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Tiddler@Home 06-25-2006 06:58 AM

Recently I have done some testing of screen samples from Da-Lite. I have samples of the High Power, Video Spectra 1.5, and High Contrast Matte White. After some experimenting I thought a good material would be a combination of the High Power (retro-reflective) and the High Contrast Matte White (light grey).

I went to a local fabric retailer and wandered around looking for a material better than the bed sheet I am currently using for a temporary screen. In the upholstery section I came across a material that was composed of a very fine woven synthetic material with a vinyl like backing. The woven material was a very fine clear monofilament that gave the surface a reflective and some retro-reflective behavior. The backing material gave the color to the surface. There were several colors including white and a light grey. It came in rolls that were 60" wide. It looked so interesting I bought 3 yards of the light grey.

My temporary screen setup is a sheet of cloth suspended with bungee cords in the corners. I added loops to the corners of the new cloth and tried it out. The performance of this cloth was an amazing improvement over the white cotton sheet. The colors are very bright and vibrant. The contrast is great, with very black blacks and very white whites. The image looks good from any angle. One unusual thing I noticed is that the pixel grid is not visible even from a few inches. The pixel grid seems to get lost in the very fine weave of the cloth. The image is very sharp and seemed to have a 3D quality to it.

This material would work very well stretched over a frame or contact cemented to a large sheet of MDF. Since it comes in 60" wide rolls you could make a 104" x 58" (119" Diag) screen.

I called the store to get more detail on the material and here are the details.

Retail Store: Rockland Textiles, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Supplier: J. Ennis Fabrics
Material: "Sportlite", 1000 Denier Nylon, water proof backing
Price: $11.95 yd

For a little over $30 you could make a very nice screen. I strongly recommend that if you can get yours hands on some of this material (light grey or white) that you give it a try. I wish I didn't have to use a roll up screen. I'm actually worried that the High Contrast Matte White material from Da-Lite won't look as good.

tat2boy 06-25-2006 03:52 PM

This sounds interesting. Can you post comparative screenshots soon?

gwrieger 06-25-2006 06:16 PM

Yes, please post more information. I could not find it at the J Ennis website.

Tiddler@Home 06-25-2006 06:44 PM

I will try to get some screen shoots tonight.

Tiddler@Home 06-25-2006 07:30 PM

You can see some screen shots at Projector Central on the Projection Screen forum. Sorry I'm not allowed to put urls in this post.

gwrieger 06-25-2006 08:10 PM

You can, you just need one more post (have to have 5 before you can link).

BuffBakerGA 06-26-2006 04:58 AM

http://www.***************.com/forum...cfm?which=5975

craftech 06-26-2006 08:04 AM

I can't find that fabric anywhere on the internet.

Are you sure you have the right information?

Usually "sportlite" is under 500 denier and "cordura" is 1000 denier (for awnings, etc)

John

craftech 06-26-2006 09:48 AM

I called the company. The fabric is 460 denier and is "sportlite", fabric number 905 (silver). It is PVC backed and is 58" wide, not 60".

You will need to contact a sales rep and set up an account to buy it. It ships out of their Illinois warehouse if you live in the states.

John

tiddler 06-26-2006 10:48 AM

I called the 1-800-66-36647 on the J. Ennis Fabrics contact page http://www.jennisfabrics.com/web/contacts and was assured that they do sell the material and it is called "Sportlight" not "Sportlite". You can setup an account with them and order it directly from them. I checked with J. Ennis and they said it was 420 Denier and agreed with the fabric number 905 (platinum) .

I would agree that the fully backed material may only be 58" wide but there is about an inch of fabric on either side of that. The material I have would bave been just wide enough to staple along the edges of a 58" frame. I would be inclined to then attach an outer black frame for the border and to secure the material attachment.

If you go to the Rockland Textiles website http://www.rocklandtextiles.com/index.html you will see that they are not setup to take orders online. However I called them at 1-613-526-0333 and they will take orders by phone. So I asked "If someone from Texas calls and wants to order some Sportlight in either white or light grey, would you know what they were talking about? The answer was yes. Rockland Textiles has also confirmed that they were mistaken when they told me it was 1000 Denier and confirmed that it is 420 Denier.

As far as the screen shots go there are the three Da-Lite samples on a piece of poster board. I have cut the posetrboard away from the right side of the samples so that the Sportlight cloth would be right next to the High Contrast Matte White and Video Spectra 1.5 samples. So the larger area on the right is the Sportlight material.

On the fish the darker blue area is the Sportlight. It gives pretty good contrast without reducing the whites of the strips too much. For the sea plant photo I included the entire screen. Therefore the majority of the image id the Sportlight material.

