Front projection screens??

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jack Spencer, Sep 22, 2004.

  1. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    Can anyone share advice on front projection screens? I bought the Sanyo PLV-70 and need a good screen for it. Something fixed, I don't mind making a frame for it or I can buy it with a frame, doesn't really matter. I'm mostly concerned with what screen material is most appropriate for me and where to buy it.

    Specs, 2200 lumens, in a room with less than perfect light control. But I don't want a super high gain screen since most of my movie watching will be at night and I don't want to be blinded. But I'd like a little help for early evening watching when there is still some ambient light present. Screen size at least 120" 16:9 give or take, I have to mount the projector and find out how big I can get it first, but I'll know that next week.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I'm upgrading from an 88" DIY Parkland Plastic screen to a 92" Dalite Model B Video Spectra 1.5. I'm mainly moving to a higher gain screen to combat ambient light, just hoping I don't lose alot of black level. I was planning on going glass beaded (2.5 gain) but was informed that hotspots (varying brightness aproaching the edges of the screen) would be a problem. I found the 92" Model B in Video Spectra 1.5 for $155 shipped online.

    The Model B is a pulldown screen but I'll be using it as fixed (always down) and may add or build a tensioner if I feel the need. The Model B, however, only goes up to 106" in 16:9. The Model C, however, has a 119" 16:9 model available in Matte White for around $300, and in Silver, High Contrast Matte White, and Video Spectra 1.5 for around $350.
     
  3. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    One other serious consideration:

    where are your speakers?

    Mine are behind the screen. If you do that, then you got a really ugly can of worms to deal with... (the hazards of a multipurpose space, really.)

    Anyway, my solution was a light frame of 1/2" black iron water pipe across the top, PVC "T" fittings, 1/2" PVC sides and bottom piece. All the PVC connections are solvent connections; a schedule 40 threading for the iron. (This lets me adjust the side-to-side tension on the screen fabric.) Whole thing is mounted via hooks in the ceiling to a piece of nylon cord sent through the iron pipe and looped out of the top of the "T" fittings.

    Fabric in question is a 100% cotton, light gray, matte fabric from the Quilting section of Joanne's Fabrics. I've got reasonable light control, and a projector running at about 700 lumens. Size is about 60"x40".

    Inexpensive, not perfect, and light enough to be moved easily.

    Leo Kerr
     
  4. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Second Unit

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    Da-Lite, Draper, Stewart. All make fine screens with or without frames. Hundreds of styles, designs, reflectivity. I have Draper because I always by from local manufacturers if I can.
     
  5. Gary Shipley

    Gary Shipley Second Unit

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    I have the Sanyo PLV-60(which the 70 replaced) and I'm using a Dalite Perm Wall 106" screen. Assembly was the easiest thing I did on my theater. I have'nt regretted getting the Dalite screen the least bit.
     
  6. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    Thanks for the info. My speakers are not behind the screen. I have plenty of room left & right, above & below for front speakers.

    Everyone seems to claim Stewart is "the best". I don't know a thing about screens, though. Why would I pay, say, $700 for a Stewart screen, when I can get a Dalite for half that? What's the real difference?
     
  7. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    Where is everyone getting their screens for so cheap?! I've been quoted prices anywhere from $1500 - $2500 for a fixed, 133" 16:9 screen. Yet I keep seeing posts claiming it should be a few hundred dollars. Cheapest I've found are these "Performance Theater" screens from myfilmscreen.com, at just under $1100 for 133".

    Where are the sub-$500 screens of this size, and can they really compare with the $1000 - $2500 screens? I can't seriously imagine a Firehawk being worth the $2000 premium.

    Shoot, I don't even mind making my own stinking frame, but I can't even find screen material by itself for less than a grand...

    Please, you must teach me your budget-screen tricks.
     
  8. David Norman

    David Norman Producer
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    Jack, check Carada and you'll find a 134 inch 16:9 screen for $820-900. Carada has an excellent rep and superb reviews. Can a Stewart best it? Maybe I guess, but it depends of the eyes and the system I guess.


    There is a huge Do It Yourself thread over on avsforum which has thousands of posts about cheap and very nice screens. If you're interested in a setup that is pretty easy to make and generally gets high marks, there's a guy named Moakes that sells material on EBay along with instructions on how to make a fixed screen that can be made for $100. If nothing else, it's a fine starter set and most people have been quite happy with the results as long as you don't have to have the Nth degree of perfection. Maybe when 1900P projectors hit the market, I'll try the expensive screen, but there are plenty of ways to get a well above average good time.
     
  9. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

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    Projector Central (projectorcentral.com) has a good article on screens and they made judgements on the different brands. It appeared that Da-Lite was a good choice in terms of quality/price. They were somewhat negative on Carada.

    A good screen does make a difference. I saw an Infocus projector on both a white and gray screen and the latter did a much better job in revealing details in darkened scenes.

    I paid $650 to my local dealer for a 110" 16:9 Da-Lite HCCV fixed screen (gray with relatively high gain for a gray screen-1.1 I think) which included an aluminum frame that was easy to mount.

    I must say my purchase of the Infocus 5700 and this Da-Lite screen was one of the best things I have done in terms of pure entertainment and my wife agrees!

    Check the Projector Central article.

    John
     
  10. David Giles

    David Giles Stunt Coordinator

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    But while you're at it, be sure and do a search for Carada on AVS Forum. You'll find a ton of reviews and comments from Carada customers and from people who don't own Carada screens but who've seen them in shootouts or in friends' homes. Compare them to that one opinion on P.C.

    David Giles
     
  11. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    Audioholics also did a shoot out between Stewart, Da-Lite and Carada HERE. I would not sleep on Carada, best bang for the buck next to DIY IMO.
     
  12. Jack Spencer

    Jack Spencer Agent

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    Thank you for the replies.

    Wow, this is cheap. I've been quoted over $1,500 for a slightly larger version of that screen. I'll have to look in the phonebook for local dealers. Was that a new price, or a used/floor model/special deal?

    I will look into Carada as well. I'd already read the projectorcentral review and wrote Carada off, but after reading the Audioholics review and doing some more research, I'm going to give them more consideration. Getting in under a grand would be nice so long as the screen is great. I mean, if there is a night and day difference between Carada and, say, a Firehawk, I'd rather just spend the bucks on the Firehawk. But I don't want to needlessly waste money, either. Whatever screen I buy, I plan to keep for a long time, I just want to make the right decision.
     

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