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-   -   Newbie needs recommdation of screen size in outdoor setting (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/159-outdoor-theaters/1528103-newbie-needs-recommdation-screen-size-outdoor-setting.html)

Phrixos 04-19-2014 03:26 PM

Hello everyone.

 

On the subject of Home Cimema I'm a total newbie. I haven't even made a final choice of projector—but which, given my small budget seems to be pointing me to an Optomo HD20.

 

With so many viariables, Home Cinema is a far trickier subject than I ever imagined—but from what I've gleaned so far the HD20 is known to project too strong a beam and so which, in normal situations bleaches out blacks; so the HD20 would seem to suit not only an outdoor situation, but that, also at what will be for me, near its max projection distance of, I believe, 10M (32'-9").

 

I've an outdoor (very rural, low ambient night-light) setting and (from lens to screen) a projection distance of (give or take 2"): 30.5' feet. At that, I can accomodate a screen of anything up to 11' wide (12' if I must)—and, basically, any height. (Assume, I suppose, a half moon.)

 

I'd appreciate recommendations on what size my screen should be.

 

(On the other hand: given I was to let the screen width dictate and so was to use the full 11' available width, what would then be the projection distance for the HD20?)

 

(Is, btw, the projection angle fixed on the HD20 or is it adjustable?)

 

Any other recommendations or thoughts are always welcome.


jwh92020 04-19-2014 03:47 PM

Here is a link to Projector Central's Throw range calculator for the HD20: http://www.projectorcentral.com/Optoma-HD20-projection-calculator-pro.htm

The HD20 is 1700 lumens, which is not bad but not great for outdoor use (I have an HD66 -2500 lumens and it gives a great image even under a full moon). About the largest you want to go with the HD20 is 144" (12 ft) diagonal). That put s your throw between 16 & 19 ft. any farther back or larger screen and you will start to lose image brightness. That being said, I started with a 900 lumen projector on a 8 ft screen. It looked spectacular in the dark. I currently use a 130" screen and that little projector still looks good, but it has to be dark. My recommendation is to stay in the 12 ft diagonal range. It's a pretty big picture, especially if you've never done BYT (back yard theater) before. There are quite a few 12 ft screens avaialble from inflatables to fixed stand for under $300. Start with something like that. If you get the urge to go big, then look at a brighter projector first. Just my 2 cents.

Phrixos 04-20-2014 03:08 AM

(My apologies if this gets posted twice. Something went wrong in the editing and it disapppeared. Don't know where or if it went out. I really must get in the habit of composing in a Wordpad.)

 

Thanks, JWHx. That's a very useful two cents. I did see that Throw Range Calculator before, but I find it difficult to understand. For one thing, it seems to show the recommended projector position as  10" below the bottom edge of the screen. I would have thought the best placement of a projector was at dead center, or higher. What's that about?

 

The question on my mind at this immediate moment is whether the projection angles on these machines is adjustable. By that I mean, can the beam be narrowed (or broadened) as with a Maglight torch, to make a picture better fit a given screen—or is the picture size a direct and fixed ratio of the throw?


Phrixos 04-20-2014 03:28 AM

Um... I've just come upon a string of poor reviews on Optomo projectors—burnouts, many dead pixels, poor support, etc—and so I've kind of gone off Optomo. So now, in fully recognizing my incompetence in this area, let me widen the question.


To recap: in my proposed rural (little ambient light) BYT situation, I (more or less have to) put my projector some 29–30' feet from the screen (max width 12').

 

That said and bearing in mind that I just overspent on a house extension, hence my tight budget:what projectors and screen sizes are recommended?


jwh92020 04-20-2014 05:41 AM

A 16:9 screen with a 12 ft (144") width gives you a 165" diagonal. If you have to set the projector back 30+ ft, you should be looking for a "long throw" projector. That is, a unit that can shoot it's image over a long distance without it getting exponentially larger. I'm not familiar with them as I've never needed one.. can I ask, why do you HAVE o set the projector back so far? Just wondering. To answer your other question - any quality projector will have a zoom feature (adjust the picture bigger or smaller) and not rely strictly on placement. Some will be manual, some will be power and some will have both. As to the bad reviews of Optoma that you found. I'm sure that if you look around the web, you'll find negative reviews on any of the brands, especially those in the lower price range. My experience has been with Optoma, Epson & Cinego. As an example, Cinego is a Radio Shack branded projector/dvd player in one unit. It sold back in 2005. It was a much maligned projector and dismissed by many a junk. It was my first projector. I found a 4 year old unit with 125 hours on it for $150. 5 years later, my wife still uses it in her exercise room. It still works great, outs out a good picture (especially for an 854 x 480 projector). I wouldn't hesitate to use it outside if I needed to. To get 5 years solid years out of a $150 projector isn't bad. Just research things well, and take a lot of reviews with a grain of salt. I'm posting a couple of pics to give you and idea of what 2500 lumens will do. Depending on where you live and when you want to start your shows, I think 2500 lumens is a good place to start when looking at brightness. Again, much less and you will be starting at full darkness. I live in Oklahoma (Central Standard Time) for a reference.


