1) Don't build a riser or platform out of cement, because it kills the bass. A wooden cavity filled with insulation will "warm up the sound and allow the bass to travel to you so it can rattle and warm you up as well."
2) Don't use a concrete floor, either. "It's like pouring cement in the cavity of a violin and expecting it to perform." A wood floor covered with carpeting is a better way to go.
3) Don't block the sound. Many designers choose rich, thick fabrics based solely on look and then put them over the speakers or acoustical treatments. Make sure you use materials that allow sound to pass through unaffected.
4) Sculpt with light. "After architecture, lighting is the greatest way to transform a room. The light should be subdued and alluring. That's why we always specify four or five circuits, so you have control of the light palette."
5) Make sure people can see the screen. "Sometimes, designers ignore basic sightline studies, but these make sure that when you sit behind someone else, you'll be able to see the bottom of the screen."
6) Build a little anticipation for the room, whether it's a small lobby, a small bar, or a concession stand before you go into the theater.
7) The stage is the focal point of the room, so everything should converge towards it, since that's where the magic will happen when the curtain opens.
8) Get recommendations. "There are bad designers the same way there are bad doctors or bad anything. Just because somebody gets a degree doesn't mean he's a master of what he's doing. That's life." - J.S.
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