Which type of compression / expansion lens should I get - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 10:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Which type of compression / expansion lens should I get

I have a BenQ W6000 projector - which based on room requirements is situated where I need to make the image nearly as small as possible in order for it to fit on my 106" SeymourAV AT 16x9 AR screen. 90% of what I watch is 16x9 (sports , TV)- however when I watch a movie - I get the black bars (above/below) as you'd expect.


I don't think that I'll be getting an additional screen for the 2.35 movies (though a possibility in the future) - so what I was hoping to do was to expand the picture to fill the entire 16x9 screen (acknowledging that some of the picture on both sides will "fall off" the screen- I'm OK with that as not much action happens there). I know that I can just zoom the image to do that - but I don't like the loss in resolution.
What type of lens should I buy- horizontal or vertical - compression or expansion? I saw someone advertise a horizontal compression Panamorph lens used to watch 2.35 on a 16x9 screen - but I don't know how that makes sense
I appreciate your help
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post #2 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
I have a BenQ W6000 projector - which based on room requirements is situated where I need to make the image nearly as small as possible in order for it to fit on my 106" SeymourAV AT 16x9 AR screen. 90% of what I watch is 16x9 (sports , TV)- however when I watch a movie - I get the black bars (above/below) as you'd expect.


I don't think that I'll be getting an additional screen for the 2.35 movies (though a possibility in the future) - so what I was hoping to do was to expand the picture to fill the entire 16x9 screen (acknowledging that some of the picture on both sides will "fall off" the screen- I'm OK with that as not much action happens there). I know that I can just zoom the image to do that - but I don't like the loss in resolution.
What type of lens should I buy- horizontal or vertical - compression or expansion? I saw someone advertise a horizontal compression Panamorph lens used to watch 2.35 on a 16x9 screen - but I don't know how that makes sense
I appreciate your help
What you want is a scalar to zoom and crop the picture. Essentially you want remove the top black bars, scale the picture vertically to fill the screen and then chop off the sides. A Lumagen would probably fit the bill, but you would want check with them to be sure. Zooming does not lose resolution and the scaling won't gain you any. You just won't have the overspill with the scalar.

As far as "nothing going on", I couldn't disagree more. You will be butchering the composition of a lot of scenes and I strongly oppose this approach. But it's your setup and money.
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post #3 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jeahrens View Post
What you want is a scalar to zoom and crop the picture. Essentially you want remove the top black bars, scale the picture vertically to fill the screen and then chop off the sides. A Lumagen would probably fit the bill, but you would want check with them to be sure. Zooming does not lose resolution and the scaling won't gain you any. You just won't have the overspill with the scalar.

As far as "nothing going on", I couldn't disagree more. You will be butchering the composition of a lot of scenes and I strongly oppose this approach. But it's your setup and money.
Thanks, though my Projector has a "letterbox"mode - which squeezes the image from the sides - removing the black bars from above/below the 2.35 image to fill the entire 16x9 screen - however (as you'd image) -things look slightly tall/skinnier
How would a lumagen be different?
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post #4 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 12:14 PM
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The lens you are referring to is a vertical compression lens. And yes, it is designed for watching 2.35:1 on a 16:9 screen. What it does do is utilize all of the projector pixels for 2.35:1 material rather than waste approx. 270 rows of them on black bars. The end result is a considerably brighter, crisper looking picture. However, the image still appears to be letterboxed because you are projecting onto a 16:9 screen, and you still can't fit a 2.35:1 image onto a 16:9 shape. You could project the side images out to the sides of the screen, but as Jeahrens said, that kind of defeats the point of having the lens.

Using the Panamorph vertical compression lens will, though, utilize all 1080 vertical pixels for 2.35:1 material, so you will get all the resolution (and technically the black bars will be gone, rather than just projected onto the wall).

Vertical compression designs can be confusing to many in how they are implemented. I would call Panamorph and have them walk you through how it works.