7:00 PM

7:30 Pm

8:00 PM.

Phrixos 04-20-2014 10:05 AM

Hi again, JWHx. I'm learning. Long Throw, basically, means "big bucks." It's a question of the shape of the available space, really. Long and narrow. Setting up the projector somewhere in the center will (occasionally) mean people having to sit behind the projector, which I want to avoid if at all possible, so I'm trying to see if I can mount the projector on a back wall. If I must, however, then I must. I see there are some decent budget machines out there with a Throw Ration of over 2.0. If I go to the absolute screen width limit of 12', then and in particular, the INFOCUS IN8606HD can allow me to throw 25' (or so says the blurb.) That would do. Some concern, however, over the rainbow effect on that model.Presently looking for more reviews.

 

I'm amazed at how difficult it is to narrow down the ocean of machines out there. Finding models with a particular Throw Ratio (or over) is laborious. (Know of any others, 2.0+?)

 

Nice screen, btw. NVus!

 

(I live in rural Ireland. If a little later, still, the sky can be quite dark.)


jwh92020 04-20-2014 10:43 AM

My in house projector is an Epson power Lite Home Cinema 720 (720p, 1600 lumens, 10.000:1). It will throw a 200" image from 21 to 44 ft. It's a 2010 model I picked up for $200 from Craig'slist. Depending on your budget, something like this or in the Panasonic line (like the PTAX200U - 2000 lumens, 6000:1) could work. Biggest issue is that you need more lumens for a 32 ft throw. you might check over at Back Yard Theater.com. There is a ton of good info there.

http://backyardtheater.com/forums/

Phrixos 04-21-2014 03:52 AM

(Don't know what happened to my last post. Here it is again, more or less.)

 

Lots of good info there, JWHx, but I've set myself a lumens min of 2000. The Panasonic sounds about right.

 

What's the risk factor, btw, in buying a used model? I imagine there are a lot of used PJs on offer with old bulbs. I also hear of disasters with pools. Just how robust (or not) are these things? Anyone got sob stories worth telling?

 

(Will now have a look at backyardtheater.com.)


TheAstronaut 04-23-2014 01:25 PM

Have you considered a short-throw projector instead? That would allow you to have your projector much closer to your screen (probably about 8' based on your screen size). Do you have a specific reason for not wanting some of your audience to be behind the projector?

I've found in my experience with larger screens, that the audience can only sit so close to the screen and still be comfortable, so that initial space between the screen and audience is unused anyway. A short-throw projector will sit nicely in that area and will give you the added benefit of not having someone's shadow interrupt the image if there are people walking around. Also, since a short-throw is closer to the screen you will lose less lumens over the throw distance and have a brighter overall picture. I use a BenQ W170ST (now discontinued, but replaced by a newer model) projector on my 4.5' x 8' indoor screen and the picture is wonderful even with some ambient daytime light. It is only 720p, but with outdoor movies, will the difference matter that much to you? I've seen my model on sale for as cheap as $500 lately and it's lasted me two years now without any trouble.

Phrixos 04-24-2014 03:04 AM

Home theatres are hardly cheap, so it makes sense to me to maximize the experience. Oblong and with the projector behind the audience, I consider there are reasons why commercial cinemas are designed the way they always have been—since those criteria provide the best viewing experience, of:

 

     an less strained integral minimum viewing distance;

 

     the least distraction from projector noise and the dynamic light cone as exaggerated when seen from a proportionally much  darker rear area, and

 

     in some cases, light-bleed from the projector.

 

To paraphrase an old Victorian axiom, projectors should be neither seen nor heard.

 

On top of all of that, the existing physical arrangement of my proposed outdoor theatre readily lends itself to a rear-based projector arrangement.

 

Presently, I favor a Viewsonic Pro8300 (or 8200), both with (for my proposed 11'-4" wide screen size) a 25'-3" throw. (A full third less expensive but with only 20" less throw is the  InFocus IN8606. I read, however, of how the 8606 has trouble with blacks. According to some reviews this, (officially a) "business machine" is at the same time trying to pass itself off as a home entairtainment one. (Comments? Personal experience?)

 

At (respectively) 2.14 and 2.09 throw ratio, anyone know of other "short" throw (i.e., "budget") machines with higher throw ratios?


