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View Poll Results: Which Sample Panel Is The Black Widow (AAA)
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post #1 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Time for a little fun!


In these photographs there are two sample panels.

One is the official Black Widow (AAA) made with Valspar
Ultra Premium Flat Enamel and Auto-Air Aluminum Base "Fine".

The other panel is the Behr 1850 Reference Gray with 25%
Minwax Clear Satin Polycrylic added to boost the sheen.

It was in the afternoon, so there was some light leakage in the room.
I had the 15 watt ambient light bulb turned on.
The projector was in it's best cinema mode.

The photographs were down sized to 1024 x 768 using Adobe PhotoShop.
This was in order to put everyone on a level playing field.

Let the Show Begin!


Click here to view the entire photo set as a slide show.

OR

Click here to view the entire photo album on Photobucket.

OR

If you really want to see the photos unaltered then click here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

NOTE: If you do not know what to look for to identify which panel is the Black Widow then simply vote for the one you think produces the best images. If you are unsure as to which panel is the better performer, then just vote "unsure".

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post #2 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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post #4 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
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post #5 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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post #6 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 12:26 PM
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Well I didn't vote but I will give my observations. I really don't care about AL tolerance but I do care about getting the BEST image possible in my HT. If that means going to a gray screen then so be it. So I will not vote for which one is better.

In your pictures Todd, remind you that my monitor is calibrated to RGB with Spyder and Adobe Photoshop CS3, I COULD NOT tell a difference between the two.

I then started to get frustrated that you didn't use your required (said in jest) sample photos. Most of those photos, until the last post, were not good represenatives for screen comparison. I think maybe only one or two had enough color/flesh/light/dark in the same area, but on two different paints, to gather a reasonable conclusion. Todd, those photos are horrible, even the untouched ones. Sorry, but I had to say that.

The last post had some very good symetrical screen shots to compare. I still COULD NOT tell a difference. If that's the point you're trying to prove (you usually have a point to prove), then it worked for me.

BTW, what is that last movie with the rather hot women dressed up all MidEvil and stuff.

Rob

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post #7 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highside View Post

Well I didn't vote but I will give my observations. I really don't care about AL tolerance but I do care about getting the BEST image possible in my HT. If that means going to a gray screen then so be it. So I will not vote for which one is better.

In your pictures Todd, remind you that my monitor is calibrated to RGB with Spyder and Adobe Photoshop CS3, I COULD NOT tell a difference between the two.

I then started to get frustrated that you didn't use your required (said in jest) sample photos. Most of those photos, until the last post, were not good represenatives for screen comparison. I think maybe only one or two had enough color/flesh/light/dark in the same area, but on two different paints, to gather a reasonable conclusion. Todd, those photos are horrible, even the untouched ones. Sorry, but I had to say that.
I'm not sure which photos you are talking about when you say "those photos are horrible" or the comparison photos.
The last post had some very good symetrical screen shots to compare. I still COULD NOT tell a difference. If that's the point you're trying to prove (you usually have a point to prove), then it worked for me.

BTW, what is that last movie with the rather hot women dressed up all MidEvil and stuff.

Rob

These are all scenes from In the Name of The King.

I really did not have a point. It has been said repeatedly that I have to watch a movie with the sample panel to really appreciate the difference between Black Widow and a simple OTS paint or even one with a bit of poly added. I have a fairly light colored screen so I had to put something beside the Black Widow to use as a reference.

I was having trouble seeing any difference. Watching a movie that is. Even with all the dark scenes in this movie. I decided to take some screen shots so I could sample the images with ColorPic to see if maybe it is just my old eyes that were at fault. I still could not see much difference except in one photo but it is almost completely dark so I don't really know if I would call it a scene.

I was wishing there was someone else here to get an opinion from and then it occurred to me that everyone could have a look and tell me what they see.

Isn't the internet grand!

P.S. It is very difficult and time consuming to find good symmetrical scenes in a movie. I did my best, but it is so much easier to use the split & mirrored images that I setup specifically for that purpose.
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post #8 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 05:27 PM
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Can't pick a winner from these. How about some shots with color bars?

I firmly believe there is a "depth" element that is impossible to show with screenshots, too. Any visual impressions? What's your preference?

Garry
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post #9 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 06:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prof55 View Post

Can't pick a winner from these. How about some shots with color bars?