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post #5 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 12:36 PM
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If you really want to retain the height and cut off the sides, you want a horizontal expansion lens. However that is a very expensive way to cut off the sides, and doesn't have any benefits, in fact it would have some drawbacks since you'd be "wasting" light and pixels off the sides of your screen.

If you're really determined to cut off the sides, I would recommend just zooming with what you have. Anything else is extremely expensive for what you're doing.

That said, my advice would be to just accept the bars.
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post #6 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
Thanks, though my Projector has a "letterbox"mode - which squeezes the image from the sides - removing the black bars from above/below the 2.35 image to fill the entire 16x9 screen - however (as you'd image) -things look slightly tall/skinnier
How would a lumagen be different?
The Lumagen would be expanding the 2.35:1 image vertically without the distortion you see in the projectors letterbox mode and then discarding the sides of the image that would spill off the 16:9 screen. Just imagine zooming the picture to fill the height of the screen and then chopping off the part of the image that spills over onto the wall (which is I think what you are asking for). The anamorphic mode on your projector is expanding the picture vertically so you can then use a lens to expand this image out to fill a 2.35:1 screen. That's why you see the whole picture, but distorted. You'd have check with Lumagen to be sure their scalar can do this, but I believe it probably can.

John's solution does not remove the letterbox bars. It involves scaling the letterboxed image to fill the projectors panel and then using a lens restore the geometry. So you would have the exact same 2.35:1 picture size you currently do. Also you do not gain picture information this way, but do gain brightness by using the full panel. This really isn't what you are asking for, which is to enlarge the image vertically and crop it horizontally.

One thing you may want to research would be screen masking. What this basically entails is constructing some blackout screen attachments that cover the bars. This does not increase the picture size, but gives the illusion of a 2.35:1 screen and better perceived contrast. It also does not involve destroying the image composition of the film. And it is far cheaper than the scalar


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post #7 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jeahrens View Post
The Lumagen would be expanding the 2.35:1 image vertically without the distortion you see in the projectors letterbox mode and then discarding the sides of the image that would spill off the 16:9 screen. Just imagine zooming the picture to fill the height of the screen and the chopping off the part of the image that spills over onto the wall (which is I think what you are asking for). The anamorphic mode on your projector is expanding the picture vertically so you can then use a lens to expand this image out to fill a 2.35:1 screen. That's why you see the whole picture, but distorted. You'd have check with Lumagen to be sure their scalar can do this, but I believe it probably can.
It can, quite easily, but it's a very, very expensive way to do that.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #8 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 01:08 PM
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I agree with all here in that all of these are expensive methods to achieve something that can be gotten for free just by zooming. If you look at the original post, though, he says he may possibly get a 2.35:1 screen in the future.

Technically "my" method does remove the letterbox bars as they are no longer part of the image nor are they being projected by the projector (in other words, you would not see them projected onto the walls / ceiling using "my" method). However jeahrens is correct to say that the image will still appear to be letterboxed and you would end up with the same 2.35:1 picture size you currently have. However, if you did zoom the image from there, there would be no letterbox bars projected above and below the screen area. You would also have a considerably brighter 2.35:1 image than you would get from zooming (this is particularly true of a vertical compression lens).

All of that said, UNLESS you think there is a good chance you will end up with a 2.35:1 screen at some point, I would suggest just zooming for now until you do decide to join us in the constant height community.


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post #9 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks, I think I understand it now.
I used to have a 2.35 AR screen - but I sold it b/c 90% of what I watch is 16x9 - so I was losing image size.
But I definitely prefer the 2.35.
The Lumagen is out of my price range.
So I think I'll go the lens route to see the image quality improvement vs. zooming (with the sides spilling off of the screen - albeit on black velvet so not distracting).
And see whether it's worth the cost.


