We have just completed this Franschhoek Home Cinema build, this is a daily breakdown of the work completed on this stunning home cinema project.

We were contacted by our good friends at Sphere Custom design and asked if we could assist them with this Franschhoek home cinema build. This home cinema which is a massive 12m long by 8m deep by 4m high has to be completed before Christmas. As we are always up for a challenge and happy to help our colleagues at Sphere Custom Design wherever possible, we agreed to assist.
The project timeline was very short with access to our home cinema room only being given to us on the 2nd of December, we had less than 21 days to complete this build and make sure it is working perfectly before Christmas.

The details below are just a short summary of the work we completed each day.

Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 1 (2 December 2014):

Today was our first full day on site, this comprised of laying out all the timber that we are going to be using over the next week. Followed by the assembly of all ceiling substructures.

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Blank canvas. The cast slab ceiling of the cinema room

Tomorrow morning we will be installing the completed substructure for this ceiling. The design is to have the acoustic ceiling panels slanted with the opening towards the projection screen. These openings will have LED strips installed, with perspex diffusors creating a light wash into the room upon entry.

This is a preview of the ceiling details:

Franschhoek Cinema Ceiling Detail

Franschhoek Cinema Ceiling Detail

We anticipate that the ceiling substructure will take about half a day to install. These will be centred in the room allowing us a frame work to install the acoustic ceiling boards accurately.

Once we have completed the ceiling substructure we will move straight onto installing the acoustic ceiling boards.

Cleared room, ready for tomorrow.

Cleared room, ready for tomorrow.

We are taking time-lapse photos of this cinema build as well as regular high quality photos. These will be used for presentations as well as the handover file for the client

Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 2 (3 December 2014):

Today we have focussed on the installation of the ceiling substructure. It is important that this is completed accurately as the acoustic ceiling boards are machine cut. These are veneered boards that are cnc cut by Acoustic Solutions.

Accurate ceiling layout to work from.

Accurate ceiling layout to work from.

The day starts with a confirmation that our measurements are accurate and ready for the installation of the ceiling structure.

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To ensure accuracy we work from the centre of the ceiling outwards towards the right side of the room, then to the left side of the room.

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By lunch time the ceiling substructure is mostly completed. This is a frame work that is strong enough to support the ceiling while being rattled and shaken by the awesome Artcoustic surround sound system that is going to be installed in this room.

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Just after lunch time we completed the installation of the ceiling substructure.

The next stage of this project is the installation of the acoustic ceiling boards onto the ceiling substructure.


Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 3 (4 December 2014):

Once the ceiling substructure installation is completed we can start installing the acoustic ceiling boards.

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Firstly we setup our laser to ensure that there is an accurate centre line for the room. All ceiling boards need to be installed flush with the bulkhead on the left side of the room as this is immediately visible as you walk into the room. If any boards need to be modified to fit on the left side of the room these will be noticeable.

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The first row of boards is installed to ensure that they are all going to fit across the length of the ceiling. These boards fit perfectly and look great.

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The centre line of acoustic ceiling boards are now installed all the way to the rear of the room. This provides an accurate centre point to work from as these boards are installed in a tongue and groove style.

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The acoustic ceiling boards are installed all the way to the rear of the room. Next stage is to start installing all the boards to the left side of the centre line, then to the right side of the centre line.

The completed ceiling installation:

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Detail photos of the Ceiling Installation:

Acoustic ceiling installation took a total of one day to complete. Great progress by the team on site and the ceiling looks perfect. The client was very happy with the completed installation.
This ceiling will be painted black and later painted in a gradient towards black at the front with further details that the client would like to decide upon once the cinema has been completed.


Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 4 (5 December 2014):

The Franschhoek cinema room is now ready for the construction and installation of the front framing for the projection screen and masking system.

The framing is assembled and bolted together on the ground to ensure that all joints are made at the correct angle and strong enough to accomodate Screen Excellence projection screen.
The projection screen is 6 meters by 2.5 meters and is acoustically translucent, this means the sound produced by the Artcoustic Left, Centre, Right speakers wont be effected by the projection screen.

Pre-made projection screen frame.

Pre-made projection screen frame.

The frame is them secured to the floor and ceiling bulkhead. This has to be perfectly level and vertical to ensure that the image is projected accurately.

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As a perspective, this is a 6 foot ladder next to the projection screen frame.

The next frame is then assembled and installed. The electronically controlled masking system will be mounted to the rear side of this frame. Fabric panels to professionally finish the front of this cinema will be mounted to the front of this frame.

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The cinema is now ready for painting. The ceiling, ceiling bulkhead, front wall and front framing need to be painted black to ensure that they don’t reflect any light.

Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 5 (6 December 2014):

Today is our first day since the project started that we are not actively working on site. We hand over to the painters to paint the cinema.

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The cinema requires all surfaces that are being painted to be primed then painted with two coats of black paint. This painting will be the basis of future painting once the client has decided on his final colour scheme for the room. The preliminary discussions are to grade the painting from the rear of the room to the front, from light to dark.

The painters are expected to take 3 full days to ensure that the painting has covered all surfaces completely.

Final appearance the ceiling and front walls are painted completely black.

Please note: This is a photo that was taken on the 12th and has been added to this post.

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Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 6 (10 December 2014):

In any cinema you need somewhere to sit, this cinema is no different. With a three tier staging from entrance down to floor level.

Work starts on the staging as a standard decking construction. Although not much weight will be placed on top of these different tiers, they need have a solid construction to ensure that they don’t rattle or shake apart while our clients are watching an earth shaking scene in their favourite action movie.

