The Happy Medium: Darkening the Living Room - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 06-12-2013, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey everyone, thanks in advance for any advice that may be offered. I'm a real neophyte and could use the help.

Here is my situation: I have never had much money, and now that I bought a Benq w1070, I have even less. Though the w1070 was somewhat of a breakthrough in cost/performance ratio for projectors as I understand it, plasma TV's with contrast ratios that dwarf the w1070's can be bought for less, and since the shadow detail I am getting is very poor, probably owing to my white walls, ceiling, and even couch (!). Moreover, the room is small, so I think the light bounces around particularly bad.

The picture is astounding usually, but honestly I feel a little embarrassed if watching a prolonged scene (see: every horror flick ever made) that is either very dark or very dark/bright with a friend who should observe at that time that:
a) The projector was expensive, and
b) he would be able to see what was actually going on in the movie if he were watching it on any old TV.

Since the expensive projector is payed for, it seems reasonable to spend a little more money in order to bring this contrast ratio up as much as is necessary to get this image better than a considerably cheaper projector. The shadow detail is my ONLY complaint, so I think darkening the room may be the answer. Money is not the only limitation, or even the most limiting one. In my small apartment that is shared with my girlfriend and another friend, the only room for the projector is the main living area. For their sakes, I don't intend to transform it into a cave.

Here is what I am hoping to learn specifically:

a) Information on options for darkening a room other than paint, and how that might stack up against paint in terms of performance (basically, we're talking about fabrics). Felt is probably cheapest, so if felt does a good job (and by 'good job' I only mean that I ought to notice a difference perceptible enough to be sure it isn't just in my head), then felt it is. I'm not asking for too much - just a boost.

b) Where it is most important to place fabric.
The two reasons I want to know this are to save money by using only so much fabric that will aid contrast ratio before diminishing returns kick in for the price spent on fabric, and also to hopefully get away with not completely overpowering the room with this project. I would guess that the wall behind my head as I face the screen would be the most important to darken, since ambient light seems like it would reflect off the back wall in a fairly direct fashion:

1projector light -> screen
2Back wall <- screen light
3Back wall (ambient) light -> screen

But that's only a guess. Hopefully some of you who know could tell me or send me an appropriate link. Some people put fabric behind the screen, I see, but that seems like the most useless place to put it, since light cannot reflect onto the screen from there, and the projector's light doesn't hit that space directly anyway. Hmm.

c). If the answer to the above question is "You really ought to cover every white wall in the room - the ceiling, the floor, and behind the screen," then in order to at least appear as if I am not completely dominating the room, I ought to use some color other than black. If I got fabric that was maroon, or any other color that was muted and not bright, would you expect it to be a noticeable improvement over white walls, even if it weren't as good as black?

Thanks so much again. This forum is huge and my search was a little overwhelming, so I'm sorry if these questions have been fleshed out elsewhere.
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post #2 of 2 Old 06-12-2013, 08:46 AM
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There is another thread at the top of this forum covering your questions and many others if you use the search facility. No money is a problem.. The areas you need to worry about are the first 5ft from the screen of the ceiling/floor and side walls. More is better but 5' can make a world of difference Making the back wall black helps make the screen float in the blackness but does not effect the actual image.
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