Influences and Ideology
In the mid 1950's my father, Charles, was stationed in Korea.
Attached to the Royal Signals as a despatch rider, he also sang semi-professionally for the Phillip Morris sponsored radio shows for the armed forces.
With another army pal, Terry Parsons, they agreed when they left the army, to become a singing duo in the vein of the Everley Brothers.
Of course the best laid plans... Dad met my Mum... I was born and Dad's plans for singing stardom, were ditched in favour of a succession of mundane jobs to make ends meet.
Terry continued singing and found fame as Matt Monroe!
Matt was a lovely man. Dad and Matt remained friends for the rest of their lives.
Nevertheless, my Dad's love of music continued and he had a superb knowledge of the subject. Mum was like-minded.
My Dad's real forte though, was the movies. He LOVED the movies! You could quote him ANY movie title and invariably, he would tell you when it was released, who was in it, who wrote the music… etc.
In 1963 we moved to Twickenham, Middlesex from Battersea, London.
One of my earliest memories is of walking down Church Street in Twickenham and hearing “I want to hold your hand” by the Beatles blasting out of a café!
Shortly afterwards, one of my Mum's new pals, Carol Mar (her father, Jack ran the Eel Pie Island Hotel), invited her on a night out.
I was smuggled along to watch a band at the hotel. I later found out they were called the Rolling Stones. I remember being a little puzzled as to why the lead singer kept making faces when he sung!
Interestingly, shortly afterwards, Mum had a job at St. Mary's College in Strawberry Hill where the groundsman was Joe Jagger, Mick's Dad. My Mum met Mick a few times. She said he was very posh!
About the same time a young Rod Stewart was found drunk by Long John Baldry, singing on Twickenham rail station, and his career began.
Twickenham / Teddington / Richmond, were of course full of rising stars - Marc Bolan was regularly at Richmond ice rink; Twiggy lived down the road from us, Benny Hill lived in Teddington; Tommy Cooper could often be found in the Tides End Cottage and Angler's pubs and became a friend of my Dad's. The local club in Staines, Sergeant Peppers was often full of stars like Tom Jones, George Best etc.
Hylda Baker the actress, was often in the “Cherry Tree” pub just before Twickenham green.
Pete Townsend used to play pool in the Crown in St. Margaret's, Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac in the Orange Tree Richmond and so on.
Regularly, my parents would go to the "Talk of the Town" in London and on numerous occasions went backstage to meet the stars. Sandy Shaw and Dusty Springfield were two of Mum's favourites, and my Mum (who also had a terrific singing voice) really loved music from Dean Martin / Judy Garland / Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald to Patsy Cline, Timi Yuro, the Beatles and the Stones.
By the age of eight ,I had the most fantastic autograph collection (I loved collecting things!) you could imagine!
Sadly lost many years ago.
My Love for Cinema Begins
In 1967, at the age of nine, I saw my first Cinerama movie - "Custer of the West" with Robert Shaw - at the Odeon, Leicester Square.
I remember being in awe of the huge picture and expansive sound. I had never seen or heard anything like this before. That huge curved screen enveloping you in the movie and the sound of Custer's 7th cavalry thundering towards oblivion, remains clear in my memory!
Looking back, this was the "trigger" that started my mission to emulate a similar experience in the home.
At the age of 10, dear old Dad bought me an 8mm sound projector and large pull down screen.
I set this up in my bedroom and once familiar with the wondrous joys of threading and splicing, used to invite my school mates round to watch old horror movies!! (mainly the black & white Castle ones like Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Creature from the Black Lagoon etc.).
By the age of 12, I had amassed quite a collection (over 50 movies).
My love for Home Cinema had begun in earnest!
Of course at this time, I was into music like any teenager. Bombarded by Motown, Soul and my parents influences, I decided I wanted my own Hi-Fi system.
I saved enough to buy some Wharfdale speakers, a stand-alone amp (I can't remember the make) and a Garrard record deck!
At this time, Led Zeppelin were making it big, so I bought the Led Zeppelin 2 album. My God! I had never heard music mixed like it - in STEREO!!! When Heartbreaker morphed into Livin Lovin maid, sounds going from left to right - fantastic. So the movie thing went on hold... a little.
