New to projection. So confused! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 07-07-2014, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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New to projection. So confused!

So, I have just recently began looking at going the projection route and making a true home theater experience. I've been reading a lot, and I've pretty much decided to go the 2.35:1 CIH route, as I like the idea of scope movies being more impressive than their 16:9 counterparts. I had known about screen masking, but had never looked into it, and I have since found out about Anamorphic lenses as well. After reading more and more, I am pretty confused about which direction I should go.

Masking seems like a foregone conclusion, but I had no idea it was so expensive! Why does something that seems like a relatively simple application (with materials that shouldn't be that much) cost so much to get? Is the market just that niche that the only way to be profitable is to charge that much? Are there any less expensive systems out there? I saw some of Carada, and I understand it's a lot cheaper than some others, but it still seems extremely costly for what it is.

Also, how much of an impact does masking have on audio from speakers that are positioned behind an AT screen? I would assume the masking is AT as well, but does having to go through both the screen and the masking make a difference?

Then there's the whole thing with A-lenses and zooming, etc. When I first found out I'd need an A-lens and that it wasn't cheap, I was a bit disappointed, but I prepared myself to bite the bullet. Though, I've since read some opinions that the lower priced ones might not even be worth it, and to get something really effective it would going to be way more. This is a concern to me. With that in mind, I gave more consideration to the zoom method and figured I could maybe make do with it for now, but there are those movies that have shifting aspect ratios that would just bug me to no end. So, then I'm back to A-lenses and wondering how I'm going to afford it, especially now that I realize how much masking systems are. Then to add to my confusion (but maybe offer a solution?) I read about something called a Lumagen? Is that something that could be used in conjunction with the zooming method on those movies with shifting aspect ratios? Is it very costly?

Then to top all that off, I still need to figure out what projectors (and screen) to look at. I'm not worried about 4K now, I'll do that in a few years. It'll be mostly for movies, with some TV and games thrown in, and I would like 3D. I guess I will probably need one with zoom memory too? I think the projector will be 12-14 ft back from the screen, and I'm looking at a 120" - 130" screen.

Can anyone clear anything up for me?
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post #2 of 27 Old 07-07-2014, 02:50 PM
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It sounds like you're letting yourself get overwhelmed with the details. Take things one step at a time. Most people who go CIH start by using the Zoom Method, and for many people that serves their needs perfectly fine. If you decide that isn't satisfying you enough, you can add an anamorphic lens later.

Buy a 2.35:1 screen and a projector with power zoom and focus, preferably one with automated lens presets. Adjust the zoom as appropriate for movies of each aspect ratio.

Start without masking. You can always add that later. If Carada is too expensive, consider making something DIY that you can manually move on and off the screen. Dark curtains are also a good option for side masking.
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post #3 of 27 Old 07-07-2014, 08:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChldsPlay View Post
With that in mind, I gave more consideration to the zoom method and figured I could maybe make do with it for now, but there are those movies that have shifting aspect ratios that would just bug me to no end. So, then I'm back to A-lenses and wondering how I'm going to afford it, especially now that I realize how much masking systems are.
Those movies are a problem for any CIH setup. Lens or zoom doesn't affect that.


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Originally Posted by ChldsPlay View Post
Then to add to my confusion (but maybe offer a solution?) I read about something called a Lumagen? Is that something that could be used in conjunction with the zooming method on those movies with shifting aspect ratios? Is it very costly?
A Lumagen Radiance can help for certain configurations, such as a fixed a-lens, or a PJ that does not have lens memory. It's unnecessary for the most basic CIH setup, as the previous poster recommended.

Seymour AV has some nice options for masking panels, if you don't want to DIY, and should be cheaper than motorized solutions.
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post #4 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 05:43 AM
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Those movies are a problem for any CIH setup. Lens or zoom doesn't affect that.
Maybe not technically, but in practice there is a difference. Due to the electronic scaling/cropping when using a lens, the top/bottom are cut off (be it the black bars for most of the movie, or the IMAX footage), so multi-AR movies are effectively "converted" to scope (as they were shown in the theater). You don't see the change in AR, and for the ones I've seen in both places there's been nothing I've ever noticed to indicate to me what I've been watching is anything but scope.

