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#144609 - 08/03/06 11:51 PM Tell me about... screens
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6026
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
So... while still upbeat from saving $500 by not having to a brush-cutter, in a moment of weakness I ordered a Sanyo Z4 projector. So much for saving money. "What the heck", I thought, "I can project on the wall for now".

Next morning I went upstairs and observed that the wall was dark green. Not so good for the fleshtones.

I always imagined my HT would have rows of custom bookcases with an electric screen that lowered in front of them when I wanted to play movies. No problem, there are lots of electric, tensioned, high gain, high quality screens on the market, many with automatic masking systems. They cost about 50x what I was hoping to spend

Seems like I need to make some choices. What is the current thinking about screen "colour" (white / grey) vs. ambient light level. This is rarely going to be a really dark room, since the HT system is set up in a loft with big windows where the sunset shines in, and opens to the living room. On the other hand there isn't room for a huge picture, so something like 92" would be the largest and I may end up going a bit smaller.

Does that mean I should have a white screen or a grey screen ? What kind of gain should I be thinking about ?

Most importantly, since I don't actually HAVE those bookcases yet and I'm really looking for quick, cheap and easy, what about thoughts on (for example) a cheap Da-Lite pulldown (Model B) vs. a *simple* DIY screen. I was thinking about either painting some tileboard or seeing if the local Home Depot up here has those plastic panels which seem to work pretty well.

If I go with the Da-Lite I can save a few bucks by ordering it before the projector ships. Main concern with that route is that if I go with a high gain screen then the waves are more likely to show, but if I go with a low gain screen I'm probably not getting much advantage over a DIY approach.

Thanks !
_________________________
HT: M60ti/VP180/QS8, SVS PC+ 20-39, EP500
Music: M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
Idle: M2ti, M3v4, VP100
John

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#144610 - 08/04/06 02:10 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
nickbuol Offline
axiomite

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5316
Loc: Marion, IA
Just two things.

1) Congrats on the Z4. I love my Z3 and Sirquack loves his Z2.

2) Hit the Carada web site and get some free screen material samples and give them a try. I went with their "Brilliant White" screen which has, I believe, a 1.6 gain. This was for a room with a LOT of windows as well. Others said to get the gray screen to increase the black levels, but I liked the way the 1.6 gain looked in that room. Now, I just moved it all to the new theater tonight with NO windows, dark walls and ceiling. Dark carpet, etc. The picture really "pops" which is cool, but now I am going to have to look closer at the samples again and see if I will need to change my screen for something more on the gray scale. Maybe not though. It is late, and I just got it hooked up. I need to recalibrate and go from there.

good luck.
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2-M60s, VP180, 8-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45, Anthem MRX-1120

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#144611 - 08/04/06 09:52 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
chesseroo Offline
axiomite

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 5171
Loc: western canada
Quote:

So... while still upbeat from saving $500 by not having to a brush-cutter, in a moment of weakness I ordered a Sanyo Z4 projector. So much for saving money. "What the heck", I thought, "I can project on the wall for now".

Next morning I went upstairs and observed that the wall was dark green. Not so good for the fleshtones.



These posts get more humourous every day.
Bridgman, are you sure senility isn't setting in living way out in the sticks?


I hope more people weigh in on their ideas about screens. I'm closing in on potentially buying a FP (looking at the Panny PE900 or maybe a DLP based unit) and i want to go with a good quality, motorized screen, possibly under $1500 Cdn for a budget.
I have not yet begun my own search for info, so general opinions are a place to start.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#144612 - 08/04/06 10:16 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
So when can I move in?
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I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#144613 - 08/04/06 10:27 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13565
Loc: Iowa
Hey John,

Now I'm jealous as hell that you have a Z4, even though my Z2 still rocks.

For me, I'm all about DIY. You can achieve as good results from DIY over spending tons of money on a manufactured screen, but that is just me.

The Z4 has great contrast ratings, so a contrast enhancing screen is not needed. Also, the Z4 has respectable ratings in the lumens category, so I would be carefull on getting something with to much gain. I use a matte white PVC material, which is a 1.0 or slightly higher gain, and it works great for my Z2, even in economy lamp mode.

A screen that is a high contrast screen can sacrifice color vibrance, and a screen with high gain designed to give you more "pop" to the image, will not be as good in the black's category.

Even though my HT area is pretty much light controlled, there are still times that I have the blinds open during the day and my kid plays games with no problems. We also have the lights on in the other areas of the room many times to visit or play pool, and still watch HD material on the big screen. Again, this is using economy lamp mode and a 1.0 gain screen.

I guess if it was me, and I had the Z4, I would not worry to much about getting some fancy screen. Heck, just painting your wall with UPW (ultra pure white) flat paint will look awesome, which also has a gain of 1.0.

Other DIY alternatives which I highly recommend are go to Menards (or possibly Home Depot). In the aisle that has the paneling standing up, look for the 4ft x 8ft sheets of Parkland Durotherm-Lite Panels. These are used by many for a "just hang and enjoy" type screen. They are a PVC material that is light weigt, durable, washable, and work great for a screen. They are 5/16" thick and have a honey comb construction, similar to corrugated cardboard boxes.

Anyway, one side is smooth white with no texture, that is the side you would use. You would have to trim the material to get your 16:9 screensize, unless your talking about going the 2.35 screen route like me, which would require an anamorphic lens(thats another story).

For my current screen, I built a wood frame out of quality 1" x 3" oak boards from Menards. I then used corner bracing on all corners and the middle support piece. Next, I purchased some Professional Theater Screen material from Dazian Fabrics, they have been manufacturing theater screen material and curtains for ever. I stretched the material around the screen and attached with industrial velcro on the back side. Screen size is 51" x 120" and all done for about $100. I'll guarantee you, you won't see much difference if any compared to these $500-$1500 manufactured screens.

