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post #1 of 44 Old 02-08-2012, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey all. I'm currently in a theater space that allows to me to test out some new ideas, as it is not a permanent dedicated theater. During this process I was working on making "frameless fabric panels", and that evolved into a top/bottom masking system.

Basically the idea morphed into using the fabric of the "main" panels that surround the screen to become the masking panels themselves. No hinges, nothing mechanical at all, the fabric itself basically acts as the hinge.

I think this worked out very well and is the kind of thing that can really easily be modified for left/right CIH Masking as well. So my images and info is for CIW, but this would be easy to translate to CIH....

Here are the pics of the masking open and closed, and then I'll add a handful more posts with the details, two quick drawings, and pics... the visible screen width is 9 feet 6 inches.

First, the masking open:



Second, the masking closed:


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post #2 of 44 Old 02-08-2012, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, so here is the basic idea. Instead of having a fabric panel that fills in between the screen and the ceiling, and then another panel that gets put into place when masking, I thought, "why not combine them".

The first quick drawing here is the layout for the top mask. This mask uses the magnets to keep the mask "up", and gravity is used to keep the mask down.

Here is the drawing of the Top Mask:



I used foam boards from Hobby Lobby. In this case, it was a spur of the moment design change, so I have three pieces of foam board - I would not do that if it was a final/permanent project. I would use a solid piece of foam board.

So I literally have one large piece of black velvet (from Hobby Lobby as well). That piece of velvet is held to the screen with velcro. The piece of fabric hangs down and is wrapped around the foam board.

The metal disc in the drawing comes with the magnet, so the magnet is attached to the screen surface/framing, and the disc is fixed in position using double-sided tape. When wrapping the fabric around the panels, and to make "hems" is just used plain old fabric tape. So the fabric is held to the Foam Board using fabric tape.

The second drawing is the bottom mask. Since the bottom mask has to "fold" up, the design is a little different. Overall, the same principle, but just a bit different.

Here is the bottom mask drawing:



With the bottom mask, again I use magnets to hold the mask up, and gravity holds the mask down. There are only two differences in the plan (I made another change I'll mention in a bit).

First, I use two foam boards. This is because when the mask is down, without the extra support of the foam boards, I felt the velcro would pull back over time. The second difference is the small extra bit of velcro needed.

If you see there between the two foam boards there is a piece of velvet there. This is because the back side of the velvet is shiny, and when the mask was "down" I thought that the back side of the fabric would be visible. So I added that bit of material, and it works great.


That's the summary, here are pics of the actual pieces going together...

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post #3 of 44 Old 02-08-2012, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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The Foam Board was Elmer's, bought at Hobby Lobby. A nice thing about this is that one side is lined, so easy to use a straight edge on a straight line to make a straight cut.



Here are the magnets. I got these from American Science and Surplus. I used three on the top and three on the bottom. In hindsight, I didn't need three, two would have been fine, these are really strong magnets. I used both the magnet and the large metal disc you can see in the package behind the magnet.



Next I laid out the pieces for a test fit. This was the go-no-go point, as after this I would start physically taping the foam boards together and use fabric tape to tape the velvet to the boards:



The test fit was good, so I started to put the pieces together. Below you can see the pieces taped together. I taped the velvet to the foam boards and starting wrapping the whole thing together:



Next I put the metal discs in place, these were simply held in place with double-sided tape:



Then I finished wrapping the velvet around the foam boards and added the velcro around the edges, where it would attach to the screen wall:



Next step was to add the velcro and magnets on the screen wall. Kind of hard to see in this image, the magnets are taped to the screen material, and then further held in place with the fabric itself when the fabric is velcro'ed (is that a word?) to the wall:




Then it was simply a case of attaching the fabric up onto the velcro. Within a minute or so the top panel/mask was all in place and working. In this pic you can see the masking when it is up. Since everything is pure black velvet, it is impossible to actually see the parts that move. Here is the panel/mask up:



Next image is with the mask down, in place for scope watching. One thing to point out here. You can see in the shadows where the seams are with the foam boards. If I was doing this again (and I know I will), I'll use one solid foam board (or reinforce it like I did on the bottom) to eliminate that option. Those lights are never actually on, so no one ever sees that, but I wanted to get a photo of it to show why not to use multiple pieces if you decide to mimic this design.


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post #4 of 44 Old 02-08-2012, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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So the bottom mask follows the same basic idea. I made the bottom panel and mask after the top so one thing I wanted to address was the flimsy feel and fact that I didn't like how the top mask moved as three pieces. Even though it is fabric wrapped, when moving it the three pieces shift a bit.

