My First Venture into Building an AT Screen - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 48 Old 08-29-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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My current screen is a 103" Elite Cinescope 2.35:1 with 1.1 gain built into a false wall in a light controlled, dedicated HT. Projector is a Panasonic AE3000u Projector at about 14' throw distance.

Front Wall



Back Wall



In my build thread, I recently posted that I'm considering moving to an AT screen since currently, my Klipsch RC-64 center channel is mounted above my screen behind my false wall about 8ft in the air, angled down towards my front row.

Klipsch RC-64 Center Channel before installing in False Wall



Klipsch RC-64 Center Channel installed behind the Top Middle section of the false wall (above the screen)



I contacted Seymore and received a quote for $289.50 just for the fabric. Yikes! An AVS Forum member suggested I research Spandex. Oh yeah....now we are talking. smile.gif
I just requested sample fabric from Spandexworld.com for Moleskin Silver, White and Black to see if I will need a "backing".

My current viewable screen measures 94.78" W x 40.33" H. 3 yards of Moleskin Silver should be sufficient.

I'm not very "handy" but we did recently construct a 10' x 8' DIY Screen for our student ministry at our church using 1x2 Poplar wood, L brackets for the corners, black velvet for the border and white photography paper (photographers use it as backdrops). Bad thing is it does not stretch and so our screen is pretty wavy (might end up trying the spandex on it).

So I figured I would start a "Build Thread" for my DIY AT Screen and document my journey. I'm sure I'll have lots of questions and want to thank everyone in advance for your help.

FYI....this thread will likely have lots of photos of my journey. smile.gif
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post #2 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 03:52 AM
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White Spandex with Silver Spandex backing.

Pull both to a taunt stretch and they become more AT than virtually any Mfg AT materiel at any price.


BTW, that's a nice little Theater there. cool.gif

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #3 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks MississippiMan! I thought I read most in the forums suggested Silver Spandex with Black backing. Just curious why the White/Silver Backing suggestion.
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post #4 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 05:00 AM
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More gain...and as time goes forward, your next PJ will have less need for contrast enhancement since your room is dedicated. That being said, Silver / Black or Silver / White won't disappoint

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #5 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I gotcha. I had just been reading that the silver seemed to have better colors and black levels were better. But I'm here asking questions, not trying to state I "know" anything. LOL
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post #6 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 06:26 AM
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Silver does. It's a great choice.

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #7 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 06:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Once I get the samples, I should have a better idea of what will look the best.

It will give me time to research how to build the frame.
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post #8 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 06:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Currently my screen is 103" and is recessed into the cabinet a few inches. When I build the new AT screen, do you think it would be a good idea to move it flush with the front of the cabinet or possibly mount it somehow on the front of the cabinet to where I can make it a few inches larger?
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post #9 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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post #10 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking at the calculator pro at projectioncentral.com, I noticed if I increase the screen to above 106" it says, "Recommend Higher Brightness....Reduce image size or increase screen gain". It looks like with my projector, I might be limited to keeping the same screen size I have now?
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post #11 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youthman View Post

Currently my screen is 103" and is recessed into the cabinet a few inches. When I build the new AT screen, do you think it would be a good idea to move it flush with the front of the cabinet or possibly mount it somehow on the front of the cabinet to where I can make it a few inches larger?


How wide is your room? 12 feet wide or more?

With your current angled corner panels you would not be able to go much wider than your current screen without mounting the screen way out.

I would build a new straight across false wall and then you could go with possibly a 120" wide AT scope screen if your screen wall was 12 ft wide or so and then benefit from a much more immersive viewing experience! If your projector brightness could handle a bigger screen that is the way I would go.


...Glenn smile.gif
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post #12 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Glen, my room is 13' x 19' with 10' ceiling.

I had already messed around in Photoshop to see what the screen would look like with the same aspect ratio.



Oh my stinkin goodness!!! LOL My guess is that's probably too large. According to projectorcentral's calculator, a 13' wide screen would be a 180" screen. My guess is that would be entirely too large for that room, especially at 11' from the screen.

Honestly, I love the "look" of the false wall but I do know it hinders the sound for 2ch listening being stuffed in the corners behind the "doors". I didn't realize the guy was going to make the doors so thick on the insides. Limits the amount I can toe in my speakers.
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post #13 of 48 Old 08-30-2012, 11:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

White Spandex with Silver Spandex backing.
Pull both to a taunt stretch and they become more AT than virtually any Mfg AT materiel at any price.
BTW, that's a nice little Theater there. cool.gif

Hey MM, so are you recommending white over silver based on his projector and lighting control? The reason I ask is I bought an Epson 6010 and spandex silver and white. I haven't put it up yet but as someone mentioned before, it had looked like yor previous recommendation was for silver over white.

