Rich H's Variable Image Size System - Pictures - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 08-19-2010, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks.

It just occurred to me that I haven't displayed any results of my finished projection screen set up to my friends in the CIH forum. Given how much I've participated on this forum in discussions about CIH, CIA, advancing my own ideas on the subjects, I figure perhaps some might be interested in seeing the results of my decisions and how it worked out.

NOTE: You can click on the links below my name (in my "Signature") to see shots and descriptions of my new home theater room, and my build thread showing it's construction.

Here are a few of the relevant shots of the system:

FULL ROOM:




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post #2 of 53 Old 08-19-2010, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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MASKING SYSTEM SHOTS

Here are some quick shots of the masking in different positions (BTW, some of the masking lines may look
crooked in these shots; it's the camera lens, they are straight in real life):

1:85:1




2:35:1



The extra tall screen (vs strict CIH) allows me to open up the image height/size for more spectacular presentations when desired, for instance Avatar, IMAX-source movies...or just when I want a bigger 16:9 picture:



I can also go for a bigger 4:3 image as well:



This was very gratifying for a recent viewing of the Wizard Of Oz blu-ray, where I could have quite a huge 4:3 image for a cinematic effect.

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post #3 of 53 Old 08-19-2010, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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SCREEN SHOTS

Ok, here are some very quick screen shots of the system at various image shapes/sizes. Unfortunately my tripod was a piece o' crap and was very wiggly, so the low exposure times plus the wiggle made for somewhat blurry images. But I want to finish this thread and can't be bothered to do better for now. I left some lights on over the ottomans to try to give a little bit of perspective to the shots, but I note that the screen size changes don't come across with remotely the same size difference/impact they do in person. But...it'll have to do.

Here's a 1:85:1 (almost 16:9) AR image, from Ang Lee's HULK (I think around 105" diagonal):



You do get a sense of the image-floating-in-black effect that I was going for. It's one of the more satisfying results of the reno, to my mind.

Image in wide mode - LOTR Return Of The King:





AVATAR at 122" diagonal:



WIZARD OF OZ, 4:3 AR, at full screen height:


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post #4 of 53 Old 08-19-2010, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I must say it's very hard to convey the impact of the varying image size in seeing photos on a small monitor. The impact, the change of sizes, has a lot of impact in person.

Staff from a major Home Theater AV store, the oldest and busiest AV install store in our city, were super impressed by the system and in particular were taken aback by the impact of opening up the masks to show Avatar at a huge size. I showed them Avatar at up to almost 130" diagonal, from about 10.5 to 11 feet away, and it had a "wow" factor even they weren't used to. They are used to prescribing smaller screens for customers, (they do CIH set ups too) having felt too large a screen would make people uncomfortable. But this experience seems to have made them start re-thinking their assumptions, given how immersive yet comfortable they found the image.

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post #5 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 02:06 AM
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Very nice and versatile setup. I think from the relatively close sitting distance/ratio, 4k is going to be amazing with you're set up.

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post #6 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 04:28 AM
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Very, very nice Rich ! Your work adds a nice balance to the CIH/ CIW thing, getting the besty of all worlds.

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post #7 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Glad you like it Highjinx.

Thanks Art.


BTW, all comments pro or con welcome :-)

Obviously 4-way masking has been around for a while, but even then it seems to have typically been used within pretty strict parameters - e.g. in CIH systems to ensure the last vestige of black bars could be taken care of when switching ARs, or in the very few CIA set ups where a limited set of strict image sizes were taken care of. And before the explosion of HD media projected image sizes tended to be smaller. However with the resolution now available for home theater sources it seems to invite some out of the box thinking and experimentation.

I'm certainly extremely happy with the direction I went. At the moment I have 16 pre-set image sizes/ARs on my remote. With the press of a button the screen changes shape and the projector's zoom/lens pattern appears on the screen. As the screen is changing shape I'm beginning to zoom the image and shortly after the masking stops the image has fit the new screen size and shape - usually between 12 and 16 seconds from pressing the button. I think I've used almost every pre-set at one time or another.

My attitude toward this system is that I would happily bring it up as an option for those wondering about other options beyond CIH/CIW and even CIA. Especially as I managed to do it for much cheaper than the blood curdling prices charged for commercial 4 way masking screens.

