MikeWh's Poolside Theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-27-2008, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I've FINALLY gotten around to posting this. A friend of mine has a beautiful house on the Chesapeake Bay, and we make an annual pilgrimage there every summer to wind down for about 9-10 days. Last summer, I brought my InFocus 5700 up there to surprise my friend with a proposition: what do you think about making a movie screen for an outdoor theater? Being an engineer, he was MORE than up to the task.

Our requirements:

1. Rigid construction; no fabric (I wanted a stretched screen, but he was buying the parts, so he won).
2. Should be relatively easy to put up and take down each day. He didn't want it left up during the day.... because of THIS requirement:
3. Must be erected poolside and shot OVER the pool... why? Because it would be cool. No other particular reason (he's an engineer) and given the long throw and great light output of the 5700, I agreed, despite my worry about possible water damage to my projector.
4. We must be able to store it somewhere at the house for use on each of our pilgrimages.

We opted for a three-panel hardboard screen to meet all 3 requirements. Painted them with flat white exterior latex. I was REALLLLLY worried about the two seams showing up in the picture. I was even OBSESSED that it would detract from my viewing pleasure. Turns out that they were barely noticeable from our viewing distance, AND the Cool Factor outweighed the negative aspects of this.

I don't remember the exact dimensions, but I think it is 10'8" x 6' (16:9) or about 12.25 feet diagonal. One thing I immediately noted AFTER making it-- I am used to building for HD/16:9... I should have done 1.85:1. Poop. So, I'm going to bring some black masking for it this summer to crop it down better.

I have to say that I was VERY concerned about being able to shoot my projector the 20-something feet and without absolute pitch-black darkness like my home theater. I was AMAZED at the brightness. We were all stunned actually. I could have easily gone to a MUCH bigger screen. I zoomed out as much as I could to see how bright the picture would have been with an even bigger screen, and I estimate that I could have done at LEAST a 16-foot diag. screen from 30-33 feet throw.

So here are some pics! Hope you like it. I know we did.

#3 doesn't do the image quality justice, but I wanted to shoot a flash picture.

#4 and #5 (in next message) are pushed shots... approx 3-sec exposure, no flash, with the movie on pause. So, yes, they are overly bright... but NOT by much. This screen had some solid punch!

Also, note the colored pool lights and the effect of the long exposure on the surface of the pool.

With one day for materials shopping and two days to build/paint, we only had two nights for watching.

Can't wait for July 2008!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-27-2008, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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"#4 and #5 are pushed shots... approx 3-sec exposure, no flash, with the movie on pause. So, yes, they are overly bright... but NOT by much. This screen had some solid punch!

Also, note the colored pool lights and the effect of the long exposure on the surface of the pool."
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post #3 of 12 Old 03-28-2008, 07:40 AM
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Awesome. What a great setup.

There ought to be a sticky on this page (like on CIH forum) for people's outdoor theaters.

I am SOOOO happy to hear about your experiences with the seams. I am moving from a stretched screen to a board screen, and (like you) have been obsessing over the seams. Perhaps I will just let it go and see what happens. (It would be a lot easier to just butt the boards up together!)

Thanks for the post, and well-done!

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post #4 of 12 Old 03-28-2008, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. The seam is visible...if you look for it. Other people said the didn't notice it at all, once the movie was going. Animated movies and bright scenes are where you can see them more. Given our limited resources and time (1 stop at the home improvement store, about $100 in materials, and 2-1/2 days to build... most of that time was paint drying), I was more than happy with the results. My only serious complaint is that the three panels are a lot harder to store than something like your break-down screen.

About the seams: I specifically designed the panels, so that the middle one would be as wide as possible, so that the seams would have the least impact on the center of the image. I believe the center was 48" wide and the left/right panels were 40" wide. I removed the milled edge (which is slightly rounded from the factory), so that the seams would be as flat as possible (butted against each other). This has to be a reallllly straight cut of course, though. It worked great.



I checked out yours... Got some sweet engineering going on there.
Here was my idea for an easily storable stretched screen:
- create the frame with mortise and tenon joints (no glue though.. use the stretched screen to keep the joints pulled together).
- use a huge piece a fabric that is at least one foot taller and wider than the frame
- install metal grommets about every 6 inches along the edge of the fabric
- wrap the fabric over the frame, making a border of about 5-6 inches of fabric with the grommets along the perimeter
- use bungie cords to stretch the canvas, connecting grommets in zig-zag patterns (or use long, thin rope to do this for a tighter stretch.. pulling it together like the back of a woman's corset.
- if the fabric is firm enough (stretched enough), then maybe a coat of paint on the fabric... this will probably cause the fabric to stretch further while drying (but might also cause sagging... have to test) AND make it less likely to wave in a light breeze.

If it works, then you'd have to store the fabric rolled up so that creases wouldn't be permanent in the fabric.

I might try this before July of this year, now that I know that the setup is totally bright enough for a larger screen.

I'm not sure about how big of a piece of fabric I could get. Yours looks huge. What is the fabric? and how wide is it? Where'd you get it?
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-29-2008, 06:31 AM
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You might have seen my previous screen, which worked, but I ended up moving the screen off my deck and to the back of my yard so we could use the deck for the movie nights as a gathering place for the adults while the kids are down in the yard. My new configuration is as follow (and with your seams, the wrinkles disappear during the movie):



but this will be changing this year. I agree the panels could be difficult to store, but I think if I set it up right on my back fence, they will be easier to setup on movie night.

I will mull over your suggestions. Thanks!

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post #6 of 12 Old 03-30-2008, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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what is the material you used for the screen?
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post #7 of 12 Old 03-30-2008, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeWh View Post

what is the material you used for the screen?

Artist's canvas from Dick Blicks.

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post #8 of 12 Old 03-31-2008, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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great. Thanks. I used pre-primed artist's canvas for my home theater screen. It was pretty expensive.... I just bought 5-1/2 yds of 108"-wide broadcloth from an online store for only $45. I hope it has some weight to it. We'll see.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-08-2008, 09:32 AM
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Any updates on how the braodcloth worked out? What online company/website did you purchase from? Did you have to prime/paint it once you received it? What type of paint did you use?
Thank you.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-09-2008, 05:43 PM
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Looks good! Wish I was there
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-12-2008, 05:22 PM
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Looks great, football games would be awesome on that.
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-12-2008, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epsonproj View Post

Any updates on how the braodcloth worked out? What online company/website did you purchase from? Did you have to prime/paint it once you received it? What type of paint did you use?
Thank you.

It was on backorder for a couple of weeks. I rec'd it about 2 weeks ago, but I haven't had a chance to work with it yet. I bought it from fabric[dot]com. Item Number: EBR-002. Extra Wide Cotton Broadcloth White.

It is fairly thin material, so I'm pretty sure I will at least prime it using gesso (artist's primer for canvas) after stretching it.

One note-- the fabric came folded in a box. It would be ideal, of course, if they could send it rolled in a tube for shipment. I didn't ask if they could do that. If there are any major fold marks on it after streching, I'll see if a steam iron takes them out before priming.

More soon (ummm... after I lay tile in my kitchen, which is taking up my free time).
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