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post #1 of 10 Old 09-14-2015, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Low cost solution for LED projector

After many days of searching and lots of reading, it doesn't seem like there have been many posts or success stories after a solution was recommended. Here is my situation that I am hoping to solve. I have an Acer K330 projector that is 500 lumen and trying to figure out if I should use paint or cloth for the screen. I am leaning towards cloth because the drywall has several imperfections (thanks to the builder) that I feel will compromise surface if painted. I realize this is subjective, but with 500 lumen, will Carl's Flexigray be a good solution or would a higher gain suit? Unfortunately most of my friends do not have an LED projector for me to know how much gain I will need. I currently have a 150" screen that I would like to keep but I am willing to trim it down to ensure that the picture is better. Viewing distance is 14', and the ceiling height is 8'. In the coming days I have to paint the room and block basement windows so that I can reduce the light sufficiently during the day. Given that the painting will add to my overall cost, I'm looking for a lower cost solution with potential to paint later to improve. Who knows, I might even be able to spring for a better projector in the future.
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-14-2015, 04:28 PM
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Because you already have the projector and will be painting the room and generally treating it, I'd first try simple flat/matte white paint on the one wall for a screen.
Flat-white shouldn't show the wall imperfections and will give the highest natural brightness for all of $10 and no added construction.

If you don't care for how that looks, you'll already have the dark paint from the other walls to paint it dark to match.
Unless you're planning on ambient-light viewing (which doesn't sound like the case), I'd choose flexi-white instead of grey for the maximum brightness at that size and output.
I used to have a 165" 1.0+gain white screen in the dark garage which worked great despite the low lumen LED projectors used on it..I can only imagine flexi-white would be the same or better.
...if you decide you don't like the $10 flat-white painted wall section.

Have you already tried pinning up the screen material you have to see how big it'll allow before becoming too dim?

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
"A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415

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post #3 of 10 Old 09-14-2015, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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No I haven't because I wasn't sure which to get. So is the flexiwhite the one to get?

Even with the current flat white, the images are pretty good but doesn't pop as much as I'd like. The current paint job is pretty sloppy and has lots of nail pops, which doesn't become so apparent during watching movies, but I can't bare to see those imperfections in the day time. Hence my want for a screen rather than a flat paint.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-14-2015, 08:54 PM
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I take it the 150" screen you already have is just the frame?
I thought you meant you already had material instead, my mistake there.

If you're looking for a bit of extra pop and prefer not to paint, flexi-grey may be a better choice..mostly in the light.
But I think after the room is painted dark (correct me if that's not the plan), the flexi-white should have some extra pop and keep its brightness advantage over the grey.

Can you tell if the lack of pop is from washout that disappears when the room is dark or if it's from a lack of brightness that gets fixed when the image is smaller?
That should help narrow down which material would be best..the Fwhite should give more brightness while the Fgrey should give deeper blacks...finding out which you personally want more will be important, so experimenting with darkening the room and if that doesn't help, shrinking the size on the wall will help you find which before making any purchases.

Is shortening the seating-distance an option? Something like 10-12ft back would help a smaller brighter screen look very immersive while also possibly improving your room's audio which benefits from a little extra free space behind the seats.
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Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
"A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-15-2015, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Excellent advice!! I should have clarified about the screen size, no frame or material just the wall. I mounted the projector based on a rough calculation of throw. I would describe the lack of pop being from a washout that disappears when the room is darker (at night). I have noticed a large improvement in the picture quality from being a foot closer, which is why I settled for moving it further and increasing the viewing size. Not scientific by any means though you have me curious to test this some more and see what screen size would be best. The wall is flat white and I am not as worried about blacks as much as brightness and color accuracy. Thank you for your advice, this is very helpful!!
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-29-2016, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thought it was better to resurrect my old thread instead of starting a new one. As you can tell, changing jobs led to no time to pursue this project but I'd like to make this happen this year. I've learned a lot more but would like to get this right before I get building.
1. Still have the same Acer K330 (http://www.projectorcentral.com/Acer-K330.htm). Native aspect ration is 16:10 but can be changed to 16:9.
2. Looking to build a zero edge ALR screen or minimal edge, I was thinking of going Cinegrey or Carl's ALR instead of painting (because WAF...) but stuck on how to calculate mount dimensions. More flush with the wall is better.
3. The basement is painted flat white not but I intend to paint it a Khaki color to match the rest of house (SW Universal Khaki eggshell finish). Contemplating whether painting the ceiling black instead of the same color will help reduce ambient light.

What else should I factor in. Help??!!
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-29-2016, 01:11 PM
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If you're able and willing to paint the ceiling dark, that should help keep the room darker.
There are two Cinegrey options; the ~$65 Cinegrey classic which is a lower gain and somewhat lighter grey (less aggressive but brighter off-axis than a darker-colored screen) and the ~$180 Cinegrey 5D which is more dark-colored yet higher peak-gain and more aggressive against ambient light.
The Carl's ALR material is somewhat between those two but more closely resembles the 5D..the ALR is slightly dimmer on-axis than the 5D but slightly brighter off-axis and a tiny bit lighter colored.
In addition to all that, the Carl's ALR material is smoother (the 5D has a slight texture though most say they don't notice it from regular viewing distance) and its slightly less aggressive nature lets it avoid artifacts and hotspotting more easily which allows it to work better with somewhat shorter throw-ratios.

Also, so far from what I've read, it sounds like Carl's is a little friendlier and more flexible to deal with during shipping and/or problems afterwards..at least for folks in the USA. International stuff can be a pain I've heard.

The Cinegrey classic and 5D are only available at those low prices for material sizes 135"-diagonal or smaller (called the Designer Cut Series) while Carl's ALR is available for about the same price as the 5D at 135" and also available at larger sizes.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
"A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415
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post #8 of 10 Old 06-30-2016, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you as always Ftoast!! There is little cost difference between the two but it does seem like Cinegrey offers more material (120 x 72) to easily make the 135" diagonal than Carl's (118 x 67). I don't know if that is because Carl's is stretchier. Is the material meant to be stapled to the face or around the frame? The instructions on Carl's website suggest it would be on the face of the frame, not wrapped around.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-30-2016, 02:50 PM
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I've been told that both materials are stretchy. I'm not sure how much difference (if any) there is in the amount of stretch, but I doubt the difference is huge.

Because of the stretch, both materials should work best wrapped over an edge before stapling instead of getting stapled directly to the front (or directly to the back) while stretched tight.
You make a good point that for a full 135" screen, Carl's 135"-material doesn't really leave much/any excess material to grab and hold while stretching for stapling. Even if the stretch itself should make attaching over an edge possible, it'd still be really difficult.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
"A store that sells blinds can help your picture more than a store that sells projectors many times." -bud16415
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post #10 of 10 Old 08-01-2016, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
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After waiting for Prime day to order the screen and much comedy with FedEx losing the screen twice, I finally have the material - Cinegrey 5D. From Projector central, I have 66" x 118" for a 135" diagonal (16:9). If I wanted to add a 1 inch border tape, would I just add 2.5" to the frame making it 68.5" and 120.5"? I intend to use 1 x 3 poplar using instructions @MississippiMan has previously provided.
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