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Watching 2.35:1 films on a 16x9 projector/screen


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#1 of 19 ONLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted January 12 2007 - 03:45 AM

I'm just curious how other people here who have 16x9 projectors display wider material on their screens. The first 2.35:1 movie I watched on my projector went right to the 16x9 screen, so it had the small black bars on the bottom and top, as it should. But for the next film, I rolled up the screen a little higher so it was only open to the 2.35:1 aspect ratio, and adjusted the lens shift on the projector so that the widescreen image would fall perfectly onto the screen, and the black bars would be projected onto the dark wall, rendering them all but invisible. For people with similar equipment, what is your viewing preference? Obviously there's no right or wrong answer, I'm just curious what other people have been doing.

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   captaincrash

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Posted January 18 2007 - 06:33 PM

I have wondered about this myself...

... I am sorting through the various issues related to building a home addition which will include a dedicated home theater - so I have NOT purchased or set up a front projector for home theater use. However, I have used a business projector on numerous ocasssions to watch movies. AND I have a RP 3 LCD HDTV... 720p Epson LivingStation (an early P1 model). And I have been studying the various forums and threads trying to build a consensus on various aspects. One of which was how to faithfully address the various vieing formats of 4:3, 16:9 and 2.35:1.

I might add that if you have not already finished the wall behind your screen in a flat dark color - then consider doing so. This may give you the control necessary on the projected excess over the actual visible area projected. I was looking at the movable powered screen frames... and I thought of having a fixed 4:3 screen on the wall and a larger 16:9 that could drop down in front of the 4:3. Then I saw the Epson all in one cinema projecyor with a DVD player came with a screen which unfurled SIDEWAYS... ingenius ... so you could make it pull out to 4:3 or 16:9 or 2.35:1 .... and all you need is a flat painted dark or dull wall behind it!!!

At any rate, I am surprised you had 90+ visiting hits and not one reply. Here I am a virtual new-be and I had something to say. Where are all the inspired experts out here? Posted Image

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Steve_L_B

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Posted January 19 2007 - 06:59 AM

A lot of people are now using a "2.35 constant height setup" that improves resolution and light output by using the projectors entire panel for 2.35:1, but this requires the use of an anamorphic lense in front of the projector. It also creates pillar bars for smaller aspects (1.85:1, etc.), but pillar bars are easier to mask. I don't currently have a projection set-up, but I think this is the way I'll go when I do finally set one up. -Steve

#4 of 19 ONLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted January 19 2007 - 07:27 AM

My projector is a lower-end model, you really can't attach a different lens to it - next projector, you know, after I win the lottery Posted Image

Since I've posted this, I've found I enjoy it best when I close the 16x9 screen to a 2.35:1 ratio for viewing the wider films, rather than seeing the black bars on the white screen. Not that I have a problem with black bars, but only keeping the screen open enough for the actual image has been better for keeping me in that theater mindset.

I don't at all mind the pillarboxing, though, for 4x3 content. After years of watching widescreen material on a standard TV, where even though the widescreen frame is supposed to be larger than a 1.33:1 frame it's smaller, it's great to actually watch 16x9 content where you get a wider picture instead of a smaller picture within the squarish frame. It's certainly been great for making the point to people that when you're watching something in widescreen, you're seeing more, not less, of the picture.

I did see that screen that opens horizontally, next time I'm in the market for a screen I'd be inclined to go for something like that. It's certainly a great idea.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Steve_L_B

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Posted January 19 2007 - 08:35 AM

Actually, the anamorphic lenses that I've seen are mounted in front of the projector, not attached to it. There is some added expense to this type of setup; the projector has to have a scaler (or you can use an external scaler) that performs a vertical stretch to fully utilize the projector's micro-display panels, and of course the external lense to horizonally stretch the projected image.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Rodneyk

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Posted January 23 2007 - 08:22 AM

I just ordered the lens, projector and 2.35:1 screen for a constant height setup. I received the lens yesterday and by just projecting onto the wall and aligning the lens in all of 2 minutes, I was TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY! Resolution and focus did not take a noticeable hit. Please look into the constant height setup, I believe it is worth it. I was just as impressed as I was the first time I saw a projector in my home (this is my 2nd). I plan to hang everything this weekend...can't wait!

