At home like in the cinema

One of my passions is cinematography. I love watching movies and series, but I also care about comfort. I used to choose cinemas for a given film screening. Not the closest one, but one with air conditioning and enough leg room. After entering the multiplex market, most screens met these requirements, but many other things have changed over the years. Firstly, there were advertisements in the cinema – in the past there were one or two, plus several announcements of future premieres. Today, an ad block lasts 20-25 minutes (and they are mostly the same commercials as on TV, at home), and previews of new movies last at least half that time.

The older I get, the more I get annoyed by other participants in the screening. Over the years, it seems to me more and more often that instead of striving for higher culture, we give more and more permission for lower culture. In the cinema there is always someone talking, someone’s phone is ringing, chips brought in a backpack are rustling somewhere… If I’m going to the cinema, it’s IMAX and a film that deserves such a screen or… I’m waiting and prefer to see the screening in the comfort of my own apartment.

I live in a block of flats from the 80s. The apartment is less than 60 square meters (but it has its own garden!), so it is relatively spacious. Nevertheless, compared to the cinema hall, there is not much to talk about… But that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate a solid substitute for cinema at home. I’m not going to write about the technological aspects of audio-video equipment, because here the main determinant is only the “thickness of the wallet”. The conclusion will be one anyway – Dolby Atmos > 7.1 home cinema. Cinema projector > 4K home projector.

Your own cinema at home

So yes, the picture and sound in the cinema will always be better. But I will say immodestly that the 140″ screen and comfortable reclining seats can compensate for the poorer reception. The rustling of snack packaging, going to the toilet or a definitely long session, coming from everywhere, cease to be a problem. At the same time, you can invite your friends and, after a good dinner, sit back and watch a movie together.

At home like in the cinema – the right seats

The photos will give you a better idea of how to arrange the armchairs so that they are a regular piece of furniture in the living room and can be quickly and easily turned into a row of armchairs. I chose the 3+2 seats, because in this configuration they fit perfectly in one row in front of the screen. Nobody tall before me will sit down… I don’t remember the exact model, but I used to say that you buy a sofa with “four letters”. I actually walked with my other half to all the stores available in the area and we sat down. It didn’t matter the shape, size, color or reclining of the armchairs – the most important thing is that you sit on them really comfortably. These armchairs were by far the most comfortable (as confirmed by my guests). The additional function of the footrest and horizontal unfolding make me take a nap on it…

Stretch foil screen

However, the most important thing is the screen. My construction is already 6 years old and it was one of the first stretch foils that I installed in my apartment. At that time, it was absolutely the first in Europe (and perhaps in the world…?) Projector screen made of stretch foil. The fact that I chose white satin PVC as a screen gives me a very nice effect of a smooth reflector. The image from the projector looks perfect. But if the screen were to be simply white, it would not protrude more than 8 mm from the wall (see how we assembled the fabric in the same way).

As I left 30mm of space between the screen and the wall, I was able to install LED lights there using modular lighting. At that time, there were no ideal solutions on the market for this type of application. So I placed triple modules around the perimeter, which had the power to illuminate up to 3 meters, but at a beam angle of 40 °. I had to put up with the “teeth” from the shadows. However, literally after a year, I replaced the modules with a 180° beam angle and placed them directly on the wall – not around the perimeter. The effect came out perfect.

At home like in the cinema – a screen with backlit graphics

“But what’s the lighting for?” – you will ask. Well, for the “double vision” effect. It consists in the fact that the satin foil from which I made the screen has the property that it does not show the print on the inside. It will only become visible when we pass light through the foil. So I have glowing colorful graphics or a blank white screen under the projector. Sometimes someone will ask when they see the graphics if it’s a projected image and then I explain how it technically works. My screen therefore has two functions – utilitarian and decorative.

Since the original assembly, I have changed the graphics several times to match other elements of the room’s decor, e.g. the color of the wall. I just unhooked the old foil coating and plugged in the new one. The old graphics are still on a roll in the basement – they are not damaged and I can use them again. Maybe this year I’ll be replacing it with another painting, so I’ll show you the whole process step by step. All in all, if someone doesn’t have two left hands, they can handle it alone, but to be sure, it’s worth taking a one-day training on attaching coatings or fabrics.

So if you have a suitable room with a free wall (unfortunately, the projector needs some space so that the expected inches can appear on the opposite wall), and you dream of a glowing image that gives the room a climate, then it is worth thinking about such a solution. Of course, originally the hidden artwork was under the ceiling. The stretch ceiling pretended to be ordinary plasterboard, and it made an impression when the light above it was turned on…

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