posted on Tuesday, 28th February 2017 by Geny Caloisi
Cornflake has opend the doors of its state of the art home cinema development at its central London showroom. As a designer and integrator of bespoke home automation, Cornflake identified the need to give its clients the chance to truly experience what home cinema could be like. This is no ordinary installation. The company has managed to put together an unforgettable experience, where the technology is invisible to the naked eye, but apparent to all your senses.
Built in an average living room size (3.6m x 5.7m) the home cinema can comfortably accommodate ten people on its burgundy velvet luxurious sofas. The expectators will see in front of them a wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling THX 4Kdisplay digital projection multiway auto-masking screen for total visual immersion. The £13,000 screen automatically modifies the black masking at the correct sizes to give the best contrast and viewing experience.
The projector used is JVC’s new 4K DLA-Z1, the world’s smallest native 4K projector has a laser light source (Blu-Escent) capable of delivering searing brightness of 3,000lm. It also has an exceptionally high contrast ratio due to the incorporation of three separate 4K D-ILA devices each dedicated to a single colour; red, green and blue respectively. Combining a laser light source with a cinema filter affords exceptionally vivid images with a wide colour gamut that allows the subtle gradation of sky or sea, for example, to be accurately reproduced and delivers picture quality comparable to a commercial cinema. A 100mm extra wide diameter lens – conventional lenses are 65mm – enables the powerful little machine to project 4K resolution to every corner of the screen, complemented by five dispersion lenses to ensure precise projection of 4K resolution graphics.
But good 4K HDR images are only half of the story, the audio design is what really makes this cinema unique. Cornflake has installed an immersive soundscape that will enhance the viewing of any content.
Equipped with Meyer Sound speakers, the compact cinema delivers a blockbuster punch. According to Cornflake’s director Gary Lewis, “this is the first residential project in the UK to feature Meyer Sound’s professional cinema system.”
Meyer Sound speakers are usually used by rock stars, Broadway producers, classical music institutions and world-leading film studios. However, last year the company announced that it would make its commercial speakers available to the domestic market. The roll-out is now reaching Europe, with this London installation in the showroom of leading home automation company Cornflake setting the pace.
Andy Willcox, Meyer Sound’s, Global Sales Manager for Residential Markets, says, “The goal of all this technology is to envelop the audience and transport them into the story; the viewer really shouldn't be thinking whether a sound is coming from an overhead loudspeaker or from a side wall. Designed for optimal performance behind perforated screens, Meyer Sound loudspeaker systems were developed specifically for cinema, in collaboration with top industry creative and technical professionals.
"Private cinema installers now have the capability to provide a superior experience for their customers. With digital soundtracks freed from the limitations of analog reproduction, it is possible to create heightened experiences in a scalable personal environment. We are very excited to be working with CEDIA-approved cinema designers, such as Cornflake, to spread our pro expertise to a wider residential audience.”
The cinema boasts a 9.2.4 Dolby Atmos surround set up delivering spine-tingling 360⁰ sound that literally wraps around the viewer: nine HMS-5 speakers are strategically hidden in the walls and ceiling, with two X-800C subwoofers at each end of the room and four Acheron Designer speakers at the front.
The wall speakers (HMS-5s) are so large they could not fit squarely within the existing wall cavity so the design team created clever angled niches within the studwork to house them. The result is an astonishing immersive sensation that puts the viewer bang in the centre of the action.
Powering the system is a Trinnov Altitude 32 processor, the first high-end cinema receiver ready for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D, guaranteeing all existing, and future, 3D sound native contents can be played back seamlessly.
Peter Miller, Cornflake’s HiFi consultant, explains: “Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D dramatically enhance the viewing experience by making the viewer feel like they are right in the middle of the action. This combination of equipment delivers a startlingly real encounter for the audience who, for the first time ever at home, can hear the sound exactly as the production studio created it. It really has to be heard to be believed”.
