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Screen question (1 Viewer)

Collin.R

Grip
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
19
I am in a quandry. I want to install a 110" screen using an Epson 1080P projector. I have a 7" ceiling and the room will be only 9.5' wide. I want to install the projector about 13 - 14' back. The room is totally dark. I am installing a 7.1 audio system which actually has no bearing on my question; but what I am told by a friend that the further back I go, the foot/lamberts factor lessens, which would mean that my picture would not be as bright if I try to run the projector in economy mode. With this possibility in mind, what scrren should I buy. Due to budgetry restraints I find it difficult to pay the extra bucks to buy the Da-Lite screen. Oh, my friend tells me that I should buy a high gain screen like a 2.5. I see that Draper promotes a .8 gain to offset the "new" high contrast projectors. I see that Grandview are a lot cheaper; but actual experience tells me that I would not get a very clear picture from the Grandview. What about the Optoma Grey Wolf screens with a 1.8 gain for a whole lot less money. I am told, by a retailer, that Grey Wolf screens are not washable and are cheap "junk from China".

Who do I believe and what would be the best "bang for my buck"

If one of you experts that are continual contributors to this forum could advise me accordingly, I would so much appreciate it.

Collin
Vernon, BC
Canada
 

Collin.R

Grip
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
19
I just looked at the Carada web site. Their screens are a lot cheaper. Which screen surface (Gain) should I select?

Collin
Vernon, BC
Canada
 

Robert_J

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DIY with blackout cloth. I spent a total of $75 on my 103" screen and couldn't be happier. I also built it where I can remove the border and paint the fabric in case I want to experiment with different colors. If I don't like it, I'm out $10 worth of fabric and a couple of hours.

You also mentioned washable fabric. Why? My screen has been up for almost 3 years and looks just as white as the day I hung it.

-Robert
 

Robert_J

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Blackout cloth is a common name for fabric that lines curtains and blocks 100% of the light. It is a bright, white cloth with a white, rubber backing that gives it a solid look. It has been used in DIY home theater screens since I joined this forum. I can't go to photobucket but if you look in the HT Projects section for my posts about screens, you will find a link to pictures of my screen.

If you want a gray screen, there are numerous paint formulas that you can try. If you want more gain, again more paint formulas with different additives. Besides cloth, you can make a screen as easy as adding a border to your existing wall and painting it, using 4x8 sheets of MDF, hardboard, plastic sheeting (Parkland Plastics), etc.

There are dozens of guys at AVS and HT Shack who are dedicated to finding the best DIY screen (paint and material). Are they better than a retail screen? I don't remember reading about any comparisions but you can see their test results with color meters, etc. These guys are just as hard core as the DIY speaker and sub builders who tweak the last little bit of performance from a design.

Even my simple DIY screen to me looks better than anything I saw at Magnolia Home Theater and some local stores in the Memphis area. There was no way I was willing to pay retail when I could at least test a DIY screen.

-Robert
 

Jim Mcc

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Your friend is right. For max. light output, you want to keep the projector as close to screen as possible. When you say the room is "totally dark", do you mean no lights will be on, or the colors scheme is very dark? The color of room(especially ceiling) will determine what color screen you should use. I'm also a big fan of DIY screens. I painted a sheet of 1/2" MDF for my screen, and it works great. If you insist on buying a screen, definitely read the article posted today at Projectorcentral.com(they tested screens under $500).
 

Mark-P

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I'm with Robert_J on this. I have a DIY blackout cloth screen that is 105" wide. I chose 2.35:1 for my screen aspect ratio, so only 'scope movies use the full width. My Benq PE7700 projector has a 250W bulb and in eco mode it is plenty bright even at that size. I once used a smaller high-gain screen but found I didn't like it because the black levels weren't as deep as they are with a non-reflective screen.
 

Collin.R

Grip
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
19
Yes, the room will be totally dark. I have not yet painted the room as I am still in prewire stage. Most likely be a white ceiling unless advised otherwise.
I am using small baseboard led lights and wall sconces. The sconces will be controlled by a Lutron 3 stage dim to off through my Harmony remote. I am a little apprehensive about building my own screen as I am not sure that I can properly install the blackout cloth onto a frame without causing wrinkles, etc.

I favor the Carada Brilliant white with a 1.4 gain. $900 landed at my door (plus taxes)

Thanks for your reply,

Collin
 

Robert_J

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Robert
Stretch, staple, stretch, staple. It's not rocket science. But if you are one of those guys that can't work a screwdriver, then go right ahead and spend money that would give you better value spent on speakers or a sub.

