Martin Redwood, Managing Director of The London Home Cinema Company and John Kempner, Buyer for Vision at John Lewis, offer a beginner’s guide on how to install a ‘home cinema’ space at home. Words: Kara O’Reilly
Choosing a room for your home cinema
Before you do anything else, you need to decide where you are going to place your home cinema system. ‘We like to know if the room is to be a dedicated cinema room, or if it’s multi-purpose,’ says Martin. ‘If it’s dedicated, we can control the light in the room and set out the system to get the best performance; but if it’s multi-purpose, we can design more discreet systems.’ If you don’t have an extra room to spare for a home cinema, John suggests you simply go for the largest TV screen size possible. ‘This will help to create that fully cinematic and immersive experience,’ he says. ‘Technology is also key, so look out for 4K UHD models – these benefit from four times the resolution of full HD for exceptional colour and ultra-sharp detail on screen.’
Key components of a home cinema room
In John’s opinion, it’s all about the sound. ‘This is key,’ he states. ‘The traditional home cinema system was originally available with five speakers (known as 5.1), but there are now also 7.1 and 9.1 configurations available. These systems offer separate front and rear speakers, as well as a subwoofer for a complete surround-sound experience.’ He advises you to also consider the latest option, which is a sound bar. ‘These have increased in popularity,’ he says. ‘Sound bars offer numerous benefits over the traditional home cinema system, including simple set up, stylish aesthetics, fantastic sound quality and no issues about placing any additional speakers and cables around the room.’ Martin agrees that sound is key, ‘You want decent clear sound that is comfortable to listen to’. He also advises choosing a projector and a screen, rather than a big TV, if you can.
What equipment to buy for your cinema?
If you are a novice, go to a specialist who will be able to advise you on what products and brands will suit your requirements. Your key consideration when investing, says Martin is that ‘everything should work well together; it should be reliable, easy to use and with simple controls’. After all there’s no bigger turn-off than an overly complex system that you struggle to even switch on.
The practicalities of having a home cinema
Being able to control your lighting is a real benefit. ‘We have systems that can control the lighting, dimming it down when the movie starts, and back up when it’s finished,’ says Martin. ‘We also tend to build-in the front speakers, but leave the surrounds surface-mounted for best performance – as long as this is keeping with the design theme or client’s preferences.’
Latest trends in home cinemas
‘We are seeing lots of clients creating dedicated rooms to nest in and enjoy movies,’ says Martin. These kinds of clients are also the sort of film buff/box set aficionados who are totally up to speed with all the latest mediums for watching movies.
Decorating your cinema room?
‘Keep the paint scheme dark,’ says Martin, ‘especially the ceiling. A white ceiling literally lights up with reflected light from the projection screen.’ And that is certainly not the effect you are looking for.