I will have both light controlled room for movies and some ambient light for parties/sports.

Thanks - Jim
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post #14 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyk36 View Post

Hey MM, so are you recommending white over silver based on his projector and lighting control? The reason I ask is I bought an Epson 6010 and spandex silver and white. I haven't put it up yet but as someone mentioned before, it had looked like your previous recommendation was for silver over white.
I will have both light controlled room for movies and some ambient light for parties/sports.
Thanks - Jim

Jim,

The reasons for Silver over White are:

Increased contrast
Better Ambient Light performance

The reasons for White over Silver are:

Lower Lumen PJ
No need for REALLY SIGNIFICANT Contrast Enhancement
Ambient Light issues are very minor or non-existant.
Desire for brightest image (White reproduction) possible.

White is a choice for dedicated Theaters whose PJs are over-achievers as far as Contrast specifications are concerned.

I suggested Silver as the backing for the latter because it can give a bit of a contrast boost without unduly absorbing (attenuating) the light that passes through the top layer of spandex. In reality, the second layer acts to both re-utilize absorbed light by keeping it close to the projected surface.

If the top-most surface is darker than the rear surface, then the presence of the captured light off a White surface behind the top surface acts to boost White levels and restore any color dynamics and gain lost. A Cloth-like version of the "Light Fusion" principle. I actually pointed that out all the way back in 2008 when Spandex first became a viable option. But even so, painting always made enough difference that until Acoustic Transparent screens became more desirable due to more & more dedicated theaters being built by those with DIY budgets, few wanted to deal with the loss of image brightness that AT screens delivered when the PJ involved had lessor lumens.

That has changed significantly, and the 6010 is one of the best examples of a High Contrast / High Lumen PJ there is to point to.

Black (...or Silver...) under White would of course be one route to take with the 6010 as it's lumen output is quite a bit higher than even the 5010**. If one has a dedicated Theater, a 6010....calibrates the PJ to it's best Black Rendition possible, (...runs it in "Cinema Mode"...and Economy ) then in no manner or way would they be apt to suffer from anything less than a terrifically dynamic image...at almost any size. Such can hardly be said about ANY mfg AT screen in existence except the higher gain version of Ruben's AT offerings, but beyond the cost of such lies the fact that the AT properties are not any better...if as good as Spandex.
(**...it's higher Contrast allows the light output to be focused on the brighter areas of any image...)

So back to Silver over White. Silver does wonderful things to enhance the depth and dynamics of all colors. But dependent upon the depth of Gray that comprises the overall shade / hue of the fabric, it can attenuate the incoming light...and if any of that light also passes through the surface...even more reflectivity is lost. White under layment captures and keeps that absorbed light in the local neighborhood where it helps keep things looking brighter than it would otherwise.

Having a PJ that pumps out considerable (...or adequate...) Lumens but needs help in the contrast department is the greatest reason behind the use of Silver over White.

That said...obviously a PJ with great contrast on Low lamp and Cinema Mode in a dedicated environment can do it's absolute best with White over Silver.....or Black.

Lastly....any choice that is used as the second layer will still offer equal ability to mask the presence of any "Rear mounted" speaker array. But the darker that 2nd layer is....the better it will do the aforementioned chore.

To quote James T. Kirk;
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post #15 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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That's a lot to digest MM. LOL. Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed explanation. Although a dedicated HT, my room isn't 100% light controlled yet. I have a small window on one long wall and a double sliding glass door on the other long wall with curtains. The curtains do not block out all light. That is also on the to do list.

My Panasonic AE3000u is only 1200 lumens and during the day, the image is slightly washed out and if I turn my lights all the way up, the image is really washed out. With that said, I'm not concerned about good quality with lights on because we NEVER watch with the lights on. Whether we are watching a bluray, playing a game on the PS3 or watching a concert DVD, lights are all the way off and it typically is at night anyways when it's dark.

So with that in mind, would you still recommend White with Silver or Black backing? I trust your judgement.
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post #16 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 07:29 AM
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What is your Throw distance and "final" Screen size? As stated above, any decision can center around optimizing the performance as relates to the Lumen / Foot Lambert equation.

The 3000 has respectable contrast "overall", but lacks the extreme bottom floor of other PJs. As you mentioned, it's weakness is in having lower lumen output.

Keeping the room totally light controlled of course helps tremendously....so using Silver over White would ramp up the contrast equation and give Colors a respectable nudge into a higher level.

..........but, if your image quality in respect to the rendition of Blacks has been satisfactory up to now...White over Silver will almost assuredly give you even more satisfaction.