I firmly believe there is a "depth" element that is impossible to show with screenshots, too. Any visual impressions? What's your preference?

Garry

I really could not tell them apart except in almost all black scenes. One is slightly darker. In some very bright panning scenes the aluminum is visible but only if you are really looking for it.

I'm not sure what you mean by depth. If you mean there is a sort of 3 dimension impression of the image, "like looking out an open window" as Bud puts it, I would say that both were quite transparent in that way. This sort of invisible screen is what I have come to crave more than anything I might characterize as "pop". In that respect I think the Black Widow mix is superior to other mixes I have tried that had high concentrations of mica flakes. Those sort of screen surfaces have a sort of shimmering effect to them when there is bright light on them. I think this may be the result of the refraction from the mica flakes. It is kinda cool looking at first but in the end I found it distracting when watching a movie.
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post #10 of 32 Old 04-19-2008, 09:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

Quote:


I'm not sure which photos you are talking about when you say "those photos are horrible" or the comparison photos.

Well IMHO many of those pictures were very grainy and blurry. And aside from that, you deviated from the mirrored shots. But I do understand your purpose for trying actually movies scenes.

Quote:


I was having trouble seeing any difference.

As was I.

Quote:


P.S. It is very difficult and time consuming to find good symmetrical scenes in a movie. I did my best, but it is so much easier to use the split & mirrored images that I setup specifically for that purpose

This is where I have been a proponent of stacking the samples. Sunlight or the Director's lighting for a scene is never directly overhead and right behind the camera if you get my drift. So once again, IMO, often side by sides never do both samples justice. If you notice in most movies where peoples faces are shown mostly head on, one side of the faces is darker than the other....but often, the individual side is more or less consistent in tones and lighting. Hence the possibility of using a stacked formation for actual movies.

Rob

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post #11 of 32 Old 04-20-2008, 01:04 PM
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Can I vote for the background screen? I like that the best.

Meow.
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post #12 of 32 Old 04-20-2008, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benven View Post

Can I vote for the background screen? I like that the best.

I agree the background screen is more to my liking also. It is just the Behr 4850 tinted half of what the Reference Gray was for the BW Clones thread. I have produced an aluminum paint mix based on Black Widow that is almost identical in shade. It is 3:1:3 Behr 4850 (Bermuda Beige), Black Jack Aluminum Paint, and Behr 4850 untinted. Of course I have no idea how neutral it is. Funny thing is the blacks may be better on the simple Behr 4850 tinted light gray. I'll have to do some proper comparison shots.
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post #13 of 32 Old 04-20-2008, 01:52 PM
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Nice post. I was debating painting BW over my N8 gray w/ pearl-poly topcoat. But having seen these, I'll just leave well enough alone and keep enjoying my movies.

Oh, I voted "unsure".

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post #14 of 32 Old 04-20-2008, 06:24 PM
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post #15 of 32 Old 04-21-2008, 07:50 AM
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I got a little confused because if I couldn't figure out what one was BW and then you said if you are having trouble pick the one that looks best and call it BW. I was going to call the best one the poly. Hmmmm

Anyway I couldn't tell and like you said they are both to dark for your projector actually. One thing I have always found interesting about going gray was that a very slight amount of gray could give an outstanding improvement and the steps between shades are very slight. Too dark of course is worse than too light IMO. I tried to do a stepped approach and error on the side of light. that was a lot of my questions early on with the BW it looked to dark for the vast number of peoples setups. Small screens or bright projectors being the exception to the rule.

On a side note I blew my bulb a couple weeks back and ordered a new one last night and I should have it in 4 or 5 days. I'm actually excited to look at the observations again I made 2 years ago when selecting my screen gray and gain. Over those two years I have gained a lot of insight into the selection process. So it will be interesting how my eyes now view the fresh bulb. My plan was to always have room to add brightness as the bulb dimmed but at the time it blew I was still a long way from max brightness. So based on that maybe I could have went a little darker in the beginning with the gray. I do remember the first 200 hours being pretty white hot and some real color popping. So I might have to wait for that to pass before really taking a good look at where I'm at.


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post #16 of 32 Old 04-21-2008, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frorule View Post

Nice post. I was debating painting BW over my N8 gray w/ pearl-poly topcoat. But having seen these, I'll just leave well enough alone and keep enjoying my movies.

Oh, I voted "unsure".