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted January 23 2007 - 08:33 AM

I humbly submit that Constant Image Height/2.35 is the way to go. All else is but a TV. Posted Image You don't actually need a lens/scaler if your projector has enough zoom/shift and SDE is not an issue when you do zoom. Masking to hide the kinda-black bars pushed onto the wall helps if doing this.

http://www.avsforum....splay.php?f=117
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#8 of 19 ONLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted January 23 2007 - 09:44 AM

My current projector is my venerable Infocus SP-4805, and I get a "semi-constant height setup" by simply adjusting the manual zoom on the projector to make the 2.35:1 transfers wider on my painted wall. With my setup, 4:3 material appears centered within the 16:9 frame, 1.78-1.85:1 transfers essentially fill the allocated 16:9 space on the wall (leaving unused areas on the sides), and 2.35:1 transfers end up with a single "black bar" at the bottom of the image and appear much wider (although not quite as tall) as 1.85:1 transfers. I don't bother masking the single black bar since it truly does appear black on the painted wall. I couldn't be happier with this setup and all I have to do is adjust the manual zoom on the projector for the 2.35:1 transfers.
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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Rodneyk

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Posted January 23 2007 - 04:51 PM

Nothing wrong with a IN4805. That is what my first projector was. I sold my house and let the projector and screen convey. For my second, I bought a IN72 (the 4805's half brother). It is still 480p and essentially a newer version of the 4805. I decided to save my money on the projector (instead of buying a 720p and then wanting a 1080p when prices come down in 1 year or so), spend it on the lens and the screen (Prismasonic 1400M & Carada 2.35:1), and not feel guilty when the 1080p projector's become much more affordable. RodneyK

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Shane Harg

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Posted January 23 2007 - 07:34 PM

I was thinking on this subject just this morning. I was thinking I would order extra 16:9 screen to fit in my current pulldown screen chassis (I looked into this and they aren't that expensive) and then either take that one or the original, mask it for 2.35:1, mount it to a piece of plywood and hang it on the wall behind the pulldown. That way I'd have a screen for each aspect ratio. For 4:3, I just hit a setting on my projector called "Just" and it stretches the picture to the 16:9 screen, but in such a way that it doesn't disort the picture that much. It works fairly well.
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#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted January 24 2007 - 01:50 AM


The 4805 remains an outstanding projector. Every time I see mine installed in my bro's basement I'm impressed. Posted Image
If you did want to add a lens at some point, the 4805 will do the requisite scaling for you, which is a very cool thing and which my AE900 lacks.
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#12 of 19 ONLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted January 24 2007 - 09:28 AM

Jack, Are you referring to the 4805's "Letterbox" mode? If so, would you say that that does a decent job (without adding too many artifacts)? BTW, I can relate when it comes to seeing your old pj in your brother's home. My brother is still running my old X1 in his basement!
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#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Rodneyk

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Posted January 24 2007 - 10:43 AM

Joseph, The letterbox mode on the 4805 will work. The In72 that I just purchased has this option as well. This eliminates the need for an external scaler or HTPC. Next time you are watching a scope movie on the 4805, pause it, hit the letterbox button and imagine an image that is stretched horizontally back into proportion. Again, I was really impressed with the picture quality. Rodney

#14 of 19 ONLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted January 24 2007 - 12:34 PM

Rodney: Thanks! I'll give it a try! Can you recommend a particular anamorphic lens? BTW, I plan on updating my pj in July (it will be two years old at that point and will need a bulb if I keep it) and am currently trying to decide if I want to just go up to the 720p IN76. I don't think I'll even look into getting a 1080p pj until around July 2009 unless something dramatic happens. In any event, I would assume that the IN76 would also have the same "Letterbox' scaler mode as the 4805/IN72 and I would also assume that any lens that I may purchase at this point could still be used with the IN76.
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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Rodneyk

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Posted January 24 2007 - 02:57 PM

