Going out to the cinema, at home. Professional cinema created for UK residential properties

A world-class cinema was created today in an average sized (3.6m x 5.7m) family living room.

[LONDON 23rd Feb 2017] A world-class cinema was created today in an average sized (3.6m x 5.7m) family living room.

The same design, acoustic and aesthetic planning principles used by commercial High Street cinemas, modern rock stadiums and internationally acclaimed concert halls were applied to the 12ft x 18ft room - plus the exact same equipment was installed.

The 10-seat home cinema, located off Tottenham Court Road in the heart of London, features revolutionary THX4Kdisplay digital projection, a giant floor-to-ceiling multiway auto-masking screen and Dolby Atmos 360⁰ immersive sound from Meyer Sound loudspeakers. With technology on a par with the high-performance kit used in professional theatres the room affords a cinematic experience normally reserved for Hollywood's finest screening theatres.

The first UK residential cinema to be equipped with Meyer Sound speakers, far more commonly used by top film studios including Warner Bros., Pixar and 20th Century Fox, the compact cinema delivers a blockbuster punch, despite only having enough sofas for close friends and family.

Built as a demonstration suite where movie buffs, audiophiles and discerning home owners can experience an exact replica of the aural sounds recorded during the actual film making process by the greatest movie makers of our time, such as Francis Ford Coppola, the £250,000 cinema is an example of the growing trend for experiential retailing; or allowing consumers to "try-before-you-buy".

The luxury cinema is the first residential project in the UK to feature Meyer Sound's professional cinema system. The Californian company, which more usually supports rock stars, Broadway producers, classical music institutions and world-leading film studios announced last year that it would make its commercial speakers available to the domestic market. The roll-out is now reaching Europe, with this London installation in the showroom of leading home automation company Cornflake setting the pace.

Andy Willcox, Meyer Sound's, Global Sales Manager for Residential Markets, says: "The goal of all this technology is to envelop the audience and transport them into the story; the viewer really shouldn't be thinking whether a sound is coming from an overhead loudspeaker or from a side wall. Designed for optimal performance behind perforated screens, Meyer Sound loudspeaker systems were developed specifically for cinema, in collaboration with top industry creative and technical professionals.
"Private cinema installers now have the capability to provide a superior experience for their customers. With digital soundtracks freed from the limitations of analog reproduction, it is possible to create heightened experiences in a scalable personal environment. We are very excited to be working with CEDIA-approved cinema designers, such as Cornflake, to spread our pro expertise to a wider residential audience."

The cinema boasts a 9.2.4 Dolby Atmos surround set up delivering spine-tingling 360⁰ sound that literally wraps around the viewer: nine HMS-5 speakers are strategically hidden in the walls and ceiling, with two X-800C subwoofers at each end of the room and four Acheron Designer speakers at the front.

Powering the system is a Trinnov Altitude 32 processor, the first high-end cinema receiver ready for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, guaranteeing all existing, and future, 3D sound native contents can be played back seamlessly. Peter Miller, Cornflake's HiFi consultant, explains: "Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D dramatically enhance the viewing experience by making the viewer feel like they are right in the middle of the action. This combination of equipment delivers a startlingly real encounter for the audience who, for the first time ever at home, can hear the sound exactly as the production studio created it. It really has to be heard to be believed".

Eliminating the pesky dark grey bars around widescreen movie images has long been the holy grail of TV manufacturers and projectionists. In a bid to resolve the issue here a huge 3.6m x 2.02m bespoke screen was commissioned to virtually cover the front wall. Designed with multiway masking that comes in from both the top and bottom of the picture, it perfectly frames the content and blacks-out the unwanted portions when watching in an aspect greater than 16:9 ratio. The £13,000 screen recognises the format of any film or programme and auto mimics the ratio then masks accordingly. The silent wizardry, as you settle in to an armchair, is mesmerising before the opening titles have even rolled.

With the speakers and screen in place, Cornflake's award-winning design team turned their attention to the projector and tested literally dozens of models. Plumping for JVC's new 4K DLA-Z1, the world's smallest native 4K projector has a laser light source (Blu-Escent) capable of delivering searing brightness of 3,000lm. It also has an exceptionally high contrast ratio due to the incorporation of three separate 4K D-ILA devices each dedicated to a single colour; red, green and blue respectively. Combining a laser light source with a cinema filter affords exceptionally vivid images with a wide colour gamut that allows the subtle gradation of sky or sea, for example, to be accurately reproduced and delivers picture quality comparable to a commercial cinema. A 100mm extra wide diameter lens - conventional lenses are 65mm - enables the powerful little machine to project 4K resolution to every corner of the screen, complemented by five dispersion lenses to ensure precise projection of 4K resolution graphics.

Robin Shephard, CEO of Cornflake, says: "Demand for home cinemas is phenomenal, especially in London where many home owners have excavated a large, and often dark, basement to create extra living space, which is perfect as a media den. Clients strive for acoustic and visual perfection and are prepared to invest substantially in high-end technology to ensure exquisite quality, combined with luxurious decor. Some of the private cinemas currently being built in London homes rival those found in Hollywood A-Listers' pads, complete with motion-sensor seating, air conditioning, acoustic insulation and professional calibration. We're currently building an IMAX cinema in a Kensington townhouse and have a waiting list of clients wishing to road-test this new room."

Nothing is left to chance when designing a home cinema for super prime homes. Specialist acousticians, using computer modelling tools, designed the optimal seating layout and specified where custom-made insulation panels should be set to aid reverberation, reflection and resonance. Using intelligent analysis software, they could check that the real-life performance would match the modelled performance and build the room to the agreed model.

Finally, nothing adds more to the anticipation of enjoying a movie than the house lights being dimmed. Here lighting is controlled with the swipe of an iPad which has been pre-set to dim in tandem with the film starting. In the blink of an eye the room transforms from a well-lit space to a hushed altar to film.

Cornflake's lighting experts pay special attention to creating the right mood for in-home movie viewing. Consultant Mark Kavanagh, of Future Light Design, explains: "We've used a selection of fittings to emphasise the various elements of the design. For the soft, low level lighting, the ceiling has had an LED tape light installed within the coffer with CRI (colour rendering index) of 95 to enhance the warmer tones in the furnishings, and particularly complement the vivid red leather-clad columns, just as the colours would appear in natural daylight."

Visits to the new cinema are strictly by appointment and must be pre-booked. Built below ground in Cornflake's 4000sqft SmartAPPartment showroom, a James-Bond style pad with six further rooms filled with the latest smart home technology that visitors are actively encouraged to road-test. Watching a blockbuster here is the ultimate in armchair shopping. Start measuring up that spare room.

Cornflake, 41 Windmill Street, London, W1T 2JU. Tel: 020 7323 4554. www.cornflake.co.uk

Kit specification list:
• Meyer Sound: https://www.meyersound.com/focus/residential_cinema/ and https://meyersound.com/products/
• Front speakers: Acheron Designer
• 2no. subwoofers: X-800C
• Surround speakers: HMS-5
• Screen: Dynamic Multiway Masking Screen http://www.dt-screens.com/products/dynamic
• Projector: JVC DLA-Z1 http://uk.jvc.com/projectors/4k/DLA-Z1/
Image: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/v3akifynmz6vld3/AACfLVmEt6yGWXhzOHmSMP41a?dl=0
• Processor: Trinnov Altitude 32 (16 channels)
• Acoustic insulation and calibration: CATS packs http://cinema-ats.com/
• Acoustic fabric to walls and ceiling: Carlucci di Chivasso Cohesion CA1338/053 from Ace Contracts. http://acecontracts.net/products/fabric-walling/

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