Need Opinions re: DIY Backlit Poster Marquee

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jay Mitchosky, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Hey All

    I just received this poster frame from HTmarket.com. Looks very slick with the ability to quickly swap posters (the front frame sections are spring loaded and open outwards). The easy installation is to simply mount the frame directly to the wall.

    I had another idea to mount it forward of the wall with 3/4" wood strips to accommodate a string of rope lights underneath the perimeter. Doing a test it provides a really nice glow that outlines the frame. The frame itself does not come with a backboard - your wall acts as the poster surface. With my idea with the strips I would also need to mount a sheet of MDF for the backboard.

    Which got me thinking, it's a trivial additional step to use a translucent white plastic sheet in lieu of the MDF and create a custom backlit marquee. I figure I would just paint the wall behind white and run rope light backand forth like a radiator grille (which would then then continue to run underneath the perimeter of the frame to get that glow).

    Any opinions on this method? My immediate concern is safety with the rather dense rope light boxed against the wall. Would it be advised to drill air holes in the wood strips that wood form the "box" to the frame? Also, I was originally thinking gloss white for maximum reflectiveness. Would that yield too many hot spots, and would a matte or satin white make a better reflective background?
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Jay:

    Sounds like a cool idea. I don't think it would hurt any to put holes in the sides of the box frame. I would think that I would paint the inside of the box black so that the majority of the light is "pushed" out the front of the box and through the poster. You could build two one see which one gives you the best overall look.

    Make sure you get the type of one sheet that allows you to put a light behind it. I forget what they call that type but they are different than a regular poster.
     
  3. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    It's not going to be a free standing box but built right against the wall. Problem with black as a background is that it leaves the lights as the sole source of illumination. A white background is reflective and so a more diffuse light is provided.

    I've also started wondering if the type of plastic cover that comes with the frame will warp from the heat (not a lot of heat, but certainly more than the frame's intended application of being mounted directly to a wall). I'll have to shoot HTmarket an e-mail.

    Re: the posters you're correct. You want double sided reverse prints to maximize the impact of backlighting. Standard single sided posters tend to get washed out when lit from behind. Most of my posters are reverse print so that won't be a problem.
     
  4. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Well, doing a very rudimentary test run I don't think this solution will work for a couple of reasons. First, the individual lamps in the rope light act as point sources and are unlikely to be diffused enough even with a sheet of translucent white plexiglass. Secondly, even a concentrated coil of rope light gives off relatively little illumination. The poster (Fellowship of the Ring in my test) takes on a sickly glow.

    I think I'll expand the project a bit and cut into the wall to create a recessed lightbox. Instead of rope I would use fluorescent lighting with this as a guide. I had always planned on buying a backlit box and recessing it in the wall anyway so this is a natural extension. I'll basically cut away the drywall and studs to the necessary dimension (the wall is non-load bearing). Add some additional framing to close off the section for the lightbox and wire it up with a three or four light ballast. Electrical is already in place, which I would use to power the fluorescent backlights and perimeter rope lights. In the interim I'll probably just set up the frame with a perimeter light.
     
  5. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Sounds like a plan to me.
     
  6. John Titan

    John Titan Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay

    Post some pics when your done would love to see how it turns out.
     
  7. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I know I keep harping about this stuff.. but, I really think it's cool. And the website says: "..backlit signs without light boxes"

    http://lighttape.com
     
  8. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Dave, that is some of the coolest stuff I have ever seen. Looking at their site I can see two possible applications for this project:

    1) Order a custom LightPanel to use as the backboard for the frame. It would mount directly to the sub-frame I just installed that has the perimeter rope lighting.

    2) Order a custom strip of LightTape at 27" wide (it's available up to 30") and 40" long (available up to like 200' or something crazy like that). This is turn would mount directly to the MDF backboard I already have in place, and the poster frame and poster would sit directly on top of it.

    I'm waiting to hear back from ElectroLuminX regarding pricing and how it will work into my plan. Not sure if their white is truly white or more of a sickish purple like LED Christmas lights. Also not sure if there would be adequate light output for a poster marquee (although looking at their signage gallery this is unlikely to be a challenge).
     
  9. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Jay:

    I have seen the tape used on Monster House and it looked really cool. It is pricey though.
     
  10. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    No doubt! I received a quote back for a light panel and it rang in at around US$800 (30" x 43"). Wow. Waiting to hear back re: a 27" x 40" strip of LightTape to simply mount against the existing backboard.
     
  11. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I'm curious to see how this whole project will turn out...I've considered doing the same thing so I'll let you iron out the kinks first [​IMG]
     

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