DIY screen

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Colin Dunn, Feb 24, 2002.

  1. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Right now, I'm projecting onto a wall. A search here and on AVS Forum yielded a lot of stuff about DIY screens, but I'm not sure what's best for my needs ... hence this post.

    I'm using a Sony VPL-W10HT LCD projector.

    I originally planned on attaching trim pieces to define a 16:9 rectangle on the wall, and paint that trim in flat black.

    Then inside the screen area, paint with the Behr Ultra-White paint described over on the AVS Forum.

    But then I read that these paint-based screens don't have sufficient gain to use with the 10HT. There was some talk of gray paints, to get the benefits of a gray screen, but again - not enough gain for a 10HT.

    The "ideal" option is one I can't afford - a Stewart Firehawk screen. I wouldn't be surprised if that screen, in a 120" 16:9 format, would cost me more than the projector did!

    Then there was a dizzying array of other options:

    - A guy who goes by "KBK" selling a proprietary "screen goo," a paint formulation with some sort of reflective particles suspended in it. I'm not sure it can be applied to a vertical surface like a wall, though.

    - Certain plastic wall materials, often used in constructing bathrooms, being used to yield a flat white screen surface. But these weren't available in 120" 16:9 sizes, and are not as pure of a white as the Behr paint.

    - Screens made of white "blackout" cloth stretched over a wood backing.

    Any suggestions on what I should pursue? Should I stick to my original plan, paint with "screen goo," or start saving up for that Firehawk???
     
  2. Fred Seger

    Fred Seger Stunt Coordinator

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    I am not an expert.

    With that said... Why do you need a screen with a high gain? That projector is rated at a 1000 lumens, which with proper light control should be bright enough on most surfaces. My LCD projector is rated at 1200 or 1400 and I'm projecting it on a medium gray painted screen(90") and I think it is plenty bright. The gray definatly helped out witht he black levels.
     
  3. Greg Monfort

    Greg Monfort Supporting Actor

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    Can't comment on whether there's a need for high gain, but FWIW I used to help a sign painting buddy, and one of the ultra bright whites available had some sort of reflective material in it (he said alum powder). I painted an area of a bedroom wall to project slides on and the images were much more vivid than when projected on to a typical Kodak screen of the era.

    It's the same paint that they use for the reflective background when the house numbers are painted on the curb.

    GM
     
  4. Will Pomeroy

    Will Pomeroy Stunt Coordinator

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    I really have no idea what i'm talking about here, but what about a huge piece of acrylic? possilby sanded a little bit?
     
  5. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    Colin

    You might want to check with Bill Cushman. He's basically the authority on this since he writes the reviews for the magazine. He thinks the GreyHawk's are not a good screen given the amount of light scatter they create in the room. And that they only give the 'appearance' of better blacks. He feels that the retro-reflective aka Hi-Gain screens continue to provide the best picture regardless of the hype from Stewart.

    I don't know about a DIY screen I use the Da-Lite model "B" hi-gain (less than $400 for 96" wide 16X9) per Bills recommendation, and it works very well.

    Regards

    Thomas
     
  6. MarkMaestas

    MarkMaestas Agent

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    I'd get the white paint, or the grey if you are real concerned about black levels and try it. Paint is cheap. If you don't like it, you can then explore some of the more expensive alternatives. Good Luck.
     
  7. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Colin, I agree with Mark. Try the white paint and if you don't like it, check out the guy on AVS that has formulated special screen paints and will mix one for you based on your projector model and other parameters. BTW, I thought the image from your Sony was bright enough when I saw it at your house. See you at the next meet.
     
  8. CarlDais

    CarlDais Stunt Coordinator

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    I've been using a hi-gain screen for years & like Thomas have been quite pleased. The sweet spot is perfect for 2-4 people-20% viewing angle. But in the painted wall mode I've projected the image on Semi-gloss white many times to great effect. A friend has been using the Painted wall method for years. He has made wide and deep balck velvet wings/mattes....stunning improvement. Greyhawk screen are fine for increasing the apparent blackness in the shadows, it does however affect apparent whiteness as well. Think old classic balck & white movies on the big silver screen.

    Paint a wall and make some velevet mattes... you ought to be very happy and $$$ ahead of the game.
     
  9. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Colin,

    I use blackout fabric- and it's great. My little NEC LT-150 is about 1000lumens, and this is plenty of gain.

    But the problem is your screen size. The fabric comes on a bolt like 50 inches, so the biggest you could get in one piece would be 50 inches top to bottom, otherwise you'd have to sew together 2 pieces and have a seam.

    -V
     
  10. Fred Seger

    Fred Seger Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince,

    What exactly is blackout fabric. Can you buy it at your local fabric store? or will you have to order over the internet. What color is it? Do you just stretch it over a frame?

    Thanks
     
  11. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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  12. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Hank -

    Have you seen the specially formulated screen paint (aka "KBK screen goo") in action? This formulation is rather pricey, at $120 for a quart each of primer and paint. But it would be worth it if it's substantially better than Behr Ultra-White.

    Everyone -

    Any suggestions on how to do a matte set? Ideally, I'd like two sets, one set to place on the sides for 4:3 material, and another set to use at the top and bottom for 2.35:1 material.

