One home theater to rule them all; and in the darkness, entertain them

A projection big enough to suit the Eye of Sauron

This is actually not hyperbole in any way; my housemate Martik’s initial concern was that “the screen is so big and so close that our eye’s won’t be able to focus on the picture very well!”  While this fear didn’t pan out entirely, I can honestly say it takes some adjustment to play Halo 3 on the size of the wall.  As you’ll see in the photo section, Luke Skywalker’s head is nearly as tall as I am (and standing at 6’4″ myself, that is basically 12 stories tall); this makes for some FANTASTIC cinematic possibilities in the basement.

The story of how I got this Sony projector is like a brief introduction to my job at Yale Law School; I am often point where the buck stops at “does this equipment need to be recycled or kept in storage as a backup.”  In the case of AV gear, those guys usually make the call themselves and put equipment to be recycled with the rest of it; I still try to always check with one of them directly to make sure that the stuff is ACTUALLY meant to be recycled.  In this case, I found the cart weighed down with multiple video cameras and then the behemoth that is this Sony projector.  I asked my coworker “this is all good to get recycled, right?” and added “does any of it still work?”  I was informed that while the cameras are bad, the projector has a cracked case and some purple around the edges of the projection, both of which disqualify it for continued use.  But otherwise, it works just fine.  As a matter of fact, “you can have it, if you’d like.”  To put it mildly, I was slightly excited on the inside; on the outside, I believe my poker face was so stoic that he had to inquire as to whether or not I felt blessed.  I then betrayed a hint of my excitement, made sure he wasn’t messing with me, and quickly moved the projector over to my office, for transportation home.

Fast forward to more than a week later, the planning had begun in earnest for how to take an older piece of equipment and turn it into the home theater of my pinch-hitting dreams, all for a low cost.  My first inclination was that permanent screens would be too expensive, and so I looked into the possibility of building my own screen: from stretching a bedsheet on a custom frame, to actually building a professional screen of some sort, I considered many options.  I eventually contacted the mother of an old friend, as she was educated in the arts and has always been super creative; her idea was to make the professional screen an option, but then she had an idea I feel stupid for not having.  “Why not Google prefab screens just to get a sense of how expensive they are,” I was asked.  “Why not indeed,” the snarkier part of my snarky innards replied; as per usual, they ended up being completely correct.  A nice 80×80 screen that rolls up into itself when not being used is merely $100, which split between 4 housemates becomes an eminently affordable option.  Cue the montage music, and a few days after ordering the screen and moving around the basement, the test movie (it HAD to be ‘Empire Strikes Back’ as anything else wouldn’t measure up to it) was screened.

To put it mildly, this whole episode is a massively unexpected, massively enjoyable blessing (not for our electric bill or the heat dissipating effects in the basement), one that we shall truly love over the coming months I am sure.  🙂


As per ever, a slideshow of images; I am particularly pleased with the last two, as they realllllllly demonstrate just how gigantic the screen is!

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