With zooming, unless your projector/video processor has electronic masking for the top/bottom, that part of the image is just pushed off the screen, so when the IMAX footage comes on, even if you've got velvet masking on your walls, you still may see the picture spill over.
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post #5 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
It sounds like you're letting yourself get overwhelmed with the details. Take things one step at a time. Most people who go CIH start by using the Zoom Method, and for many people that serves their needs perfectly fine. If you decide that isn't satisfying you enough, you can add an anamorphic lens later.

Buy a 2.35:1 screen and a projector with power zoom and focus, preferably one with automated lens presets. Adjust the zoom as appropriate for movies of each aspect ratio.

Start without masking. You can always add that later. If Carada is too expensive, consider making something DIY that you can manually move on and off the screen. Dark curtains are also a good option for side masking.
I think starting without a lens might be the way I have to go, but I do want to make sure I have an understanding of the options that are available. There aren't a lot of those shifting aspect ratio movies, but I know they would bug me a great deal. And I do know I want masking, I just never realized it was so expensive, and it might force compromise in other areas.

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Those movies are a problem for any CIH setup. Lens or zoom doesn't affect that.

A Lumagen Radiance can help for certain configurations, such as a fixed a-lens, or a PJ that does not have lens memory. It's unnecessary for the most basic CIH setup, as the previous poster recommended.

Seymour AV has some nice options for masking panels, if you don't want to DIY, and should be cheaper than motorized solutions.
I had seen a video someone put up using Lumagen where they had converted that image from 16:9 to scope using Lumagen, and they showed some of the movies with shifting aspect ratio and how they stayed in scope. That's why I thought it might be an option. I am not sure if they also used an A-lens or what their specific setup was though. I'm not sure exactly how it works.

Do those Seymour panels stay on and slide back and forth (manually), or do you put them on and take them off each time you switch? Not much difference I know, but it'd be nice to not have panels laying around if possible. I noticed the Carada was dual motor. Are there single motor systems that costs less?

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Maybe not technically, but in practice there is a difference. Due to the electronic scaling/cropping when using a lens, the top/bottom are cut off (be it the black bars for most of the movie, or the IMAX footage), so multi-AR movies are effectively "converted" to scope (as they were shown in the theater). You don't see the change in AR, and for the ones I've seen in both places there's been nothing I've ever noticed to indicate to me what I've been watching is anything but scope.

With zooming, unless your projector/video processor has electronic masking for the top/bottom, that part of the image is just pushed off the screen, so when the IMAX footage comes on, even if you've got velvet masking on your walls, you still may see the picture spill over.
This is what I meant with handling the changing aspect ratios. I know there is really know way to fully handle the changes so that no information is lost, but I'd much rather have the image converted somehow (Lumagen?) or cut off than to have the image spilling out all over the place.
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post #6 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 10:53 AM
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I had seen a video someone put up using Lumagen where they had converted that image from 16:9 to scope using Lumagen, and they showed some of the movies with shifting aspect ratio and how they stayed in scope. That's why I thought it might be an option. I am not sure if they also used an A-lens or what their specific setup was though. I'm not sure exactly how it works.
If you use the Zoom Method for CIH and play one of the small handful of movies with shifting aspect ratios, you will wind up projecting image onto your wall during the scenes that expand in height to 16:9.



This is obviously not desirable.

A Lumagen processor can apply electronic blanking that will black out the top and bottom of the frame, only showing you the center. This will effectively turn the movie into a standard 2.35:1 letterboxed presentation. You should not notice the letterbox bars projected onto your wall.