At the same time it's not something I'd necessarily proselytize about because it certainly is a niche idea and not necessary for most people. For someone who loves movies and who is getting into front projection I'd be more likely to bring up the option of CIH rather than my own set up.

Last night I was demonstrating the system for my Brother and his wife who are staying over, in case they want to use the home theater. I showed them a 1:85:1 movie and then put on Transformers to show how a 2:35:1 movie will display, like a normal HD TV with black bars. They were like "Ok, that's fine, we can just watch it like that." Then I did the Constant Image Height thing, opened up the sides and re-sized and they were wowed by the difference. How can you not be? It still even bowled me over. It never really gets old, does it?

BTW, all comments pro or con welcome :-)

Rich H


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post #8 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 07:01 AM
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Fantastic! I dont have words to express........I thought the person is really standing near the screen especially for the screenshot in Avatar - Awesome picture clarity.

In future, thinking of Anamorphic lens? this should add cherry to your setup - definitely!
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post #9 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 07:26 AM
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Congratulation Rich! You have a fantastic setup! I have been struggling with CIH vs CIW for my build and I believe this is a great solution. I will be referencing your thread a lot when I get to that stage of the project. Thanks for the inspiration!

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post #10 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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eummagic,

I made sure to leave the option for adding an anamorphic lens in the future.
(Gotta keep all my options open).

My projector is on a remote controlled lift. Instead of coming down from a ceiling like most lifts, it hides the projector out of sight behind the viewing sofa. The projector sits only 23" high so you can't see it when you are in the room, but when the lift is activated it telescopes the projector up to over 6 feet high. Here is the lift beginning to appear from behind to sofa, then to it's full height:





The shelf is easily removable. I made sure to leave enough room between the back of the sofa and the front of the projector so new shelf with an anamorphic lens would fit on the lift, should I decide to go that route.

My reason for adding an A-lens at some point won't have to do with convenience. I already find my switching AR system fast and practically effortless. My reasons would be to get an even wider image than I'm getting from my throw distance (right now my widest hovers around 120" wide, but my screen can go up to around 124" wide. Not a huge difference but it's still noticeable). The other is if I determine an A-lens would make the image look any better.

As for now I'm not feeling the need whatsoever. Zooming is fun and fast, incredibly flexible, and I have no added worries about A-lens focus, geometry and all that stuff.

Cheers,

Rich H


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post #11 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 07:39 AM
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Rich very nice. Looks like you've achieved a nice balance between ratios and size.
Can you share some details regarding the masking system.

Edit: Just saw the projector lift pics ( we were posting same time ) very slick!
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post #12 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Alan (and GWCR),

In a nutshell the thought process went like this:

When I first started I was going for a regular 16:9 screen. But I have always masked my images, even on my plasma, so I knew I wanted masking for 2:35:1 movies. Thus I was set on buying Carada's Masquerade system (top/bottom masking version).

But then I got the desire to do CIH so I investigated side masking systems. Ultimately I preferred an automated system if possible. So I found the Goelst curtain/panel track system (see details in the link I'll provide). The Goelst was one of the few systems that offered programmable pre-set stopping points - up to 5 not including the "open" position - which could be used for different AR widths.

So then it looked like I'd be buying a 2:35:1 screen and use the Goelst side panel track system (employing hanging black velvet panels in a come-along configuration, so they stack neatly behind a single panel when open, but pull each other along the screen when doing masking duties).

Then in experimenting with zooming image sizes I realised I wanted the flexibility of changing image size, width, height.

Then it hit me: Well, I was going to buy a screen and the Goelst for side masking...but why don't I buy the Carada masquerade frame for the screen and then I'll also have top bottom masking available as well. Combined with the Goelst side masking I'll have 4 way masking.

So then I changed my screen shape to basically the widest, tallest that could fit on my wall (a custom ordered Masquerade screen frame size from Carada, roughly 2.0 AR).

The cost of combining those two systems for masking was just under $5,000.
That's actually one the expensive side for those systems because:

1. I ordered a HUGE Carada Masquerade: outer dimensions are 142" wide by 79 1/2" tall. So a bit pricier.

2. I wanted the side masking to have the option of entirely hiding that huge screen. One of the reasons for this is that I love listening to music in both surround and in 2 channel stereo. My speakers do incredible soundstaging/imaging and I didn't want to be staring at a giant field of white between the speakers. So I ordered the largest Goelst panel system, 5 panels per side, in order to close off the screen. This works great because with the screen closed and the lights down it's just a huge field of black which really allows my brain to imagine the performers in front of me.
(I also sometimes have the screen open, but I have a system of LED colored lights pointed on the screen, and they can do various shifting, blending color patterns, so that's fun when listening to music as well).