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As we are working with standard shutter-ply boards for the decking, we build the centre structure to the same size as two sheets of shutter-ply.

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The stairs are built from a smaller size of framing. These have corner steps included for the centre of the staging.

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All cabling is installed beneath the decking for foot lights and plugs. The cinema may include motorised reclining seats, so this electrical provision is very important.

The next stage of the staging construction is the installation of a high density mineral fibre insulation. For this staging we used 64km/m^3 density mineral fibre from Isover. This reduces any noises created while walking across the decking. The mineral fibre has a high absorption factor for low frequency sound waves in the room.

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Once all the cabling and mineral fibre has been installed the shutter-ply boards are glued and screwed to the staging frame. This creates a solid staging deck.

Staging construction takes a total of two days to complete to make sure that it is stable enough to support anything that may be installed in the cinema at a later date.

Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 8 (10 December 2014):

The cinema build is going along well, finer details are being discussed with the client on a daily basis.

All planning and drawings have been generated in a drawing program and rendered for the clients sign off, but that doesn’t stop us from adding or changing fine details as the project progresses.

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Foot lights illuminating the steps on either side of the cinema are a nice touch which we have decided to add. The electrical cabling for this addition was installed before the staging was completed, making this addition easy to implement whenever our client would like to.

This is an example of the additions that we are making to this cinema.

We have various other technical drawings which detail items of the cinema that we will keep private from the blog. If you would like to meet with us and view these drawings we are always happy to do so.


Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 9 (12 December 2014):

All the main building work for the cinema is now complete. We have the following on the schedule from now in:

  • Fabric Walls
  • Carpets
  • Columns

Today we started mounting the timber framing that the fabric tracks and the columns will be mounted onto.

Franschhoek Cinema Framing 002

This framing is the basis for the fabric tracks to mount onto. These need to be accurate as they will effect the lines created by the fabric once installed.

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A total of 6 sections of fabric will be installed horizontally between each column.

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This weekend the carpet layers will be installing the carpets. Next week we will start installing fabric and the electronics.


Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 10 (13 December 2014):

We have cleared the entire cinema of all equipment and given it a good clean and vacuum.

Its time for the carpet!

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The carpet layers are in today to install the carpet. The client has chosen a thick weave carpet for maximum comfort. A thick carpet has the added benefit of sound insulation, reducing the audio reverb in the room. This is an important consideration to make when building a room like this.

This is going to be a room of the house that sees lots of visitors, so a choice of a long lasting carpet was a high priority. We expect that by this afternoon the carpet installation will be completed. The carpet layers are supplying and fitting a thick protective plastic covering once the carpet installation is completed. We will be working on the carpets once they have been installed and would not want to damage them.

Once we have some photos of the carpets we will add them to this post.


Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 11 (16 December 2014):

This home cinema build is going well as we enter day 11 of full time work on site. Today we are starting with the fabric installation.

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A total of 68 fabric panels will be installed in this cinema. Grading from lighter fabric at the rear of the room to a heavy suede fabric on the front of the room. Acoustically translucent material will be installed around the projection screen so that the audio from the Artcoustic speakers are not effected.

Four members of the team on site will focus on the fabric installation over the next three days. While the fabric installation is taking place bass trapping will be installed in the front corners of the room behind the projection screen. We will also start bringing in the audio video equipment too.


Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 12 (17 December 2014):


As the cinema heads into its final stages, we are excited for the arrival of the equipment onsite today.

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The equipment being delivered and installed today includes:

Speakers (Artcoustic)

  • 3 Artcoustic SL 180-43 speakers (Left / Centre / Right)
  • 4 Artcoustic SL 24-12
  • 6 Artcoustic Architect 4-2 SL in-ceiling speakers
  • 4 Artcoustic Control 3 Subwoofer



The processing and amplification equipment was built into their racks at the Experience Centre, tested, then packed for delivery to site.

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The amplifiers are ready for speaker cables to be connected and tested.

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Once the speakers are all installed the amplifiers can be wired up and we can move onto the next stage of the project.



Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 13 (20 December 2014):

Today we build and installed the fabric panels that will surround the projection screen.

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Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 14 (20 December 2014):

On the schedule this morning is completing the building of the columns for the cinema, then installing them.

This is a lengthy process which requires everyone to work on the columns together. The assembly process takes 4 people at a time to ensure that they are joined together correctly. Then 4 people to install each column into its correct place.

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Columns prepared, ready for installation.

The object of the columns is to create a structure in the room that can accomodate any services that are required. In this room they will be covering the airconditioning ducts in the front of the room as well as the Artcoustic surround sound speakers.

The columns have a specific design according to various different aspects of the room and their application. These can include the height of the room and what equipment they are going to be installed over.

As with all elements of any cinema, the first column takes the longest to install. because the measurements are so precise and the tolerances so tight, it took us just over an hour to fit the first one into place.Franschhoek Cinema Columns 016

Once we are happy that the column is correctly installed and all extras have been installed we are ready to wrap them in fabric.

These columns will include LED lighting which will illuminate the fabric panels on the wall either side of them too.

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The installed columns are a great feature to the room adding another dimension to the otherwise flat walls.

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Once the LED lights have been installed the columns become a prominent feature in the room.

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Franschhoek Home Cinema Build Day 15 (21 December 2014):

Operational snags


If you found this summary of the Franschhoek home cinema build useful and would like to discuss our services for your own home cinema project, please had over to our Contact Us page and get in contact. We would be happy to assist on your next project.