If you use an anamorphic lens for CIH, you don't necessarily need a Lumagen processor so long as your projector has a Vertical Stretch feature. (Many home theater models do.) The combination of lens and v-stretch will crop out the top and bottom of the 16:9 frame.
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post #7 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
If you use the Zoom Method for CIH and play one of the small handful of movies with shifting aspect ratios, you will wind up projecting image onto your wall during the scenes that expand in height to 16:9.



This is obviously not desirable.

A Lumagen processor can apply electronic blanking that will black out the top and bottom of the frame, only showing you the center. This will effectively turn the movie into a standard 2.35:1 letterboxed presentation. You should not notice the letterbox bars projected onto your wall.

If you use an anamorphic lens for CIH, you don't necessarily need a Lumagen processor so long as your projector has a Vertical Stretch feature. (Many home theater models do.) The combination of lens and v-stretch will crop out the top and bottom of the 16:9 frame.
That's exactly what I want to avoid. How does Lumagen's cost compare to quality A-lense?
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post #8 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 12:57 PM
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That's exactly what I want to avoid. How does Lumagen's cost compare to quality A-lense?
They're both expensive. This isn't a cheap hobby.

Contact AVS sales for pricing. The Lumagen Radiance Mini-3D is the least expensive model. The main difference between that and the more expensive models is the number of HDMI inputs, but you can always add an inpexensive HDMI switcher in front of the Lumagen if you need more inputs.

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post #9 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post
With zooming, unless your projector/video processor has electronic masking for the top/bottom, that part of the image is just pushed off the screen, so when the IMAX footage comes on, even if you've got velvet masking on your walls, you still may see the picture spill over.
Oh yeah. I was thinking he would want to see the entire picture. Masking works too. An a-lens or a Lumagen will fit the bill.
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post #10 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 01:05 PM
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Realistically, only a tiny handful of movies have the IMAX alternating aspect ratios on Blu-ray.

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Walmart "Big Screen Edition")
Tron Legacy
Star Trek into Darkness (upcoming "Star Trek Compendium" box set)

Presumably Christopher Nolan's upcoming Interstellar will have this on Blu-ray as well.

That's it. Really. The easiest solution for you is to start with the Zoom Method and steer clear of these 7 movies. In fact, three of them (Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek and Hunger Games) have separate 2.35:1 Constant Height versions available on Blu-ray (Hunger Games is an import). That brings you down to 4 movies to worry about.

How big of a Batman or Tron fan are you?

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post #11 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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They're both expensive. This isn't a cheap hobby.

Contact AVS sales for pricing. The Lumagen Radiance Mini-3D is the least expensive model. The main difference between that and the more expensive models is the number of HDMI inputs, but you can always add an inpexensive HDMI switcher in front of the Lumagen if you need more inputs.
You can say that again. Cheap is a relative term with this stuff. It's all expensive. I am hoping to keep things under 30k total (Including construction labor and install). Each new big equipment cost makes me worry more.
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post #12 of 27 Old 07-08-2014, 01:33 PM
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I had many thoughts very similar to your first post when I was learning about 2.35:1 and CIH. I've learned that CIH can be had for most budgets depending on what compromises you are willing to make. I am not into the projection market yet personally but if I were I'd be doing it on a fairly tight budget which means no A-lens. From my own research you can get by with as little as a 2.35 screen and a projector that has lens-shift. The projector doesn't need to have powered zoom but it certainly helps and removes that slightly ghetto feel to things.

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post #13 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 05:47 AM
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That's exactly what I want to avoid. How does Lumagen's cost compare to quality A-lense?
If you're willing/able to add extra large masking above/below your screen (or just cover the whole front wall in Velvet), that would largely mitigate the issue for those few variable AR films.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #14 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ChldsPlay View Post
Masking seems like a foregone conclusion, but I had no idea it was so expensive! Why does something that seems like a relatively simple application (with materials that shouldn't be that much) cost so much to get? Is the market just that niche that the only way to be profitable is to charge that much? Are there any less expensive systems out there? I saw some of Carada, and I understand it's a lot cheaper than some others, but it still seems extremely costly for what it is.
Yes, it is expensive, and once you see how much engineering goes into the systems, you'll start to understand why. Couple that with very low volumes of product, and it is a tough one to swallow. I splurged on the Carada Masquerade for my theater, and I'm still thrilled with both the quality of the product and the performance of the system.

