The Cinema Designer

Having a tool with the ability to create cinema designs to industry standards and the latest formats, and have technically accurate drawings that can be dropped into CAD, is incredibly useful.

Up until today, the process has been gruelling, time consuming, and expensive. Plus, it requires a lot of product knowledge and specifications that you need to grab from each manufacturer separately. To present a CAD drawing with all the specs usually costs around $2,000 and takes about three weeks to complete. Those days are over thanks to The Cinema Designer cloud-based software.

The Cinema Designer (TCD) is a cloud-based design tool that allows installers and dealers to design any dedicated cinema or media room in minutes, not days or weeks. The software allows users to create technically impeccable dedicated cinema or media room designs, support documents and aesthetic renders, within minutes. The drawing process to create a 3D CAD drawing for any room can be done under 30 seconds, and is available to users/subscribers worldwide.

Furthermore, The TCD software provides all relevant documentation for theatre design. When using the software, it will create nine drawings comprised of four isometrics, a top plan, four elevations and a PDF file – amounting to around 25 pages ready to produce to the client. That’s a whole lot more than what I could do in three week.

The software follows rules governed by mathematics based on CEA/CEDIA CEB-22 and CEB-23 home theatre standards for design, as well as several ITU documents on audio and video criteria.

How does it work?

The user simply enters in the dimensions of the room, ascertains the orientation of the space, and picks a screen from a dropdown selection box – the aspect ratios for the screen adapt to any changes the user makes to the seating configuration. You can choose whether the screen is acoustically transparent or not, which then affects loudspeaker placements, and factor in if there is ambient light in the room to get a list of suitable projectors that will work well in that specific environment based on brightness level.

Select a projector for the room, and software will show where that projector should be positioned. TCD guides you to select an appropriate lens, then takes you step by step through the seating plan. TCD takes into account sightlines, allowing you to reduce the distance, change the arm width, seat depth, riser height and reduce the gap between the seats. Then, go through the process of selecting and correct placements of loudspeakers, subwoofers and processors for the room, which includes Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro-3D layouts.

It takes into account the carpets, chairs, plasterboard, or even if there’s fibreglass present, altering the reverberation time whilst telling the installer exactly how much of acoustic treatment to order. At the end of the cinema design process, you can experiment with different renders by choosing different ceilings, décor, carpets and panels.

A standout feature is the new high render channel count algorithm for immersive sound formats up to 32 channels, which allows you to correctly and quickly design cinemas with high render channel counts.

Using TCD, essentially anyone can confidently design technically accurate up to 64-channel Dolby Atmos and DTS:X home cinemas in a very short period of time.

At £150 GBP for a single use of the tool, equivalent to approximately $249, a subscription will give you 30 uses each month for £60 GBP per month (approximately $99). If you prefer a one-off payment, you can purchase 365 uses over one year for a one-off payment of £710 GBP, or approximately $1,179.Manufacturer suppliers in TCD is extensive, and includes Bowers & Wilkins, JBL Synthesis, Procella Audio, Triad, ATI, JVC, Sonance, Marantz, Denon, Pioneer, Yamaha, Classe, Datasat, Barco Residential, Christie, Screen Research, Stewart Filmscreen, Digital Projection, AudioControl, SIM2, DT Screens, Sony, Screen Excellence, Kaleidescape, Trinnov Audio, Wisdom, Artcoustic, Crestron, BGW, Palladio, Projecta, Arcam, Rotel, Storm Audio, Onkyo, Genelec, Legacy Audio.

Coming soon to TCD: Meyer Sound, James Loudspeaker, Ineva Design, RPG / Acoustic GRG, Definitive Technology, Audio Excellence, PMC, Martin Logan, Crown, Grimani Systems, Screen Innovations, Epson, CAT Audio, Fortress, Draper, Anthem, Salamander Designs, Mark Levinson Audio Systems, RBH Sound, Monitor Audio, BenQ, Artnovion, Future Automation, Steinway Lyngdorf, Paradigm, Ascendo Immersive Audio, and Harman. I’d expect more brands to be added in the future as well.

It’s expensive, yes. But you might find that being able to bring a three-week job down to less than three hours, based on my own tests, is worth the expenditure.


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