Me in front of my screen frame. I'm making sure that it hangs level.


It looks like a close-up of my speaker but you can see the screen as well as the border behind it. I used fluted door casing for the border. Painted flat black. Total construction time was a weekend and most of that was waiting on the paint to dry.


Finally, a picture of the corner of the screen. I used decorative molding pieces in each corner. It was much easier to use them than try 45 degree angle cuts. Ignore the DIY sub in the test box.


-Robert
 

Jim Mcc

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Collin, a white ceiling is the absolute worst color you can choose for a room with a projector. You need to paint it as dark as possible in a flat finish.
 

Robert_J

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As you can see in the pictures, gray ceiling with gray trim. It was a compromise with the wife. I wanted flat black. Still, with the lights off, there is no reflection that I can see coming from the ceiling.

-Robert
 

Ennsio

Second Unit
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Feb 22, 2007
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Chris
I understand your worry about not being able to attach cloth to a frame without having wrinkles, but I can tell you from recent experience that it is easily doable if you have someone else helping you.

My brother and I just made a DIY 100" screen using blackout cloth and 1x4 maple boards, based on advice from Robert and others on this forum. The material was folded and had big creases in it so I ironed it before we mounted it to the frame, as I thought those creases would still be there when we stapled it to the wood if I did not. After ironing, those creases were still there, but once the fabric was stretched across the frame and stapled, no creases whatsoever. Perfectly flat and looked like a professional screen.
 

Leo Kerr

Screenwriter
Joined
May 10, 1999
Messages
1,698
And I always drag out my old screen experience. Mine is a loose layer of black "terry" behind the frame, and a taunt layer of gray 100% cotton, stretched over a frame of PVC and iron pipe. (Iron on the top, PVC remaining sides.) I rolled the fabric around the sides, and periodically tightened it up as the fabric relaxed.

I did it that way 'cause I needed an acoustically transparent AND "disposable" screen - I don't have the advantage of a dedicated HT space, and it shares with the primary computer gaming space. (Screen hangs directly over the keyboard.)

If you're not trying to do acoustically transparent, I'd recommend the painted wall, OR the painted MDF or even a separate sheet of sheetrock mounted on the wall. Trim it up with a little molding, or even some fancy curtain arrangement, it'll look nice.

Back to screen gain, remember that the higher the gain ( >1 ) the more likely it is to hot-spot, and the more on-angle you need to be. The closer you are to a bigger screen, the more likely this'll be an issue.

Leo
 

Collin.R

Grip
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
19
Robert: O.k., o.k., already! I am going to pursue the idea of a DIY screen.

What kind of material do I use for the frame. 1 x 4? We don't have maple out west; but we do have birch as a hardwood. Would spruce or fir, which is a softwood, do? Robert, did you mount the frame on the wall first and then attach the screen cloth to the frame? I will be checking with a local fabric shop to see about the black-out cloth.

Thanks for the persuasive help!

Collin
 

Gregg Loewen

Founder, Professional Video Alliance
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mmmm...the guy has installing a 3K ish projector...go to Carada and buy something that will set you back about $600. YOU WILL HAVE NO EFFORT AND THE DIFFERENCE WILL BE STAGGERING.
 

Robert_J

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Mississippi
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Robert
I think I used 1x3 (yes and odd size) poplar from Lowes. But anything that is straight and relatively stiff will work. I used metal "L" brackets to hold the corners together and metal "T" brackets for the braces. So that the braces didn't touch the back side of the screen fabric, I put a couple of tiny washers under the "T" brace that was attached to the outside part of the frame. The moved the brace back from the screen material a few mm.

Or better yet, follow these guides:
How-To: Make a custom projector screen - Engadget
Projector Specifications Australia
Insider Secrets: DIY home theater - CNET reviews

-Robert
 

Brent_S

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 5, 2000
Messages
472
Another DIY option if you need some positive gain. Wilsonart DesignerWhite laminate. Measured at 1.24 gain. A 5'x8' sheet would allow a 110" screen. I've never seen it officially measured, but BOC is considered to have a gain of 1.0 or just under. Size might be an issue too...I think 54" wide is the limit for readily available BOC, IIRC and 54" is the image height needed for 110" 16:9 diagonal.

-Brent
 

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