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Also, how much of an impact does masking have on audio from speakers that are positioned behind an AT screen? I would assume the masking is AT as well, but does having to go through both the screen and the masking make a difference?
The Carada system and screens are NOT AT - getting an AT setup along with CIH masking will take you up another pricing notch...

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Originally Posted by ChldsPlay View Post
Then there's the whole thing with A-lenses and zooming, etc. When I first found out I'd need an A-lens and that it wasn't cheap, I was a bit disappointed, but I prepared myself to bite the bullet. Though, I've since read some opinions that the lower priced ones might not even be worth it, and to get something really effective it would going to be way more. This is a concern to me. With that in mind, I gave more consideration to the zoom method and figured I could maybe make do with it for now, but there are those movies that have shifting aspect ratios that would just bug me to no end. So, then I'm back to A-lenses and wondering how I'm going to afford it, especially now that I realize how much masking systems are.
The good thing about the screen and masking systems is that they won't go obsolete, unless CIH projection goes away, which isn't likely. With the lens memory in many good projectors these days, you can certainly start with the zoom method - and quite frankly if you start there you probably won't add a lens later. The performance using the zoom method is pretty darn good.

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Then to top all that off, I still need to figure out what projectors (and screen) to look at. I'm not worried about 4K now, I'll do that in a few years. It'll be mostly for movies, with some TV and games thrown in, and I would like 3D. I guess I will probably need one with zoom memory too? I think the projector will be 12-14 ft back from the screen, and I'm looking at a 120" - 130" screen.
Yes, for an easy-to-use CIH system you need either a lens plus scaling, or a projector with lens memory (zoom). On the lens choice, you then decide if the lens will be movable or fixed in place. Both choices require scaling modes somewhere in the chain.

Hope that helps,

Jeff
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post #15 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ChldsPlay View Post
Masking seems like a foregone conclusion, but I had no idea it was so expensive! Why does something that seems like a relatively simple application (with materials that shouldn't be that much) cost so much to get? Is the market just that niche that the only way to be profitable is to charge that much? Are there any less expensive systems out there? I saw some of Carada, and I understand it's a lot cheaper than some others, but it still seems extremely costly for what it is.
This might give you and idea of what's involved in a masking system:
DIY Curved AT screen with Somfy based automated masking

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #16 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Yes, it is expensive, and once you see how much engineering goes into the systems, you'll start to understand why. Couple that with very low volumes of product, and it is a tough one to swallow. I splurged on the Carada Masquerade for my theater, and I'm still thrilled with both the quality of the product and the performance of the system.



The Carada system and screens are NOT AT - getting an AT setup along with CIH masking will take you up another pricing notch...



The good thing about the screen and masking systems is that they won't go obsolete, unless CIH projection goes away, which isn't likely. With the lens memory in many good projectors these days, you can certainly start with the zoom method - and quite frankly if you start there you probably won't add a lens later. The performance using the zoom method is pretty darn good.



Yes, for an easy-to-use CIH system you need either a lens plus scaling, or a projector with lens memory (zoom). On the lens choice, you then decide if the lens will be movable or fixed in place. Both choices require scaling modes somewhere in the chain.

Hope that helps,

Jeff
So I am assuming then, that you don't have an AT screen if you're using the Carada? If I'm wrong and you do, but still have their masking, how does it impact the audio quality?

I suppose it is possible to get a screen elsewhere and add their system and only have the centers behind the screen?

By a step up, do you mean the systems that are $10k+?
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post #17 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 03:31 PM
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So I am assuming then, that you don't have an AT screen if you're using the Carada? If I'm wrong and you do, but still have their masking, how does it impact the audio quality?
Correct, I'm not using an AT setup. See link in my signature...