I wanted to still use three pieces, after all this was a test project. What I came up with was to buy some small metal rods, the kind used for model projects, and use those rods to attach the three foam boards together. The photo isn't too great, I didn't notice the glare when taking the pic. These are 1/16 alum. tubes:



I cut the rods into pieces around 4 inches long. Then I slid them into one of the boards, keeping them level. I did have to use a few more than you see here, as when I was pushing them into the board, some of them bent since I didn't use even steady pressure. Here is what it looked like after four of them were in place:



I used my saw straight edge while lining up the foam board pieces, to ensure as I slid the boards together that I kept a perfectly straight line. It actually went better than I had planned. I was worried that since the rods were not perfectly parallel and perfectly level that they would fold or bend, but by using consistent pressure and using the straight edge, the pieces went together very nicely. After sliding them together I taped the seams:



I don't have a pic of the velvet wrapping part, it is basically the same as the top mask. The only thing I really had to do different was add the small extra bit of velvet so when the mask was down, the back of the fabric wouldn't be visible.

The next challenge was where/how to place the magnets for holding the mask when it was up. I painted the surface of the magnet flat black, and then what I did was I opened up the mask into position and had my helper simply put the magnets in place behind the screen. The magnets basically jumped into position, it really was easy to place them - just needed two people.

Obviously I couldn't leave it like that I had to hold the magnets in position, but it looked funny for a bit to see the magnets by themselves on the back of the material. I made a pretty simple holder for the magnets.



I used three pieces of left over foam board, and used velcro to hold the board in place. Since the magnets were already in place, I used double sided tape and then just stuck the boards onto the velcro and magnets at the same time. Very simple, and works perfectly. since everything is black, you cannot see the supports or magnets through the screen.


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post #5 of 44 Old 02-08-2012, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
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So some final thoughts.

Overall this worked very well, and I will absolutely use this type of design for any other manual masks I make for folks. By fully wrapping the foam boards in the exact same black velvet as the rest of the screen surround the masks are totally invisible. I can't even take photos of them with all the lights on.

I would use one solid board instead of piecing together boards. Other than that, I wouldn't change much. I'd probably reinforce all the panels with foam boards, and would not have any sections that are simply fabric alone. By using foam boards in all the sections, supporting the weight of a vertical system would be no worries.

The only issue I can see with this idea for side panels is width. Would be to determine if there is enough room for the side panels to fit when they are open. Other than that, it is very easy, very cheap, and very light.

I hope this is an idea some of you can use and modify for your own designs.

Here are some final pics.








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post #6 of 44 Old 02-08-2012, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I did make a quick video showing me open and close the masks. You can see how fast this is, easy and quick enough that anyone using the theater can do it. Like one or two seconds to open and close, and everyone can use it.

You can see in the video the difference in how the top and bottom masks move, and that is simply because of the way I reinforced the bottom mask.

 



 


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post #7 of 44 Old 02-09-2012, 06:18 AM
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Nice Job!! Sometimes it's the simple things that are so rewarding.
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post #8 of 44 Old 02-09-2012, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Oman. It really is simple, and it works incredibly well.

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post #9 of 44 Old 02-09-2012, 10:21 PM
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Fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing your genius.
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post #10 of 44 Old 02-09-2012, 11:08 PM
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Nice Job!! Sometimes it's the simple things that are so rewarding.
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post #11 of 44 Old 02-10-2012, 11:47 AM
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Good work sir.... the video really shows the goodness in this.
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post #12 of 44 Old 02-18-2012, 11:25 PM
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I was scratching my head on how it would work until I watched the video... very cool idea -- best manual masking system I've seen.

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post #13 of 44 Old 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
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Very cool Warren. I did a hinged side mask a few years ago based on design posted by CINERAMAX. He called his design "Gull Wing" and my protoype worked well, though I think the materials you have used would result in a far better version. I just used MDF painted it black.
I am actually wanting to an AT version for my AT screen, but have kept putting it into the "too hard basket".

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post #14 of 44 Old 02-21-2012, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, glad the video helped to make it clear. I was thinking about that while taking photos and writing it up, that it still might not be clear. I can't get any pics of it "installed" since it is literally black velvet sitting on black velvet.

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post #15 of 44 Old 02-21-2012, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAVX View Post

Very cool Warren. I did a hinged side mask a few years ago based on design posted by CINERAMAX. He called his design "Gull Wing" and my protoype worked well, though I think the materials you have used would result in a far better version. I just used MDF painted it black.
I am actually wanting to an AT version for my AT screen, but have kept putting it into the "too hard basket".

I looked that up, and there is some similarity there. I didn't want any wood and no hinges, wanted it much lighter, and wanted the "hinge" to be invisible. At first I had drawn this up as a side mask, but due to the room size and screen size went with top/down. It will work for side mask, with the point on speaker placement being the issue then.