Also - regarding the suggestion of masking to cover the bars (and improve the perceived contrast) - I have a motorized drop down screen - so I'm not sure (though have been thinking) of an inexpensive way of doing that - definitely open to ideas!
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post #10 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
Technically "my" method does remove the letterbox bars as they are no longer part of the image nor are they being projected by the projector (in other words, you would not see them projected onto the walls / ceiling using "my" method). However jeahrens is correct to say that the image will still appear to be letterboxed and you would end up with the same 2.35:1 picture size you currently have. However, if you did zoom the image from there, there would be no letterbox bars projected above and below the screen area. You would also have a considerably brighter 2.35:1 image than you would get from zooming (this is particularly true of a vertical compression lens).
OK, now you're just splitting hairs . The letterbox bars are there with or without the proposed lens. That they are present because part of the panel isn't displaying any information or because the panel is only optically filling the 2.35:1 area of the 16:9 screen isn't really relevant to the issue the poster is asking to be solved. They don't want the bars.

I think we're all in agreement that manually zooming is the best solution if image spill is not a concern. The Lumagen would work to zoom/crop and eliminate the image spill.

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post #11 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
thanks, I think I understand it now.
I used to have a 2.35 AR screen - but I sold it b/c 90% of what I watch is 16x9 - so I was losing image size.
But I definitely prefer the 2.35.
The Lumagen is out of my price range.
So I think I'll go the lens route to see the image quality improvement vs. zooming (with the sides spilling off of the screen - albeit on black velvet so not distracting).
And see whether it's worth the cost.


Also - regarding the suggestion of masking to cover the bars (and improve the perceived contrast) - I have a motorized drop down screen - so I'm not sure (though have been thinking) of an inexpensive way of doing that - definitely open to ideas!
Unless you are width limited, a 2.35:1 screen maximized for the available height will not be losing screen size for any content. Scope will be the largest, but 16:9 content will still be as large as on a 16:9 screen.

The lens discussion is confusing you. The lens John was discussing would not change the size of the 2.35:1 picture. It would still be within the 16:9 screen with black bars just like it is now, albeit brighter. If you want a lens to that works with the anamorphic mode on the projector, fills the height of the screen and spills the image over the sides of the screen then you want a horizontal expansion lens (not vertical compression). Since most of your viewing is 16:9 material, you will want to make sure this lens is mounted on a slide so you can remove the lens to watch this content. Otherwise with the lens in place you will need to change modes to squeeze the picture and throw out information to get the picture back to a 16:9 ratio.

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post #12 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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yep, I'm limited by room width


My understanding is (assuming I can find a lens for ~$500):
  1. A Vertical Compression lens (on a DIY slide) would keep the black bars but (compensate for the lack of image size) with better brightness (as it would use the entire frame of the projector to projector) - (I'm not clear on how IQ would change- but I think it's supposed to)
  2. A Horizontal Expansion lens (on DIY slide) would also have improved brightness (as it uses the entire frame of proj.) - and spill the sides off of my screen
  3. Zoom the proj. to fill height and let sides spill off
Choice (1) can be improved further via masking - though please help with suggestions on how to mask with a motorized pull down screen
and choices (2) ,(3) would have black velvet on the sides so the image spilling off doesn't distract


So the choice seems to boil down to how much brightness /PQ improvement the lens will bring - which I hope to find an inexpensive one to try

Last edited by cgott42; 08-22-2014 at 02:46 PM.
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post #13 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:45 PM
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OK, now you're just splitting hairs . The letterbox bars are there with or without the proposed lens. That they are present because part of the panel isn't displaying any information or because the panel is only optically filling the 2.35:1 area of the 16:9 screen isn't really relevant to the issue the poster is asking to be solved. They don't want the bars.

I think we're all in agreement that manually zooming is the best solution if image spill is not a concern. The Lumagen would work to zoom/crop and eliminate the image spill.
Seriously, not trying to split hairs. I was just trying to clarify. I wonder if we are talking about the same thing, actually.

Whenever I say letterbox bars, I am always referring to the extra 270 or so rows of pixels that are not in the active part of the image. When you zoom, the letterbox bars (the 270 rows of pixels) hit above and below the screen. By that definition, the bars are still there. And, with a DLP projector like the BenQ, are likely to be quite visible due to the elevated black levels of DLP (this is not a knock on BenQ or DLP technology in any way, as DLP has many advantages over other technologies - it's just that black level is not one of them). These could be quite evident on a drop down screen.

