Digital Trends: What inspired you to do this?
Jeremy Kipnis: Being raised in a house filled with professional musicians certainly had an impact. Both my grandfather and father were professional musicians, so when my father had the “building” designed so that he could put on live events in his own concert hall, it gave me the ideal space from which to start. Growing up in the New York-metropolitan area, we took in performances all over the place, but I was really fond of Radio City Music Hall. I suppose I always wanted to replicate that experience in my own home, and when I was able to do so, it was something that I devoted more than 42 months to.
As a student of all things film, video, and audio presentation, you can see some of my inspirations with several key views of theaters projecting onto a giant curved screen that were in existence from 1952 to 1968, preceding the IMAX Format. Believe it or not, 7.1 surround sound accompanied these wall-to-wall movies; shot and projected at resolutions and image sizes that were up to 20 times what we see today at the Cinema or on HDTV at home.
DT: But is the Ciné Beta really replicating Radio City in your home? The two spaces are completely different both in size and how they sound.
JK: It certainly isn’t possible for anyone to replicate that particular sound for a number of reasons, but what we’ve tried to do with Kipnis Studio Standard is create an image and sound experience that has no equal in the world; both in terms of image and sound quality.
Do you think you’ve succeeded or do you have to push the envelope even further based on technological advancements and what customers may want in their own homes?
We’ve never heard anything that compares to the Ciné Beta, but we also recognize that we need to offer far cheaper solutions for people, which is why most of my time involves consulting with people who want the hemispherical sound system and 4K image quality but on a much smaller scale. We have sold some of our most expensive systems to clients including the Ciné Beta that was most recently in our Connecticut space, but we’re not crazy enough to think that there is a huge market for seven-figure systems.
But what about a commercial version of your experience? Aside from the start-up costs, why couldn’t you offer a larger system in New York City for 400 to 500 people?
All along, my work at Kipnis Studios has been an ongoing project to produce the best picture and sound experience from media that is possible. My next project (after the TRINITY Ultimate Home Theater) is a much larger, commercial-sized CINEMA. It combines everything I have learned to create The MIRAGE Effect for an audience of 440 people. The 16K (4 x 4K Ultra HD) resolution I require for the 120-foot deeply curved screen can totally immerse the audience in one giant image or many smaller images (depending upon the show requirements – such as a video game tournament or live sporting event with many camera angles). I call this size version of my Kipnis Studio Standard (KSS) – the ALPHA Cinema (Ciné ALPHA); approx. $100 Million USD – to be built in New York City.
But what advice do you have for the average person who loves movies but obviously can’t afford a $6 million Kipnis Studio Standard system, let alone a $20,000 system?
My best advice would be to devote an equal percentage to each of the four components that are most important; power and source, loudspeakers, the display, and the room. People don’t realize how important the room is in the final result and spend nothing on acoustic treatments which is a big mistake. Spend some time moving your loudspeakers away from the walls or windows and do little things like add plants or change the direction of your blinds to break up reflections.
What about loudspeakers and the number of channels?
Consumers read publications and automatically think that by adding more channels to their specific room, the sound quality is going to improve. In the case of our Ciné Beta, it was designed to work that way. For 99 percent of the population, they need to start with two channels and build out. You need to think about the size of your room and how adding additional channels is going to interact with the space. It’s also important to keep everything at the same height for the most balanced sound.
What about new products like 3D, Ultra HD 4K, OLED, and surround formats like Dolby Atmos?
3D can be amazing if done properly, but it’s harder in the home where you are limited by screen size and because consumers hate the glasses. It’s a gimmick and people have already started to move onto Ultra HD 4K which offers a lot more in my opinion. OLED is a great concept, but I’m not convinced that it has much of a future if they can’t fix the production issues. The screens are really fragile and LG and Samsung can’t release a product that won’t be reliable. Dolby Atmos is a really exciting format that creates enormous possibilities in the home and I think it has a strong future.
Photography by Robert Wright / Copyright © Kipnis Studios 2013