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National Park Quest
My home theater is my pride and joy. Most peolpe's home theater consists of a large TV and a decent sound system. I decided to put the "theater" back into home theater.
When I decided I wanted to convert my back room in the basement into a theater, I contacted a local comapny, Halston Entertainment in Golden Valley, MN to do the job. I've passed by their showroom on I394 dozens of times and when I stopped in, I was really impressed with what they had. They specialize in custom home theater installations.
My system isn't the absolute highest end system possible, but I'd say its well within the 90% range. The system is almost entirely Sony products. The core of the system is the Sony VPL-VW10HT LCD Video Projector. It is ceiling mounted and projected onto a 106" screen mounted onto the back wall.
I have 5.1 surround sound in the room. The speakers are all made by Kef. The front left, right, and center speakers are mounted on the wall behind the screen, which is acoustically neutral. The rear left and right speakers are mounted flush in the ceiling.
The reciever and DVD player are also built by Sony. I am going to purchase a new DVD player soon as my primary one is broken (doesn't recgonize when a disk is put in) and the progressive scan players with component outputs are pretty cheap now.
The room itself is in the basement and is surrounded on three sides by earth, which really dampens sound. The rooms also has no windows, so everything can be watched in almost total darkness. I also installed a black curtain behind the screen which covers the whole rear wall. Not only does it look much nicer and gives it a real movie theater look, but it also prevents the light from bouncing off the back, white wall and improves the contrast of the image. I have four movie posters on the walls. They are 2001, Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, and The Thomas Crown Affair.
All of this is irrevelent without anything to watch, however. I am trying to create a DVD library of "great films". While what is great is subjective, I'm using several guides in assembling my collection.
DVD, Movie, and Home Theater Links
- DVD collection
This is the whole shebang. The software I used to catalog the collection is DVD Profiler. Its awesome. I sometimes use an old CueCat to scan in the UPC codes. I'm at 518+ now.
- AFI Top 100 Movies
The American Film Institue surveyed more than 1,500 leaders from across the American film community - screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, executives, film historians and critics, among them - to choose from a list of 400 nominated films compiled by AFI and select the 100 greatest American movies. The nominated films were all made in the first 100 years of American cinema (1896-1996). Movies produced after 1996 were not included. No foreign films were included. 86 of the 100 movies are now out on DVD. Of the 86, I have 83 in my collection.
- Academy Award Winning Movies
There have been 74 films which have won the Oscar for Best Picture. It is a stretch to say that the winner of the Best Picture Oscar was really the "best picture" of that year. Nonetheless, it is a metric of good films. Of the 74 films, 61 have been transfered to DVD. I currently own all 61.
- Internet Movie Database Top 100 Movies
The IMDB has an ongoing list of the top movies based on the reviews of users of the site. The list tends to be skewed towards newer movies than other lists, but it is still a revealing list, nonetheless. Of the 100 movies on the list, 93 have been transfered to DVD. Of the 93, I have 84 in my collection.
- Sight and Sound Decade Surveys
Sight and Sounds is the journal of the Brisith Film Institute. Since 1952, they have released the results of a poll of international movie critics every decade. Their polls are widely considered to be the most authorative of the "best of" lists. Of the five polls conducted since 1952, only two movies have been rated as #1 (Citizen Kane and The Bicycle Thief). Citizen Kane by Orson Wells has topped every poll since 1962. The only films to appear on all five polls are Battleship Potemkin by Sergi Eisenstein and The Rules of the Game by Jean Renoir. The 2002 survey has yet to be released. There are 119 movies in the history of the survey which have received 3 or more votes. Of the 119, 64 have been transfered to region 1 DVD. Of the 64, I have 33 in my collection.
- Cinepad.com Top 100
Cinepad.com is just a website run by some guy. What he did was take a composite of several different movie metrics (polls and awards), and came up with a master list of all other lists.
Here is a list of resources on the web I frequent.
- Aint It Cool News
- Roger Ebert - I like Ebert because I Ebert really likes movies. I don't agree with him all the time, but I know where he's coming from. He hosts a film festival, teaches film classes, and is known to talk to average film goers at festivals.
- IMDB - If it didn't exist, they'd have to invent it.
- DVD Talk - Probably the best DVD related forums I've visited.
- Deep Discount DVD - The cheapest DVD's online, period. All their prices include free shipping. When you factor in shipping, they beat anyone.
- Rotten Tomatoes - They compile reviews from all sorts of places and rank movies by the sum of the reviews.
- James Berardinelli - THe best online movie reviewer and probably the best film critic around.
- The Digital Bits - An excellent DVD news site.