Depending on what you used for the N8 base coat, your screen is probably not as neutral as it should be. The pearl clear coat has a tendency to cause a red push if the base is neutral to begin with.



In this spectral reflectance curve of a pearl clear coat over a very neutral Winter Mist base, you can see the upward shift for the yellow-orange-red range of wavelengths.

This could be compensated for by using a base paint with a blue push. Then the net result would be something closer to a neutral shade. To my knowledge there has been no effort to figure out how to properly compensate for the poly pearl top coat. It is an inherently flawed solution due to the possible variation in pearl clear coat thickness. The thickness will effect the amount of base layer compensation required.

The selection of ingredients that were used in the now dead FnEasy/EasyFlex solutions with pearl top coats were not as clear as they should be.

I did try a pearl clear coat made up of Valspar Clear Protector Flat and Liquitex Iridescent Medium in a 4:1 mix ratio. It actually worked too well. Amazingly high gain on axis but a somewhat restricted viewing cone.

In the past I had several people suggest adding a tiny amount of base paint to the pearl clear coat. I tried 5% base but that was too much. Based on some experimenting I did trying to make a frosting type mix for application over a first surface mirror, I suspect 1% or 2% is what I should have tried. You want just enough of the neutral gray particles in the clear coat to mute and disperse the extreme reflectivity of the iridescent flakes.

In the end I lost interest because I had finally reached the conclusions that many old timers had expressed. It just gray paint with some sheen. That conclusion has only been reinforced by my recent investigations of the Black Widow mixes.


IMHO . . .

For any DIY screen paint solution there are four basic attributes to strive for. The first is that the color or lack there of should be as neutral as possible. Thanks to the efforts of wbassett and the very useful tool, EasyRGB, we pretty much have that one licked. You also want to be able to vary the shade to suite the projector and target environment. The ability to control the sheen is how we determine how much light returns to the viewing zone instead of being wasted. Finally we need to be able to control the surface texture. The only texture that is good is texture that is at least twice as dense as the pixel grid. For a 1080p projector that can be very small. On an 80" screen the pixels are only 0.075" in size. Therefore we would want a texture that is half that at about 0.037" for one complete hill and valley. In terms of painter's canvas that is a thread count of at the very least 37 threads per inch. I would suggest that an even higher density would be desirable, so 100 tpi would be better. If painting a smooth substrate then no texture is the best policy. Therefore more effort in applying a smooth finish should be put forth. That either requires spray painting or using rolling techniques such as the two roller method.

So here is my list of desireable attributes for a DIY screen paint:
  1. Neutral or Very Near Neutral
  2. Variable & Controlled Shade
  3. Variable & Controlled Sheen
  4. Very Smooth Finish OR Very Controlled Texture

We actually have this now but it is not very exotic or exciting.

The one area that we don't seem to have a great deal of understanding of is sheen. Sheen may not be the right word. What I am talking about is the surfaces degree of direct reflection. Someone posted a very good diagram that showed a surface with light vectors for the direct reflecting component and the dispersed light. It is the balance between these two forms of reflection and the range of angles over which this balance can be maintained that everyone is trying to control. Controlling the gloss and adding reflective particles is simply different ways to increase the direct reflection. Adding controlled texture or being able to control the orientation of reflective particles is all about controlling the range of angles over which we benefit from the added direct reflection.

As is often the case in many fields of technological endeavor, the simplest, least exotic solution often turns out to be the better choice in the long run. In the case of DIY Screen Paint Solutions, that would be a paint that can be tinted to varying shades of neutral or near neutral gray, the sheen of which can be controlled through the addition of satin polyurethane, and through the use of simple but effective application methods will result is a very smooth finish. In fact the use of satin polyurethane to control sheen also enhances the leveling of the paint as well as producing a more washable surface. This durability and wash-ability may be a far more desirable attribute than most people consider at first.

I am not apposed to more complex mixes like Black Widow but there is a trade off. In fact I just painted one of my retractable screens with a Black Widow (like) screen paint. My first though was "I hope it never gets dirty". It is a rough surface that would snag fibers from any kind of cloth or even a sponge if you tried to clean it. This is not such a big deal with a retractable screen, but a fixed screen is always available for grubby fingers and food projectiles to find.

