How They Did It: The Red Carpet Cinema

Feb 15, 2016

This project required India-based CEDIA member MacBee to transform a basement into a luxurious personal screening room. With the homeowner being an owner of several high-end movie theaters, the design needed to compete with the quality and technology of commercial applications.

MacBee was challenged to install the largest screen possible, achieve DCI compliance, and provide as many seats as the room would accommodate. They worked closely with a team of architects and site managers to achieve the client’s goals, and their work earned them the Best Home Cinema over £100,000 award in the 2015 CEDIA EMEA Awards.

MacBee Red Carpet Cinema Screen 1

The System

The installer designed a 7.1 system, including eight JBL Synthesis S4S subwoofers, eight surround-sound speakers, and left/centre/right (LCR) positions at the front. The LCR audio was achieved using Synthesis Everest Speakers that could fluently manage the depth of the 35-foot room. Surround-sound speakers were also installed advantageously within the wall and into the ceiling to achieve consistent sound for the three rows of seating.

MacBee used their own in-house software to provide a robust system which met all performance standards, including a graphical user interface as well as ISF and THX video calibration to allow for both DCI and alternate content.

The high-quality standards of this room were a key requirement in designing the room. The end result was the design and successful installation of an aesthetically pleasing cinema room that provides top-quality AV for 19 viewers.

MacBee Red Carpet Cinema Screen 2


Before the initial meeting with the client, MacBee had the opportunity to visit the site. The room had a graduated ceiling height, but the floor was at one level. The maximum seating they could manage was eight, so they prepared the floor plan accordingly for the first direct client meeting.

The client wasn’t satisfied with the eight-seat layout, so he took the integrator to a screening at his newest cinema to better underscore his preferences. It was then clear to MacBee that the client wanted a very large screen, seating for up to 20 guests, and the ability to watch first-run movie content.

MacBee worked closely with the client’s architects and site managers to see what was possible. After three weeks of site visits and meetings, they arrived at a plan to go in deeper and increase the height of the ceiling at the entrance. However, the width of the space was firmly limited and would only accommodate in 12 full-size recliner seats in three rows. This new layout also called for a motorized masking screen that covered nearly the whole front wall, minus one foot of allowance on each side.

MacBee Red Carpet Cinema Seating 1

Yet at the next meeting, the client insisted on a new layout with even more seating and a wall-to-wall screen. MacBee came back with a design that featured 15 narrower seats and a massive edge-to-edge screen that went right to the ceiling to optimize sight lines.

Another challenge was managing the low-frequency modal issues in the room using multiple subwoofers. Since there was already an issue with the room width and MacBee had no place to install subwoofers, they had to hunt for a solution that could deliver reference-level performance and seat-to-seat consistency.

MacBee Red Carpet Cinema Seating 2

The Solution

The main goal for this cinema was to get as close to reference level as possible. From the beginning, standards were the priority and compromise was out.

It took six months to convince the client on the 15-seat layout and dial in the right lens and screen size. The screen was engineered by Vutec to be installed only from the front since the wall-to-wall layout left no space on the sides. The DCI-compliant Christie projector was placed on a shelf in the equipment room with extra fans for cooling due to limited space for ventilation.

On the audio side, MacBee prepared a system design of 7.1 with eight subwoofers, eight surrounds, and LCR. The JBL Synthesis S4S subs are seven inches deep and come with a five-foot-tall back box. MacBee auditioned a lot of speakers, and these were just right for the job, so they decided to install two on each corner of the room for good low-frequency energy and seat-to-seat consistency.

Surrounds were concealed in the walls, except at the rear of the room where there was no room for surrounds; instead, rear speakers were strategically installed in the ceiling to cater to all three rows. For the LCR, MacBee used the Synthesis Everest Speakers, which were easy to drive and could effortlessly manage the room depth of 35 feet. The acoustics were jointly done with Quest AI, and given the limited width of the room, the team had a detailed acoustical plan in place.

MacBee Red Carpet Cinema Rack

The seating was custom-made five times in order to get every shape, size, and detail correct for the client. The control system was MacBee’s in-house software, which features a custom, minimalistic, easy-to-use GUI.

Complete ISF/THX video calibration was performed for both DCI and alternate content, meeting all performance standards. For audio calibration, HAA standards were met and ARCOS calibration was performed.

At the end of the project, MacBee had almost achieved everything the client wanted — except the number of seats. They decided to add a few bean bags to get the seating capacity to 19.

The 2016 CEDIA Awards competition is now accepting entries! Learn more at cedia.net/awards.



CEDIA blog posts are intended to provide general information and should not be regarded as legal opinions or advice.

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