My DIY Theater Screen

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
I've pulled a lot of good info from the Home Theater Forum over the years. Time to share a bit of my own.

I've made this little website for my theater. It's not fully complete yet, I'll have a black velvet masking system surrounding the screen. Still, it's pretty good. What will interest you the most is the "Screen Construction" section about how I made my own theater screen. I've put extensive pictures and directions up (it won't be fun for users with slow internet connections!).

I hope it's of some use to you. :)

http://members.shaw.ca/jonnydk2/theater/index.html


Jonny K
 

Jim Mcc

Senior HTF Member
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Feb 11, 2004
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3,757
Location
Oconomowoc, WI.
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Jim
Very nice job. I built one of these also, but used 1X4 clear pine. Now you need to paint those walls and ceiling a dark color!!!!
 

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
Hah, I don't know about the painting. This IS my mom's basement. :) It took a bit of work just convincing her to let me put the screen in. Hehe.

But when the velvet is done it'll look great. I'm going to have curtains on either side and a velvet sheet above and below the screen. The whole back wall will be deep dark black velvet!
 

mustangwally

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
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93
Real Name
wally
that looks real good!!! i am thinking about doing the same and now armed with your info i feel confident i can pull it off. how much did the black out screen cost and where did you purchase it???

again great work!!!
 

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
The black out cloth cost about 15 dollars Canadian. Virtually nothing. :) I bought it at some fabric store, don't recall which. The lumber was maybe $100.
 

mustangwally

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
93
Real Name
wally
thanks for the info! i will be searching for the black out cloth next time i am out shopping!

i guess it would be a good idea to use a hard wood than cedar though, i am hoping to have it up and out of the way when watching tv shows on my 50" RP and use the FP for movies and events, plus the NHL network(that the wife orders every year, the only bad thing about her hockey obsession? she is a senators fan!!
)
 

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
Yes, hard wood is recommended. I didn't realize the cedar would be soft like that, I was just hypnotized by how nice and straight those boards were when I was buying them at the lumber store. :) Pine would probably work well.
 

Jack Gilvey

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 13, 1999
Messages
4,948
Nice! I gave up trying to find really true lumber in a 7' length for my screen, so I wound up using artist's "stretcher bars", the things they use to stretch canvas over. Pre-mitered/biscuited, went pretty easy.
 

MikeGee

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 11, 2004
Messages
292
That certainly looks awesome! It really takes advantage of the wide aspect ratio movies , just a question tho.. why did you opt for a 2.35:1 ratio over a 1.85:1 ratio screen? Do you have any screen shots of anything thats 1.85:1 on that type of screen size?
Major concern i have is the projector setup i'm doing will be displaying all format sizes from 4:3-2.35:1 and i dont know but do you have to constantly adjust the projector every time your media is in a different format?
Thanks alot!
 

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
Well the screen size is actually a bit of a decoy, because the projector isn't powerful enough to fill it. :) Yes, I can stretch the image to fill the screen but then I end up with noticable screen door effect and washed out colors from my normal seating position. When building the screen I decided to overbuild it just in case. I'd hate for it to be too small! The pictures taken on the site are with the entire screen used, but from farther back in the room to reduce the screen door. The screen being oversized for the projector won't matter once the masking is setup, you won't see anything hidden by curtains. :)

Currently I just project a 16:9 size screen as large as it will fit in the center of the screen (no pixels shining off the top or bottom) and leave the outer left and right edges unused. I make no adjustments for different media. As it sits now, 1.85:1 fills the projected size fully, 4:3 fits for height but with less width, and 2.35:1 has small black bars top and bottom (I can zoom this ratio so the black bars are off the screen but don't in the interest of screen door reduction). In the end it's like watching on an HDTV. But that's not the final plan, just temporary for the time being until I have more cash to finish the masking system and get an anamorphic lense.

The reason I chose a 2.35:1 size screen is for two reasons. First, the majority of major movies (expecially big action movies) use that ratio. And second and most important, it allowed me to significantly simplify my design for a masking system. With a screen like this all I need is curtains I can quickly close to mask for a new screen size. I don't have to worry about masking on the top and bottom and adjusting horizontal panels or anything complicated. I can have fixed pieces of black velvet along the top and bottom of the screen, and the curtains do the rest!

