FAQ: Adrian, have your motors been used in a high end home theater system?
I have a pretty nice setup, with my 12 ft motorized remote control screen, my 2800w high power projector with 3 LCD 1080p Epson® engine, and my 300 watt RMS Dolby 7.1 sound system. With Blu-ray at the ready, and Netflix streaming from my laptop, I figured I had something that could be considered high end. You can read about how a customer built a unit similar to mine in this 'how to build a motorized projector screen' article.
But the other day I discovered that I had been 'out theatered' by our senior production engineer.
I knew he was building a new setup as he had ordered some of our motors to be used for blackout blinds and closing curtains and other functions in his home theater project. The CurtainCloser™ kit (pictured right) was to be part of his project. When he invited me over to see it, I was expecting to see something similar to my setup, with a screen rolling down with one of our motors in his living room.
I was surprised when we walked past the living room, through a nondescript hallway door into a small anteroom. I got a little bit of a tip-off of what was to come when I realized there was a very large black power server humming away on a shelf.
He explained that it was a 4 core liquid cooled AMD server with 12 sata drive bays, populated with 6 TB expandable to 28 TB running Lime-ware unraid. It hosts a Servio UPNP media server as well as SMB file system. It hosts Movie, MP3, and Photo libraries. It is 100% fault tolerant of a single drive failure and is backed up to a DLINK NAS for complete recovery in the event of a disaster.
He then opened another door and I was shocked as I gazed into a cavernous room, with full blown luxurious theater seating! The 20 x 24 ft room with the cathedral at the end was 18 ft at its highest point. The Italian leather reclining seats were each big enough to accommodate a small family, and the arrangement included a raised upper level for the overflow crowd. The room and platform lighting is provided by a combination of RollerTrol and Lu-tron dimmer systems and is controlled via RF and IR blaster systems.
I was trying to see where the screen would roll down from, but when he fired up the projector and sat in the Captain's chair and pushed a button that started some motors moving, I realized that the entire wall was one gigantic screen. He didn't need to roll anything down, because the wall itself was dedicated for screen use. Instead, what happened is the curtains began to part, just like they used to do in a real theater, revealing a huge, high resolution 13' screen as big as the wall itself ... here's a picture with the projector on and the curtains drawn closed:
You can see the motorized curtain closer/opener system on our curtain and drapery motor kit article. Another notable use of our motors was for his blackout blinds on the side windows. A simple modification on the vertical window frame sides with u-channel attached by double sided tape provided a very effective blackout system. We have had so many people ask about this, we have prepared a new 'how to' article about implementing blackout blinds.
Here's what the screen looks like with a straight-on shot, with the curtains open:
What you are seeing in the above picture is actually the menu display of movie titles that are displayed when you want to choose something to watch. You flip through the titles with the remote control, and they work something like an old juke box; very cool!
And that brings me to the remote control system, powered by an MX 3000 remote control system, mounted on a post at the Captain's chair:
The video is provided via a Rocketfish wireless HDMI system that is supplied by two sources: a Panasonic Blu-Ray Player or Home Theater PC running XBMC on Ubuntu. The projector is a 1080p Epson Home Cinema 8350 unit, with a ceiling mount. It uses the triple LCD Epson engine for unparalled clarity, definition and color purity:
Of course, no ultimate home theater would be complete without the ultimate sound system; in my opinion, it's at least half the experience.
Not to disappoint, the giant 120 watt per channel Denon 8.1 Dolby digital receiver provides a tremendous amount of power output to drive a sophisticated array of speakers placed at strategic positions: Left, Center, Right, Left side, Right Side, Left Rear, Left Center and Right Rear. Add to this a gigantic SVS PB13 Ultra Sub-woofer with a 1000 watt sledge amp and you have a system that can literally shake the whole house when things start thundering.
But wait, there's more ... a Butt-kicker is installed in the center of the platform riser, driven by a Crown CE1000 commercial amp bridged to mono which provides 1000 watts, just in case you need a little extra realism. This transducer literally 'kicks' the platform with very low frequency impulses to provide an extra tactile sense of the experience (earthquake movie, anyone?). I figure it would be very fair to call this is an 8.2 system!
And finally, what do you give the man-who-has-everything for Christmas? What would no self-respecting ultimate home theater afficionado be without? Why, an authentic movie house popcorn maker, of course ... and that's just exactly what he got!
It turns out in our discussions that this project had been in the plans for many years, and I have to say it is fascinating to see what one can dream up with one's imagination. This is an awesome project that deserves some major recognition, a truly amazing system. And not as expensive as you might think, if you don't count the hobby time.
We sincerely hope you enjoy using our advanced motors in your projects; if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time!