Wide-eyed Wonder

Our latest cinema project converted a lack-lustre music room into a high performance private cinema room with an anamorphic 4K 'super-widescreen' projection system, tiered seating, 13 channel speaker system and complete control of natural and artificial lighting, with the entire design, build and decoration of the room managed and delivered by SONA.

CEDIA Awards 2018
Best Home Cinema (£40-120,000) / FINALIST

The Brief

SONA were originally contacted by this client to transform their existing basic surround system which was located in an under used music room.  An avid movie enthusiast, owning hundreds of films and film memorabilia, the client wanted the room to feature Dolby Atmos, if possible using a 7.2.4 speaker arrangement, and incorporate two rows of seating.
Although this was to in principle be a dedicated cinema space, numerous small, and one very large picture window that the client wanted to retain had to be considered in our design.

Our initial activities were to accurately measure the room and carry out speaker position calculations along with seating and projection throw calculations to determine if speakers could even be placed in the correct locations, and we could achieve tiered seating whilst maintaining sight lines.
Our designers used CAD to draw the room and precisely position equipment in line with Dolby Atmos specifications.  This allowed us to confirm that we could incorporate the system that the client wanted, whilst meeting performance criteria.

Once we had confirmed that we could physically place speakers and equipment where we needed to, it became apparent that significant works would be required to incorporate everything into the room whilst ensuring that the cinema was a comfortable and pleasant space to spend multiple hours in.


Our Solution

As we proposed such a radical overhaul of the room – in order to help the client visualise our designs and understand the layout we created a 3D layout of the room and were able to present the client with screenshots of fixed views, but also an animation, which proved invaluable in approving the design.

Our ultimate design for the room included building out the side walls to incorporate recessed speakers, radiators and motorised blinds so that the walls of the room remained flush and uncluttered.  This is a relatively small room and we wanted minimal protrusion into the space as possible.
On the front wall, we were able to incorporate a deeper false wall section into the design which would incorporate the front speakers and subwoofers, and the acoustically transparent projection screen.


The Process

The following images show the progression of the room build, from it’s bare shell, through the construction of the raised flooring and recessed wall details, installation of speakers and bespoke cabinets.  You can click on the images to open a slideshow with further details on each image.


Specialist Anamorphic Projection System

The projection system itself is a specialist setup, utilising a 4K projector with a motorised screen which can change shape to provide the most immersive cinema experience.  We call this type of setup an anamorphic projection system and it means that we can remove the black bars from the top and bottom of the image and completely fill the screen with an ‘extra’ widescreen image, exactly like you see at your local cinema.  Read our blog on Anamorphic Cinema.

The top image below shows the system in conventional 16:9 format, with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, and the bottom image shows the same image, but with the screen expanded horizontally and the image adjusted to fill that screen.



Beyond the amazing audio and video that the room produces, are a myriad of additional features that combine to create an entire cinema room.  SONA created a new lighting design, featuring discrete plaster in downlights, low level step lighting and wall lights to provide complete control over the ambience, and hidden black-out blinds, which are entirely hidden within the new wall structures are completely invisible when open, but are able to transform the room from a light and airy lounge space, to what almost feels like a subterranean environment, completely isolated from the outside world.

The client has access to a collection of sources, including Blu-Ray, Apple TV, SkyQ and numerous games consoles, and the entire system is controlled through a custom iPad app that provides simple one-touch operation of the entire system.
A user simply selects the source that they want to watch, and the system asks them to wait whilst it automatically turns on the projector and other equipment, routes that source to the screen and then provides controls on the iPad, simultaneously lowering the blinds and setting a movie lighting scene.
When the system is switched off, it automatically checks the time of day and leaves the blinds closed if it’s after sunset and will not let the system be turned on again until the projector has finished its cool down process.


About SONA

SONA are an award-winning home technology provider, providing services across the UK.  We offer a complete cinema design and installation package, and can take care of every element, including the technical design, room decor and lighting design, construction, wiring, decoration and carpeting, including co-ordination with existing trades if you already have interior designers, furniture makers and decorators you work with.

If you’d like more information or a conversation regarding a project you’re involved in or looking at in the future you can email us: info@sona.technology and you can find all our contact details including links to our social media pages here.

You can also read about the other services we offer here, and view some of our previous projects here.