need help with first DIY screen - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-11-2013, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I'll be putting together my first dedicated home theater over the winter and need some advice on a screen.  It's going into a basement room that was already framed when we moved in, but not finished.  I'm going to be limited to about a $7,000 budget for everything.  Carpeting, finishing walls, ceiling, all A/V equipment, etc, so I'm looking to save some money by building my screen.  Doing all the work myself actually other than electrical which my father will do so my only costs will be materials.

 

After reading through all the threads in here for the last week I have all kinds of idea's, but no clue which one to go with.  Here's what I'll be working with:

 

Room:  11'6" x 15'

Ambient light: none. windowless basement with door at top of stairs and bottom. :-)

Projector: Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 3020 (haven't bought it yet, but about 95% certain this will be what I get based on my research)

Lumens:  2300

AT screen: not sure yet

Planned screen size:  ~112"

Throw distance: between 11' - 14'6"

 

What do you all recommend for the highest quality picture for an AT and non AT screen?  I'll have room for speakers to sides of screen, but might build them into the wall behind the screen just to save floor space.  Haven't decided yet.  Picture quality is more important to me than space savings.  This will probably be the last time the wife gives me the green light for a project like this so I wanna make sure I get it right the first time and don't wanna redo it a couple years down the road.  I've read all about spandex, black out, do-able, sign board, a dozen different wall paint options, everything here, but I have no clue which solution would work best for my application.

 

Any comments / recommendations are strongly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

Luke



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post #2 of 13 Old 10-11-2013, 11:35 PM
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First things first: Welcome to the AVS DIY Screen Forum...and AVS as a whole!

Drywall as the Screen is the best and least expensive option, effectively hung straight, w/all joints floated out at least 10" from the center of the joint. Your gonna Drywall the screen wall anyway, so using the 54" tall variety, you can place it positioned on the wall so the area the image would centered upon would not have any joint passing either Horizontally or Vertically within it.

Painted Screen solution: RS-MaxxMudd LL

Of course the above advice is predicated on "Framed" meaning only Studs are present...no Wall board.

AT screens using spandex are becoming popular, but they are best when used because they "must be", not as a given "choice". If your "Budget" Theater's speakers are going to be the "In Wall" type, then it's best that the Right & Left Mains be as far separated as possible, and a 110" screen (...that is the largest I suggest for your room...) that measures at 54" x 96" "Viewable" will leave you with 17.5" on each side of the Screen...and that can easily accommodate a dual Stud at each corner (3") and a 13" wide space between the dual corner studs and the next stud that the edges of the centered 54" x 96" drywall is anchored on (...factoring in 3.,25" Trim around the 96" wide screen area...)

If the Speakers are "not" to be "In Walls" then you might also consider using Audio Transducers, Drivers that turn the Drywall into speakers. Then the Screen would "Be" the Center speaker with no need to frame a wall deep enough to "build in" cabinet-style Speakers. Positioning of Rears / Center Rears becomes far more easily accommodated, and the concern and need for acoustical treatment virtually disappears. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1491572/128-2-35-1-theater-project-w-3-week-time-limit-warp-factor-9-5-engage

You do not mention the room's height, nor Door location, but the depth alludes to just one row of seats. Screen height ("Top Edge") is determined by the seating needs. Ideally with one row it would be set at 16" down from a 96" high ceiling, leaving the bottom edge of the viewable screen at 26" off the Floor. But if two Rows are to be crammed in, the rear row "Must" be on at least a 8" Riser, and the Top of the screen set at just 6" off the Ceiling. Ceiling would then have to be painted a dark, anti-reflective color.

I would carefully reconsider the PJ chosen and the remaining 5% leeway. You will need a PJ w/Lens shift to make placement ideally suited to your needs. A Refurbed" 5020 makes for a better choice, both price-wise and feature set-wise......purchased via Projector People or Visual Apex.

I design and build (...from framing outward...) budget Home Theaters as well as more expensive ones, but all share a common goal....obtaining the most "Bang for the Buck". That being the case, I often advise fellow DIY AVS'er on a full range of ideas. I can point you toward some pretty good A/V gear for crazy low prices, and that will help tremendously. Effective and wise planning and equipment choices make a BIG difference. You can accomplish what you want to do easily enough if your not lumping in "Theater Chairs" into that projected expense, but it will require carefully choosing your direction if your to get something at the end you can be "suspender-poppin' proud of.