Back to the boring solution. Since we can control both the shade and the sheen how do we determine what shade and what sheen will be optimum in out situation. I think Bud has determined a pretty fool proof way to determine the ideal sheen for any given situation. Lay down a base then start applying successive paint poly top coats until it starts to hot spot. Then back off one step and apply one or two final coats. Determining the ideal shade is a little more difficult. There are many variables involved in the choice of shade, not the least of which is personal preference. On the positive side there really is not an infinite number of shades to deal with.

There really is only white, light gray (N9), medium gray (N8.5), dark gray (N8), and extra dark gray (N7.5). Many of today's much brighter projectors can work very well with the extra dark gray as we have seen with the Black Widow screen shots.

The bottom line for me, is that it is all just gray paint and we know how to make it neutral, control the shade, control the sheen, and control or minimize unwanted texture. Looking back over the last two years or so, I would say all this was known. The one area where significant accomplishment has taken place is the understanding and insistence on neutrality. That thanks to the efforts of wbassett of course. Now that we all know how to identify neutral gray tints and both Lowes and Home Depot can mix them up for us from a computer database, this is all getting quite simple. The one thing that has been somewhat overlooked is the work that Bud has done with simple sheen control. "Control" being the optimum word here. Back to the bottom line for me, you can get everything you need to make an optimal painted screen from Home Depot or Lowes. YOU can select the shade of gray you want, or white, and you can dial in the sheen that will maximize the contrast. You can also produce a very smooth surface that is also quite durable and washable. Most important this approach will result in a screen that is invisible. Like an open window into another world created by the makers of great movies.
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post #17 of 32 Old 04-21-2008, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post


IMHO . . .

For any DIY screen paint solution there are four basic attributes to strive for. The first is that the color or lack there of should be as neutral as possible. Thanks to the efforts of wbassett and the very useful tool, EasyRGB, we pretty much have that one licked. You also want to be able to vary the shade to suite the projector and target environment. The ability to control the sheen is how we determine how much light returns to the viewing zone instead of being wasted. Finally we need to be able to control the surface texture. The only texture that is good is texture that is at least twice as dense as the pixel grid. For a 1080p projector that can be very small. On an 80" screen the pixels are only 0.075" in size. Therefore we would want a texture that is half that at about 0.037" for one complete hill and valley. In terms of painter's canvas that is a thread count of at the very least 37 threads per inch. I would suggest that an even higher density would be desirable, so 100 tpi would be better. If painting a smooth substrate then no texture is the best policy. Therefore more effort in applying a smooth finish should be put forth. That either requires spray painting or using rolling techniques such as the two roller method.

So here is my list of desireable attributes for a DIY screen paint:
  1. Neutral or Very Near Neutral
  2. Variable & Controlled Shade
  3. Variable & Controlled Sheen
  4. Very Smooth Finish OR Very Controlled Texture

We actually have this now but it is not very exotic or exciting.

The one area that we don't seem to have a great deal of understanding of is sheen. Sheen may not be the right word. What I am talking about is the surfaces degree of direct reflection. Someone posted a very good diagram that showed a surface with light vectors for the direct reflecting component and the dispersed light. It is the balance between these two forms of reflection and the range of angles over which this balance can be maintained that everyone is trying to control. Controlling the gloss and adding reflective particles is simply different ways to increase the direct reflection. Adding controlled texture or being able to control the orientation of reflective particles is all about controlling the range of angles over which we benefit from the added direct reflection.

As is often the case in many fields of technological endeavor, the simplest, least exotic solution often turns out to be the better choice in the long run. In the case of DIY Screen Paint Solutions, that would be a paint that can be tinted to varying shades of neutral or near neutral gray, the sheen of which can be controlled through the addition of satin polyurethane, and through the use of simple but effective application methods will result is a very smooth finish. In fact the use of satin polyurethane to control sheen also enhances the leveling of the paint as well as producing a more washable surface. This durability and wash-ability may be a far more desirable attribute than most people consider at first.

I am not apposed to more complex mixes like Black Widow but there is a trade off. In fact I just painted one of my retractable screens with a Black Widow (like) screen paint. My first though was "I hope it never gets dirty". It is a rough surface that would snag fibers from any kind of cloth or even a sponge if you tried to clean it. This is not such a big deal with a retractable screen, but a fixed screen is always available for grubby fingers and food projectiles to find.

