When director David Lowery and his family began looking for houses in Texas, there was one thing, he said, that was a “make-it-or-break-it factor”: a room suitable for a home theater. He already owned a projector and screen, though in the past he’d set them up in a versatile living room. In his new home, he wanted a space specifically dedicated to movie viewing.
Lowery, whose Dev Patel-starring adventure film “The Green Knight” was scheduled to premiere at South by Southwest in March, has deeply appreciated his home theater — especially during these isolating times, while cinemas around the country have been closed.
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“I’m a die-hard theater aficionado,” said Lowery. “To not be able to go see movies in the theater has been heartbreaking, and having our big screen and projector is a mild salve.” We spoke to the filmmaker about how he brought the cinematic experience to his home.
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When Lowery was first looking into equipment several years ago, he realized that a high-quality projector was in the same price range as a big screen television. He favored the projector. “There’s a difference between seeing light projected and bouncing off a screen versus radiating out of a TV,” he said. “Having a screen to absorb that light and bounce it back to you — it somehow feels healing.” At the time, he opted for an Epson 3700 1080p projector, but recently he’s been toying with the idea of upgrading to a 4K HD model.
To pair with the projector, Lowery bought a 110-inch fixed frame screen from Elite Screens. “I know you can get the kind that can unroll or unfold,” he said, “but I really liked having a screen that’s permanently mounted on a wall.” Lowery also invested in black-out curtains for the room’s windows to keep out any ambient light.
Though Lowery had sought out a house with a room big enough to accommodate his home theater, he wasn’t involved in its construction process, so the room he chose wasn’t sound-proofed. Even still, he said, he was able to replicate the aural experience of a theater with several Klipsch speakers — you can buy both Klipsch surround speakers to be placed higher in your space and also floorstanding speakers — and a subwoofer, all routed through a Denon receiver.
“It’s faux 5.1 — a little more than LCR,” said Lowery, referring to the arrangement of his speakers: either at the front of the room for LCR, or to the left and right of the seating arrangement for 5.1. “Depending on how the Blu-Ray — or whatever we’re watching — is mixed, sometimes it really pays off. Other times it’s all just coming out of the front channels.”
For seating, Lowery opted for one big couch and two love-seats that he keeps permanently arranged in front of the screen. When guests come by, he often brings in one or two more couches and staggers them to establish an unobstructed view. “It gets a little crowded, but you can definitely fit a lot of people in here,” he said of the room, which measures about 200 square feet. “I think the most we’ve ever had at one time is 20 people.”
As for hookups, Lowery uses an Apple TV and a couple of Blu-Ray players — one of which is region-free. “A lot of movies are available in different formats in the UK or in other regions that aren’t available in the US, and it’s nice to be able to have those in physical form and be able to watch them in HD or higher resolution than you can get on iTunes.”
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