Front projectors in rooms with lots of ambient light? Need help.

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jason Blaydes, Aug 23, 2003.

  1. Jason Blaydes

    Jason Blaydes Stunt Coordinator

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    i'm thinking about taking the plunge into a front projector setup for my living room. my living room has average outside light for this type of room. i have large windows, though they are covered with blinds... but as many know this does not keep the room from getting pretty bright during the day.

    so my question is are today's front projectors able to over come this type of ambient light? i'm also on a budget, so the projector that i've had my eye on is the panasonic pl-300u . i've not decided on what type of screen i'll be purchasing, but something of average quality is probably what i'll pick up. thanks for any help with this subject and any suggestions are greatly welcomed [​IMG]
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Jason: I'm afraid you are out of luck. It's very, very important to be able to have total light control even with high-end front projectors.

    The more light output on a projector usually means more $$$. And you want to compete with the sun during daytime - you are not going to win.

    A lot of people use these smaller front-projectors for night-time DVD watching. With the sun down, light control is easy. They just dont get to watch weekend sports during the daytime. If you want to use your front-projector during the day, I'm afraid you will be disapointed.

    Take a trip to your local Frys or AV store where they usually have a few of these projectors in a room. Even though they try to keep the lights down low, just having the door open is often enough to ruin the picture. They will also have RPTV's that look much-much better even with good ambient light.
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Here is what I would suggest...

    Get you windows all covered with blackout fabric thereby reducing the ambient light in the room. Then you "could" get the L300U and screen. Of course, you could make the screen as many here have done and get a brighter projector like the popular Sanyo PLV-70 with the money you saved by making your own screen.
     
  4. TommyL

    TommyL Supporting Actor

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    Neil..would you say the sanyo easily beats out the panny 300? here we go...up the ladder a bit more..man this place costs me $$ lol...thansk! tom
     
  5. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    The Sanyo is substantially more $$$ I think but members there in the US can confirm the $$$ amount. If you were going to buy a screen which is probably around a few hundred depending, then you could kick in those $$$ and get the PLV-70 which is a very decent WXGA class projector oft referred to as a "light cannon". It puts out a high light output which would allow a little moer ambient light in the room to be present.

    Can the Sanyo be found for $4K over there now?
     
  6. Shiva Singh

    Shiva Singh Extra

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    I was in a similar position as you when I bought my projector, but there are many solutions.

    If you go to a fabric store you can buy black out cloth material for about $6 a yard. You will be surprised at how much light can be blocked out relatively easily. This is the easiest and cheapest solution to blocking light, plus as a curtain it can easily be opened to allow light back in the room.

    I have tried various samples of screen material, and must say with a the Stewart Firehawk and Greyhawk materials I could watch video with my windows completely open. It did look better with the light blocked out, but it was watchable with any amount of light. This material is very expensive, and going with black out cloth was much more cost effective then buying this screen.
     
  7. TommyL

    TommyL Supporting Actor

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    I have read about "redishade" and here it works very well...simple to use, and readily available. IF light is not going to be a problem, do the characteristics match up evenly betweent he panny 300 and the sanyo for PQ...I am trying to do research on the additions the sanyo has without taking into consideration the light factor...fixing the lighting isn't worth 2 k if that is all it does....PQ being the same, I'd look a bit deeper into the 2 for more reason to buy the sanyo. Thanks Neil/Shiva...thoguhts ways appreciated!
     
  8. Jason Blaydes

    Jason Blaydes Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks very much for the help and suggestions that you have provided. after doing some more reading... i'm now maybe considering making one of my spare bedrooms a theater room. the room measures 11'x10'2" and i could have complete control over ambient light.

    would a room this size be large enough to make into a theater room?... viewing distance?... surround sound quality?

    i will probably be going with a 92" fixed mounted screen. what screen would you suggest for this size room and panny projector? btw, the projector would be mounted from my ceiling and wired through my actic and such. thanks very much for anymore help [​IMG]
     
  9. Robert James Clark

    Robert James Clark Second Unit

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    As an alternative to the homemade blackout cloth material which has a gain of 1, I would suggest looking at the Dalite HighPower screen (try CousinsVideo) which has a gain of 2.8 in the same axis and could save you money on a much higher lumens projector...

    It's also pretty good at ambient light rejection (within limits!)
     
  10. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Well, if you have some really big bucks to spend, you could get one of these - a mere $75,000 will get you all the light you will probably need.
     
  11. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Heck, why settle for that intermediate $75K projector when you could have this one... JVC DLA-QX1G for a mere $225K
     
  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    A smaller room is actually ideal for a projector & sound system. It usually has smoother, more regular walls, the sound system does not need tons of power, it usually has rooms on either side to help with sound isolation etc.

    The only problem I know about is with a really small room, the cooling fan in the projector can be audible.

    Short of that, a spare bedroom is actually a superior choice to a living/family room for a HT setup.
     
  13. Jason Blaydes

    Jason Blaydes Stunt Coordinator

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    sweet... sounds good then. i was worried that a small room might cause problems, but what you had to say makes sense. now i'm just searching some diy sites so that i can save money on the speakers, subs, wires, and screen. i found a great site for the wires... and can really save some bucks by making my own. i'm still pretty confused though as far as a diy screen goes. the one that i've found online that i seem to like the most is Neil's diy screen . his screen shots look amazing! but i'm worried that paint on a board (basically what his screen is) won't produce the pq that a dalite screen might produce. has anyone seen a diy painted screen before... and a conventional screen such as a dalite? was there a big enough difference to justify the cost difference? the other alternative that i've found was some fabric off of ebay... that people are selling for front projector screens. has anyone bought and used this fabric from ebay? where you satisfied with the results? thanks again for all the help [​IMG]
     
  14. Karl Englebright

    Karl Englebright Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess I'll chime in with my experiences.

    I have been enjoying my L300U and a 96" Firehawk for the better part of a month now. My home theater is also the family room. It's an "open room" concept with the family room sharing an eating nook and kitchen. Ambient light was of primary concern with me because I knew my family and I would be watching during the day or at night with lights on. I can have enough ambient light to read and hold conversations with my family or guests while watching regular tv, HDTV or DVD. Now if you are going to sit down and watch a DVD and try to enjoy the picture to it's fullest then yes, darkness is your friend. But in my setup, even with moderate ambient light, the picture is very watcheable.
     
  15. Jason Blaydes

    Jason Blaydes Stunt Coordinator

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    thanks for your comments and experience... more suggestions and help are much appreciated.
     
  16. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Competing with ambient light is VERY difficult. I have a small 80" stewart grayhawk screen, and am currently using these 2 projectors:

    1. Epson PowerLite 7800p, XGA, 3500 ANSI lumens, 700:1 contrast
    2. Proxima DP8000HB, XGA, 3300 ANSI lumens, 950:1 contrast

    These are about as powerful as you can get at a reasonable price range, and the screen is tiny (which makes things even brighter). Ambient light still washes out the picture, especially ambient sunlight.

    You do want to choose a screen like the Firehawk, or (even better) the Vultec Silverstar.
     
  17. Jason Blaydes

    Jason Blaydes Stunt Coordinator

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    ttt
     

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