Back to the boring solution. Since we can control both the shade and the sheen how do we determine what shade and what sheen will be optimum in out situation. I think Bud has determined a pretty fool proof way to determine the ideal sheen for any given situation. Lay down a base then start applying successive paint poly top coats until it starts to hot spot. Then back off one step and apply one or two final coats. Determining the ideal shade is a little more difficult. There are many variables involved in the choice of shade, not the least of which is personal preference. On the positive side there really is not an infinite number of shades to deal with.

There really is only white, light gray (N9), medium gray (N8.5), dark gray (N8), and extra dark gray (N7.5). Many of today's much brighter projectors can work very well with the extra dark gray as we have seen with the Black Widow screen shots.

The bottom line for me, is that it is all just gray paint and we know how to make it neutral, control the shade, control the sheen, and control or minimize unwanted texture. Looking back over the last two years or so, I would say all this was known. The one area where significant accomplishment has taken place is the understanding and insistence on neutrality. That thanks to the efforts of wbassett of course. Now that we all know how to identify neutral gray tints and both Lowes and Home Depot can mix them up for us from a computer database, this is all getting quite simple. The one thing that has been somewhat overlooked is the work that Bud has done with simple sheen control. "Control" being the optimum word here. Back to the bottom line for me, you can get everything you need to make an optimal painted screen from Home Depot or Lowes. YOU can select the shade of gray you want, or white, and you can dial in the sheen that will maximize the contrast. You can also produce a very smooth surface that is also quite durable and washable. Most important this approach will result in a screen that is invisible. Like an open window into another world created by the makers of great movies.

Very nice post Todd and you make all great points. As you have seen I have been holding back from filling in the posts I reserved in the DIY guide sticky thread. One reason for me holding back is some of the investigative work that has been going on and also my belief that it’s imposable to explain how to select a screen paint without first knowing the fundamentals of what happens when a projected image strikes a screen surface and then what happens when the image enters our eyes and is transmitted to the brain. What you call personal preference is in part how our eyes and brains differ in receiving these images. One of my constant jobs over the last few years of my mothers life as she suffered from macular degeneration among a host of other problems was to constantly calibrate her small LCD TV that she viewed from a distance of about 8 inches. Well wishers and visitors were always adjusting her PQ to display a image that was color correct to their good eyes. I would get a call at midnight that her TV was washed out and only showing black & white again. I would go over and max the gamma and push the brightness up to a point it resembled a bad 60’s drug experience (movie think, the doors). And she would be totally happy again. You have no idea how many Matlock’s I sat thru like that.

Back to color, sheen and texture. I have always liked at least one more unit of gray to pick from between the ones you mentioned above so if we recommend the “N” scales starting at white I like to go by .25 unites.
Sheen and texture IMO run hand in hand and in the case of a controlled texture such as canvas. (as you know I like for that reason) the texture IMO allows you to tolerate a higher level of sheen. Because the texture causes a scattering or diffusion on a much larger scale that the pigments in a flat paint would. Being able to have a higher sheen level combined with the good properties poly adds to the ease of application and leveling of the paint is most likely why I have been able to brush paint my canvas screens and end up with no blemishes. The thread count in the canvas was of interest to me a while back when a friend brought over a 1080P projector to demo on my screen. We thought the texture did an equal job with my 576 lines as it did his 1080 lines. Both projectors were DLP’s and in both cases SDE was eased, but with the 1080 you had to get within inches to see it ether way. my SDE becomes a issue on 110 inch screen at about 6 or 7 feet for my eyes. And no one complains at 10 to 12 feet ever.

As to one can call out by name paints that are neutral or taking in a recipe for a mix, they are both as easy to me and the issue I have always had with all the cross matching of recipes, or switching bases to get a different shade of gray is that these bases now as we now know hide pigments in varied amounts and also have different sheen levels in their flat state. I have always been of the camp find a few brands and bases that are in most communities and then tailor our 6 to 10 shades within a common base. There are all kinds of methods to cut down or build up mixes at home so a person thru experimentation could build his own test samples using just a couple cans of paint.

It boils down to getting the proper FL’s off a neutral surface, tailoring some kind of sheen to work best with some level of ambient light darker grays can be helped with sheen getting FL’s back up while helping to tolerate some ambient and also improving perception of ANSI contrasts.


Bud

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post #18 of 32 Old 04-21-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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having taken a closer look at the 4850 (with poly) and comparing it the BW...
i'm fairly confident the BW is on the right.

the reason is fairly easy if you look closer at the details...