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I suppose it is possible to get a screen elsewhere and add their system and only have the centers behind the screen?
Yes.

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By a step up, do you mean the systems that are $10k+?
Yes, most likely. IIRC the AT masking systems were up there... If anyone knows of a product less than that, I'd like to know about it, too...

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post #18 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Correct, I'm not using an AT setup. See link in my signature...



Yes.



Yes, most likely. IIRC the AT masking systems were up there... If anyone knows of a product less than that, I'd like to know about it, too...

Jeff
That's a very nice theater you have there. Did you DIY or have installers work on it? Can I ask what you spent putting it all together?
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post #19 of 27 Old 07-09-2014, 04:17 PM
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That's a very nice theater you have there. Did you DIY or have installers work on it? Can I ask what you spent putting it all together?
Thanks. I had contractors build the room, and I did all the electrical and AV design/install work. Cost depends on where you want to start from. This room was an unfinished space, having the contractor build everything was ~$30k. Then I spent that again on the AV gear and furnishings... But the Masquerade was the only thing I paid "full price" for!

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post #20 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I had contractors build the room, and I did all the electrical and AV design/install work. Cost depends on where you want to start from. This room was an unfinished space, having the contractor build everything was ~$30k. Then I spent that again on the AV gear and furnishings... But the Masquerade was the only thing I paid "full price" for!
Well, that's a little bit out of my price range I think (I honestly am not sure on a budget yet, but was thinking along the lines of 30K total). Now, I would have A LOT less contractor work required with mine, and I was hoping to keep that in the 10k range, and the equipment in the 20k range (cursed masking!). I will have a lot less seating (at most 4 of main seating), slightly smaller screen, probably some equipment that isn't as good. It's just going to be a lot smaller than that overall. I think we really need to figure out a more firm budget and I can figure out where I need to compromise, and where I can go all out.
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post #21 of 27 Old 07-10-2014, 09:32 AM
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Well, that's a little bit out of my price range I think (I honestly am not sure on a budget yet, but was thinking along the lines of 30K total). Now, I would have A LOT less contractor work required with mine, and I was hoping to keep that in the 10k range, and the equipment in the 20k range (cursed masking!).
CIH masking system will definitely eat a lot of that budget. I spent as much on the masking/screen as I did on the projector (although the projector cost less than I expected, but, still!). Manual masking panels (or a DIY solution) may be a good compromise - I wouldn't recommend sacrificing audio/video quality to get automatic masking.

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Originally Posted by ChldsPlay View Post
I will have a lot less seating (at most 4 of main seating), slightly smaller screen, probably some equipment that isn't as good. It's just going to be a lot smaller than that overall. I think we really need to figure out a more firm budget and I can figure out where I need to compromise, and where I can go all out.
Yeah, definitely prioritize the budget on the stuff that matters the most - and what can be deferred / added-on later.

Jeff

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post #22 of 27 Old 07-16-2014, 01:22 PM
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Do you have a projector model in mind? As I read through I don't think I saw you mention a make or model.

If you are looking at a LCD or LCOS based model, keep in mind that most of them allow for electronic color correction, which helps deliver excellent performance from the sub $2K Panamorph CineVista lens. To hit that price point, the CineVista lacks correction for chromatic aberration, but the color correction in most LCD and LCOS models lets you dial almost all of it out. Having a lens will "solve" the variable aspect ratio issue. But of course I am prejudiced, since I spend part of my year consulting for Panamorph

There are other issues and variables as well, so as much as you can share about your product choices and priorities the better. $20K should still buy you one heck of a system. Many of us here have years of experience playing with this stuff and can tell you where to spend money and where to save it (and that refers to the audio part of the equation too).

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post #23 of 27 Old 07-22-2014, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Do you have a projector model in mind? As I read through I don't think I saw you mention a make or model.