"Let yourself go, Luke....."
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-12-2013, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Of course the above advice is predicated on "Framed" meaning only Studs are present...no Wall board.
 
That is correct.  The room is framed and insulated, but no wall board up yet.
AT screens using spandex are becoming popular, but they are best when used because they "must be", not as a given "choice". If your "Budget" Theater's speakers are going to be the "In Wall" type, then it's best that the Right & Left Mains be as far separated as possible, and a 110" screen (...that is the largest I suggest for your room...) that measures at 54" x 96" "Viewable" will leave you with 17.5" on each side of the Screen...and that can easily accommodate a dual Stud at each corner (3") and a 13" wide space between the dual corner studs and the next stud that the edges of the centered 54" x 96" drywall is anchored on (...factoring in 3.,25" Trim around the 96" wide screen area...)
Thanks for the clarification on the AT screens.  That was the impression I got from my reading so far so it's good to hear I was thinking on the right track.

If the Speakers are "not" to be "In Walls" then you might also consider using Audio Transducers, Drivers that turn the Drywall into speakers. Then the Screen would "Be" the Center speaker with no need to frame a wall deep enough to "build in" cabinet-style Speakers. Positioning of Rears / Center Rears becomes far more easily accommodated, and the concern and need for acoustical treatment virtually disappears. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1491572/128-2-35-1-theater-project-w-3-week-time-limit-warp-factor-9-5-engage
My personal preference would be for floor stand speakers as opposed to in-wall or audio transducers.  I've contemplated framing them in, but that it would reduce the length of my already short available space.  Having a flat front, like in a theater, would be nice, but it won't bother me to have the speakers sitting next to the screen if that's what I need to do to use what I want.

You do not mention the room's height, nor Door location, but the depth alludes to just one row of seats. Screen height ("Top Edge") is determined by the seating needs. Ideally with one row it would be set at 16" down from a 96" high ceiling, leaving the bottom edge of the viewable screen at 26" off the Floor. But if two Rows are to be crammed in, the rear row "Must" be on at least a 8" Riser, and the Top of the screen set at just 6" off the Ceiling. Ceiling would then have to be painted a dark, anti-reflective color.
There will only be one row of seating plus a couple bean bags possibly for the kids.  There will be two doors with the first one on the side wall at the front left corner of room.  It will be adjacent to the screen and is the door to enter the room.  The other door will be on the back wall, left side, to enter our laundry area.  Right now, the room is 21' long with the washer, dryer, hvac unit, and water heater, in the back of the room.  I'm building a partition wall to make a separate laundry area with storage which is why the length of room is shorted to about 15' and has a second door.  Don't like the idea of having to walk through the "theater" to get to the laundry room, but have to work with what I got.  And yes, room has 8' ceilings with some duct work boxed in where the back wall will be that hangs down about 10" from normal ceiling height.

I would carefully reconsider the PJ chosen and the remaining 5% leeway. You will need a PJ w/Lens shift to make placement ideally suited to your needs. A Refurbed" 5020 makes for a better choice, both price-wise and feature set-wise......purchased via Projector People or Visual Apex.
Thanks for the suggestion!  I'll definitely consider it.

I design and build (...from framing outward...) budget Home Theaters as well as more expensive ones, but all share a common goal....obtaining the most "Bang for the Buck". That being the case, I often advise fellow DIY AVS'er on a full range of ideas. I can point you toward some pretty good A/V gear for crazy low prices, and that will help tremendously. Effective and wise planning and equipment choices make a BIG difference. You can accomplish what you want to do easily enough if your not lumping in "Theater Chairs" into that projected expense, but it will require carefully choosing your direction if your to get something at the end you can be "suspender-poppin' proud of.

"Let yourself go, Luke....."
Theater chairs might be an expense at a later time.  We just replaced our living room furniture when we moved in and kept our old couch to use in my man cave as my son keeps calling it.  Any advise on the A/V stuff is definitely appreciated.

 

Thanks for all the advice so far!  This won't be a quick 3-week project like what you are currently working on, but will be dragged out over the course of the winter, maybe longer, as I'll mainly only have weekends to work on it and will be buying the pieces incrementally.  I'm guessing my first expense should be the projector so I can play around with placement and screen location to ensure I hang the drywall centered correctly like you suggested.  Correct?