1) the BW has ever so slightly better black levels than the reference 4850 /wp
2) the BW has ever so slightly better white levels than the reference 4850 /wp
3) the BW has ever so slightly better flesh tones than the reference 4850 /wp
4) the reference 4850 /wp has a noticeable poly sheen in the black levels that makes the black level performance less than the background screen in dark scenes... especially at the far left edges of the screen.
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post #19 of 32 Old 04-21-2008, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ididit2 View Post

having taken a closer look at the 4850 (with poly) and comparing it the BW...
i'm fairly confident the BW is on the right.

the reason is fairly easy if you look closer at the details...

1) the BW has ever so slightly better black levels than the reference 4850 /wp
2) the BW has ever so slightly better white levels than the reference 4850 /wp
3) the BW has ever so slightly better flesh tones than the reference 4850 /wp
4) the reference 4850 /wp has a noticeable poly sheen in the black levels that makes the black level performance less than the background screen in dark scenes... especially at the far left edges of the screen.

Just to be clear the Reference Gray is Behr 1850 (not 4850) with poly mixed into it at a ratio of 4:1. The background screen is a much lighter shade and it is Behr 4850.

I would agree that the BW has slightly better blacks. This was more clearly visible in the proper comparison shots:



As far as white levels they seem pretty well matched to me. However my measurements of the white field indicated more brightness on the right so the panel on the right should have a slight advantage.



Flesh Tones seem pretty even to me:




As far as the far left is concerned, keep in mind this was done during the day. I do have a roll down blockout blind on the window, slats at the side to of the window, and I blocked off the top with some molding but some light still leaks in. I suspect what you are seeing on the left is the background screen is shaded by the left sample panel.

This shot really gives away which one is the BW:



This scene also gave it away, but the photo does not show it quite as well as the real thing.



The strength of Black Widow is the deep black level when there is some ambient light present. The more ambient light (within reason) the more it shows up as having deeper blacks. These photos were taken with the 15 watt bulb on. That is a bit more ambient light then we would normally have in the room at night. With the 25 watt bulb the the Black Widow stands out more clearly.

The Black Widow absolutely has an edge in higher ambient light conditions.

If anything this little bit of entertainment has reinforced my belief that the comparison photos I prepared and introducing three levels of ambient light are far more informative then screen shots from movies. The proper comparison photos demonstrated that if matched in whites then the BW has deeper blacks. The opposite of course was also true, if matched in blacks then the BW had whiter whites. That is when comparing to basic known screen paint solutions such as a near neutral gray with some sheen. Now if you start comparing the BW to really flat paints like the True Value latex then WOW what a difference. If you are coming from a flat white screen directly to BW then again WOW what a difference. BUT as I said from the beginning of all this investigation my only concern was that those are apples to oranges comparisons and hardly telling. Each solution has it's strengths and weaknesses. Most of the metallic mixes have the trouble of not being able to control the sheen/reflectivity independent of the shade. For the shades that are achievable without significantly compromising the effectiveness of the flakes they may be superior. In a given situation where the shade and sheen of a simple tinted gray paint are dialed in then it may well be the better choice. On the other hand if you don't want to go through any experimentation process then Black Widow is probably the best choice. In a situation well suited to the BW it is going to be superior to the simple paint+poly.
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post #20 of 32 Old 04-21-2008, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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If some of you are thinking that I am contradicting myself today, GOOD!

Best depends on the situation and the goals of the person.

If you need to project onto a rough surface then good old Behr 1050 or one of the True Value flat paints is best.

There is no one king of the hill. There are several kings of different hills. I'm sorry if that offends some people but it is my honest opinion. Black Widow is an excellent solution for many people. Especially those with bright rooms and powerful projectors. If we are only talking about dedicated private theater rooms the Wilsonart "Designer White" would seem to be the best choice.

If this counts for anything the only time my wife showed any real emotion and said WOW was when I took a bright flash light and got her to look at the Black Widow from a couple of feet away. "Now that looks like a projection screen!"
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post #21 of 32 Old 04-22-2008, 06:02 AM
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I have found like Todd mentioned that most screens do their best in the middle of their total range. For instance when I was doing testing between BOC and gray surfaces with sheen raised to its proper point, based on the projector being used, the BOC held its own with bright colors and skin tones. It was like both surfaces had similar qualities but the better screen had a slightly longer range at both ends, black and white. That extension was of little consequence when watching Cars but was when watching Lord of the rings or any dark detailed image. Allowing for that difference in preserving some of the ANSI contrast the projector was capable of with some ambient light was very noticeable. I felt at that time and I think I posted the difference my feeling was the gray out preformed the BOC by maybe 5%, at best.

