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Home Theater United Episode 32 - Adrian Silva of Stewart Filmscreen (1 Viewer)

Sam Posten

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Home Theater United
Episode 32
December 27, 2021 8:00 PM EST
Special Guest Adrian Silva of Stewart Filmscreen

Reconnection:
  • Whatcha get for Christmas and or Boxing day???
  • Sam’s got no screen on the wall, oh no! But the carpet is back and the walls are darker, dun dun dun!
  • JVC NZ8 still delayed
  • Matrix DRM Disaster
  • Denon 1700h still delayed (best buy had stock for about an hour tho!)
  • CES is coming!
  • Brian’s Outlaw amp
Guest Interview Adrian Silva of Stewart Filmscreen:
  • What's the general history of Stewart, have you always focused exclusively on screens?
  • What are the different lines of screen materials and form factors?
  • Can you tell us about your automated masking systems?
  • Do you sell more 16x9 or ultra wide?
  • How does someone make the call on materials? Can you talk about your web program that goes question by question to narrow it down?
  • White versus grey?
  • How do you select gain?
  • Are laser sparkles and PJ hot spots big considerations?
  • Can you order direct from Stewart or must you use a local rep / store?
  • Can you tell us more about the Kaleidescape deal?
  • Is there really a need for different materials with 8k?
  • What’s in your own home theaters?
  • Do you think CES 2022 will go? Will you attend or are you CEDIA focused?
Quick Good Bad and Ugly:

Sam - Spider-Man No Way Home Dolby Cinema
Brian - Mortal Kombat 2021 (Dick Tracy quick mention)
Adrian - A Christmas Story
 

Sam Posten

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Talking robot plotter robot:

Denon 1700:

JVC NZ8:
 

Sam Posten

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DaveF

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Looking forward to listening to this one.

One of my lurking anxieties for hopeful-one-day 4K projector is whether I need a new screen. I have a $2500 Screen Innovations (SI) woven AT screen. At the time I thought SI was a higher-end brand with a great reputation. But I don't see anyone talk about them anymore. And from my front row seats, I can see some texture on bright, uniform scenes (e.g. snowfields).

So do I need / want a new screen? And if so, what screen would be worthwhile? Hoping to learn a bit more from this podcast.
 

DaViD Boulet

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Just to help answer a question that came up in the pod-cast about scope-screens and resolution loss with different content...

If you have a projector that has lens-memory (like the JVCs), and if you use the lens-adjustment to zoom in/out to "fit" the content to the screen... then you are not losing any resolution from the original signal regardless of the aspect ratio. For instance, if you have a scope 2.40 screen and you watch a 16x9 program, your PJ just adjusts zoom to shrink the image optically (not digitally) until it fits the 16x9 window-area of your scope screen. The image is now 100% the same as if you had just bought a 16x9 screen of that same height and adjusted your PJ accordingly (except you have vertical black bars on the unused left/right of the 2.40 screen of course). But no loss of resolution... all of the pixels of your original image are now represented in the 16x9 area. Then you decide to watch LOTR... now your lens zooms the other way to enlarge the image until it fits the full width. Still, every pixel of active image content is represented 1:1... no loss (the black bars that are now overscanned above and below the screen had no active image content since they were used for the "black bars" and so you're still not losing any active image pixel in comparison to having watched the movie letterboxed on a 16x9 screen... just larger and without the black bars on the screen).

That's a simplified explanation, but it's important for folks to realize (if they care about preserving resolution/pixels) that with today's projector's that have lens-memory, you can now "go scope" and with a push of a button have the image sized to the screen with no loss of resolution from the original signal.

Now, where it gets complicated and can change is when folks get an anamorphic lens and choose to leave it in place even with 16x9 content... in that case they *digitally* downscale horizontally to avoid having to move the lens out of the way. That does indeed throw away resolution for 16x9 content. The benefit of the lens is that it adds brightness for material wider than 16x9 because it allows scope content to be vertically upscaled (stretched) to use the full height of the chip (the area that had previously been wasted on black bars) so it's an advantage there, but a disadvantage with native 16x9. Dedicated videophiles who want to optimize for both scope and 16x9 material often build a "sled" to slide the lens out of the way for 16x9 material, which allows both 16x9 and scope to now be viewed in the best way possible.

Scope screens open a lot of possibilities and benefits for the scope films, but do add a bit of complexity when watching non-scope aspect ratio content... but nothing that can't be solved and for many enthusiasts the added complexity is well worth it given the benefits it brings for scope content.
 
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Sam Posten

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Thanks @DaViD Boulet

You can quibble about losing resolution. Those black bars are indeed lost resolution. It’s not like the resolution is being repurposed as a stretched image. The content is resized optically of course which is nice but my understanding is that it’s not the same trick as what anamorphic DVDs used to do
 

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Good podcast. I enjoyed it. Gave me some things to consider for future upgrades.

Glad @Brian Dobbs asked about speaker to screen distance. I think I’ve heard that woven screens can be closer to speakers than perf. But if Stewart can do 4” with their microperf, that’s probably fine for my room.
 

DaveF

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I have a 7700, 200w x 7.
Sorry to hear about early demise of amps! That stinks.

It’s possible the move cross-country hastened its demise. It got dropped and the shock caused a micro-crack in a trace. That trace then failed over the past couple years of thermal cycling from normal use.

It’s tough choice to decide whether to spend $100 shipping to then find out if it’s worth spending more money to maybe fix it.

