Home Cinema Lighting Project 1

Here's a DIY project from Northern Ireland which has been executed to an impressive standard. An ordinary downstairs reception room has been transformed into a stylish dedicated cinema room, with both fibre optics and LED linear lighting supplied by Starscape.

A single sheet of mdf was the starting point in this project.

The finished home cinema room, with everything in place. However, it looked very different at the start of the project ... read on.

Our customers Alan and Kery McC started with an ordinary downstairs reception room. Here it is the very early stages of the project. Channels have been chased into the walls to take speaker cable, but none of the decor is in place.

The box frame which will support the mdf panel has an opening at one end to accommodate the halogen light source.

Since this is a downstairs room, with no attic above, Alan went for the "dropped ceiling" approach to the fibre optic star ceiling. The dropped section can occupy as much or as little of the room as you want, but Alan decided to limit it to the size of a single sheet of mdf, thereby avoiding the need for any joints. For a much larger area of dropped ceiling see Home Cinema Customer Project 2.

The dropped ceiling consists of a CLS timber frame which supports the star ceiling panel and which is deep enough to accommodate the halogen light source.

There's actually quite a lot of relevant detail in the photo above: in the lower centre of the photo is the pale circle which shows the position of the original pendant light fitting. The black connector box takes power from the 5 amp lighting circuit to the white junction box at top left. There are two black "kettle leads" coming from this box. These will plug into the halogen light source. There are two leads because Alan opted for a light source in which the colour wheel motor is on a separate circuit, although in this installation he doesn't actually have it configured to allow it to be controlled individually.

Those parts of the box frame which are painted blue are areas which might be visible once the star ceiling panel is in place. At top left, just to the right of the white junction box, is the opening in the frame which will accommodate the light source. The light source needs to be accessible for bulb change and there is also a ventilation requirement, so Alan's design takes both of these factors into account.

Once the frame and wiring was in place, Alan's next task was to prepare his fibre optic star ceiling panel. He opted to use mdf and drilled holes in it to accommodate the 200 optical fibres in a standard Starscape Gemini star kit. You can see here that he has a good star layout, with some nice little clusters of stars.

An elegant touch is the series of rectangular grooves routed into the exposed face of the mdf panel to add depth and interest to the mdf rim around the star field. If you look closely you can just see the countersunk screw holes where the panel is secured to the box frame. Of course the star field might have occupied more of the panel, but Alan wanted to create a degree of separation between the two visual effects of the ceiling - the stars and the LED rim lighting.

The blue glow visible in the photo is produced by LED strips, which are arrayed around the outside of the box frame. These are single colour, in keeping with the overall blue decor of the room, but we also offer RGB (colour changing) tape.

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