Chris Papastephanou of ChrisMix has been involved in Los Angeles studios and post-production work for over 30 years. In addition to being a sound engineer and studio designer, he is also involved in system integration and home cinema installations. We recently caught up with Chris to talk about a multi-use project he put together in Hollywood centered around The Premiere LSP9T ultra-short throw projector.
Chris, thanks for giving us a little of your time today. Tell us about the intersection of recording studio and post-production work and video installations you’ve been working on for some time.
It’s my pleasure to catch up with you. Before we begin, I should point out that the success of this install has to be shared with HD Acoustics, NM Modular Studios, AV Partners and Terranova Construction. They created the environment that made the installation of the LSP9T exceed all expectations. So here’s the funny thing about post-production work in some of the studios I have been associated with over the years – for the longest time we could mix in multi-channel surround sound up to and including Atmos, but not be able to listen to the playback because of the limitations of the actual studio itself. So long ago I began to put together surround sound theaters, including big ticket items like Barco projectors. So I have tons of experience in projectors and how you get a great image on the screen.
And the Hollywood project is just another example of listening to the client’s needs and coming up with the right solution. So while I’ve done my share of high-end video installs, most people just don’t have the space for a long throw projector and at the same time people want to be able to use their space for more than just one application. And that’s where the LSP9T came in handy.
My client wanted a big screen image in his living room – and this is in a condo, keep in mind – but at the same time he wanted to be able to host parties with a DJ and wanted the DJ in front of the filmscreen where they could project whatever images they wanted, without the DJ casting a shadow. And, ultimately, this was his living room, so he wanted everything to be discreet when he wasn’t watching the system.
I designed a motorized Stewart Filmscreen into the system because when I proposed the Samsung projector and told him we could go as big as 130 inches, he was all in. I talked with Stewart and they told me they had a unit themselves and recommended the Cabaret 130 with a 1.0 gain. I had already specified motorized Lutron Serena black-out shades, but per the client’s needs, the system could be viewed with the shades up or down, giving him maximum flexibility. Even in ambient light the LSP9T throws plenty of light for an excellent image.
One important lesson we learned is to make sure you have a path to get the screen where it needs to go. The 130 inch screen is about 14 feet long in its shipping crate which does not fit in a standard freight elevator. We had to carry the screen up seven flights of stairs, TWICE! When we got to the top of the first stairwell we couldn’t make the turn into the hallway which had us take the screen back down and up through another stairwell where we were successful.
I combined the video setup with a JBL sound system, with custom-painted speakers to match the modern white background of the space.
You ceiling mounted the projector. Talk about that process.
One of the things I really like about this projector is that it is really easy to install. The manual has a measurement guide which is invaluable. You start with a recommendation of how far from the wall the projector needs to be given the screen size. Then you fine-tune from there.
Because I was mounting the projector on the ceiling, I had a custom mount fabricated by the folks at Triad Orbit where I was able to slide the projector forwards or backwards to get the perfect image size. Another great thing about this projector is that, as opposed to long-throw projectors that light up the room, an ultra-short throw projector concentrates all of its light directly on the screen, delivering outstanding contrast. This is great for everyday use even when you may be doing other daily activities
I see the wheels turning, what other venues are you thinking about for this projector?
Well, certainly for studios and post-production facilities. Being able to have something appear out of nowhere and provide a large screen experience, I can see them for studios who want to add content for YouTube videos, etc. I can see this becoming the defacto standard for ADR and Foley rooms, and for Dolby Atmos Mix Stages because of its easy installation and quiet operation.
Sports bars are another no-brainer. Very discreet but when you pull down the motorized screen hidden in the ceiling, voila, you have the perfect big game set up. We are also specifying them into our home cinema modular design systems by NM Modular where we can literally design your entire theater and install in two to three days. And gaming suites are becoming really big in L.A., so the gaming community is a market ripe for this type of projector.
I love this projector. It has all of the features I need and delivers a great image. Everyone I’ve shown the LSP9T to have been amazed. My Hollywood client has the ability to watch movies, bring in a DJ for parties and with the motorized screen and discrete footprint of the LSP9T he has his living room back when the system is off.
NM Modular Studios & Home Theaters
TerraNova Construction Southern California