Robin Shephard, CEO of Cornflake, says: “Demand for home cinemas is phenomenal, especially in London where many homeowners have excavated a large, and often dark, basement to create extra living space, which is perfect as a media den. Clients strive for acoustic and visual perfection and are prepared to invest substantially in high-end technology to ensure exquisite quality, combined with luxurious decor. Some of the private cinemas currently being built in London homes rival those found in Hollywood A-Listers’ pads, complete with motion-sensor seating, air conditioning, acoustic insulation and professional calibration. We’re currently building an IMAX cinema in a Kensington townhouse and have a waiting list of clients wishing to road-test this new room.”
Nothing has been left to chance on the design of Cornflake home cinema. Specialist acousticians, using computer modelling tools, designed the optimal seating layout and specified where custom-made insulation panels should be set to aid reverberation, reflection and resonance. Using intelligent analysis software, they could check that the real-life performance would match the modelled performance and build the room to the agreed model. A key consideration for the design team was how to minimise loss of valuable space to bulky insulation padding without compromising performance.
A revolutionary new product CATS Packs (cinema acoustic treatment system) offered the perfect solution. With a depth of just 50mm, the panels have irregular shaped facets that cause sound waves to be scattered and dispersed, helping to increase the sense of spaciousness and reduce reverberation. A mix of hard and soft CATS panels were used in a carefully modelled pattern across the walls and ceiling, topped off with acoustically-transparent fabric stretched over frames to create a stylish decorative finish. A thick pure wool carpet with three layers of acoustic underlay, plus soft velvet furnishings, help with low level acoustics.
Finally, nothing adds more to the anticipation of enjoying a movie than the house lights being dimmed. Here lighting is controlled with the swipe of an iPad which has been pre-set to dim in tandem with the film starting. In the blink of an eye the room transforms from a well-lit space to a hushed altar to film.
Cornflake’s lighting experts pay special attention to creating the right mood for in-home movie viewing. Consultant Mark Kavanagh, of Future Light Design, explains: “We’ve used a selection of fittings to emphasise the various elements of the design. For the soft, low level lighting, the ceiling has had an LED tape light installed within the coffer with CRI (colour rendering index) of 95 to enhance the warmer tones in the furnishings, and particularly complement the vivid red leather-clad columns, just as the colours would appear in natural daylight.
“To create further interest, linear lights were set within recessed profiles around the perimeter of the room. In the ceiling, we commissioned downlighters finished in the exact same RAL emulsion colour to make them almost invisible. These lights create a seamless wall-washing effect and draw attention to the stylish wall panels. Featuring the latest Dim-to-Warm technology, they can be dimmed to a soft candle-like glow as required from the iPad,” he adds.
Cornflake’s new home cinema has been built as a demonstration suite where movie buffs, audiophiles and discerning homeowners can experience an exact replica of the aural sounds recorded during the actual filmmaking process by the greatest movie makers of our time, such as Francis Ford Coppola. The £250,000 cinema is an example of the growing trend for experiential retailing; in this case allowing consumers shopping for a home cinema to “try-before-you-buy”.
The audio in the room is powerful. You could clearly feel the vibration of the sound, without any discomfort on the ear or any reverberation. This combined with exceptional HDR 4K image makes the room disappear completely.
Visits to the new cinema at Cornflake’s 4000sqft SmartAPPartment showroom in Windmill Street, W1, are strictly by appointment and must be pre-booked, but definitely worthwhile.
For more information call Tel: 020 7323 4554 or visit www.cornflake.co.uk.
Cornflake designs and installs bespoke home automation systems, expertly integrating them into the home.With a team of industry renowned engineers – specialists in sound reproduction, video and cinema, lighting, window treatments, integrated services including security, IT, telecoms and more – theyare able to strike a perfect balance between performance and reliability combined with energy efficiency.
Geny Caloisi is an accomplished technology journalist who has worked in a variety of AV industry publications.