If he uses a vertical compression lens, those black bars literally go away. He would just need to zoom the projector in order to make the image fall off the screen - which he will need to do even if he goes with no lens. If he does NOT zoom the projector when the lens is in place, then you are correct - using the lens will not do what the OP is looking for. But either way he needs to zoom. He can zoom without the lens, or zoom with the lens. With the lens the image is brighter and there is no top / bottom overspill.

The reason why I said this is complicated is because he would also need to move the lens out of the light path whenever watching 16:9 if he wants maximum 16:9 quality. In other words, he would need a transport if he wants full quality 16:9. This is why I suggested calling Panamorph if he was going to do something along these lines so they could walk him through the ins and outs.

The OP says the Lumagen is out of his budget, but that lens is not. That would mean he is getting a pretty good deal on the lens (I'm assuming used). Is all this trouble worth it? Possibly, if the OP feels the improvement in brightness (which will be considerable) and lack of projected black bars is worth it. I just want to make sure he knows what he is getting into.

I agree with you that the Lumagen comes closest to doing what he wants - crop 2.35:1 so that it fills the screen. It would take care of image spill in every direction - top bottom and sides. The lens takes care of top and bottom (plus provides a considerably brighter image) but will actually make the side spill even brighter.


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post #14 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
yep, I'm limited by room width


My understanding is (assuming I can find a lens for ~$500):
  1. A Vertical Compression lens (on a DIY slide) would keep the black bars but (compensate for the lack of image size) with better brightness (as it would use the entire frame of the projector to projector) - (I'm not clear on how IQ would change- but I think it's supposed to)
  2. A Horizontal Expansion lens (on DIY slide) would also have improved brightness (as it uses the entire frame of proj.) - and spill the sides off of my screen
  3. Zoom the proj. to fill height and let sides spill off
Choice (1) can be improved further via masking - though please help with suggestions on how to mask with a motorized pull down screen
and choices (2) ,(3) would have black velvet on the sides so the image spilling off doesn't distract


So the choice seems to boil down to how much brightness /PQ improvement the lens will bring - which I hope to find an inexpensive one to try
Close. Options 1 and 3 are essentially the same. You can always zoom the projector with the Vertical Compression lens in place (assuming you are not at an extremely short throw, which may cause vignetting). The image is brighter and the black bars go away.

If you can indeed get a VC lens for around $500 (and you can return it if you are not happy), that's a pretty great deal.

What may blow the whole idea out of the water is if you have a really short throw. Please share your specs here (screen size, throw distance) and we can help determine if any of this is even feasible. If you do have a short throw, the lens probably won't work at all.


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post #15 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
yep, I'm limited by room width
My understanding is (assuming I can find a lens for ~$500):
  1. A Vertical Compression lens would keep the black bars but (compensate for the lack of image size) with better brightness (as it would use the entire frame of the projector to projector) - (I'm not clear on how IQ would change- but I think it's supposed to)
  2. A Horizontal Expansion lens would also have improved brightness (as it uses the entire frame of proj.) - and spill the sides off of my screen
  3. Zoom the proj. to fill height and let sides spill off

Choice (1) can be improved further via masking - though please help with suggestions on how to do with a motorized pull down screen
and choices (2) ,(3) would have black velvet on the sides so the image spilling off doesn't distract
You got it! As far as masking goes, with a pull down screen you would really just pull down the screen to the 2.35:1 height and let the bottom bar spill onto the wall. It would achieve basically the same thing as masking on a fixed frame screen.

Using a lens (I had a horizontal expansion lens on my prior projector) does not create picture information. The main image quality difference is the increased brightness. If the scaling is good enough some report that the picture looks a bit sharper, but I really didn't notice much difference in that aspect (my current projector zooms the image to fill the 130" scope screen).

High quality horizontal expansion lenses are more than $500 for even a used example. However there are inexpensive 2 prism lenses that do a pretty darn good job. You can also build a 2 prism unit yourself (look in the DIY forum). I used a $300 2 prism CAVX lens and really enjoyed it.