At least you‘ve got your old AVR to power the system in the interim.
 

DaveF

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Just to help answer a question that came up in the pod-cast about scope-screens and resolution loss with different content...

If you have a projector that has lens-memory (like the JVCs), and if you use the lens-adjustment to zoom in/out to "fit" the content to the screen... then you are not losing any resolution from the original signal regardless of the aspect ratio. For instance, if you have a scope 2.40 screen and you watch a 16x9 program, your PJ just adjusts zoom to shrink the image optically (not digitally) until it fits the 16x9 window-area of your scope screen. The image is now 100% the same as if you had just bought a 16x9 screen of that same height and adjusted your PJ accordingly (except you have vertical black bars on the unused left/right of the 2.40 screen of course). But no loss of resolution... all of the pixels of your original image are now represented in the 16x9 area. Then you decide to watch LOTR... now your lens zooms the other way to enlarge the image until it fits the full width. Still, every pixel of active image content is represented 1:1... no loss (the black bars that are now overscanned above and below the screen had no active image content since they were used for the "black bars" and so you're still not losing any active image pixel in comparison to having watched the movie letterboxed on a 16x9 screen... just larger and without the black bars on the screen).

That's a simplified explanation, but it's important for folks to realize (if they care about preserving resolution/pixels) that with today's projector's that have lens-memory, you can now "go scope" and with a push of a button have the image sized to the screen with no loss of resolution from the original signal.

Now, where it gets complicated and can change is when folks get an anamorphic lens and choose to leave it in place even with 16x9 content... in that case they *digitally* downscale horizontally to avoid having to move the lens out of the way. That does indeed throw away resolution for 16x9 content. The benefit of the lens is that it adds brightness for material wider than 16x9 because it allows scope content to be vertically upscaled (stretched) to use the full height of the chip (the area that had previously been wasted on black bars) so it's an advantage there, but a disadvantage with native 16x9. Dedicated videophiles who want to optimize for both scope and 16x9 material often build a "sled" to slide the lens out of the way for 16x9 material, which allows both 16x9 and scope to now be viewed in the best way possible.

Scope screens open a lot of possibilities and benefits for the scope films, but do add a bit of complexity when watching non-scope aspect ratio content... but nothing that can't be solved and for many enthusiasts the added complexity is well worth it given the benefits it brings for scope content.

Thanks @DaViD Boulet

You can quibble about losing resolution. Those black bars are indeed lost resolution. It’s not like the resolution is being repurposed as a stretched image. The content is resized optically of course which is nice but my understanding is that it’s not the same trick as what anamorphic DVDs used to do
I appreciate @DaViD Boulet tackling the question — saved me some typing :)

But I heard the question a bit differently, perhaps as @Sam Posten heard it.

UHD supports 3840 x 2160 which is 16:9 4k*. So only 16:9 content gets maximum pixel / data content. 2.35:1 content would be 3840 x 1634, with the rest of pixels being black bars. You can optically zoom as David described. You’re getting a bigger picture. You’re not getting more resolution. And you’re losing some brightness — but that might not be significant -- but something to account for if you’re into calibrated images.

(*Projector native pixel count is 4096 x 2160 which I think a computer could use. I don’t know if there are any normal media sources that work at that 1.90 format.)

You get more pixels for wider content by adding a scaler in the chain (Lumagen, madVR Envy, HTPC). You can anamorphically interpolate those 1634 pixels up to 2160 pixels and add an anamorphic lens to squeeze that scaled 16:9 image back to the correct 2.35 aspect ratio. I believe that enthusiasts that use this solution have the lens on a sled that slides in when needed, and slides out of the way for 16:9 shows.

The pixel scaling might be getting more sophisticated with 8K-capable projectors. Presumably that scaler can take 3840 x 1634, scale it anamorphically up to 7680 x 4320 8K 16:9 and then squeeze it down to 2.35 format with the lens.

But I’m just a guy with a 5 year old 16:9 HD system. This is all internet-reading for me. I’ll defer to anyone who actually does this for their HT system. :)
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Personally, I don't see that much appeal to the use of scope AR screen anymore. Just go w/ the largest 16x9 screen you can and mask away as needed me thinks. There are times you're gonna want 16x9 to give you a (much) bigger image than the full width scope AR screen can, especially as more movies get the IMAX treatment and such...

I mean... how do you even watch those Zack Snyder shifting-AR DC epics on a CIH scope AR screen, if you enjoy them??? And if one doesn't care for his DC epics, there are Christopher Nolan's films and maybe others like Villeneuve's going forward (although there's no 4K IMAX/shifting-AR version of Blade Runner 2049 on home video so far)... and that's besides whatever else came before...

And if you also still do the 3D thing, that probably works better w/ a 16x9 screen as well...

_Man_
 

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I’m of the same opinion. But my room doesn’t support a widescreen. I’ve got the biggest screen —16:9– that fits the space and I just accept that “widescreen” is smaller than “TV” because I don’t want a 100” “TV” screen for 80% of my viewing so that 20% is 120” 2.35/

I can see if you’ve got a really wide room and going to the max 16:9 would make for a too-large (too tall) screen then go for a big 2.35 screen and mask down to 16:9 for normal viewing.

There are those that exclusively watch a two hour movie every week or two on their $25,000 projector and for that experience they want the exquisite CIH 2.35 masked experience. Bully for them. But not my jam or budget. :)
 

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