You may notice waves in the cloth. They are from hanging the samples from the top of the screen. I only jave the screen suspended by bungee cords in the corners. I do not recommend this method of mounting the screen. Stretched over a frame or glued to a flat surface would be much better.
[Edited by tiddler on Jun 26, 2006 at 9:32:08 AM]

James92TSi 06-27-2006 08:28 PM

tiddler:

Very interesting find - thank you for sharing. I have a few questions if you don't mind...

Can you share some more details about your setup in the pics (projector, image size, is it a fully light-controlled room)?

Any chance of a getting some comparison pics of the different material samples as in the screen shots with full-on white being projected (or failing that, full room lighting)?

How would you describe the performance of this Sportlight material - gain, any hotspotting, viewing cone?

I am looking for a good DIY gray fabric and you may have led me to it. Not in a dedicated light-controlled room, hence looking into gray rather than white. Projecting a 100" diagonal 16:9 with infocus SP5000.

Thanks!

-- James

Tiddler@Home 06-28-2006 06:41 PM

I added a few screen shots. The movie shots were all taken at night with all the lights off. The previous shots of the big fish and the sea plants were also taken with very little ambient light.

http://www.***************.com/forum...cfm?which=5975

tiddler 06-29-2006 08:48 AM

I picked up 3yds of the Sportlight in white. I wanted to see how I would like a white screen because I was considering the EluneVision electric screens available from the www.eastporters.com website. They are very inexpensive but only come in a matte white with a gain of 1.4 or so.

I have been running the HD72 in bright mode for use with the grey Sportlight material. I changed to cinema mode and also turned down the Brilliant Color and True Vivid settings. I found the white Sportlight needed less brightness to achieve a pleasing image. After adjusting the projector to suite the white Sportlight I observed a little more vivid color performance while the perceived black levels seemed similar to the grey. I did not do side by side comparisons so I can’t say if the ambient light performance is the same but I wasn’t bothered by the ambient light so I decided a white screen would be acceptable for now.

I simply used clothes pegs to attach the white material over the grey. It was far from flat and I did not take any photos. If you are interested in this Sportlight material I strongly suggest you get a sample of both the light grey and white and try it out for yourself. I did notice there is a darker grey so make sure you get the lighter grey.

jgburks 06-29-2006 11:30 AM

Well you convinced me. I just ordered 3 yards. I have a Gatorboard screen now, but it has a ding I want to fix, so I'm just going to stretch this over the Gatorboard and slip it back in the frame. I'll let you know how it looks.

Tiddler@Home 06-29-2006 06:12 PM

jgburks,

What color did you order?
What projector are you using?

I would suggest you temporarily attach (tape) it and try it out before going to all the trouble of mounting it. So far you only have my say so on it :) Also if your used to a white screen you may not like the light grey or vise versa.

Please do let us know what you think!

I wish some of the more knowledgeable members llike mississippyman would put their two cents worth in on this Sportlight material.

craftech 07-02-2006 10:51 AM

Tiddler,
I don't think the
Platinum" 905 "Sportlight" material looks nearly as good as the Parkland Plastic material does when projected on the silvery top side of the fabric. In fact, it looks really bad to my eyes. Maybe I got spoiled by the Parkland Plastic.

However,
It looks much much better when projected on the back side (PVC side) which is a light gray PVC color.

Would you please try projecting on the back of the material and then compare it to the white you bought then post back before I order another 5 yards of White in addition to the Platinum? It would greatly help us all.

Thanks,

John

Tiddler@Home 07-02-2006 11:50 PM

I took some photos of the grey and white material drapped over my EluneVision White screen. You can see them at http://www.***************.com/forum...cfm?which=5975

I find the PVC side of the Grey to be very dull. One of the problems with these type of side by side comparisons is that the projector is only setup correctly for one of the materials. I'm not familiar with the Parkland material. If it is white then the Grey will look dark unless you adjust the projector for it. To really do a side by side comparison you would need two of the same projectors, each calibrated for the material it was used with. I still like the woven side of the Sportlight materials. I think the white Sportlight material is better in ambient light than the EluneVision white screen.

jgburks 07-03-2006 09:40 PM

Material came today, and I put it up temporarily just for a look see, and it looks fantastic! Projector is a Panasonic 900 in theater mode, low power lamp, dark room. I got the white, not the gray.

My old screen was Gatorboard, and this material seems brighter to me, but I think it leans toward a white/gray. Don't get me wrong - it's not gray, but just looking at it side by side with the Gatorboard, it did seem brighter but with a hint of gray. Maybe it's the sheen, I dunno. It's definitely whiter than the Sintra sample I had. Side by side, it definitely looks better than the Gatorboard. It has a little sheen to it, but there is no hotspotting. I didn't try the back side, just the front side.