In 1973 at a party I heard strange music emanating from a back room. I went to explore-and spent most of the night just sitting and listening. It was "Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd. I had never heard anything like this. A magnificent mix, superb sound.
Years later I met Dave Gilmore in the White Horse in Sunbury and had the most wonderful conversation about our guitar heroes.
The die was cast for my love of not only movies but sound!
Into the World of Work
In 1974 after I left school, I got a job at Twickenham film studios in St. Margaret's as a trainee in the Props store. I was in my element! My job was to catalogue and sign out props - sometimes load film sets. I always asked questions, watched the Directors and cameramen at work, watched how they would set up shots, adjust the lighting etc.
I should have stayed, but of course at 16, you think you know it all and I followed the pay cheque, changing from job to job, not even considering a career.
Over the next few years, I sold my 8mm movie collection (why?), but kept upgrading my Hi-Fi.
At the age of 21, I had met my future wife though my quest for perfect sound continued!
I found over the years, that I loved the Quad ESL 63's for their sharp-crystal clear sound Ribbon Speakers (I currently use Magnepans) for their clarity, Horn speakers for their expansive sound and huge soundstage - Horn build kits were very popular at this time in the Hi-Fi community.
I still believe, that most conventional drive speakers (because of the crossovers) lack the synergy and balance of Ribbons, Electrostatics and Horns...
...with a few notable exceptions of course!
But experimentation was key. Different speaker wires, bi-wiring, bi-amping, valves... you name it, I tried it.
Work wise entering my thirties, I had tried numerous things.
I'd done quite well at school / college and later gained a BEC NATIONAL business degree and settled into Honeywell Bull a computer company.
Quickly making Logistics manager, I won 3 company awards over the next 3 years for excellence and a gold engraved carriage clock for achieving BS5750!
Next up, I was headhunted for an Operations manager position for Zenith Data Systems (who at the time were a division of Bull) running their most prestigeous contract for BT.
I setup Q.A. operations, Customer Services Operations, Technical Departments - even co-designing a unique stock software called SELS (stock enquiry location system).
By this time, I was back into Home Cinema with an electric screen, Twinscan line doubler and a Sony 1032 CRT Projector, doing similar private setups for friends and colleagues in the evening and weekends.
I am actually responsible for Musical Images (who started in Houslow) getting into Home Cinema. Mukul, the owner, was a friend of mine and I talked him into a partnership importing large screen TV's from the US (50" etc. - at the time the norm in the UK was 25") and kick starting “Cinema for the home”.
Due to the fact that I was earning really good money at the time, I temporarily shelved the idea knowing I could return to it - sadly, not long after, Mukul passed away and it came to nothing - though Musical Images took up the batton of Home Cinema anyway.
Over the next 6 years, I continued in the corporate world, first at U.S. Robotics (the modem company) where I was headhunted again & wound up as European Operations Director and launched their Winnersh operation from scratch and gained them ISO9002 certification (later as well, at their Lesquin operation), then finally, to ARRI in Uxbidge.
ARRI were recognised as the best 35mm motion picture camera makers in the world and regularly re-badged for Panavision. Amongst cameramen in the industry they are seen as the “Rolls Royce” of the movie camera world.
My remit was to refine their stock process and improve their purchasing, forecasting, returns. You name it.
In fact the former Technical Director, Peter Hill, is now a good friend of mine and assists me on a number of projects.
Peter would setup the 35mm Cameras before dispatch, test with various screen trials etc. Often I would creep in to watch.
ARRI cameras were used on the LOTR trilogy, the later STARWARS movies, The Fifth Element and many, many, more.
Now, after a few years sabbatical, I was back in the movie world!
Taking the Plunge
With the looming forties, and now with some top drawer Project Management skills, I left ARRI and dedicated myself to selling high end CRT Projectors and screens.
I brought in Esoteric models from the US that had never been seen prolifically before in Europe, where it had been just Barco.
I sold NEC, Sony, Electrohome, Vidikron, Runco and got heavily into customisation and modification.
