Help with projector and screen (DIY?) choices

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Joe Szott, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    First off, yes I am a total n00b to front projection. I have owned (and excessively tweaked) a Mitsubishi HD RPTV for about 4 years, but it's a different game from front projectors. Our RPTV is starting to break down, and in looking at new models it seems the best bang for the buck is now firmly in front PJs.

    The two projectors that fit my price/performance criteria would seem to be the Panasonic AE900 and the Sanyo PLV-Z4. Both seem pretty spiffy, probably leaning a bit towards the AE900. Are there other similar projectors I should look into?

    The other big mystery for me is the screen to display it on. This is in a finished basement so light control is no problem. That being said, we do watch TV programming with the lights up and DVD/gaming material with the lights down. I was wondering what was the best route to take: painting a display wall white/gray, or buying some decent material and stretching my own built screen?

    I don't see the advantage in spending $1000 for a screen that I could likely make myself for a fraction of the cost. That being said, if the only way to have a good screen is to buy it then so be it. If I can build one, what level of material would I need to make a really nice mid- to high-level quality screen? Black Out cloth, or something delivered from an online distributor? Or is painting a wall gray a good enough substitute?

    I don't need the very best, but I like to hit that sweet spot for price/performance whenever possible. Please any advice is welcomed. I'm new to this, be gentle...
     
  2. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    If your wall is very smooth, the easiest and cheapest option would be to paint the wall for your screen. I'm not sure if you know this, but you need to have a pretty dark room to fully enjoy a projector. When I use mine, all lights are off.
     
  3. Rick Westfall

    Rick Westfall Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out Goo Systems. They sell paint that is designed specifically for HT screens. There is a how to video you can download. They sell entire kits to do the job or just the paint. All you need to do is put your info in their "calculator " and it will tell you exactly what you need to buy.

    This is the stuff I'm considering for my HT.

    Good Luck!
    Rick
     
  4. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    The Greywolf and Ae900U make an awesome low cost combo, its what I have...

    Sam
     
  5. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    I do not like to point people to ther forums as I prefer this forum by far but check out the DIY screen forum at AVS. they have a tone of different paint mixtures that people (pros) have compared extensively next to 200$ - 1500$ screens and they did not really see much of a difference. I too have seen this although I am no pro and some of the DIY results are astonishing when compared to expensive screens.......and they paid a total of 60$ for wood, material and paint......not to shabby.
     
  6. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    So it sounds like painting a canvas or wall with the correct color (or mix of paint) is just as good as buying a $1000 screen (for a great picture)?

    Thanks for all those links and leads, I'll check them out.

    posten - what's a greywolf?
     
  7. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    Maybe I misled a bit. "Just as good" is ultimately up to the eye of the beholder. I will stick to the fact that MANY pros have made paint mixes and compared them to VERY expensive screens and they often could not tell a difference. Plus you obviously have a lot more tweeking ability with DIY.
     
  8. joseph westcott

    joseph westcott Second Unit

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    Using a painted and sanded wall is a great way to get a good picture when on a budget.

    You can always upgrade later to a quality screen as you grow accustomed to your system.
     
  9. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I'm using an AE900 paired with a 103" DIY screen made out of blackout cloth. The picture is amazing. I built the screen in a way that I could try the different paint mixes from AVS on the cloth and easily replace it if I didn't like the outcome.

    -Robert
     
  10. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    What is that way, if you don't mind me asking Robert?
     
  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    I built the frame out of 1x3 fir. Mitered corners with L-brackets to connect each. I hung the frame on the wall with the Easy Mount system. This allowed me to slide the screen back and forth to center it in the room. Once hung straight, I stapled black-out cloth on the front of the frame. My line of staples was about 1" on from the outside edge of the frame. I then built a border out of door casing. It's just big enough to cover the staples. I layed the screen down on the floor and then put the border on top of it. Straightened everything and used about a dozen brad nails to secure it. If I want to modify the fabric, it will take about 5 minutes to remove the border. It would take about 10 minutes to remove the screen from the frame since there are at least 100 staples. $10 worth of cloth and $5 worth of paint is worth it to squeeze the most performance out of it.

    finished product
    view of border/corner block

    I can dig up some frame pictures if needed.

    -Robert
     
  12. Jack Ferry

    Jack Ferry Stunt Coordinator

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    A DIY blackout cloth screen is so inexpensive that there's no downside to giving it a try. I made my (approx) 7' by 4' screen for about $30 including the cloth, lumber, and hardware. (Already had the black paint and staples. I didn't paint the screen itself and don't think I'd want to try that.) I am very happy with the result, and I honestly believe it looks better than many "store bought" screens.

    Screen
     
  13. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Screenwriter

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    Robert and Jack, those screen are beautiful. Great jobs guys. I'm pretty sure that if/when we get a projector, I'll make my own and probably use some of the grey 'goo' above to achieve a quality surface.

    Great, thanks guys.
     

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