To mount it, I put grommets in and stretched it around my Gatorboard, held it in place with some elastic, then just slipped it back into my frame with some Velcro to hold it in place. To be honest, it didn't need grommets. This stuff is tough. It will not rip or tear. I could hardly get the grommet punch through it. I did it upstairs in my media room, and the family thought I was demolishing the house.

It has some minor wrinkling, but I think most of that will stretch out. I might try a warm iron on it with a sheet over it later if it doesn't. Interestingly enough, the wrinkles don't affect the image if you're looking head on. From the side you can see them, but at normal viewing distance they're just not there.

I ordered it direct from the manufacturer, and it came FedEx in 2 days (I'm in Memphis, so we usually get stuff FedEx quicker here). Apparently somebody else out there ordered some too. The lady wanted to know what I was using it for, so I told her, and I was the second person that day she sold some to.

It came on a roll, not folded, sealed in plactic which was a nice touch. It had one small barely noticeable spot on it, but it should be easy to clean. I haven't tried yet, but I plan to.

I have a strip about 12x60 inches leftover, so if anybody wants a sample let me know and I'll mail it to you. It was $13/yard, and I'm not sure what they charged me for shipping. But it was cheaper than replacing my Gatorboard (which would probably have gotten damaged again by the kids), and it looks better to my novice eye. A definite win-win for me.

Thanks for the tip!

tiddler 07-04-2006 08:51 AM

I'm glad it worked out for you jgburks. I was releived to here they sent it in a roll. I tried folding it and it creases. In fact I would caution anyone not to handle it any more than necessary to insure that you get a nice flat surface. The material is nylon woven fabric with a pvc backing so I would imagine it can be washed by wiping it with a damp cloth or sponge and mild dish soap. There are window cleaners specifically formulated for use on tinted windows. I suspect they would be safe on a platic material like the Sportlight.

I was also pleased with the porformane of the white material. It is brighter than the grey at the expense of some ambient light performance. The white Sportlight does outperform my white EluneVision screen in ambient light conditions though. For applications where there is a fair bit of ambient light and a bright projector in used I would still suggest the light grey. I guess it depends on whether your prefference if for a brighter screen or better black levels and ambient light tolerance.

craftech 07-05-2006 05:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler
I'm glad it worked out for you jgburks. I was releived to here they sent it in a roll. I tried folding it and it creases. In fact I would caution anyone not to handle it any more than necessary to insure that you get a nice flat surface. The material is nylon woven fabric with a pvc backing so I would imagine it can be washed by wiping it with a damp cloth or sponge and mild dish soap. There are window cleaners specifically formulated for use on tinted windows. I suspect they would be safe on a platic material like the Sportlight.

I was also pleased with the porformane of the white material. It is brighter than the grey at the expense of some ambient light performance. The white Sportlight does outperform my white EluneVision screen in ambient light conditions though. For applications where there is a fair bit of ambient light and a bright projector in used I would still suggest the light grey. I guess it depends on whether your prefference if for a brighter screen or better black levels and ambient light tolerance.
From your photographs the Envision screen seems to outperform the other two. I know the gray material looks really dull color wise to the seven different people who have evaluated it so far. The ONLY thing they like is the rendition of the color black, however detail is lost in the black areas of a dark scene with this material.

The Parkland plastic (shiny side) is a tough act to follow.

John

tiddler 07-05-2006 08:56 AM

That's the problem with these kind of comparison photos. They lie about the performance of one of the materials. The projector brightness, contrast, and degamma were setup for the white EluneVision material. You can't really judge the performance of the Sportlight grey under these conditions. To do this properly would take much more effort than I was willing to expend. You would have to calibrate the projector with each screen material separately. Project exactly the same image on each screen. Setup the digital camera manually to ensure the exposure settings etc don't change between photos. Then you could produce two photos worth comparing. These are the only conclusions you can take from the crude side by side photos I took: 1. White is brighter than grey for a given projector setup. 2. Blacks look blacker on a grey screen in the presents of significant ambient light. 3. A grey screen "may" cause some color shifting.

In hind sight I think maybe I have done people a disservice by posting these kinds of screen shots. In the future if I'm not willing to do it correctly I don't think I should do it at all. Poor testing technique leads to inaccurate conclusions.

I think forums like this are really useful to help determine what you should try. For example I almost ordered a screen with the High Power material from Da-Lite based on what I had read here. I ended up getting samples of the HP, HCMW, and Video Spectra and tried them. I'm glad I did. For my particular setup the High Power was not the best choice. Read as much as you can stand to then pick a few options and try it yourself. What works in one setup and pleases one person's taste may not please you in your setup.