Joseph, I purchased a Prismasonic 1400M. I could not find a "cheap" anamorphic lens. I am a stickler for picture geometry and wondered if CIH was right for me. After my initial test, I am sure I can be satisfied. Several different lenses are the Panamorph, Isco III, and the Prismasonic. There are tips on making a DIY lense, but it wasn't for me. Yes, the In76 has all of the necessary scaling modes. I entertained it for a very long time, but figured I would want a 1080p within a year or two so I went for the less expensive route and spent more of my money on the lens and screen. When I upgrade (not if...I know I will...haha), I will still be pleased with the lens and screen. Check the avsforum for more about constant height setups. They have a dedicated group for the discussion. The key to a projector and using a lens is the throw ratio (distance from the screen divided by the screen width). It must be >1.5 for almost all of the lenses I looked at. The In72 is about 2.12 (same as 4805) and the In76 is ~1.95 or something like that. Projectorcentral.com has a calculator based on brand and model. Rodney

#16 of 19 ONLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted January 25 2007 - 01:19 AM

Rodney:

Thanks for all the great information!

I found a link to a PDF manual for the Prismasonic 1400M:

http://www.prismason...sh/manual.shtml

I think for right now, though, I'll stick with performing a manual zoom on the 4805. For one thing it appears as though I'll have to extend the painted area of my wall (or reposition the projector) in order to accommodate the lens. I think I'll just wait until I upgrade my projector in July before taking another look at this.
Joseph
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#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted January 25 2007 - 02:23 AM

Looks like Rodney pretty much covered it! Posted Image


I think I get more of a kick setting this stuff up for him and his family than I do using it myself, honestly. I've got him set up with the 4805, a JBL NSP-1 surround suite, an SVS PB-10 sub, and a Panasonic XR55 receiver. The screen is an 80" diagonal "Light Fusion" screen (researched on AVS) which is basically an acrylic mirror thinly coated with a special mix of paints. On that screen, the 4805 looks like a huge plasma and from his distance (~18') the limited resolution or SDE are not issues at all. Needless to say, uncle Jack is the coolest. Posted Image
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#18 of 19 ONLINE   Joseph Bolus

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Posted January 25 2007 - 04:32 AM

Jack: It looks like you had a really cool setup there with the ol' 4805. Am I to understand that you're now running a LCD-based projector? (Isn't that what the AE900 is?) I take it the newer LCD-based projectors with the adjustable iris's really do a good job of matching DLP's contrast ratio specs ... My first projector was LCD-based; but the old X1 (at about half the price) blew it away when it came to black level. With the 2x color wheel there was some inherent RBE with the unit, but it was worth enduring that for the truly good contrast ratio. The 4805, with its faster color wheel, solved the only quibble I had with DLP; so that's the main reason that the only upgrade I've been considering for it is another DLP-based Infocus. (And, frankly, if it wasn't for the fact that I have a HD-A1 I probably wouldn't even be looking to upgrade.) If LCD has really progressed that far, then I may have to take another look at the newer crop of LCD-based projectors when it's upgrade time! In any event, I find all this information regarding true constant height setups fascinating, and will have to check out the area alluded to above on AVS.
Joseph
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#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted January 25 2007 - 07:21 AM

Yeah, AE900/LCD now. I've tweaked it quite a bit with a various settings and a CC filter, so now black levels and color are about as good as I remember the 4805 being out of the box (the 4805 was my first pj, and I'm spoiled by it). Posted Image The main reasons I went with this new model were the complete lack of SDE even up close and the need for zoom/shift range to get a bigger 2.35 picture in my room. With my vertical-compression lens, the pj itself needs to be able to shoot the width you want and the 4805 had run out. I was also about at the limit as far as SDE visibility
I recently added a Toshiba HD-A2, and that really shows the 720p advantage when I'm watching a 7' wide screen from 10' back. It's incredible how this thing can look with a transfer like "King Kong", and on a 2.35 screen it's truly immersive.
The overall picture is comparable, at least with these models, but I think I'm a DLP guy at heart and my next will likely be that route.
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