DIY fixed screen - My quest has ended

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Neil Joseph, Feb 7, 2003.

  1. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Folks here is an update...

    I am applying my paint on top of a formica sheet (used to cover countertops). For the paint mixture, I am still experimenting. Actually now I am looking for a flat silver paint to replace the Behr silver, which has a shine to it..

    The 5 samples I tried thus far are...

    - 50% chromiance flat + 50% pearlescent white opal
    - 50% metallic silver + 50% pearlescent white opal
    - 33% metallic silver + 33% pearlescent white opal + 33% chomiance flat
    - 50% chromiance flat + 25% metallic silver + 25% pearlescent white opal
    - 50% metallic silver + 25% pearlescent white opal + 25% chomiance flat


    Of all the samples I mixed, the one that came out the closest to the Firehawk in colour was 50% silver, 25% pearlescent, 25% chomiance. It had a sheen/shinyness to it though and I feel this would present a problem in filtering out off axis ambient light. It seems that the silver must be a significant portion of the mix though in order to come close to the Firehawk material. The 50% silver, 50% pearlescent mix came out very shiny and I think this would not filter out much room ambient light. The chromiance flat helps a lot as far as reducing the amount of shine in the surface.

    So silver must be used in order to produce the colour of the Firehawk and Chromiance must be used to reduce the shine and make the end product more flat and more able to reduce room ambient light from being a problem on the screen.

    Subjectively though, I like the 50% chromiance, 50% pearlescent sample fro its ability to not reflect off axis light. Of all the samples, it was the lightest in colour.



    --------------------- screen construction -----------------------------

    Vinyl tile sheet (the type that comes in a big roll that you apply to the floor). I cut a piece of this to 55" x 93". This formed by base for the entire project. To this, I bonded a sheet of formica which is 49" x 87" using lock tite which was applied to the back of the formica sheet with a roller. I pressed them together and applied weight over the surface to maintain the bond while it dried. Then I applied my 3" border around the formica sheet and used 5/8" thick primed MDF painted flat black.
     
  2. Jacques C

    Jacques C Stunt Coordinator

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    Neil,

    Might be too late, but since you are going above the size of a 4'x8' *and* want something light, you've limited your choices a bit. What I plan to do is get some gatorfoam (www.gatorfoam.com). It comes in the sizes you would want. It is stiff and light and paintable.

    Getting a black border shouldn't be a problem if you can woodwork a bit. Some 4" strips of MDF with a rabbet on one side deep enough to trap the gatorfoam against the wall will do nicely. Warp the boards with black velvet and off you go.

    For paint, just about anything will do better than Behr. Behr has some serious quality control problems lately. For such a small area at least use Benjamin Moore or American Tradition (Lowe's brand). American Tradition has been top rated by Consumer Reports last two years, if you care about that sort of thing.

    If you wanted to spend a bit of money on paint, nothing will beat some Goo (www.goosystems.com). You can talk to the owner and see about maybe a mix between the white and digital grey to get you into the Firehawk range. In that case the Goo will run you $120 for the base and topcoat. Not cheap, but by far the best you can use.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    As I am in Canada, importing this Gatorfoam, especially a 55" x 92" sheet (or 60" x 96") might prove expensive. Would it be easy for me to glue the MDF or wood border around the outside (on top) of the gatorfoam?
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    MY PAINT SEARCH IS OVER!!!

    I found the exact paint I need to apply to the screen surface. It is Tremco - Tremclad High Heat Enamel - Aluminium which I found at Home Depot in a spray can for cdn$8.99. I applied it to a 2x4 sheet of formica and put it to the test using Vertical Limit - SB, The Fifth Element - SB, and Stargate - UE. It did not provide a bluish tint like the 50% chromiance Flat/50% Pearlescent mix that I tried before and it provided a great boost to black levels and richer colours as well. It is a low sheen paint so I was able to turn the lights on in the room and immediately notice a huge difference between this 2x4 section vs the rest of the picture.
     
  5. Joel X

    Joel X Stunt Coordinator

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    How close does it emulate the Fire Hawk? And what do you figure the cost will be to paint the whole screen?
     
