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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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Many years ago, a friend of a friend showed me his home theater. He had installed Lutron blackout shades, which had metal channels on the sides that the shade ran in. But, even with those channels he pointed out how there was a little bit of light leakage at the bottom, and a little bit at the top of the rails, and that that little bit of leakage just wiped out his contrast on the projection screen. As a result, he had installed drapes in front of the windows, and the two combined gave him the perfect blackout that he wanted.
When I built my theater, I was determined to achieve total blackout. Fortunately, because we were re-casing the window and the patio door as part of the framework for the false fabric walls that hide all of the acoustical treatment, I was able to have the carpenters build the Lutron tracks into the window casings, and they built the motor into the space above the window. This allows the rails to run up into the area above the window, which means that any light leakage up there just leaks into that cavity, and doesn't make it into the room. At the bottom, we milled a 1" deep groove in the sills, so that the weighted hem bar drops into the groove. A little light leaks under the hem bar, but it's "swallowed" in the groove and does not affect the room.
I can go down there at the brightest part of the day, and if the room lights are off it is extraordinarily dark. So dark that my eyes eventually dark adapt to be able to see the very faint light cast onto the screen by the (very dim!) Lutron keypad at the back of the room. Even that will be almost totally eliminated when I get my final keypad faceplate.
Here are a couple of quick photos. Sorry for how dirty the window is!
In the second to last image, you can see how a small amount of leakage happens up by the roller, but is entirely confined within the casing of the window. In the last image you can see how the hem bar sits down in the groove. Because it's touching, there's a slight wrinkle in the material, but if I step it up one blip on the motor, it leaves a small gap, so I don't mind the wrinkle in exchange for a better seal.
PS: Is there some way to inline uploaded images instead of using the thumbnail/browser thing?
Mike Kobb(Formerly "ReplayMike". These opinions are mine alone, and in no way reflect the opinions of employers past or present!)"Mike's Money Pit" Build Thread
Last edited by JustMike; 07-16-2014 at 02:20 PM.