"For me" the woven side of the Sportlight grey produced a very pleasing image in the ambient light conditions I have during the day. The reflective behavior of the fine woven nylon seemed to created a more three dimensional image. The white Sportlight material had the same dazzle but was naturally brighter and less tolerant of ambient light. YMMV :)

craftech 07-05-2006 12:15 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by tiddler
That's the problem with these kind of comparison photos. They lie about the performance of one of the materials. The projector brightness, contrast, and degamma were setup for the white EluneVision material. You can't really judge the performance of the Sportlight grey under these conditions. To do this properly would take much more effort than I was willing to expend. You would have to calibrate the projector with each screen material separately. Project exactly the same image on each screen. Setup the digital camera manually to ensure the exposure settings etc don't change between photos. Then you could produce two photos worth comparing. These are the only conclusions you can take from the crude side by side photos I took: 1. White is brighter than grey for a given projector setup. 2. Blacks look blacker on a grey screen in the presents of significant ambient light. 3. A grey screen "may" cause some color shifting.

In hind sight I think maybe I have done people a disservice by posting these kinds of screen shots. In the future if I'm not willing to do it correctly I don't think I should do it at all. Poor testing technique leads to inaccurate conclusions.

I think forums like this are really useful to help determine what you should try. For example I almost ordered a screen with the High Power material from Da-Lite based on what I had read here. I ended up getting samples of the HP, HCMW, and Video Spectra and tried them. I'm glad I did. For my particular setup the High Power was not the best choice. Read as much as you can stand to then pick a few options and try it yourself. What works in one setup and pleases one person's taste may not please you in your setup.

"For me" the woven side of the Sportlight grey produced a very pleasing image in the ambient light conditions I have during the day. The reflective behavior of the fine woven nylon seemed to created a more three dimensional image. The white Sportlight material had the same dazzle but was naturally brighter and less tolerant of ambient light. YMMV :)
Do yourself a favor and try a sheet of Parkland Plastic material (if you can find it). They have changed the formula for the material recently, but Do IT Best hardware stores and Menards (I believe) still have the old stock. Check this forum for the thread and read it. It is amazing stuff. I paid about $25 for the sheet.

John

Tiddler@Home 07-05-2006 04:09 PM

John, I am not questioning the Parkland Plastic material. My room setup dictates that I have to use a roll up screen. That limits my options as far as DIY solutions.

craftech 07-31-2006 07:09 AM

Well,
I ordered the white "sportlight" fabric and did some testing with my NEC LT380 LCD projector under variable light conditions. The projector is very bright.

Observations:

1. As with the "platinum" the front side didn't reflect sufficient light for a quality image IMO. I draped the fabric over the Parkland plastic sheet I use for a screen to create a split screen effect. I consider the Parkland material nearly ideal.

2. In the case of both the "platinum" and the "white" the reverse (PVC) side gave better results with the white having the edge. The colors and the details were too washed out when projected on the fabric side.
With that in mind, I am guessing that the material when projected on the reverse (PVC) side is the equal of blackout cloth and is reasonably priced for same.

3. The material is translucent so my testing which consisted of having the material flat against the Parkland screen eliminated most of the problem of translucency, but since this material is supposed to be for a roll up screen I feel that the back MUST be painted to make it opaque. I tried putting various materials behind it and then hanging it free to see if there was a difference. I even put a sheet of aluminum behind it to test it.
Results: No difference. Conclusion: Any material (even primer) will do to make it opaque.

4. Overall conclusion: If you like blackout cloth screens, this material with the front side painted opaque and the image projected on the PVC side will make a nice blackout cloth roll up screen.

John

tiddler 07-31-2006 07:53 AM

craftech I'm starting to wonder if we are talking about the same fabric and I still wonder if we are talking about the same sides as back and front.

The material I have is a matte or flat finish with tiny dimples on the back side. The front side has a sheen and the texture of a woven cloth is visible.

I am shooting to a 120" screen with 1280x768 resolution. There are at least 3 threads per pixel. If you are shooting to a much smaller screen the thread density might be too low.

On the other hand I didn't even consider shooting to the matte side and other have backed you up on the preference for the back side.

I guess it is all subjective after all.

Steve Scherrer 07-31-2006 02:56 PM

Tiddler--I know you have had a preference for an electric roll down screen, but why wouldn't this material work for that application? I have a DIY roll-down screen, and use a white matte vinyl sheet that gives a great picture--even though it is, unfortunately, ever so slightly opaque. The nice thing about the vinyl is that it is relatively thick and heavy, so it lays really well, without wrinkles. I have issues with waves, but am looking to correct that. And plan to paint the back with primer to block the light that comes through.

How thick is this material?


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