  6. Jared_B

    Jared_B Supporting Actor

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    Hi Neil - question for you:

    What color is the formica you're painting over? I'd imagine it would make a difference if you're using a dark or light (white?) formica. Also, is it textured at all?
     
  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I used a dark pink sample of formica but I have also tried on a light gray as well. The spray paint was applied so that 100% coverage was accomplished though. I think the firehawk emultion is much closer than any other of the samples that I have done thus far. I estimate that I will need 2-3 cans to complete the job for a cost of cdn$27 or US$17.
     
  8. Chad Anson

    Chad Anson Second Unit

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    Neil,
    Do you think you're getting a >1 gain with the spray painted formica?
     
  9. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    I am getting slightly better than a 1 gain, yes.
     
  10. Greg Monfort

    Greg Monfort Supporting Actor

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    Interesting results, thanks for sharing. Decades ago when I was doing a little research on mimicing the high gain of Kodak's then state-of-the-art lenticular color slide/super8 screen I wound up using a sign painter's ultra white that was loaded with aluminum dust. I assume it's still available, and while I'm sure it would be much more expensive than a few cans of spray paint, it's going to be my first experiment for a screen coating if I ever go front projection.

    GM
     
  11. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Neil, I am planning on using your "recipe" to build a 100" - 110" screen for my Sony VPL-HS10. I was wondering how the screen has stood up to more viewing time now. Do you have any issues with hotspotting or anything?
     
  12. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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  13. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Here are the final details...

    I finally finished my DIY screen. It is a 96” diagonal, 16x9 screen with 2.5” bordering all around. The screen material is somewhat similar in colour to what is used on the Stewart Firehawk with a gain >1.0 and
     
  14. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Neil, I have another quick question for you, just because you are obviously familiar with the materials you used. Do you think you could apply this finish to a screen made from blackout cloth? I plan to spray prime the heck out of the screen to esentially seal the fabric, and then paint with the tremco. What are your thoughts?
     
  15. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If you can seal it then yes, it will work. Try to get a fairly smooth (not too muh texture) finish after sealing it.

    When I was doing my screen with the spray paint, I sprayed with the can parallel to the screen which was laying flat on the floor. I would spray for a few seconds then stop, move the can off to the side to shake away any buildup (drops) from the nozzle, shake the can a little, the return to the screen to spray for a few more seconds, repeating this process until the first layer was complete. Then I would let it dry for a couple of hours or more then complete a second coat. I have a total of 5 coats of paint which took me alomost 4 cans to do.
     
  16. MattGreene

    MattGreene Extra

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    Does anyone know where to get this paint in the states? I tried Home Depot but I'm not sure what kind of specialty store would be my best bet.
     
  17. Vince Bray

    Vince Bray Stunt Coordinator

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    My screen is somewhat similar, although for a crt, so it's just white, but I thought I'd chime in. The 1/4" hardboard from home depot works very well as a surface, smooth, consistent, and cheap. I did an mdf frame like what was described earlier, although mine is wide, about 7" wide all round. The border is painted flat black and that's something I would change (will change eventually) since the flat shows fingerprints and scuffs alot. The velvet suggestion is a good one, or even black burlap, but the velvet will give a better edge against the picture.

    Vince
     
  18. Chris Keen

    Chris Keen Stunt Coordinator

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    Matt,

    Have you read the following thread?

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=240074

    In it you'll see that Tryg did some extensive comparing of several screens, some professional products, and some DIY. In it he does tests with some silver sprayed paints and aluminum sprayed paints. Check it out, you'll find it interesting as well as seeing that he used some Rustoleum brand paints that you can find at Home Depot.
     
  19. MattGreene

    MattGreene Extra

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    Thanks for the link Chris, I finished building my entertainment center today and I will be putting the screen together next weekend.
     
  20. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If you take a look through that thread which Chris refers to, it is interesting because paint sample#27 is the same kind of stuff that I have used and I stumbled on it by pure accident. They refer to it as Firehawk killer for good reason.
     

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