Originally Posted by violator_1977
Some confident, seemingly exprienced and quite convincing forum members have suggested a CIH setup with "as wide a [cinemascope] screen as you can fit."
The reason for that suggestion is if you look around the forum (and from personal experience), pretty much everybody wishes they had, or could go bigger, but almost no one thinks they went too big (regardless of aspect ratio). Now that said, there are other considerations....
Presuming they mean a maximum of 13' wide i.e. 156" wide screen in my 15' wide room, this equates to an 87" image height viewing 16:9 content. At both 10' and 15' that seems crazy. Taking it down to say 12' wide i.e. 144" wide screen equates to an 81" image height viewing 16:9 content... again isn't that crazy?
As Mike noted, a 13' scope screen is only 65" high. For the 15' seating distance that's right on 3x screen heights which is far from crazy, and the front row would be about 2x screen heights. Both are well within industry (THX/SMPTE/Fox) recommended viewing distances.
I question the final image quality many of these people (presumably using $3k-$5k projectors with or without A lenses) are getting. How is the detail, vibrancy of colors, black levels, brightness, etc? How about when they are watching 3D? I have my doubts on that.
Now that's the real kicker there. 13' is pretty close to a perfect screen size for that seating distance IMO, but then the question is how do you light it. If you're talking AT, you're looking at around 1.0 gain or so, my SMX is supposedly 1.16 gain. At that screen size you're looking at about 71 square feet of screen area, which means you'd need on the order of 1100 Lumens to hit 16ftL. That's a pretty tall order if your budget is $5k, though the W7000 might be able to do that in a reasonably calibrated mode. Budget here is key to knowing if that's a reasonable screen size to light.
The "professionals" (i.e. those that design and install HT's for a living) and reviewed my room in detail suggest a 10' wide screen. One suggested a 10' 16:9AR screen, and another a 10' 2.35AR screen or maybe he said to push it, go 11' on the 2.35AR screen. Again, differences exist here. A 10' wide 16:9 screen means an image height of 67" whereas a 10' wide 2.35 screen means an image height of 51". HUGE difference there.
I think you've got to take "professional's" opinions with a grain of salt. Just because they sell things doesn't make them professionals. There's a couple HT installers in my area, I don't know that I'd weigh their opinions very highly just because in my area I think they typically go "small scale". But I'd weigh Mike (or any of the AVS folk's) opinions pretty highly because I know they deal with "big scale" HTs enough to understand those. To put it another way I think a lot of "normal" installers (thinking in my area) hardly know of scope setups and would tend to think 96" is big.
I've pulled out a basic projector (however it lacks zoom and image shift) and tested varying image sizes to the best I could make it work. This screen dimension decision is very hard for me to make up my mind. In my eyes, the 10' or 11' wide screen image seemed appropriate and I could see myself watching a 2 hour+ move on it. However, does it give that "i am sitting in a movie theater" feel? No. Does it look impressive or makes an impact or statement that I'm in a mini theater of sorts? no. It gives a more "i'm in a film screening room/art movie theater" feel.
Sounds to me like you just answered your own question, you don't find 10' wide impressive and you should go bigger (if possible). Have you tried it at 13' wide?
This is my first home theater. I know enough to know by now that the PJ/screen size/screen gain/ambient light/throw distance combo has a real impact on the final image quality.
Ideally, a thoughtful recommendation of the 1) screen dimensions (and gain) and 2) PJ would be very appreciated. I understand everyone has go their own opinions but I have also read a statement (do not know if it is true) that people will usually say they wish they went bigger (on screen size) and not the other way around.
1) Figure out what screen size you really want
. Don't be affraid to go big. Don't worry about how to light it. Don't worry about any of that, just figure out what you want.
2) Do your research on what it takes to light that desired screen, what projectors are available, and if they're in your budget.
3) If the screen size is unrealistic due to projector budget constraints, scale it down, but consider "unorthodox" options like putting in the larger screen but masking it down to the capabilities of the projector you choose so that you can always unmask later if you can afford a brighter/better projector.