    I'll have to go back and do measurements/calculations to determine exactly how big of mattes I need.

    What materials should I use for the mattes? How would I arrange for easy attachment/detachment from the screen edges?
     
  13. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I'd been looking for a link to visually show the material I want to use for a screen border. Take a look at David Sanchez's home theater, currently being discussed over in the HT Construction & Interiors section...
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=52269
    Take a look at the moldings being used around the edges of the equipment rack and RPTV.
    I like the idea of using this type of molding because no mitering is required at the corners! As long as the molding is measured and cut precisely, I could just attach the molding to the wall without any special tools. And it still looks good despite being an easy cop-out solution... [​IMG]
    What I want to do is use similar moldings to establish the borders of the 16:9 (1.77:1) projected area. If painted in a flat black, I shouldn't need the felt or velvet borders that many DIY screen projects use.
    Any suggestions on how to provide for attaching and detaching mattes to the fluted molding surface??? Velcro isn't really an option since I'm not planning on using a fabric border.
     
  14. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Colin, no I haven't seen the "screen goo" in person, but that's the stuff I was mentioning. I would contact some of his customers and inquire as to their level of satisfaction. I think I remember some of his customers' positive comments in a thread. For borders, you might consider long pieces of plywood or MDF, say 1/2" thick and 8 - 10 inchecs wide, either painted with Krylon Ultra Flat black or covered with black velvet. You could just butt them together at the corners. The plywood solution might be light enough that you could attach pieces of velcro to the wall and back of the boards for attachment. You could use white velcro, that it wouldn't show much when the matts were moved. Just some random thoughts that popped into my feeble brain.
     
  15. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Colin,

    I tried to make mattes out of matting board for photos- but fining a big enough piece was seemingly impossible. I tried balsa wood painted- but ended on a slightly studier Bass wood which is currently painted- but I plan to do it in Velvet eventually. You can buy it at a hobby shop- although they usually have small pieces in stock, and have to order if you want something 80-100 inches long.

    As far as attaching- I don't know how well it would work in your case (the moldings you discussed)- but as I said above, I built an outer frame out of 2-by-2 and lined it with cloth. This gave several advantages (including matting):

    1) Ability to mount the screen with long woodscrews pulling it flush against the wall-- without putting the screws through the screen itself. My screen, being built from 2x4s, was slightly bowed-- so the abilty to put eight drywall screws at about 4 inches each into the wall strightened that problem right out!

    2) Gave me a nice area to handle the screen as it was hung- rather than fingerprinting the white surface.

    3) I put 1 inch diameter magnets in the frame, spaced about 1 foot apart, under the cloth. I used a spade bit to bore out a 1 inch hole, and bought a box of heavy duty 1 inch magnets from a hobby shop for $5- popped them in the hole with a little glue and then clothed over the frame. Now I have nice strong magnets hidden in the outer frame - which makes attaching mattes a breeze. I just mounted 1 inch diameter magnets to the back of the mattes and they go up and come down perfectly.

    -V
     
  16. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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  17. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Colin, I would order that Parkland Plastics panel ASAP if I were you. It's inexpensive and the posters on that thread are raving about it. If you need some trim boards cut, I've got the table saw. Also, I would follow the advice of those who cover their trim boards with black velvet, which you should be able to buy/order at a fabric store.
     
  18. GaryM

    GaryM Agent

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    Colin,

    I constructed a screen as follows:

    1) I built a rectangular frame of 1X3 S4S fir joined with half-lap joints in the four corners. This is stout material and you should not substitute other softwoods such as pine.

    2) I then stretched the white blackout fabric over this frame and stapled it (use the same procedure as stapling artist's canvas - start in the center, stretch in both directions, and work your way to the corners).

    3) Lay the stretched/stapled fabric flat and apply paint (Behr Ultra White in latex eggshell texture in this case). One coat of primer and three coats latex, each rolled in one direction only, then rotate 90 degrees and roll accross at a right angle on the next coat. Lots easier than rolling a verticle surface like a wall -no sags or runs.

    4) I then framed the stretched and painted cloth the same way one frames a canvas, using a pre-primed Colonial Case Molding, mitered in the corners, and painted flat black. (Any material including pine or foam molding can be used, as long as it accepts paint.)

    This is a 4:3 screen that is actually 90" diagonal (54" high by 72" wide). To acheive these dimensions, I used Blackout Fabric 54" wide, and stretched it onto a frame that was 73X55, and the frame molding was 2.5" wide and overlapped 1/2" on all four sides. The final outside dimensions with frame is 76"X58". I simply sat the whole assembly in place over a doublewide window, on the windowsill, acheiving light control and projection surface at once. The frame latches onto the wall with two hooks, but can quickly be stashed in the garage when we need the formal living room (never have done so, all the guests were there for movies).

    It isn't hard, and I'm pleased. I spent $65. Later I dropped another $30 on two matte panels, cutting them from a door skin - a 36" by 78" piece of light 1/8" plywood with a smooth mahogany surface, which got primed and painted flat black. Velcro makes these mattes adustable for different aspect ratios from 2.35:1 (maximum matte) to 1.33:1 (no matte). The door skin was $20 and the velcro and paint another $10.

    Gary

    Gary
     

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