TheAstronaut 04-24-2014 07:44 AM

Home theatres are hardly cheap, so it makes sense to me to maximize the experience. Oblong and with the projector behind the audience, I consider there are reasons why commercial cinemas are designed the way they always have been—since those criteria provide the best viewing experience, of:

     an less strained integral minimum viewing distance;

     the least distraction from projector noise and the dynamic light cone as exaggerated when seen from a proportionally much  darker rear area, and

     in some cases, light-bleed from the projector.

To paraphrase an old Victorian axiom, projectors should be neither seen nor heard.

On top of all of that, the existing physical arrangement of my proposed outdoor theatre readily lends itself to a rear-based projector arrangement.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrixos View Post

Presently, I favor a Viewsonic Pro8300 (or 8200), both with (for my proposed 11'-4" wide screen size) a 25'-3" throw. (A full third less expensive but with only 20" less throw is the  InFocus IN8606. I read, however, of how the 8606 has trouble with blacks. According to some reviews this, (officially a) "business machine" is at the same time trying to pass itself off as a home entairtainment one. (Comments? Personal experience?)

Blacks can sometimes be enhanced by using a screen material that is more silver/gray in color. This will help enhance black levels a bit, but the cost is going to be screen gain. Some such materials are Black Out Cloth (BOC), or silver matte spandex. You can also use some of the gray screen paint recipes found in the DIY screen section here on AVS. Keep in mind when doing your Projector Central calculations that if you use a screen with a lower gain (BOC is closer to 0.7-0.8 IIRC) to adjust that value accordingly to calculate brightness and screen size.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrixos View Post

At (respectively) 2.14 and 2.09 throw ratio, anyone know of other "short" throw (i.e., "budget") machines with higher throw ratios?

This line has me a little confused, it seems you are equating throw distance with the cost and quality of the machine. The term "Short" or "Long" throw for a projector relates to the throw distance of the projector meaning a short-throw projector can project the same image size as a "standard" projector over a much shorter distance. The converse is true for a long-throw. The reason long-throw projectors are likely more expensive is due to the higher lumen output and more expensive optics required to project an image over a greater throw distance. The Throw Ratio is a ratio of image width to throw distance, since short-throw projectors have a shorter than normal throw distance, their Throw Ratio will always be less than 1.0. Long throw projectors with have a Throw Ratio higher than 1.0, and ideally, somewhere in the 2.0+ range.

Could you give us some more details of your yard layout? Perhaps, that would help everyone get a better picture of your setup.

Phrixos 04-25-2014 05:56 AM

Thanks, Astronaut. The info about blacks and screen gain is particularly useful. (Instinct suggests to me that that would tend to dull the whites, but I'm far from the expert here.) Indeed it seems evident to me that throw ratio and cost are (however indirectly) related. Above a certain point, where "short throw" gives way to "long throw," the optics and other factors that even you yourself mention involve a huge leap in pricetag.


I've a largish and open back yard, but, rather than conducting all in the middle of a breezy quarter-acre of grass, one paved and partly enclosed area on the perimeter seems much better suited to a BYT. Basically, in that (max.) 11'-6" x 31' available space  (and my being intent on viewing in the long direction) I'm looking to get the projector as far from the screen as I can afford. So far, in my research, that would appear to be a little over 24' feet. As far as lumens go and especially since where I live there is virtually no light pollution, 2500 seems more than enough to cast a good image.


Um... you say, "throw ratios will always be less than one." (?) This does confuse me, especially since projector manufacturers all specify, for all their differing machines, differing thow ratios (those being, essentially and as I understand it, the anglar width of the light beam—i.e., the ratio of the distance between lens and screen width as divided by the screen width.)  The narrower the beam, the longer the throw ratio (& the more lumens & complicated optics needed.) Have I got that wrong?


God, this really is getting complicated. Now, as I begin to grapple also with understanding and utilizing screen gain, I'm beginning to wonder if the whole thing is best left to professionals—which option I simply can't afford. On the other hand, and my best asset in that regard: I'm a plodder.


I'm developing a lot more respect for film projectionists.


Phrixos 04-25-2014 06:00 AM

Clarification:

 

I thought that "long throw" began somewhere around the 2.5 / 3.0 ratio. Guess not.

 

Ideally, I'd like something like 2.8 or 2.9—but that now seems pie-in-the-sky.