One thing to also consider is this:

Your due for a PJ Upgrade. The 3000 is getting long-in-the-tooth. Consider what type of Screen you might really need / want later. A higher Lumen PJ + Silver / White would allow you to have dimmed lighting present. Just sayin'...because when you can enjoy watching the "Big Picture" in various lighting conditions, the use of such a room becomes all the more easy to accommodate for a variety of applications. And...any screen application that can provide such ambient light performance without any other aspect of the image quality taking a hit when dark room viewing is involved is just the proverbial "Crunchy-Salty Beef Stick with your Beer". cool.gif


....and I do love my Tabasco Beef sticks with my Guinness Black Lager.biggrin.gif
....or my Blue Moon
....or my Sam Adams Octoberfest
....or just about any really good Micro for that matter.


Just don't ask for a Kiss or you a'gonna die gaspin' tongue.gif

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post #17 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

What is your Throw distance and "final" Screen size?
I believe it is 11ft
Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

..........but, if your image quality in respect to the rendition of Blacks has been satisfactory up to now...White over Silver will almost assuredly give you even more satisfaction.
One thing to also consider is this:

I've been very pleased with the PQ of the 3000u but this is my first and only projection system so I may not know what I'm missing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Your due for a PJ Upgrade. The 3000 is getting long-in-the-tooth.
I've owned the 3000u for 3 years and to be honest, will likely own it till it dies. That's just how I roll. Haha. I don't see myself spending $2500 every 3 years on a new projector. The 3000u does everything I need it to do....I just need to order my first replacement bulb as I just went over 3000hrs on it. (definitely need to buy one soon).
Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Consider what type of Screen you might really need / want later. A higher Lumen PJ + Silver / White would allow you to have dimmed lighting present. Just sayin'...because when you can enjoy watching the "Big Picture" in various lighting conditions, the use of such a room becomes all the more easy to accommodate for a variety of applications. And...any screen application that can provide such ambient light performance without any other aspect of the image quality taking a hit when dark room viewing is involved is just the proverbial "Crunchy-Salty
I have been considering going larger with my screen but with two rows of seating, and we watch MAYBE 2 hours of TV (we do not have cable or even a TV in the house), it's all about movie time and gaming with my son.
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post #18 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 08:27 AM
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Is 11' your seating distance? If so, to get the very best results, and even allow yourself to stand just in front of the Seating between the screen when gaming, placing the Pj at within 6" of it's closest possible throw distance would be optimal'

That pretty much limits you to a 12' 6" throw and 122" diagonal image ( 10' diagonal 60" x 106" actual Screen area = 17 fls)

You could stretch things (bad pun that...) to 132" diagonal with a 13' 6" Throw ( 65" x 115" actual Screen area = 14 fls)

The latter is a 11' diagonal screen, and that equates to a 1:1 "Diagonal size to Seating Distance" ratio. That is about the absolute limit.

......for most. smile.gif

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post #19 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 09:57 AM
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Great Stuff MM! Appreciate all of the info!
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post #20 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

White Spandex with Silver Spandex backing.
Pull both to a taunt stretch and they become more AT than virtually any Mfg AT materiel at any price.
BTW, that's a nice little Theater there. cool.gif

In my tests, AT properties of spandex turned out marginally better than Seymour fabric. I tried only single layer of moleskin silver.

I am not happy with the picture though. it is a little washed out compared to what I was getting with Apex screen (white, they claim it's 1.1 but I have no way to verify this). Seymour's sample piece laid over the spandex looks much brighter and sharper. Perhaps another layer of spandex could change it, but I suspect that no matter what Seymour would probably have an advantage in PQ. The question is how close can it get and if it's worth the price difference.
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post #21 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I think there always will be the law of diminishing return. You have to decide is the additional cost worth the added benefit? Sometimes, more money doesn't equal better product.
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post #22 of 48 Old 08-31-2012, 02:21 PM
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The Silver Spandex is not, nor has it been claimed to be a "positive Gain" material It's probably 0.85. Obviously any white surface will show a brighter image...

And the 'wash out" is undoubtedly due to the fact that without any "Backing", white or otherwise, your losing light through the Spandex's looser / finer weave.
It (your test) cannot be relevant to how Spandex looks when backed, but one thing is for certain, it's never been advocated that one use the Spandex without backing.

The best solution for you would be to add a white, tightly stretched layer of Spandex behind / against the Silver, and do both visual and aural tests*. If PQ improves, and SQ only falls to parity with the Mfg AT material, it's still a win for Spandex.

