I think I figured out my projection surface...

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Cameron Yee, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Well, I'm still dreaming about how to change my set up to front projection. Not planning to see this happen until year's end or as late as next summer though (hopefully when the Sanyo Z2 drops in price for its successor).

    My room, not being a dedicated room per se, has a couple challenges. The first is no surface on which to project. Wall areas are broken up by windows or entry ways, so I can't just shoot on a wall and naturally I can't mount anything.

    The most convenient way to change things over, without having to do too much re-running of speaker wire and rearrangement of components is to turn the viewing area 180 degrees. This solves many problems, but still leaves where to put the screen. I've looked at various portable products like the Da-Lite InstaTheater and Draper RoadWarrior. Each can be had for about 400.00, which is spendy considering the savings had by DIY or even just buying sheets of matte white foamcore or similar product. Again, how to mount or suspend it?

    Well, I ran across this.

    As an amateur photographer it will serve its intended purpose PLUS allow me to hang the material of choice (foamcore or even blackout fabric) from it. It also maintains the portability factor. Living on my own I'd more than likely leave it up 75% of the time because it has a sort of cool industrial quality to it. If I have guests over I can tear it down and have a living room again.

    EDIT: The set up and tear down factor might be seen as an inconvenience to some, but I also have fond memories of my dad breaking out the 8mm projector and screen for the family to watch home movies. I've also always wanted to take advantage of the size of my living room and do some actual studio photography in it. The expense is definitely seen as more of a long term investment.
     
  2. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    It is an option.

    As well, I saw another member have a screen suspended from his ceiling that wa able to be retracted out of the way so that he could see his TV which was behind it. It simply swung up to the ceiling where he was able to secure it on a couple of hooks.
     
  3. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Well, over the last couple weeks I put together my screen and have been trying different projectors on it. The X1 looks great, but I am seeing the color wheel artifacts. I would probably jump on that deal if not for that and the fact I would like to use my Bravo D1 in 1080i, which requires DVI.

    After all is said and done the most expensive piece of the screen equipment was the support system. I looked at the other systems at B&H and went with the Morris brand, which was cheaper by about 150.00! I was a little concerned about the quality, but I looked at their website (www.themorriscompany.com) and it looked like they made good stuff. Having it in my hands, it's definitely a good value - stands feel solid and have a beautiful gloss black finish. It also came with a basic canvas carrying case for everything. Again, I love the fact I can use this for photography.

    For the screen frame I went with 1X2 MDF boards, put together with mitered corners and metal "L" brackets. I initially made a frame for a 96" diagonal, 16:9 screen, but realized if I was going with a rigid surface like matte foamcore or Gatorboard there was no way I could fit it in my Focus ZX5! And I definitely wanted to try a rigid surface first before pursuing fabric. So I cut it down to make a 73" 16:9 screen, which was the size I was looking at with the Draper portable.

    The frame was a cinch compared to finding the screen material. The places carrying large enough foamcore didn't carry matte white, just the conventional semi glossy surface. But after searching on AVS I decided to try the OfficeMax foamcore (brandname of Sturdy Board) as well as Gatorboard, which sounded more durable. I went to a sign shop for the Gatorboard, but it only had one piece of the white and it was pretty dirty. I asked about Sintra, which was another material I'd read about. Turns out it was the material the shop just called "PVC." I decided to go with that instead, seeing it was cheaper by about half, more durable and cleanable! I was a little concerned about the rigidity because my decision about the frame construction was based on having a material that didn't need the frame to stay flat, just for general support and hanging.

    Well, once I got it home and placed I had no concerns. The 3 mil Sintra is flexible, but once fixed to the frame is rigid enough to stay flat. I'll have to see over the long run how it holds up, but so far I think it's great. I'm just running 480p through component and am impressed, so I'm eager to see how the 1080i from the Bravo looks. I'll have to try HD soon too. I'll post some photos soon.
     
  4. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    Sample screen shot. Only manipulation of image was cropping, rotation and resizing. Taken with EOS Digital Rebel.

    EDIT: Pioneer 563A, 480 progressive output via component. InFocus X1 projector.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Looks pretty good. What film is this btw?
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    "Final Flight of the Osiris" from The Animatrix. Even though de facto screen sample shots are from Finding Nemo et al from Pixar, I wanted something a little different. It shows a pretty good range of values...
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    The Sintra is about 1/8" thick so I have to use cardboard shims to tighten things up between the mirror clips. I was trying to figure out how to hook the frame to the crossbar, but realized zip ties would do the trick.

    [​IMG]
    Screen in action.

    This will not be the ultimate position of the screen. It's positioned just for convenience.
     

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