Of course, converging CRT Projectors to perfection wasn't easy - a long, laborious process. It nevertheless taught me the intricacies of image objective and how to setup a great picture.
For almost 5 years I did this and became the top high end CRT Projectors seller in Europe.
Continuing my training, I gained ISF certification under the master of image setup, Joel Silver.
Then came digital projectors and 2.35:1 screen systems (of which I became the first seller in Europe). For 6 years I sold / installed systems all round the world, advising major companies, even Movie Studios and designing screening rooms.
With many hundreds of setups / installations under my belt, it's exciting times for Projection Dreams - Audio / Video Interiors!
I have a great team including a THX professional, an ex-fellow ARRI 35mm specialist and a superb custom install team.
Now, for the first time ever, great installs can be affordable.
Of course I KEEP trying to push the boundaries, with innovative cinema designs and products, even Themed Cinemas and will continue to do so with my CINEMA PEDIGREE concept.
CINEMA PEDIGREE Explained!
Sure, I've read thousands of mags, thousands of forum technical diatrabes, am ISF qualified, an SMPTE member, HAA and THX versed, been to hundreds of shows / seminars, spoken with industry peers like Joel Silver, Jeremy Kipnis, Joe Dappolito, Joe Kane, Sam Runco and many more. But this is just icing on the cake.
They say that every one of our experiences in life shapes us to become who we are - to have the knowledge we have and my “training ground” has been the best forum of all, the forum of life.
What has been learnt along the way, has ALL counted and was meant to be.
To the extent where now, 40 plus years of my life experiences attached to movies and music, have formed an excellent knowledge of how to achieve perfect sound and vision.
There is no greater pedigree. Projection Dreams - Audio / Video Interiors is not a large company with exorbitant overheads and a corporate mentality. I've created a lean / mean install team of highly qualified specialists.
We don't do mediocre. It's all about creating a top notch Audio / Video Environment in your home, treating your home as unique and finding the “punishment that fits the crime”.
I love what I do and after reading the above, I think you will agree.
It's not enough to be an “enthusiast” for me. This is often touted by Audio / Video persons. I'm not enthusiastic, I love it... plain and simple. I'm passionate!
Movies and Music are my life, they always have been and they always will be, whether I'm within the Audio / Video industry or not.
Even though there are a few in the Audio / Video world with almost as much passion for b>Audio / Video as I have, who can offer decent advice and kit, I know Projection Dreams - Audio / Video Interiors to be unique in the blend of services and products that can be provided.
Personally, for me to share my love of movies and music through great installs / setups feels almost “ordained”.
My uniquity as a company, is in my 40 plus years of life experiences relating to music and movies, having had a Home Cinema 40 years ago, having worked within the movie industry for many years, having REAL movie world and THX professionals working alongside me.
My life experiences and knowledge gained, allow me to provide a synergisitic solution for my customers needs.
But the uniquity & innovation brought, is due to my continuing love for the cinema experience!
My team are like minded and they are my team because of that, we always hope to translate our passion to the customer.
So we will always be honest in our views. They won't be “jump on the bandwagon” views for the current flavour of kit of the month, they will be views based on all the above.
I will always aim to achieve something better than the last time because I want to be better still. I don't state my “reference kit”, because my reference changes all the time, ever upward... we are always learning in life.
My real “benchmark” is 40 plus years of experiences associated with cinema and sound.
In the US its commonplace for a company to ask what that customer's budget is and then recommend the kit that they believe will perform to optimum in their environment.
The trust is put in the professional and that's correct.
That's how it should be - my job is to ensure you get the best image and sound that we can provide within your Audio / Video Environment.
Every item Projection Dreams - Audio / Video Interiors sells is designed to compliment each other. We will suggest packages and we will setup the equipment to perfection for the given environment.
Your room is unique and needs to be treated as such - this is MY philosophy. The reference for you is what is best for you.
We will use all we know to constantly achieve great Audio / Video environments for our customers because we love what we do.
Vincent Myers, Managing Director - Projection Dreams - Audio / Video Interiors, March 2009.