What about the projection screen?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Eric_L, Nov 2, 2002.

  1. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    I am fairly well convinced that I am going to buy a NEC LT260 - it seems like it'll do a suitable job. I am wondering how important a projection screen is. Should I spend a thousand or more on a screen or just mount a smooth flat-white surface on the wall to project on? (I am OK with a permanent screen. God bless my better half!)

    My room is not a dedicated theater room. There is ambient light - enough to read a newspaper by - during the daytime. No sun shines directly on any walls. The projector is to be ceiling mounted and 16' from the wall. The room dimensions are 23' X 23' with the back of the room open to the rest of the house. The primary seating is 16' from the wall. I will be viewing mostly at night. The projector is 4:3 ratio. I am sure to be watching widescreen dvd mostly. (and superbowl once a year)

    I'd rather not spend $1000+++
    Does anyone have any advice?
     
  2. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    With the NEC LT260, most people are still going to benefit from a gray based screen. Your cheapest (good) option is probably to go to GooSystems and get some of their paint, and make your own screen. I got a sample, and I have to say, I'm definitely impressed. You'll probably spend about $200 or so total including all materials. The second cheapest is probably a dalite high contrast cinema vision. I'd suggest HC Damat, but the viewing angles are too wide for a room with ambient light (you want a screen that rejects off axis light). Stewart Filmscreen's Firehawk will reject the most ambient light, and will give you deep blacks, however it's the most expensive.

    From 16' away, you're going to want a screen that's 121" WIDE for the ideal THX viewing angle of 36 degrees. This means, with a 4:3 ratio, a screen of 151.3" diagonal (138.9 for 16:9). That could get pretty expensive with a firehawk.

    Of course, you may be happier with a smaller screen. Only your eyes can tell you that (and it will depend on your viewing material). DVD's are good, and HDTV's better.
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Neil Joseph
    A screen is just as important as the projector, and matching a projector with a suitable screen for a certain environment is equally important. A grey screen like the Grayhawk or the Silverhawk from Stewart is about as good as you can get but expect to pay good $$ for one. This is the option that I ended up going with and I don't regret it.
     
  4. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the info, there is so little info out there about selecting a viewing surface. I am still a bit confused over some of the 'screen-speak'. In a room with a fair amount of lighting, and a projector with 2100 lumens, do I want a hi gain or a low gain surface?
    Also, for anyone reading along, I have checked a few prices:
    Screen Goo: $125for 1 gal ea. of top and under coats. That looks like enough to do 10' wide screen.
    Owning a spray gun is better than rollers, and I own one.
    They offer a grey color, is that better than doing a dalite? (presuming I paint it well)
    Dalite High Contrast Da-mat:$701 ritzav.com (120" wide)
    Dalite High Contrast Cinema Vision: $797 (120" wide) Ritzav.com
    I found a Stewart Luxus Greyhawk 123" HDTV screen online for only $2287 . And that's only the DIAGONAL measurement. Can't find a larger one listed anywhere.
    So there is a fair amound of spread in these costs. Sigh, I had hoped this part would be easier than picking the projector. What ever happened to the good old days of making shadow puppets by the campfire???
     
  5. Gabriel_Lam

    Gabriel_Lam Screenwriter

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    Human eyes tend to perceive brightness on a logarithmic scale. Because of this, I wouldn't worry too-too much about your screen being too bright (high gain). Ideally, with a bright projector like that on a screen of roughly that size, you want a low gain screen (below 1.0). However, low gain screens tend to NOT reject ambient lighting well. Because your room will have incomplete ambient lighting control, I would not suggest a really wide angle screen like the Stewart Grayhawk UNLESS you really need it (your room seating requires you to have high angles). I love the Grayhawk (I have one myself), but for your specific case, it may not be the best choice.
    I wish I had a Firehawk sample to show you (and better photographic skills). However, here's a taste.
    Here's my screen. It's an 80" diagonal screen of Grayhawk material. The patch at the upper left is Dalite High Contrast Da-Mat. The patch to the right of that is ScreenGoo Digital Gray. The projector driving it is a Proxima DP8000 with 3000 ANSI lumens. Sorry about the picture material in these picts, I just wanted to throw a few picts up for you to compare. It's Comedy Central, standard NTSC video, very low quality. The camera is a low end Nikon Coolpix 775.
    [​IMG]
    Here's a picture in the dark, from a 50-55% angle:
    [​IMG]
    Here's a picture of one of the recessed lights. There are 5 in the room, and they're pretty bright. I have them set pretty far down too (I need to raise them into higher into the cans so that they don't throw so much of the light on the screen).
    [​IMG]
    Here's a picture from the side, again, 50-55% angle, with all of the lights on full blast.
    [​IMG]
    From my experience, I think the ScreenGoo is better than the Dalite, yes. The ScreenGoo is better for your application than the Grayhawk too. However, I'm not sure if it can beat out the Firehawk with your level of ambient light.
     
  6. Eric_L

    Eric_L Screenwriter

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    Thanks SOOOO much for the illustrations!!! 8)

    That is real helpful. I am surprized that you think the screen goo is better than the dalite cinema. I had just convinced myself that I have one less do-it-yourself project around the house...

    I won't be needing too wide of a view angle. Most seating is directly in front. The ambient light is all sunlight, though none is direct. In the center of the room is a cupola (kinda like a second story with no floor) that is 10x10 with small windows at the top. That is the source of most of the light.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to post some illustrations. There is very little info anywhere re: screens that the average NOOB can make any sense of.

    Though I'd love to get the firehawk also, I'm afraid the better half of me would not be as pleased as I would. That is why I am trying to kep it below $1000.

    Thanks
     

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