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post #16 of 44 Old 02-21-2012, 08:11 AM
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I like this idea. Agree that the video helps a lot!

Well done!
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post #17 of 44 Old 02-21-2012, 10:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

I looked that up, and there is some similarity there. I didn't want any wood and no hinges, wanted it much lighter, and wanted the "hinge" to be invisible. At first I had drawn this up as a side mask, but due to the room size and screen size went with top/down. It will work for side mask, with the point on speaker placement being the issue then.

I have a smaller version of the screen I am using and have thought I might chop it up to make these side mask panels. That way I can also then replace the "solid" screen fabric with the black version of the AT fabric I currently use.

I do think I still have to make it hinged just based on the way I have assembled my AT screen rig.

As for speaker placements, mine are just inside the 1.78:1 portion anyway, so even if the side masks were not 100% AT, the sound should not suffer.

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post #18 of 44 Old 02-22-2012, 10:36 AM
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The hat makes it 10x cooler..
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post #19 of 44 Old 02-22-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zamboniman View Post

The hat makes it 10x cooler..

Everything is 10x cooler in a hat.

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post #20 of 44 Old 03-22-2012, 07:17 AM
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Nice work. I am thinking of using similar method for CIH. Since the room I am going to plan my theater is 19 feet wide and the screen is going to occupy about 12 feet at max, I am planning to attach opposing polarity magnet on the frame outside of the screen area. So I can simply "stick" the masking panel to the side of the screen. and then move them over the screen as needed..it will aesthetically look good will be easy to operate.

I did have question about magnet affecting speakers behind AT screen? Is that a problem?
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post #21 of 44 Old 03-26-2012, 12:00 PM
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Subscribing as I'll probably incorporate some of these ideas into a manual masking system when I redo my screen.

What I'm not sure about, though, is that it seems like any type of material, even foam-core board, would tend to flex too much when it gets up around 8 feet long. Assuming the magnets are on the sides of the screen (hidden), what holds the masking against the wall/screen in the middle? I'd be afraid it might want to "pooch" out a bit from the wall in some places and cause weird shadows around the edges of the screen.

If I can find something really thin, light, and FLAT, that would be ideal. Right now I feel like my current 1x4 poplar frame wrapped in black fleece is just too thick (and fuzzy!).
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post #22 of 44 Old 05-07-2012, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drriddhish View Post

...

I did have question about magnet affecting speakers behind AT screen? Is that a problem?

The magnets have no impact on the speakers at all. No worries there...

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post #23 of 44 Old 05-07-2012, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post

...

What I'm not sure about, though, is that it seems like any type of material, even foam-core board, would tend to flex too much when it gets up around 8 feet long. Assuming the magnets are on the sides of the screen (hidden), what holds the masking against the wall/screen in the middle? I'd be afraid it might want to "pooch" out a bit from the wall in some places and cause weird shadows around the edges of the screen.

...

The foam boards are holding up just fine. The one I 'seamed' with tape alone is flexing, the one I put together with the small metal reinforcement and tape is still as solid as day one.

A few times I have left the down mask in position for a long time (like two weeks) and when I remember to open it, I can see a circle in the screen fabric. That circle goes away within a few hours, but I could see the stress of the magnets causing a problem on the screen fabric if someone forgot about it and left everything in place for months....

Other than that, everything is still working as it was. The top mask is weak, the bottom mask is perfect. I will definately be reworking and using this kind of system in my next 'real' theater. I'm glad to have had this space to do some new idea testing, this is a keeper idea for me, no doubt.

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post #24 of 44 Old 05-07-2012, 09:34 PM
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Thanks for the awesome tips and ideas warrenP!

I have plans to integrate a system like this into my build. Since I won't be doing a false wall though the masking panels will be completely contained within the screen border. I'm still a few weeks away from that part of the build, but I'll let you know how it goes as it might be a good addition to this already awesome idea.

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post #25 of 44 Old 06-12-2012, 06:50 PM
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Well, I have finished my masking system for wall mounted screens. The top and bottom panels are completely contained within the screen border. This is on a 90" 16:9 laminate screen.

The basic design is that the top and bottom screen border pieces have extra velvet tucked behind them. These pieces can be moved up or down to mask off the screen, with the extra velvet filling in the space to cover the ugly gray bars. I needed something light to make up the backbone of the border since it would need to be easily moved up and down. Taking from warrenP's design, I started with foam board. I cut the boards into 3.5" wide strips (the width of the border). Since the boards were only 30" long, I had to attach multiple segments together to get to the correct length. Once again borrowing warrenP's idea, I used thin metal rods and tape to hold them together.

