How Important Is Screen Masking?

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Torgny Nilsson, Nov 20, 2003.

  1. Torgny Nilsson

    Torgny Nilsson Second Unit

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    While I like the flexibility of FPs, I am leaning toward buying a Samsung DLP RPTV instead. I can't afford one of the really neat motorized screens with masks for the different aspect ratios, and the thought of having to manually adjust the screen up and down, figure out how to hang different homemade felt masks for various aspect ratios, etc. is more than I think I want to deal with. I like the idea of an RPTV which allows me to just pop in the DVD and watch the movie in its correct aspect ratio without a lot of juggling.

    Does anyone have any advice on the importance of screen masks? Are they really necessary? Do they make that much of a difference? I would have to hang my screen in front of a large, steel entertainment unit and I am worried that the light from a FP would extend beyond the screen and bounce back at me off of the entertainment unit.

    I would also get a 4x3 FP as I watch a lot of old movies and like the idea of a large picture for them, while not getting much less impact when I watch 16x9 movies (at least that seems to be what I have read on other posts).

    Any advice? I really like the idea of a FP, but don't know if it is more of a hassle than it is worth.
     
  2. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    I don't understand what you are talking about. I think the need to mask bars is the same with RPTV as it is with FP - the gray bars don't vanish just because they're on an RPTV, you'll still have them. Or am I misunderstanding something?
    As for how important black mattes are, I'd say they're very important. When I made them for my old 27-inch TV, it made a BIG difference in the picture. Blacks looked a lot nicer, without all that gray light shining above and below the screen image. Even my wife noticed the improvment, and she is nortoriously blind to any of the tweaks I try with our HT.
    I have a FP now though and I haven't done anything about mattes yet, even though I want to. It is trickier when you are talking about an eight foot wide image or so...Depending on how my dedicated HT room ends up, I may end up hinging them, like window shutters, so they can just swing open or closed as need be...

    Also, you write "the thought of having to manually adjust the screen up and down (etc)." With my projector, a Z1, you don't have adjust the screen at all, because you can shift the lens within the projector up or down and left or right (this is NOT the same as keystoning or whatever that is called.) Lens shifting is an invaluable feature to have and I don't think I would buy another FP without it. It makes things much easier when lining up the image with the screen. I can't imagine having to move the whole screen instead...
     
  3. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    There is no more need to make adjustements to a FP than a RPTV. Regardless of aspect ratio you can pop the movie in and watch. After initial setup you won't ever be moving the projector up/down/sideways.

    As Larry pointed out, you're going to have black bars with wide Aspect Ratios wether its FP, or RPTV. I use manual adjusting DIY black felt vertical masking and I can't stand to watch a movie without them now. But this isn't any more necessary that doing it to an RPTV.

    If you have the wall width for a good size 16:9 screen I would go with a 16:9 projector. The 4:3 movie can still be large inside of the 16:9 screen. If you have a more squarish wall area for your screen and you want 4:3 movies to still be large, then the 4:3 would work better for you.

    - Jack
     
  4. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    Yeah they make 'em, and you're right, they are DARN expensive. My DIY screen works great and the cost was
     
  5. Torgny Nilsson

    Torgny Nilsson Second Unit

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    Okay, so I am reconsidering an FP. But which one? I have heard raves about all sorts of them. Any suggestion for a FP for around $2,000 or less, no more than about 35 dB of noise, more than 1000 lumens (it will be in a room with some small north facing windows; no direct light, but some light and no drapes)? I am leaning to a 4:3 projector rather than a 16:9 projector though I only buy 16:9 dvds except for classics that were originally in 4:3.
     
  6. Larry Talbot

    Larry Talbot Second Unit

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    "I am leaning to a 4:3 projector rather than a 16:9 projector though I only buy 16:9 dvds except for classics that were originally in 4:3."

    ??? From your description, it seems like you would come to the opposite conclusion - a 16:9 projector is of course optimal for someone who "only buy(s) 16:9 dvds..." I would never consider a 4:3, even though I watch a lot of documentaries that are 4:3 and play Xbox games that are as well. For me the big thing about having a FP is having your own movie theater, and nothing says movie theater like widescreen...Widescreen movies are the bread and butter of my HT.
     
  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    That is the same reasoning I used in my own HT.
     
  8. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    Lots of nice choices in the $2000 FP range. I compared many and went with the Panasonic L300U. Other good choices are the Sanyo Z1, and the Sony HS10. I didn't like the rainbow effect so I stayed away from DLPs like the Infocus X1. You have your research work cut out for you.

    - Jack
     
  9. Torgny Nilsson

    Torgny Nilsson Second Unit

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    Maybe I am doing the math wrong. I plan on getting about a 6 foot screen. If I go with a 16:9 projector, I get a 6 by 3.38 image with wide-screen dvd, but almost a 6 foot square image with 4:3 material. If I go with a 4:3 projector, I still end up with a 6 by 3.38 widescreen image but only a 4.5 by 3.38 image with 4:3 material. So a 4:3 projector seemed like the better choice even though I am a widescreen fanatic and won't watch a pan and scan movie unless it is the only option, and even then I will bitch up a storm at it not being widescreen. Any thoughts from someone who might know the math better than me?
     
  10. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    If you are getting a 6ft (WIDE) screen with both options then the numbers are as follows....

    In a 16x9 setup, the screen is 6'x3.38'. A movie with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (Toy Story) will display the full 6'x3.38'. A 4x3 image on this setup (Disney Peter Pan) will display as 4.5'x3.38'.

    On a 4x3 setup, the screen will be 6'x4.5'. Toy Story will display as 6'x3.38' and Peter Pan will display as 6'x4.5'.

    In my situation when I was deciding between 4x3 or 16x9, I listed the pros and cons. Basically it came down to my sources and their quality. The higher quality sources... HDef, widescreen dvd were all 16x9 whereas the lower quality sources... TV, VCR were all 4x3. I decided that I would rather blow up to a larger 16x9 image and windowbox the 4x3 image within that, rather than blow up to a larger 4x3 image with lesser quality and letterbox my higher quality 16x9 images within that.
     
  11. Torgny Nilsson

    Torgny Nilsson Second Unit

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    Thanks for the info, but am I missing something? It seems to me that Toy Story would be the same size with either a 16:9 projector or a 4:3 projector, but that an old movie would appear quite a bit smaller on a 16:9 projector than on a 4:3 projector?

    So I'd lose nothing when watching Toy Story on a 4:3 projector, but I'd gain a lot when watching an old movie it. Do I have something wrong, or is there a quality of image issue between the two projectors?
     

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