Anyway, the point is that if someone were ONLY interested in the side masking aspect you could likely get away with a single, or perhaps double panel system, which would be cheaper.

Still, even at $5,000 my system is vastly cheaper than similarly flexible 4-way systems from the commercial screen companies. As you know Stewart systems range well above $20,000. And what I like about this approach is that I'm combining two, established, reliable professionally designed systems, which can be put together and instantly "work" vs the time and "crap shoot" factor of trying a full DIY solution. (Having followed how strenuous those efforts are in the DIY forum that wasn't for me).

Finally...it was all something of a fingers crossed situation as well in some regards. I didn't know how well the two systems would work together. I imagined a fair amount of fidgety adjusting each time I wanted to change ARs or image sizes...you know...open both masks, zoom out, re-size masks etc. I held some hope a good universal remote would help out but I wasn't counting on it. I wanted the flexibility and was prepared to suffer a bit for it.

But happily it turns out the system worked beyond my wildest dreams. Both the Carada and the Goelst proved to be extremely programmable and reliable in terms of macro commands. With my RTI remote my installer and I found we could program as many image size or AR changes as we wanted into single button presses. Here's a shot of one page (of two pages) on my remote, offering different image size selections:



So it's painless and fun to switch image sizes, and looks cool as hell to see the whole screen wall changing it's shape with a button press!

More details about the masking system, with links to the companies and products, here from my build thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...07&postcount=6

Rich H


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post #13 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Alan,

Re the projector lift:

Yeah, it's a beautifully custom engineered lift from a company called Flatlift (German company, but with American offices). It's super quiet too. The funny thing is you'd think the screen masking might be the most impressive thing for guests in terms of the room's technology, but the projector lift actually tends to steal the show. Guests always ask "But where is the projector?" Then I hit the projector lift button and it gracefully, quietly appears from behind the sofa and keeps going up, up, up over 6 feet high. I get the most "Oh my Gawd" comments from this, the most typical being "Awesome. It's like a James Bond movie." :-)

Rich H


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post #14 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 09:27 AM
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Rich, I believe I have expressed my sentiments on your project before.... I simply cannot sit by and let you carry on like this without expressing my feelings once again....I mean really this project just wreaks of something that is difficult to express in words but I will give it a go once again.....









PURE AWESOMENESS!!!!! I BOW DOWN!


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post #15 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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LOL. Off your knees, oman321. I have nothing on someone who managed to build their own curved Cinemascope screen!

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post #16 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 12:44 PM
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No wonder you wanted variable size, you're like 3 feet from the screen

Seriously though, it makes more sense now that I see it. You can go way bigger in either direction than most people recommend. When you can do that it makes a lot of sense to go fully variable so you've got the option to go super huge if you want to

Now I just need to get some tips on how to make the room look nice and "finished" and I'll be set too

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #17 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi stanger89,

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

No wonder you wanted variable size, you're like 3 feet from the screen

The middle seats put me at between 10 and 11 feet, eyes to the screen. At first I thought this was closer than most projection set ups but I've been surprised to find it's actually closer to average, at least for AVSers. Of course if you have a huge dedicated theater with tiered seating the distances seem to expand.

But for me the distance is literally perfect. It seems a precise balance between close enough to give you that fall-into-the-image vibe, but without it at all feeling "in your face." I also like a somewhat lower screen position than lots of people seem to use - where my eyes are closer to mid screen or just below. I find this also increases the immersion. It was brutally difficult
in my case arranging the center line of the screen because it was so tall, and because at some point my center line changes a bit. The screen had to be mounted so low to achieve my desired center line that the center channel would get in the way. So I ordered an even taller screen than I needed and rigged my Carada Masquerade bottom mask to stop above the center channel height. (This only occurs on the largest image sizes).

That's certainly a good argument for an AT screen. But I didn't have the depth for AT and I prefer the sonics of speakers that I can dial in, on stands.


Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Seriously though, it makes more sense now that I see it. You can go way bigger in either direction than most people recommend. When you can do that it makes a lot of sense to go fully variable so you've got the option to go super huge if you want to

Yep. I just wouldn't want to watch everything as large as this system can go, but sometimes it's just da bomb to make things big. I don't even know the viewing angles of a 130" diagonal 16:9 image from around 10 feet...but all I know is it gives me a holy-cow-I'm-at-Imax experience, subjectively.

The other thing I like about the system is that in varying image sizes I never get fully used to - in the sense of blase about - any image size. If I were always watching the largest possible images for everything it would no doubt loose impact. But this keeps everything fresh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Now I just need to get some tips on how to make the room look nice and "finished" and I'll be set too

Well, aesthetics are personal of course. But you can look at my build thread (link in my signature) to see the issues I struggled with and how I solved them, in case there's something helpful. (I'm very, very concerned with aesthetics myself, and it would have been divorce time from my wife if I didn't come up with something nice ).

If someone first looked at my awkward 13 ft wide by by 15 foot deep (only at deepest bay window point) room they'd think "How the hell would a home theater fit in here?"

But it turned out to have, for me, literally perfect dimensions - I got all the screen size I could desire and for me just the right seating distance. So...lady luck and all that....

Rich H


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post #18 of 53 Old 08-20-2010, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Hi stanger89,



The middle seats put me at between 10 and 11 feet, eyes to the screen. At first I thought this was closer than most projection set ups but I've been surprised to find it's actually closer to average, at least for AVSers. Of course if you have a huge dedicated theater with tiered seating the distances seem to expand.

Yeah I was obviously kind of kidding, but in that first picture, it definitely looks like the screen is (able to be) a decent amount wider than the seating distance, which I guess 12' wide capable, by 10' seating, is what, about .8.

That's about what my HT would be if I turned it 90 degrees.

And as for seating, yeah, I can see that being about average. Of course I bet the average screen size is closer to 96" at that seating distance, maybe smaller.

Quote:
Yep. I just wouldn't want to watch everything as large as this system can go, but sometimes it's just da bomb to make things big. I don't even know the viewing angles of a 130" diagonal 16:9 image from around 10 feet...but all I know is it gives me a holy-cow-I'm-at-Imax experience, subjectively.

Yup, which is really what I was getting at. Most people (at least myself) end up with the biggest possible size being much smaller (longer seating ratio). And if you do that, the benefit of variable image size reduces dramatically.

Quote:
Well, aesthetics are personal of course. But you can look at my build thread (link in my signature) to see the issues I struggled with and how I solved them, in case there's something helpful. (I'm very, very concerned with aesthetics myself, and it would have been divorce time from my wife if I didn't come up with something nice ).

Yeah, I'm not even thinking anything particular, just trying to figure out what mine is missing that keeps it looking like a dark painted basement room with a big screen vs an "HT". Even though I've got speakers behind the screen and HT seats (one row at least).

Quote:
If someone first looked at my awkward 13 ft wide by by 15 foot deep (only at deepest bay window point) room they'd think "How the hell would a home theater fit in here?"

But it turned out to have, for me, literally perfect dimensions - I got all the screen size I could desire and for me just the right seating distance. So...lady luck and all that....

Yeah, looks great for sure.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #19 of 53 Old 08-22-2010, 08:45 AM
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hi rich, sorry if i missed this but just noticed you aren't using a lens. i know you have the denon scaler (which i do as well). can you tell me how you are accomplishing all these different AR's using only the denon and jvc?

thanks.

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post #20 of 53 Old 08-22-2010, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony A. View Post

hi rich, sorry if i missed this but just noticed you aren't using a lens. i know you have the denon scaler (which i do as well). can you tell me how you are accomplishing all these different AR's using only the denon and jvc?

thanks.

Nothing special. I'm just using the zoom method. The Denon isn't really coming into play (in fact, aside from occasionally using a bit of DNR on the Denon it's really not doing much in my system).

The real element for ease of use comes from my RTI universal remote which is extremely customizable and does great macros. If you look at the screen shot of my remote you can see some customized image sizes and ARs. When I press an AR, for instance 16:9 - 105", the remote sends out the appropriate commands to both my top/bottom masking and side masking to move them into the right positions. At the same time it turns on my JVC RS20's lens control feature to the "Zoom" mode, and I just zoom the image
to fit the new screen size. Takes seconds to do.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,

Rich H


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post #21 of 53 Old 08-22-2010, 03:06 PM
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Awesome setup! Nice work What Carada material are you using?