DSCN1623.jpg

In practice, this didn't work. The top and bottom pieces sagged in the middle. So, I had to find something more rigid but still light. My first thought was luan, so I had a sheet cut into a few 3.5" strips at the store. The luan worked beautifully and did not sag at all.

Next I had to find a way to attach the top and bottom pieces but still have them be easily removable. Magnets were the logical choice so I picked up some ceramic ones from Home Depot. It didn't take very long to realize that they wouldn't be strong enough to hold the masks, so I went on the hunt for some rare earth magnets. Luckily I found a local magnet supplier that thought that my project was so cool that they gave me some for free.

DSCN1768.jpg

These things are so strong that it's scary. I had a hard time pulling them apart from each other.

Since the magnets are so strong I knew that I would only need one to contact a piece of metal (rather than having the magnet contact another magnet). Since the magnets were 1/4" thick, I easily mounted them into the luan of the top and bottom border and then taped over them on both sides to hold them in place. I used one magnet on each side of the piece.

DSCN1789.jpg

To give the magnets something to stick to, I taped metal washers around the screen in the correct locations.

DSCN1775.jpg

DSCN1779.jpg

Next I had to determine how large the masks would need to be. For scope movies, I would need masks on the top and bottom that are about 5.5" tall. That is from the top and bottom of a 16:9 image to the top and bottom of a 2.35:1 image. Since I'd also need to have a 3.5" border above that for 16:9 viewing, I cut the velvet to 9.5" in width (also allowing some overhang for wrapping). Then I laid the luan out on the velvet.

DSCN1804.jpg

And wrapped the one edge around tightly.

DSCN1814.jpg

The top and bottom pieces are identical.

Next, I built the two side pieces of the border. I cut the luan to the correct height and then attached some washers at the correct points for when the masks would need to be in the scope position.

DSCN1825.jpg

Then I wrapped the piece in velvet.

DSCN1840.jpg

The side pieces were attached with velcro (to allow for slight adjustments to be made as needed.

Next I simply attached the top and bottom pieces in there scope positions using the magnets and then pulled the extra velvet tight and attached it to the wall with velcro. Then I detached the pieces and moved them up/down to the 16:9 magnet position. The extra velvet folds right behind the luan piece and disappears.

Here it is in the 16:9 position.

DSCN1861.jpg

It looks just like a regular screen border.

And here it is moved up/down to the 2.35:1 position.

DSCN1871.jpg

Moving it between the two positions is super easy. All you have to do is pull it free from the magnets and slide it up or down.

Finally, here's some pictures of the system in action with a movie playing. First, no masking.

DSCN1912.jpg

Second, with masking.

DSCN1919.jpg

With the lights off everything disappears.

Taking away those gray bars hides the fact that the image is actually smaller than the screen and really brings you into the movie more. I love it and think that the system is a massive success!

I hope that this opens up the idea of a hidden masking system to a whole new group of people, those without false walls but instead a screen mounted directly to the wall. It wasn't very expensive, went together fairly easily, and adds a ton to the movie watching experience. It is definitely one of my favorite features of my theater room.
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post #26 of 44 Old 06-14-2012, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice, glad someone was able to pull and modify this idea some. So much fun to have the masks, isn't it? smile.gif



I think sometimes we DIY guys tend to over-engineer (ok, pretty much all the time....) everything, and these simple and effective ideas are important. I use my masks all the time. I know lots of guys who built masks and don't take the time, they don't want to mess with getting the pressure fit right, or getting the velcro right, etc... with this idea, it is like 2-3 seconds to open and close them.

I hope some other guys take and tweak this idea even further. Ideas can always be improved, and when I get to making my next one I want to swipe those better ideas!

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post #27 of 44 Old 06-14-2012, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrenP View Post

Nice, glad someone was able to pull and modify this idea some. So much fun to have the masks, isn't it? smile.gif

The masks are really awesome! I didn't expect them to have such a large effect on improving the whole movie watching experience. It's amazing what taking those ugly gray bars away can do. smile.gif

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post #28 of 44 Old 07-11-2012, 08:05 PM
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Hell yes, when I enlarge my screen from 72" to near 100" I will most definitely be doing something like this! And velvet instead of fleece for sure!
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post #29 of 44 Old 08-03-2012, 04:06 AM
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Can't wait to try this.

(Still can't imagine how the bottom part works. I guess I'll have to re-read it over and over.)
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post #30 of 44 Old 08-12-2012, 04:45 AM
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I bought some nice black velvet and just hung it with Velcro to see how it would work

eek.gif

I was amazed it was so effective. I'll have to redesign it with some foam boards at the least but I've never had a 2:40 screen and that's what it looked like and I felt like I was at the movies.
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