial since the Audyssey system doesn't recognize more than one sub during its calibration.

The same level of attention was paid to the calibration of the video. Both pre and post calibration tests and adjustment were performed on all inputs and resolutions including brightness and contrast settings, color gamut (both primary and secondary color adjustments), color temperature, gamma, the color decoder and sharpness. Calibration adjustments for each input were stored in the ISF Night memory of the Vidkron projector.

The tree trunk structure was further utilized in creating the adjoining bar area, where visitors can still have a full view of the screen. Behind the bar is a games and adjoining the theater is an exercise room, lobby bar, and rest room. The open floor plan of the basement was designed to integrate with the west coast decorative style found throughout the house.

Equipment List
Integra DTC 9.8 Surround Preamp
ATI AT3007 7-channel Amplifier
Denon DVD3800BDCi -Blu-ray Player
Bell Express HD DVR
Bay Audio ProTheater Custom 7-channel Speaker
Bay Audio 12' and 15" Rumble Subwoofers + 500W Sub Amp
Vidikron 110 3-chip DLP 1080p Projector w/ Cinewide Autoscope Lens
Screen Research TheaterCurve Supreme F-F Projection Screen (16:9 and 2.35:1)
Crestron Conrol and Integrated Lighting System

Dealer Contact Information
(604) 936 1034
Vancouver, BC Canada