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Topic: 30'x30' Garage
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Joined: Jun 12, 2020
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This project is in a fledgling state, so looking for some ideas before I invite a theater contractor in to write me a giant quote.

We are likely building a 30'x30' garage with an 18' ceiling. We're going to put a mini split in it for climate control. The main purpose of this is to have a basketball court, we will have a partial half court drawn on an epoxy floor.

I know I want to do a couple things in here related to Audio/Visual equipment.

1) I know I want some acoustic panels installed so this isn't an echo chamber of concrete/drywall.
2) I know I want speakers wired in some manner - not sure what speakers yet.

As I was thinking about this, I started thinking this could be an interesting movie experience. I know it would probably never be a "perfect" movie experience, but there will be no windows - so no ambient light.

So I'm really looking for some guidance on this:
1) considering the floor will be solid, do you think with acoustic panels, I can get a decent sound for movies? (understanding this is a secondary function of the space, like a church multi-purpose room)
2) Would you target 7.1 surround or other?
3) For seating - what ideas/options do you have? I'm not going to be able to have big plush movie chairs stuck in the middle of the floor, so I'm looking for some good, mobile options and can be pushed to the side
4) Screen - I have a ton of real estate on the wall. How big would you go? I'm debating whether to do a motorized screen in a cage, knowing that makes the cost go up significant vs. a fixed screen.
4) Projector - ties into screen size. I would like to be able to have this turned on and reasonably viewable without the room being completely pitch black. We'll use this area to entertain, so if we play Jackbox or bingo or something.

Ok - lots there. I don't want to say "money isn't an object", but this garage is going to be 6 figures, so I am willing to spend some on the interior finishes. At the same time, I probably dont' want to drop $20k on a projector, not sure I need THAT level unless we're going to say "you can't get the picture size you want without that investment".

Thanks in advance!
[Edited by sureshoe on Jun 30, 2021 at 8:17 AM]

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I would say my biggest concerns are audio quality and equipment placement. Getting a good sized screen that is of high quality (tab-tensioned) is expensive. Like $4,000 or so for a 161" diagonal tab tensioned screen. I might be more temped to rotate the screen location 90 degrees and put it on the side wall so you can place a projector on the opposite side wall and put the projector into a vented box (you can build yourself) and just paint the wall a decent white with a black border. But, looking at your space design, it looks like you are putting garage doors in those locations. You may have to repaint a wall as a screen every few years, and you may upgrade it to a motorized tab-tensioned screen which you put in a box, but it would be an ideal way to manage budget up front and to see how you like things before buying a huge screen that you find out you rarely use.

Most projectors really don't have an issue pushing a screen size of 150" or more when the lights are out. Home theater has that magic word in it: THEATER! No theater you've been to in your life starts playing a movie with the lights cranked up, so you will have to keep that in mind. Lighting in the space, with the projector on, means that the screen area will need to be kept relatively dark. So, plan your lighting layout in the space properly. Different types of task lighting in the ceiling with it properly zoned, can make a huge difference to the experience. So, at least two zones of lighting. One for general lighting for the entire room, then perhaps a set of directional spotlights away from the screen on a dimmer which can be turned on when the projector is in use providing light in the room, but not near the screen.

I might start with a pretty baseline projector that's solidly bright like the Epson 3800. It is inexpensive, but bright, and designed for home theater. It can handle a 150"-180" screen just fine in a dark room, and has a lot of zoom.

If the goal is to have a projector on one side and the screen on the other, without hanging the projector in the middle of the room, then you will need a projector with enough zoom to hit the screen. That's tough if you want a 150" image size from about 29 feet lens to screen (throw distance). If you can get the projector any distance from the screen, then that changes things up a lot. But, a projector simply can't be too far above the top of the screen, so you may need to look into installing a projector lift. Once again, this adds a fair bit of expense. Look to eBay for some potential used lifts which may be a better price if this is a goal.

But, check throw distance to see if you can get a model which throws across the room.

Epson 3800:
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-Home_Cinema_3800-projection-calculator-pro.htm

183" diagonal minimum size from 28.5' throw distance.

Epson 5050UB:
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-Home_Cinema_5050UB-projection-calculator-pro.htm#calc

138" diagonal minimum size from 28.5' throw distnace.

It may make sense to spend more on the 5050 to allow you to get that throw distance and flexibility you need.

Now... AUDIO!
The audio isn't my area of expertise and may be better served by a website like Audioholics which really talks a great deal about audio. It is a large room and it will be extremely reflective. So, putting padding up and down the walls and using acoustical ceiling tiles or similar will go a long way to helping the extremely reflective flooring surface from making sound completely horrendous. It will never be great. I mean, have you been too any gymnasium in your life? They are 'bright' spaces. Very reflective.

Then, the considerations for speaker locations is going to come into play as you will need to have them protected and enough out of the way to not impact the rest of the space. In-walls? Likely. But, a subwoofer (or two or four) is not easily hidden unless you build a area out to support such a speaker or go with some expensive in-wall design that still sounds good.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.