If you are looking at a LCD or LCOS based model, keep in mind that most of them allow for electronic color correction, which helps deliver excellent performance from the sub $2K Panamorph CineVista lens. To hit that price point, the CineVista lacks correction for chromatic aberration, but the color correction in most LCD and LCOS models lets you dial almost all of it out. Having a lens will "solve" the variable aspect ratio issue. But of course I am prejudiced, since I spend part of my year consulting for Panamorph

There are other issues and variables as well, so as much as you can share about your product choices and priorities the better. $20K should still buy you one heck of a system. Many of us here have years of experience playing with this stuff and can tell you where to spend money and where to save it (and that refers to the audio part of the equation too).
I think I've pretty much settled on the Panasonic AE8000U for various reasons. I'm going to forgo an A-lens for now and use the zooming function, and a Lumagen Mini3D to handle the aspect ratios. I've also decided on a 141" Diag. AT Seymour Center Stage XD with manual masking panels. Leaning towards Klipsch speakers, and still have a lot to figure out.

My budget is looking to be around $40k for everything (construction, installation, equipment, and furniture).
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post #24 of 27 Old 07-22-2014, 11:44 AM
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Cool! Audition lots of speakers (by far the most important part of your sound system), and put aside some money for acoustic treatments. Also, paint your walls and ceiling a dark color - very important for best picture quality.

Good luck and have fun! You will love CIH.

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post #25 of 27 Old 07-25-2014, 05:43 PM
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My first masking system was simple corded curtain track that I covered in black velvet, and some black velvet courts my gf helped make. We put some wooden dowels in the leading edge of the curtains to give a straight and crisp finish. Total cost was under one hundred dollars I think. It was easy to operate just by pulling the cord to open or close the curtains.

I'm using an ISCO II lens which I picked up at a good price from this forums classifieds, but lenses do come up on eBay too. Worth keeping an eye out for if you want to save some money.

Gary
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post #26 of 27 Old 07-26-2014, 10:17 AM
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My 2 cents: first, definitely go with an anamorphic lens. I saved a ton of money going fixed lens and no masking, and I really don't miss either. Sure, if money wasn't an option I'd add those features but I'm perfectly happy with my current setup. Adding a lens slide would actually be a pain because I'd have to redo my back-wall PJ lens cutout (my PJ and equipment is in a room behind the theater). I just rescale for the correct rendering of 16:9 content (and again for 1.85, my Sim2 has plenty of user AR settings).

On the topic of masking, I have found that black bars on the sides are not nearly as distracting as black bars on the top and bottom, and that a lot of scenes (i.e. darker ones) in 1.85 actually give you an illusion that it's 2.35 since the sides blend in a little with your peripheral vision. Brighter scenes and tv (especially sports) of course don't but it's still a great experience. Law of diminishing returns!

Also be sure you get a BR player that can shift subtitles. I have an Oppo but there are other brands that do this as well.
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post #27 of 27 Old 08-19-2014, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Realistically, only a tiny handful of movies have the IMAX alternating aspect ratios on Blu-ray.

The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Walmart "Big Screen Edition")
Tron Legacy
Star Trek into Darkness (upcoming "Star Trek Compendium" box set)

Presumably Christopher Nolan's upcoming Interstellar will have this on Blu-ray as well.

That's it. Really. The easiest solution for you is to start with the Zoom Method and steer clear of these 7 movies. In fact, three of them (Revenge of the Fallen, Star Trek and Hunger Games) have separate 2.35:1 Constant Height versions available on Blu-ray (Hunger Games is an import). That brings you down to 4 movies to worry about.

How big of a Batman or Tron fan are you?
Heh, I own all 7 of those movies, and in the case of Transformers I even made a fanedit for it. My lady love Batman too.

Anyway, I did go ahead and purchase the Panasonic PT-AE8000U and will be getting the Lumagin Mini3D. And I'll be either getting a Seymour or Falcon screen with manual masking panels.

Speakers is where my really tough decisions will come into play. Part of that will do with the design of the room and if I create a false wall or not.
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