Technology - VIDEO
The Art of Projection
we assembled a panel of judges to evaluate some of the finest home installations featuring Sony projectors.
BY DOUGLAS WEINSTEIN
THERE ARE SO MANY IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES we get to realize throughout our lifetimes. From the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains to the breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon at daybreak, we all enjoy the grand sweeps and vistas as we travel the roads of our lives.
So, too, the experience of the big screen – IMAX theaters, Dolby Atmos surround sound, a comfortable recliner to snuggle into as your favorite action star don’s his cape. And for my money, there just isn’t anything like a home projection system to bring you up close and personal – whether I’m watching the latest episode of Westworld or I’m sharing a new recipe with friends via LiveStream. Big is better. That’s just a fact.
What’s happening today on the frontier of large screen projector systems is really fascinating. We have traditional two-piece systems – a ceiling mounted projector and wall-mounted filmscreen – and also the very latest and hippest ultra-short throw projection systems that create amazing spaces that open up for more than just traditional movie viewing.
And of course, our favorite, the rear-projection system where a projector beams it’s reverse image onto a glass screen. The stealthiest of designs, rear-projection’s only downside is that you need space behind your screen position to mount the projector. But, out of sight, out of mind!
Our friends at Sony wanted to check out the latest creative designs from their network of authorized dealers and asked us if we would be willing to lend a hand. We said, “yes, what did you have in mind?”
It’s a contest!
Technology Designer was tasked with assembling a panel of judges (shown at right and below) to evaluate and rank some of the very finest home entertainment installations featuring Sony projectors. Entries cover both media rooms - also known as great rooms - as well as dedicated theater spaces. The four categories consist of:
• Best Media Room Under $50K
• Best Media Room Over $50K
• Best Theater Room Under $100K
• Best Theater Room Over $100K
Editor of Technology Designer Magazine and the Technology Insider Group, Doug was also the co-founder and Executive Director of The Elf Foundation, a non-profit organization that created over 90 Room of Magic entertainment theaters in Children’s Hospitals across North America.
NATHAN KIPNIS, FAIA
Founder and Principal at Kipnis Architecture + Planning in Evanston, IL and Boulder, CO, and co-founder of NextHaus Alliance, a team of Chicago-area design and build firms committed to incorporating sustainability and resilient design in their residential projects. He is the past co-chair of AIA’s 2030 Commitment working committee.
Elizabeth started high-end framing studio GK Framing Group in New York City in the 1980s where she quickly emerged as a leader in the care, preservation and presentation of fine art. In 2013 she started sister-company Reflectel, the Ultimate Mirror TV.
David Warfel is a lighting designer, educator, and founder and Chief Evangelist of Light for LightCanHelpYou.com. His designs have played Carnegie Hall, floated on multiple cruise ships, and warmed homes from coast to coast. David’s company enables technology designers and integrators to provide expert lighting design services that enhance indoor and outdoor spaces.
With a degree from University of Alabama at Birmingham, a Masters Degree from San Jose State, CA, and an Interior Design Certificate from Sheffield School of New York, Kristin is focused on design as well as real estate at 8z Realtor, specializing in helping sellers prepare their homes to appeal to the most buyers for the best price and helping to identify and achieve all the potentials and possibilities in the home.
"As a lighting designer I am easily swayed by the layers of light that transform this luxurious contemporary media room, but I love how the projector becomes another sleek surface like the glossy granite counter and black ceiling features in the adjoining space. Here is a project that combines sleek architecture, cool lighting, and a fully visible projector successfully - and that’s worth applauding."
- — David Warfel
Powerhouse technology design firm Integration Controls had their work cut out for them as their client prepared for a remodel/addition onto their existing home. The homeowner had had a poor theater experience in the past (with a different integration firm), and so creating the need, based on care and detail in setting expectations and aligning budgets, was of vital importance.
In this instance, Integration Controls was brought in during the planning stage, as the space was being specifically designed for entertaining family and friends during the holidays and hosting parties for the big game. A discretely placed ceiling-mounted Sony projector provides the dynamic big screen experience.
The judges were all in unison that this new theater space fit seamlessly into the design of the established living, dining and kitchen areas. Of particular note is the gorgeous bar-height table which is an ideal spot to place your hot wings and adult beverage right before kick-off.
And, as David mentioned above, the lighting is multi-dimensional and adds ambiance to the space and the immersive experience of a big screen presentation.
WINNER: media room over $50k
Innovative Sight & Sound
Atlanta | Northwest Florida | Tampa | Charleston
"The design and placement of the TV, large format rear-projection screen and speakers in this very large room help to scale the space down to an appropriate level to create a more comfortable viewing area. The proportions and spacing of the screen and speakers carefully tie back to the overall architecture of the space."
- — Nathan Kipnis
The client and architect in this project wanted a display solution as the centerpiece of a spectacular residence. Innovative Sight & Sound needed a large format solution for this bright coastal home. They were able to engineer this solution of dual Sony ultra-short throw projectors mounted behind a 240-inch rear projection screen to achieve the necessary brightness and size requirements. Note the flush-mounted speakers that flank the projection display. Additionally, for casual viewing, there is also a 75-inch Sony TV in the space.
One of the unique features of this space is the use of dual rear-screen projectors. So you have the option of watching two channels simultaneously. Obviously, for sports fans, this set-up is perfect.
"This installation emphasized the technical aspects of installing an extensive theater room and incorporating the client’s wishes for no visible AV equipment. The use of rear projection, acoustic panels, and a large mechanical room to create a simple, seamless viewing experience was a success, creating a modern, dedicated home theater space. "
- — Kristin Bramer
OneButton was tasked with creating a perfectly minimal high-performance screening room for a family home in East Hampton. The requirements were a theater with no visible speakers, projector or AV equipment to distract from the movie experience.
The system deploys a Sony ultra-short throw projector mounted behind the projection screen. As noted in the spec, there is no visible technology in the space, save for the lighting design. The space in front of the view screen is open and can be used for multiple purposes, by all family members.
Another major factor in favor of this winning entry was the use of multiple lighting sources that can be deployed to create an infinite array of ambiance. The theater functions perfectly when dark, but the family can also enjoy movies or sports with the light on at moderate levels.
"This room goes all out. A theater room that evokes mystery and escape with all the best technology and most comfortable seating is a home run. I especially love the period door handles, railings and sconces. The aura of a bygone era/millennia is fully achieved. A robust theme and discreet at the same time, not to mention fun! "
- — Elizabeth Goldfeder
This project was the culmination of years of planning and preparation. It all started in 2016 when the homeowner expressed to Gramophone his passion for the film version of Stargate and the subsequent television series Stargate SG1.
With the help of AcousticSmart and Michael Sheehan Builders/Fabricators, Gramophone created a space that emulated the interior of the Egyptian temple from the film. One of the greatest challenges was to equip the walls with the proper acoustical characteristics while maintaining the look of rough-cut blocks of stone. This was accomplished by 3D laser printing on rolls of fabric that clipped onto all four walls over sound absorptive material. Michael Sheehan’s background in set design coupled with the design teams at AcousticSmart and Gramophone worked tirelessly for 16 months to complete the project.
Theaters of this magnitude bring out the full theater experience in the comfort of one’s home. And with advanced acoustics and the power of a truly state-of-the-art projector, theaters of this type will rival any commercial installation.