* BTW...thanks for the testing....past and any Future effort you might do. The Forum needs those who will make such efforts to qualify and quantify performance claims....be they real, imagined....or simply hopeful dreaming. wink.gif

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post #23 of 48 Old 09-01-2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

The Silver Spandex is not, nor has it been claimed to be a "positive Gain" material It's probably 0.85. Obviously any white surface will show a brighter image...
And the 'wash out" is undoubtedly due to the fact that without any "Backing", white or otherwise, your losing light through the Spandex's looser / finer weave.
It (your test) cannot be relevant to how Spandex looks when backed, but one thing is for certain, it's never been advocated that one use the Spandex without backing.
The best solution for you would be to add a white, tightly stretched layer of Spandex behind / against the Silver, and do both visual and aural tests*. If PQ improves, and SQ only falls to parity with the Mfg AT material, it's still a win for Spandex.
* BTW...thanks for the testing....past and any Future effort you might do. The Forum needs those who will make such efforts to qualify and quantify performance claims....be they real, imagined....or simply hopeful dreaming. wink.gif

Thank you for the advise, MM.
My problem really is that I badly lack expertise in this area. For all I know the PQ I am used to is far away from the optimal and spandex, even though it seems dimmer now, can be brought closer to the reference by tuning the projector. All I could say is that at the same projector settings, for whatever subjective reasons, I preferred PQ of my old screen material over spandex. I tried "cinema1" (my default mode w/ apex) and "natural" modes.

Question about the backing. If I throw white cloth behind the screen would it give me an approximate idea about what the backing will do? Also, do you recommend moleskin specifically or any, even lighter, spandex like fabric will do?

Thank you.

Edit

Projector:
Epson 8100 with fresh lamp.

Screen:
120". It's currently wall mounted at the same spot where the original Apex screen was. approx 14' from the projector. The wall behind and aprox 3' of the surrounding walls and ceiling are painted dark brown flat paint.
Eventually the screen will be mounted 2' away from the wall for AT set up.

Room:
Dedicated 12x20x7.5. Fairly well light controlled.
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post #24 of 48 Old 09-01-2012, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by youthman View Post

Yeah, I think there always will be the law of diminishing return. You have to decide is the additional cost worth the added benefit? Sometimes, more money doesn't equal better product.
I fully agree.

I hope you do not mind me using your thread to solicit advise from MM. Let me know if you prefer me to take it elsewhere.
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post #25 of 48 Old 09-01-2012, 06:20 PM
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zheka,

Any bright white backing placed against the back of the Silver Spandex will effect a close enough example for judgement.

..........just don't do any audio sweeps.....biggrin.gif

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post #26 of 48 Old 09-03-2012, 01:14 PM
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OK - decided to give silver spandex over white a try. My question is - which side of the silver spandex should I be projecting on? One side looks shinier than the other.
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post #27 of 48 Old 09-06-2012, 11:44 AM
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Hey Youth, glad to see you over here building a screen.

Good luck.

I think my next screen might be a spandex one.
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post #28 of 48 Old 09-08-2012, 07:05 AM
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GREAT!! I'm just about to start my DIY ST screen!! I'm having a hard time to find the Moleskin material here in Sweden. I guess there would be something similar somewhere but so far i've just come up with a white material thats pretty shiny on one side and more matte (but not totally) on the other. Bought a piece of that in white and black to try out.

But on the other hand Spandex World delivers world wide, so i might place an order soon!

I'll probably go with the Epson TW9000 (PowerLite Home Cinema 5010 in the US) and the room will be completely light controlled with dark grey walls and black ceiling. The screen will probably be about 8.2 feet wide in 16:9 or slightly wider if i go with 2.35:1. What would be the best way to go i means of material, silver over white or white over silver? I guess my projector have quite good light output.

Any comments appreciated!
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post #29 of 48 Old 09-08-2012, 07:43 AM
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I've always like gray. Deeper color saturation, better blacks.

If your PJ has the lumen output, I would go with gray.
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post #30 of 48 Old 09-08-2012, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristofer View Post

GREAT!! I'm just about to start my DIY ST screen!! I'm having a hard time to find the Moleskin material here in Sweden. I guess there would be something similar somewhere but so far i've just come up with a white material thats pretty shiny on one side and more matte (but not totally) on the other. Bought a piece of that in white and black to try out.
But on the other hand Spandex World delivers world wide, so i might place an order soon!
I'll probably go with the Epson TW9000 (PowerLite Home Cinema 5010 in the US) and the room will be completely light controlled with dark grey walls and black ceiling. The screen will probably be about 8.2 feet wide in 16:9 or slightly wider if i go with 2.35:1. What would be the best way to go i means of material, silver over white or white over silver? I guess my projector have quite good light output.
Any comments appreciated!

Silver over White has been shown to be the most effective combination.

...and yes, the TW9000 will do splendidly with the Silver Moleskin Spandex.

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