1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

Whats the best way to prep a wall as a screen?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by JesseW, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. JesseW

    JesseW Extra

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2003
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    soon, i will move into a new house, where ill be using the basement as my showroom. Since the screensize will be larger than joanns fabric offers budget blackout, and im too cheap to buy a good screen [​IMG]...

    I want to prep and paint a wall as a screen instead of using an actual screen. Should the wall be sanded down flat and as smooth as possible? Also, what normal paints would you want to use?

    Thanx!
     
  2. Greg_Hammond

    Greg_Hammond Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You can get an EXCELLENT picture on a painted wall, if you are willing to spend a little time ensuring you do the job properly.

    1. Prepare the surface with care. If working with drywall, make absolutely sure you get every simple and bump smoothed out and sanded flat. If there are -any- dips or rises in the surface, they will translate to points of distortion in the projected image that you will definitely notice. You need a perfectly flat surface to start with, trust me on this.

    2. Prime the surface with a light colored primer. Do not underestimate how much benefit this can provide in terms of uniform texture and brightness.

    From here, you have a choice:

    Bright-white, semi-gloss.
    Grey-tinted, flat.

    The bright-white semi-gloss choice provides the maximum reflectivity for projectors that might be "lumens challenged" or are being stretched to their limit in terms of projection size. If you are using a lower-brightness projector (eg: 800 lumens) and a very large projected image size (eg: 100" diagonal or bigger) -- you might find that you NEED that bright-white semi-gloss surface to produce the gain needed for acceptable image brightness.

    The grey-tinted, flat finish will provide maximum contrast for projectors with lower contrast ratios. You can substantially increase the perceived dynamic range and improve the black level with a LCD or first-generation DLP projector where contrast isn't the best to begin with. The downside to a grey-tinted surface is that gain is reduced, and a projector that might produce a "dark" image on a bright white screen would likely produce an abysmally dark and disappointing image on the grey surface, even if the contrast and black levels are better.

    Lastly, paint a flat black border around the perimeter of your screen. The black will absorb any overscan that you might have, as well as provide a visual contrast improvement for the edges of your projected image. The black border should be approximately 2" wide, though you might prefer a smaller or wider border.

    When going with the grey-tint, pick the lighest grey or silver tint you can find at the paint mixing store. If you need more contrast and have enough brightness to work with, you can always get a darker tint and paint over it later.

    Apply the paint with a good quality roller, with a tight pile, and never re-use a roller or wash it with water and reuse one, as it will bunch the pile and make for an uneven finished surface.

    Greg
     
  3. Jon Bell

    Jon Bell Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2001
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jesse, be prepared for a lot of members of this forum to tell you that you can't get a good picture by projecting directly onto drywall. That being said, I did basically what Greg described above and I have an outstanding picture. I did 2 coats of drywall primer, 2 coats of metallic silver and 2 coats Behr (Home Depot) Silverscreen (that's the color name, it's light gray). I use a Sanyo Z-2 projector, and I have total light control (no windows in the basement).

    Instead of painting the border, you could also use molding to frame the screen to dress it up a little. I used floor molding, about 3" wide, stained the same color as the rest of the wood in the room.

    My all-in cost, not counting the trim (I had it left over) was under $30, and about 2 hours of my time (including drying time between coats). In my opinion, this is a "must try"-- if you hate the picture, just paint over it and buy a screen, and your out of pocket costs are minimal.
     
  4. JoshGivens

    JoshGivens Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2004
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If you can. Use metal studs in that wall to prevent warping.
     
  5. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree with Josh, I actually kinda made a Hybrid wall, I used metal studs only where the screen is going to be since I have other plans on the rest of the wall that require wood backing and so on, click the link below and you can see what I did in my theater that is still under construction
     

Share This Page