What I see after studying the BW , Gray comparisons here is about 3 or 4 averaged RGB points improvement on the black end and maybe a point mismatch on the white end and that is really trying to see changes finer than frogs hair IMO. And those are the ambient photos where the source is in line with the projector light. So if sheen from poly is a little more retro reflective than sheen from metallic that could partially account for a point or two of the variance. Light coming from the side could act opposite and some of the extreme angle pictures point to this. At any rate an improvement of 3 or 4 RGB points into black equates to 1% or 1.5% improvement.
This is visible in the two photos shown but it should be noted that even in the maxed out brightness mode Todd did his tests in he was most likely falling short of lumens for both of these too dark screen samples. I know the reason he set the limit where he did was because he was given the level of the BW as a fixed starting point. So the other sample had to be what it had to be to match up. The only variable of adjustment to the matched gray was the poly percentage. Someone said the poly sheen was noticeable in some of the pictures so maybe Todd had taken that to the max then, I didn't see it but I'm not sure what to look for. I do know excessive sheen is distracting in much the same way excessive metallic sparkles.

I have said for a while that I believe having the surface being RGB neutral is very important I think it's even more important the gray level be selected properly. I can easily live with a slightly off neutral and calibrate to that and that then becomes a fixed constant in my setup. Brightness is not a fixed constant and the screens gray level has to be found that will allow for periodic calibration from new bulb to bulb failure. The lumens may very over the life of the bulb 50%.

The first thing to go when there is not enough brightness is surprisingly the dark detail. That seems odd at first thought because darks take the least amount of light to produce. But dark detail involves more than dark it involves CR to make the detail and that involves light. There is always going to be the spread between the best the projector can do when trying to send out nothing (black) but there is that something makes it thru. And when it tries to send out everything (white). The number of times brighter white is than black is the total CR of the system. But in a dark image the CR of that image is greatly less. That image of the tree in the details might have a CR of 5 or 10 is all. Because most projectors don't have a method to adjust CR on the fly, like the variable iris projectors and even they have short comings unless the whole image is dark detail. It's very important to stay in the sweet spot of brightness. You will never do better in terms of CR than the projector, room and screen will allow. But varying any of the 3 outside their best will diminish CR.

Gray screens don't improve CR but they can help to maintain it.


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As usual, I agree with most of your comments, but I'm thinking that as the bulb ages and loses output, the full off light leakage may be reduced by the same percentage as the whites. This would actually produce deeper blacks and dimmer whites as the bulb ages. I noticed on my projector that when using economy mode vs high mode, the blank screen brightness changed considerably. So perhaps the contrast ratio of the projector remains about the same as the bulb ages.

Last night I swapped screens, and compared my latest dark gray with sheen screen with one of my older screens with a poly/pearl topcoat on a lighter shade screen. I recalibrated the projector with a DVE disc. I made some changes to the grayscale to offset some red push etc, and then watched the demo pictures on the disc. I also watched TV afterward. The screens are night and day different in shade. Both perform well enough that I could be happy with either. However the strengths of the dark shade are more to my liking than the strengths of the lighter shade. This comparison was made without ambient light in a pretty good room. Selecting a good shade of gray is easy. Selecting the best might take trying several to see what your preferences really are, and what you can get away with.
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We know the Behr 1850 can be tinted with fractions of the N7 tint and result in fairly neutral shades of gray. That means you could buy a gallon of the behr 1850 and a quart tin. Get the paint guy to put the tint for the N7 in the quart tin. Be sure to keep the tin upright at all times. You don't want the tint running up the sides and onto the lid. At home fill the tin with the untinted 1850 and mix really well. Now you have 3 quarts of white and one quart of N7. Just start mixing up different ratios and paint up a few 2'x4' sample panels. You should be able to get at least a half a dozen shades out of that amount of paint.

Then you just have to pick the one that represents the compromise that best suites you and your situation.
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post #24 of 32 Old 04-22-2008, 05:46 PM
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Will somebody step on the creepy crawly already?