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post #4 of 13 Old 01-04-2014, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
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It's been a few months, changed plans a half dozen times, but am finally getting somewhere.  Just purchased the projector today and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive now.  I took your recommendation and considered a refurbed Epson 5020, but never managed to find one in stock.  I did however find a reburbed BenQ W7000 for the same price as the new Epson 3020 that I initially considered.  :-)  From all the reviews that I have read and a thread on another HT forum comparing the W7000 and 5020 I think I'll be more than satisfied.  If it shows up by Friday I'll be test mounting it over the weekend before making my final decision on projector location, screen location, and size.  Then I'll finally be ready to get this project started!

 

Tossing up whether I want to paint the screen on the wall or build a DIY frame and use sintra type material or fabric and paint that.  Reason being is that my local building supply store doesn't keep 54" drywall in stock and won't order just one sheet of it.  How would the screen be with a joint down the center of it?  Would it not be noticeable as long as it's floated the 10" you suggested and sanded real smooth?



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post #5 of 13 Old 01-05-2014, 12:27 AM
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I have to do that quite often, and basically it is all about how well you can do it.

The real trick being not to apply too much over the joint itself (...if the joint lies flush together along the edge...) and then to skim the rest of the surface to be used as the screen area with a light coating of Drywall compound, and sand everything lightly. Two coats of primer, a light sanding again, followed by a last coat of primer and the surface should be perfect.

However all through the process you must scrupulously inspect the surface to observe small blemishes. (...scratches...pinholes...bumps or craters...) because unless you bother to apply the first coat of primer tinted light Gray to really highlight such blemishes, they can be virtually invisible as just a sanded compound surface, or when coated with a flat white primer alone. But once the high contrast SF paint starts going up, they can become very apparent.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-11-2014, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, its going to be almost a month before we purchase the lumber, drywall, paint, etc. We are working on a budget and trying to keep monthly expenses for the project under $1500. So in the meantime I just stretched out a sheet on the studded wall cause I couldn't leave my new toy just sitting in its box for the next couple months. :-) I'm really impressed so far. Can't wait to see it on a decent screen.


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post #7 of 13 Old 01-13-2014, 06:27 PM
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FWIW - I finished our basement with metal studs and green, water-resistant drywall, and the walls have remained extremely straight almost 10 years later. I highly recommend that approach - particularly if you'll be painting your screen directly on it.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-14-2014, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Nathan. The basement was already framed out when we bought the house so I won't be doing metal studs, will just use the wood ones that are already in place. I did knock the top or bottom out on a couple studs on the future screen wall though and refastened them due to not being flush with the front edge of the bottom or top plate. Making sure everything is as straight as I can before I start the drywall. I'll be using the moisture resistant stuff too. Being on the top of a mountain we've never had water issues so far, but no point in taking a chance.


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post #9 of 13 Old 01-14-2014, 09:39 PM
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Have fun!

I am not a fan of finishing drywall myself - at all - and I respect the folks that do it so well.

I wouldn't put a drywall joint where my screen was, by the way - that's just asking for issues down the road.

Put lots of outlets and conduit with pull strings in now! Inexpensive but worth it.

If you end up putting a DIY screen up, see if you can't drop an outlet on the wall behind the screen too - and places around the columns where you may want to have motorized toys in the future smile.gif

Have fun again!!
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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A few plan changes. I wont be partitioning the basement so the theater / media room will be the full 21' in length instead of only 15'. Also, I was able to get a used anamorphic lens from one of the great guys on this forum so my plans are a little more set now. Will be doing a CIH 2.40:1 120" wide AT screen with in walls behind it. That will leave 6" between edge of screen border and walls. Just enough space to hang curtains to use for 16:9 masking. Now if I could find 3 cheap or used motors to automate the curtains and lens sled I'll be extremely happy.


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post #11 of 13 Old 01-20-2014, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Question I have now is what type of AT screen to build?  According to the Projector Central calculator I will have 25fL brightness from my currently planned 18' throw distance with no zoom.  With a 1.0 gain screen that's too bright I think from what I've read since I'll have a light controlled room.  So what type of AT fabric should I go with?  My PJ does do 3D and we plan on using it occasionally too.  Maybe 10-20% of the time will be 3D films.



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post #12 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 05:51 AM
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Go this route...................

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1511459/120-matt-white-black-spandex-with-benq-w1080st-what-a-great-combination

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post #13 of 13 Old 01-21-2014, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks MM! Ive seen that thread but didn't know how it would be for my situation.


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