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post #16 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:53 PM
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All of that said, UNLESS you think there is a good chance you will end up with a 2.35:1 screen at some point, I would suggest just zooming for now until you do decide to join us in the constant height community.
I would just not do anything until one gets the 2.35:1 screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
The Lumagen is out of my price range.
A good lens is a similar investment to a Lumagen.
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post #17 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 02:58 PM
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You know, I'd just try and find a DVDo Edge. They're pretty cheap, cheaper than a lens, and have digital zoom, which would solve the problem of losing light by zooming the projector.

That of course assumes the projector or video player doesn't already have a digital zoom function.
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post #18 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Close. Options 1 and 3 are essentially the same. You can always zoom the projector with the Vertical Compression lens in place (assuming you are not at an extremely short throw, which may cause vignetting). The image is brighter and the black bars go away.

If you can indeed get a VC lens for around $500 (and you can return it if you are not happy), that's a pretty great deal.

What may blow the whole idea out of the water is if you have a really short throw. Please share your specs here (screen size, throw distance) and we can help determine if any of this is even feasible. If you do have a short throw, the lens probably won't work at all.
Screen size is about 106" and TD is about 18' - I have my projector "UNzoomed" as if I zoom at all it is larger than the screen
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post #19 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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You know, I'd just try and find a DVDo Edge. They're pretty cheap, cheaper than a lens, and have digital zoom, which would solve the problem of losing light by zooming the projector.

That of course assumes the projector or video player doesn't already have a digital zoom function.
Can someone check if my Proj has a digital zoom function (it 's the BenQ W6000) - I would look , but not sure I know what I'm looking for.




Also - re: Lumagen - I see have sold used on eBay for ~$350-$500 (e.g. Radiance XD, Vision HDQ HD, Vision Pro HDP) - are any of them worthwhile for my needs?
Also - how would the IQ and brightness improvements compare via the above Lumagen's vs. a Lens (e.g. Panamorph FVX200 or DIY lens (e.g. HTB)?


thx!
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post #20 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 03:48 PM
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If you are determined to crop the 235:1 image, the Lumagen or DVDO option makes the most sense. You get all the brightness with the least compromises. Of course, you are destroying the artistic intent of the filmmakers
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post #21 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by John Schuermann View Post
If you are determined to crop the 235:1 image, the Lumagen or DVDO option makes the most sense. You get all the brightness with the least compromises. Of course, you are destroying the artistic intent of the filmmakers
thanks - I agree 100% and I definitely prefer the 2.35 AR -however the 25% smaller image bothers me (especially when I used to have a 120" diag 2.35 screen - and "had to" switch to a 96" maximum width area - so it's really noticeable losing further image size
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post #22 of 71 Old 08-22-2014, 06:08 PM
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If you use your projector's lens to zoom, or add a horizontal-expansion anamorphic lens to the front of the projector, your 2.35:1 movie image will fill the height of your screen, but the sides of the movie image will be projected off the screen onto your walls. Is that really what you want? Think about what that will look like. If you think you're annoyed by letterbox bars now, imagine how distracting it will be to see parts of the movie on the wall next to the screen.

I don't have a photo of that handy, but here's what it looks like when you project a 16:9 image overshooting a 2.35:1 screen.



So, it'll be like that, but with the extra picture on the sides rather than the top and bottom.

For an entire movie.

Is that what you think you want? I'm just going to tell you, no, that's not what you want.

If you want to crop the sides of the picture off and magnify the middle portion to fill your 16:9 screen, you need to do that electronically in a video processor such as DVDO or Lumagen. That's a very expensive solution to a very silly problem. And even if it works, you'll be throwing away parts of the picture that the director wanted you to see.



That guy on the left's not important, is he? Nah, let's just get rid of him.