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post #22 of 53 Old 08-22-2010, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Toe,

I'm actually using the Stewart ST-130 screen material. I found it a tad brighter and added a bit more vividness than the Carada.

Expensive, though.

Rich H


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post #23 of 53 Old 08-22-2010, 08:59 PM
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Toe,

I'm actually using the Stewart ST-130 screen material. I found it a tad brighter and added a bit more vividness than the Carada.

Expensive, though.

Great choice.........I just bought my 2nd ST130, but in a 2.35 version. I have also had the Carada (both BW and CCW) and agree with your findings.

JVC 3D: Been there, done that, bought a DLP
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post #24 of 53 Old 08-22-2010, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Toe,

I'm actually using the Stewart ST-130 screen material. I found it a tad brighter and added a bit more vividness than the Carada.

Expensive, though.

I reckon Stewart screens are great screens.

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post #25 of 53 Old 08-29-2010, 08:20 AM
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Hi, Rich: Fantastic project, and a beautiful room.

Seeing your project's final result is truely amazing. Your work is phenomenal in showing CIA as an potential setup in addition to CIW/CIH, with the biggest appeal, at least to me, of being able to accentuate advantages of different aspect ratios.

Maybe this is time to have a CIA subforum for discussing pros/cos, 4 way masking systems, and other options?


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post #26 of 53 Old 09-05-2010, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, Rich: Fantastic project, and a beautiful room.

Seeing your project's final result is truely amazing. Your work is phenomenal in showing CIA as an potential setup in addition to CIW/CIH, with the biggest appeal, at least to me, of being able to accentuate advantages of different aspect ratios.

Maybe this is time to have a CIA subforum for discussing pros/cos, 4 way masking systems, and other options?

Sorry, I wasn't ignoring this, I'm just back from vacation.

It does seem like the idea of 4 way masking and CIA (and similar options) is gaining some more interest than it has in the past. This seems to be due to the fact higher resolution sources have become the norm in home theater which seems to give more leeway in offering great images at a wider range of image sizes. Plus you have the IMAX effect of some titles (Dark Knight, Avatar etc).

That said I still don't get the sense it's reached a critical mass necessary for a new forum. At the same time it's too bad that the interest that is there tends to be discussed in forums like this (I don't like to feel I'm "polluting" a forum with off-topic stuff, but at the moment this seems the most applicable forum for discussing some of these issues).

Up to AVS as always....

Thanks for the props!

Rich H


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post #27 of 53 Old 09-05-2010, 11:51 PM
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Beautifully engineered room and an absolute inspiration.

Regards

Blade
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post #28 of 53 Old 09-06-2010, 07:46 AM
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That said I still don't get the sense it's reached a critical mass necessary for a new forum. At the same time it's too bad that the interest that is there tends to be discussed in forums like this (I don't like to feel I'm "polluting" a forum with off-topic stuff, but at the moment this seems the most applicable forum for discussing some of these issues).

I think the biggest roadblock is price/complexity, specifically of the masking. While there are numerous options for CIH/CIW setups, from free (no masking), to cheap (fixed panels), and even a range of motorized options that aren't too expensive, for a VIA/CIA system it's much harder. Firstly I think you really just can't skip masking, with CIW/CIH you get at least two sides masked regardless, with VIA/CIA you have nothing. But beyond that you can't really just use panels, you just about need motorized, 4-way masking and that tends to be either very expensive (commercial solutions) or very complex (DIY).

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do,
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post #29 of 53 Old 09-06-2010, 08:06 AM
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Nothing special. I'm just using the zoom method.

At the same time it turns on my JVC RS20's lens control feature to the "Zoom" mode, and I just zoom the image to fit the new screen size. Takes seconds to do.

when using the pj zoom as you mention, do you find you need to adjust the sharpness setting again?

Dedicated Theater Construction Thread

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post #30 of 53 Old 09-06-2010, 10:06 AM
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Hi Rich-
Nice job, I must say. I too liked the PJ lift, and was wondering if it was a scissor jack design?

I had ideas about building a similar lift, one that would sit close to the wall but not be hanging from the ceiling. This seems like it would solve lots of difficult installations.

Don
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