Some people use "BlackOut" cloth stretched around a screen. This is a product used in drapery lining to "BlackOut" the sun totally. The rubbery side works very well for a screen.

A cheep one coat paint solution as an alternative to UPW is Behr "Silverscreen". There is a long thread over on AVS in the DIY screen section with details.

Here is another method for about $100 described on projector central. However, not sure about using paper, but they say it works. Whatever you do, you want to eliminate as much light passing throught the material as possible.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/diy_screen.htm

If you really want to get crazy, you could build a "Light Fusion" screen. This involves using a mirror, or plexi mirror, and then painting a transparent paint formula over the top. Gives you a plasma like result, but does require a lot of patience and testing and practice to get it right.

Now I need to get back to work...
_________________________
M80s-VP180-4xM22ow-4xM3ic-EP600-2xEP350
Anthem AVM60 Outlaw 7700 Emotiva A500 Epson 5040UB



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#144614 - 08/04/06 10:33 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3256
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
bridgman,

Nickbuol's advice is good. If there's ambient light (never really dark), then a screen with some gain delivers lots of pop and contrast, but it does so at the expense of black levels and shadow detail.

Testing some samples is a great idea. We did some up at Axiom's listening room and over at Ian's place. You can usually find a material that you'll prefer--a compromise between contrast and "pop" with acceptable black levels and some shadow detail. Use a DVD image that you can freeze that has a wide range of brightness to shadow to black and have someone (maybe you could teach those cute dogs of yours.. .) hold each material in part of the image that has bright and dark areas. Pick the one you prefer. In our tests, even the screen material (cloth vs. vinyl) made differences.

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

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#144615 - 08/04/06 10:44 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: SirQuack]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6026
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Thanks, everyone. I'm always amazed how much great information you guys can offer.

Free samples of screen material never occurred to me. Bonus !

I don't think senility is the issue -- that would imply different behavior with advancing age. Living out in the middle of nowhere I just have time to write down a bit more than before

Lots of room for move-in's, but (a) it's kinda a long way from civilization and (b) telecommuting at 19.2 kbps is not a happy thing. Normally I do better (a rip-roaring 26 kbps) but there is a loud buzzing noise on all the phone lines in the neighborhood (all 4 of them) which hurts the modem connection. Phone company should be here on Wednesday to say they can't do anything about it ;(

Sounds like one of those plastic panels with a couple of coats of Silverscreen on the back would be perfect -- I could flip it around and see what worked best. Will check today and see if HD carries them in Canada. Up here Menard is a kind of duck, not a store.

A matte white seems like the best fit for a bright room, although I'm wondering about light splash off the white ceiling/walls. Either some kind of frame or maybe this is a good excuse to treat those first reflection points with some nice dark foam.

Randy, I would have ordered a Z2 but all they had in stock were Z4s

Anyways, thanks everyone !!

EDIT -- Just saw Alan's post. Sounds like it would be worth testing more than two DIY finishes. Thanks, Alan !

Randy, I hadn't realized you could buy actual screen material at a decent price -- I didn't recognize the brand you mentioned but I figured they made sportswear or something


Edited by bridgman (08/04/06 10:50 AM)
_________________________
HT: M60ti/VP180/QS8, SVS PC+ 20-39, EP500
Music: M5HP, Sierra-1, M40ti
Idle: M2ti, M3v4, VP100
John

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#144616 - 08/04/06 11:35 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: chesseroo]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6469
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
chess, I can enthusiastically recommend the Panny AE900, as I just got mine fired up this week for the first time (at long last). Everything I read on projector central and those other web sites is true - there's a nice film-like quality to the picture. I'm viewing an 88" screen from distances of 8-12 feet, with no pixellation or screen-door effect. Nada. Watched the Red Sox on ESPN2HD and the colors were awesome. I know there are a lot of other Panny owners here as well.

Hopefully more info and pics to come if I can stop enjoying my new HT long enough to post ...

Now back to your regularly scheduled thread...
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Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

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#144617 - 08/04/06 11:55 AM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4191
Loc: Up yonder
I plan to use a sheet of ¾” MDF and paint a coat of UPW with a top coat of the RMAX-Mud mix that’s been touted over at AVS. I’ll let you know how it works in a couple weeks. I’m quite intrigued with this “mirror” concept, but have opted to stick with MDF so that I can build the screen to 2.35 dimensions in excess of the standard 96” width of sheet goods fairly easily (but join the MDF with glue and biscuits).

Oh John, I checked with my General Forman today on those brush cutters. He told me that I’ve been buying them Stihl FS 550’s. His words are “kicks ass!!!” “bad ass!!”. For home / personal use, he recommended the FS 350. The 550 is much more powerful and he really likes them as he can modify them to accept a larger blade and they don’t slow down. They use them for some pretty intense Alder cutting (larger than 3”). http://www.stihlusa.com/trimmers/FS550.html
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#144618 - 08/04/06 12:12 PM Re: Tell me about... screens [Re: bridgman]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13565
Loc: Iowa
Hey John,

Parkland also makes Plastex panels that are much thinner and need to be glued to a substrate to stay flat. You can also buy directly from Parkland.

Here is the Dazian stuff I bought, I actually used their Ebay store, but you can buy direct also...


http://dazian.com/cgi-bin/projection_screens.pl

Also, if you can create a border incorporated with your screen in black velvet, that will absorb light spill. Felt can be used also. For me, I just painted my back wall flat black.

Star Wars II on a 10ft wide 2.35 cinemascope screen.

_________________________
M80s-VP180-4xM22ow-4xM3ic-EP600-2xEP350
Anthem AVM60 Outlaw 7700 Emotiva A500 Epson 5040UB



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