Alternately, if a 2.35:1 screen isn't an option in your room, you could just learn to live with the letterbox bars.
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post #23 of 71 Old 08-23-2014, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by cgott42 View Post
Can someone check if my Proj has a digital zoom function (it 's the BenQ W6000) - I would look , but not sure I know what I'm looking for.
I've looked through the manual but couldn't find anything. I'd just go through the menu or manual and see if there's a zoom or size control.

Quote:
Also - re: Lumagen - I see have sold used on eBay for ~$350-$500 (e.g. Radiance XD, Vision HDQ HD, Vision Pro HDP) - are any of them worthwhile for my needs?
Those would be fine too. Though I'd look through the manuals on the Lumagen site to confirm they (the Visions) have zoom. I know the Radiances do. Lumagens also let you customize the aspect ratios so you could make one of those crop how you need.

Quote:
Also - how would the IQ and brightness improvements compare via the above Lumagen's vs. a Lens (e.g. Panamorph FVX200 or DIY lens (e.g. HTB)?
Well a lens or zooming will result in lowered brightness, since you're spreading the same light over a larger area (off the screen). A "cheap" lens, ie one with just prisms, will introduce chromatic aeration and astigmatism that wouldn't be present with just zooming.

One more thing since I see you're still thinking a Vertical Compression lens. If you do that, you will have to insert the lens, and zoom the projector to crop, which is just unnecessary complication.


thx![/QUOTE]

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #24 of 71 Old 08-23-2014, 04:25 PM
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I own a BenQ W6000 and am currently running a TR of about 2.1:1. At this throw, the W6000 has enough zoom range to allow either a HE or VC A-Lens or Shrink method using a scaler. On a flat screen, you could even do the Zoom method because of the joy stick style lens shift and easy to turn zoom/focus dials.

I am using a HE lens in my set up.


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post #25 of 71 Old 08-23-2014, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Since my source is a htpc can the PC do what the lumagen would be doing here?
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post #26 of 71 Old 08-24-2014, 05:11 PM
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Since my source is a htpc can the PC do what the lumagen would be doing here?
I'm sure there is software that will do what you want. You might check out J River.


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post #27 of 71 Old 08-24-2014, 09:02 PM
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Since my source is a htpc can the PC do what the lumagen would be doing here?
Home Cinema can scale on the fly for you. It can also shift the image up and down.
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post #28 of 71 Old 08-25-2014, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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CAVX - Is this the "home cinema" that you mentioned?
John Schuermann: thanks - for the J River suggestion - I installed the trial - does exactly what I was hoping- allows me to swap back and forth on the fly. I even tried watching Star Wars in 16x9 - I do have to admit that it felt like sacrilege :-) (Don't get me wrong I DEFINATELY prefer the 2.40 aspect ratio - just that I also like the 25% larger picture the scaling provided- glad to know that I have the option and can switch back and forth depending on the mood.
Is there much difference in PQ between this and the lumagen? (b/c it looked good to my eyes).

Now I have to figure out a way to mask for times that I want to stick with 2.40 (Star Wars, LOTR) -

Still have to figure out a way to mask by motorized drop down screen -
  • someone mentioned having it only come down part way - however the switch has only 2 settings (down or up) - doesn't let me stop it before it comes all the way down.
  • Still thinking of an idea - perhaps rare earth magnets to hold up a masking panel.
  • Or cloth that I drop from the ceiling (that covers the top bar, and I move the image down so that the bottom bar spills below the screen.
  • Or similarly a stand up panel that covers the bottom, and I shift the image up
  • ... Does anyone have DIY masking for a motorized screen?
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post #29 of 71 Old 08-25-2014, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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... OR instead of masking if there was some way to add on to my pull down screen on the sides to make it a "convertible" - that would be ideal . (current screen is (I think) 54 x 96. So I'd need to add a single 54" x33.6" piece to one side and use the lens shift- or dual 54" x 16.8" to each side. .... (then I can get a lens and be set and not cut off anything - albeit there'd be an annoying line going down where the 2 pieces of screen meet - which would stink...

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post #30 of 71 Old 08-26-2014, 01:51 AM
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CAVX - Is this the "home cinema" that you mentioned?
Yes that looks to be the one.

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