Unfortunately there is a drawback. Without the use of an animorphic lense I will need to regularily resize the projector to fit the finished screen. My masked screen will be 2.35:1 ratio and can shrink width wise only. The height will be adjusted for 2.35:1 and when viewing that ratio the extra pixels (the projected black bars) will be masked out above and below. Then when I watch something in 1.85:1 I'll need to zoom the projector out to make the image smaller to fit the top and bottom within my masked area, and then adjust the curtains. For 4:3 I don't need to resize again, just shrink the curtains more. Ideally my setup demands an amamorphic lense so I won't have to zoom in and out when changing between 2.35:1 and other formats. But it's a concession I made for the time being. I don't mind pausing and spending an extra minute just as I start the movie to adjust the screen so it fits perfect.

By constructing my theather this way I can still have a decent constant height setup for now while my cash is slim, at the expense of a little projector adjusting. But in the future when I get a better projector and an animorphic lense then I can really take full advantage of the screen. :)


Jonny K
 

RandyMcc

Agent
Joined
May 25, 2004
Messages
33
The Black out material, is that what it is called? I have looked at our local fabric store and not been able to find anything that seems like it would work well. Currently I am using a white sheet =P.

Good job man, I say throw a coat of paint on that wall when your mom is away. it will improve your picture quality big time.
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
23
Real Name
Dave Rinker
Nice job Jonny. I used part of your DIY screen plans into my own design and came up with the following:

I cut the following pieces of good quality 1x4's to produce a 119" diag. screen 58" X 104" 16:9 format:
(2) 58"
(3) 51"
(4) 48.5"
Plus some extra pieces for added support.

I used unbleached canvas ordered from Hancock Fabrics online. The picture quality is stunning. I could not be happier.

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/7/7a/htf_imgcache_4351.jpeg][/url]

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/8/86/htf_imgcache_4352.jpeg][/url]

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a0/htf_imgcache_4353.jpeg][/url]

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/5/5d/htf_imgcache_4354.jpeg][/url]

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/1/18/htf_imgcache_4355.jpeg][/url]

[url=http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/b/b1/htf_imgcache_4356.jpeg][/url]
 
Joined
Dec 13, 2006
Messages
23
Real Name
Dave Rinker
The canvas was only $4.99 a yard. The screen used 3 yards total.

Canvas - $15
Lumber - $20
Metal Supports - $10
Picture Quality - Priceless
 

Eric L.

Grip
Joined
Apr 24, 2003
Messages
18
Your screens look great! What are the dimensions of your rooms? We are in the process of finishing our basement and I'm not sure what size of screen to build.
Our room is 17' x 14' with 7' ceilings. The couch will be 10' - 12' from the screen and I will be mounting my InFocus SP5000 from the ceiling. Mostly movies, sports, and some TV.

I am planning a DIY screen after seeing this thread! Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
My room is long and skinny with half used for the theater. It's 26 feet long and about 11 feet wide. The projector is mounted roughly in the middle of the room about 10 feet from the screen, and the sitting position is directly under the projector (also about 10 feet from the screen).

Don't worry about the size of screen until your basement is done and the projector is positioned at the distance you want it at. Then, setup the projector and play with it on the wall or on a sheet or something. Based on the projector and the projection distance you'll have to discover what screen size looks the best for you. For instance, with my seating position and projection distance if I enlarge the projector zoom all the way I end up with a picture that is washed out and has bad screen door effect. This projector can't handle that size of image cleanly. Once you've found the image size that looks good then you can jump in and build the screen. For my own screen I calculated that the screen should be something like 40" tall for the best picture. But then I decided to overbuild it a bit just to be safe and made it 46" tall instead. This isn't a problem since I'll be masking the extra screen area and won't see it. But if you aren't doing a fancy masking system then you'll want to get the dimensions right the first time and build the screen exactly to the size you need. :)

Check out this neat calculator that will help you plan the distance and screen size for the projector:

http://www.projectorcentral.com/InFo...ulator-pro.htm

Also consider this viewing distance calculator. You don't want the screen so big that it makes your eyes tired trying to view it all:

http://www.myhometheater.homestead.c...alculator.html


Jonny K :)
 

Antonio S

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
75
Many thanks for posting this Jonny K.
I'm in the biginning stages of my own HT and find your screen construction very usefull.
I wouldn't fret too much about using cedar for the construct. It has aromatic properties that vermin don't like. Very appropriate for me in SW Florida.
Tony...
 

Jonny K

Second Unit
Joined
Dec 18, 2002
Messages
375
Well the cedar certainly made the screen nice and light, the entire thing weighs only 20 lbs. It just doesn't hold screws very tightly so you have to be careful. :)
 

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