This is almost a Phobia!





To quote James T. Kirk;
"I'm laughing at the superior intellect"
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kbgl

I think we are pretty much saying the same thing and you may have taken or I may have worded my statement slightly wrong.

Yes as the bulb dims the ambient light in the room from sources other than the screen will remain the same and the screen remains the same.

My point is if you are of the opinion that some of are that an ultimate shade of gray and also an ultimate sheen level can be selected for a given setup there is only one draw back. That being if the selection was to be made around the new bulb brightness then you could have a screen that would become less than ultimate at some point in the life of the bulb. That's why I have cautioned people from going to the darkest of grays in the beginning even though the results at that point in time are better than something lighter.

If a screen isn't spot on neutral you can adjust for that and that won't change much from then on. Brightness has to be looked at as the biggest variable of change. Most bulbs take a hit after a few hundred hours and then hold pretty good for a long time. I kind of charted my brightness settings over time and at 200 hours I made a fairly good adjustment, each 200 hours after that the changes were small but always one or two clicks. After doing each adjustment the image was exactly the same as the first time.

In these last experiments Todd did the BW started out stressing the light limits he had, and you would expect the strain of those limits showed most in the darkest of images.

You are right as the brightness diminishes with a bulb the white end and the black end both come down together. Do they come down equally? I would think they would. Not really different than a projector with an iris to adjust or one with a ND filter.

There is no variable ND screen surface yet, one that would get lighter as the image gets darker to always allow the best shadow detail possible. That's why we need a screen that's been selected such that the projectors brightness can always be adjusted to give us the full gray scale range between white and black.

I always tell people if you only do one calibration do the one that sets the range from black to white. The rest can be done with filters or by eye to taste and most people will be happy.

One last point (at least in this post) on gray scale selection. Conventional wisdom recommends gray screens for ambient light. I have never believed that and I see reason for using them under mixed lighting conditions, as I do in my viewing room. If you wish a screen to be used under 2 or more ambient levels of light then the gray should be selected around the highest ambient light you have and then compared under lights out conditions and also recalibrated. Just so you know going in the overall brightness will drop as a bulb ages and you will be able to maintain the PQ over the life of the bulb with both ambient levels. What I have found is if you have the lumens and the dark screen to work with the ambient if anything you might be too bright lights out. And that has as much to do with our eyes as anything.



MM

Oh there ain't no bugs on me
There ain't no bugs on me
There may be bugs on some of you mugs
But there ain't no bugs on me


Bud

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I think someone stole MississippiMan's identity. This post is way too short to actually be him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Will somebody step on the creepy crawly already?

This is almost a Phobia!





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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

We know the Behr 1850 can be tinted with fractions of the N7 tint and result in fairly neutral shades of gray. That means you could buy a gallon of the behr 1850 and a quart tin. Get the paint guy to put the tint for the N7 in the quart tin. Be sure to keep the tin upright at all times. You don't want the tint running up the sides and onto the lid. At home fill the tin with the untinted 1850 and mix really well. Now you have 3 quarts of white and one quart of N7. Just start mixing up different ratios and paint up a few 2'x4' sample panels. You should be able to get at least a half a dozen shades out of that amount of paint.

Then you just have to pick the one that represents the compromise that best suites you and your situation.


I like using the whole screen to judge the overall effect. I've painted several 4 x 8 hardboard screens on both sides. If I get a good one without roller marks, I try not to repaint it unless I have already made a better one to replace it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbgl View Post

I think someone stole MississippiMan's identity. This post is way too short to actually be him.

No I think he text messaged that post in from his cell phone at the same time he was spraying a hybrid BW clone screen. With his free hand I might add.

The post was quite short though I hope he hasn't ran out of words yet.


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post #29 of 32 Old 04-23-2008, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't worry if MM runs out of words! I'm sure there is someone waiting in the wings to fill the void!

They are just waiting for an exclusive and devoted audience.

At the moment they don't understand my spatula . . .

and therefore they are afraid of it.

NOTE: This post will most likely be deleted or edited because here at AVS, despite any personal feelings, the moderators strive to be fair and discourage any postings that could be taken as personally insulting.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler View Post

NOTE: This post will most likely be deleted or edited because here at AVS, despite any personal feelings, the moderators strive to be fair and discourage any postings that could be taken as personally insulting.

Hey, I think I'm insulted!
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