Paul Hovey 04-25-2014 06:58 AM

To get an 11 ½’ wide image from 25’ you could use an Epson PowerLite 955W. It has a fairly hefty zoom so the throw ranges from 1.38 to 2.24. The Panasonic PT-AR100U would also fit the bill with a throw range of 1.33 to 2.69. On the lower end the NEC NP-M282X has a range of 1.5 to 2.5. There are a number of models in the 2-3k range that would work. Here’s a list from PJ Central http://www.projectorcentral.com/projectors.cfm?g=1&hide=0&st=1&mfg=&p=&w=&r=&br=2000-3000&ll=&ltg=&t=&db=&dt=&c=&ar=&dvi=&wr=&pjl=&pjw=&pjh=&td=25&i=w&is=138&sort=pop&sz=15
I didn’t see anyone address this “I would have thought the best placement of a projector was at dead center, or higher. What's that about?” but most PJs are designed to be place slightly above (ceiling mount) or below the edge of the screen screen. Think about it. You wouldn’t want your PJ hanging half way to the floor in you theater, would you?

TheAstronaut 04-25-2014 09:04 AM

You're welcome! My first screen was a BOC roll up that I made. When I replaced it with a white spandex screen, the side-by-side comparison made it pretty clear that the darker BOC material gave me much richer blacks. It is true that it also dimmed the whites somewhat, but the effect is similar to using the "cinema" mode on your tv or computer monitor. It is not a terribly dramatic difference, and your brain and eyes will quickly adjust so that you don't really notice the difference until you compare it against something.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrixos View Post

Um... you say, "throw ratios will always be less than one." (?) This does confuse me, especially since projector manufacturers all specify, for all their differing machines, differing throw ratios (those being, essentially and as I understand it, the anglar width of the light beam—i.e., the ratio of the distance between lens and screen width as divided by the screen width.)  The narrower the beam, the longer the throw ratio (& the more lumens & complicated optics needed.) Have I got that wrong?

I think you're on the right track, the ratio is throw distance divided by screen width. Projector zoom allows these numbers to be a little fuzzy as it uses a second lens to alter the characteristics of the primary lens, that's why you always get a range for throw ratio. I think instead of thinking that it is making the beam thinner, think instead of it making the beam longer. Also, you might be imagining the projected image as being smaller than it really will be. Let's look at a real-world'ish example:

Let's say a normal, run-of-the-mill projector has a throw ratio of 1.0. This means at 1m (or ~39") it will project an image that is 1m (or 39") wide. Now, my projector has a short-throw lens and is advertised as projecting a 60" (diagonal) image at 1m. Some quick calculation tells us for a 16:9 aspect ratio the screen width is going to be 52". So if we take the throw distance (D) and divide by the screen width for the original screen we get: D/W = 1.0m/1.0m = 39"/39" = 1.0. For my projector we get: D/W = 1.0m/1.5m = 39"/60" = 0.65, which means a short throw projector will typically project an image that gets wider much faster than a "standard" projector. For the long-throw projectors the converse is true, it will take more distance to produce an equivalent image size compared to a "standard" projector. Keep in mind that "standard" here is defined as a projector with a 1.0 throw ratio, which is not always the case for your average projector, zoom can cause this to vary widely. Also, everything is dependent on your projected image size, and in the case of outdoor projection screen sizes are much larger than one typically imagines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrixos View Post

Clarification:

I thought that "long throw" began somewhere around the 2.5 / 3.0 ratio. Guess not.

Ideally, I'd like something like 2.8 or 2.9—but that now seems pie-in-the-sky.

Since your requirements for throw distance are so unusual, is there anything keeping you from utilizing a rear projection setup instead? It might allow you to go with a more affordable projector at the cost of a (slightly) more expensive screen material, but that extra expense will be nowhere near the cost of a long-throw projector unit.

Also, I have seen mention on BYT of long-throw addon lenses for projectors in order to increase throw distance. Not sure what the cost on such a lens would be, but it might be worth looking into if rear projection isn't an option.

Phrixos 04-26-2014 04:41 AM

Oooh... piles of input! I'll definitely look into those other units—but, much as I'm reluctant to admit it, whenever I see the "Terrible k"  ("x,000") my wallet whimpers. I live in (Northern) Ireland, and the (suprisingly rigid) rule is, that what goes for a dollar in the US costs a pound here. Ouch!


Rear projection is out of the question; and anyway, I would like to retain the option of using the projector in other situations. Like I said: high cost—maximize the potential. I get, now, the keystone effect: that it comes from projecting an image to a screen at an angle other than 90°. (Odd, how I didn't catch on immediately to the word "keystone," as I'm (or rather, was) an Architectural Techician (US: "Assistant Architect") by profession.


Until now, it hadn't occurred to me that my projection situation was unusual, but I guess the majority of home theatres (hence, projector designs) have basic room sizes and layouts in mind.


Thanks, all.


Phrixos 04-26-2014 04:49 AM

Ah! the "Find Projectors by Feature" feature. Hadn't seen that before. Just what I've been looking for!

 

Thanks again.



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