I have a passive 3D dual projector setup and have been through a long selection process for a screen over the last year. This is a linear polarizing system with filters placed manually in front of the projectors which you need a silver screen for. If you dont' have such a system these screens are likely not for you!
It turns out there is a lot of science involved in working out which screen to use. Will it hotspot? Does it sparkle like crazy? How much light to do I really get once my filters are in place? What's the picture quality look like? Is there a color shift? Is there a texture to the screen and does it look like I'm getting full resolution on the screen from my source? And finally... how much polarized light retention is there which directly affects crosstalk.
$5 DIY method
Go to your grocery store and buy a 50ft roll of aluminum kitchen foil for $2. Get the heavy duty roll (+50c) if they have it as it's a thicker material to work with. Buy some painters tape for another $2 or so and gently tear off tall enough strips that you can hang on your wall. Attach the painters tape to the top and bottom of the foil and hang it in an up\down fashion with the dull\matte side facing out. Make yourself a nice big 100+" screen if you like as its pretty easy. Keep the foil as flat as possible with no creases.
What you'll see: Screen gain of 10+ and better polarization retention than any other screen you'll look at due to the high metal composition. On the downside you'll see every crease or imperfection in the foil (there will be many), a big hotspot in the middle of the screen and lots of light fall off as the light moves away from the hotspot.
For anyone considering a passive 3D system, I highly recommend you try the DIY screen above first as it will give you a preview of what's possible with your system.
I have a sample of this material. It's very cheap material to buy and retains polarization fairly well but not as well as other options like the 5D and BD 2.7. It also displays more sparkle in my opinion than these other screens despite having a lower gain.
Da-Lite Silver Lite 2.5
There are two different versions of this material. The actual polarization retention is very good and on a level of the better screens. Unfortunately each screen material has a texture to it and the coarser material structure actually makes 1080P look like a much lower resolution from my testing. There is also more light fall off from center to edge with this screen formulation. I don't recommend this screen.
Stewart Silver 3D
I have both a current sample and some very large full screen sized pieces I acquired locally from a huge screen. It's a flat surface material that has very good color, polarization retention and some sparkle and shimmer to its appearance. This has a higher rated gain and has more sparkle than the 5D material .
Stewart Silver 5D
I have both a sample and the screen I purchased of this material. This has the same polarization performance of the 3D material but with almost no sparkle to its appearance. It does have what I call shimmer though which appears throughout the entire image from light to dark as a type of screen noise. This is more apparent in 2D than in 3D, but it's the tradeoff you'll make with this current generation of silver screens.
Screen Innovations Black Diamond 2.7
I had a largish sample of this material. IMO this is very similar or equal to the Stewart 5D in performance with some caveats. There is some sparkle\shimmer that's quite visible in brighter areas of the image, but this seemed to lessen or disappear in mid level to non bright areas of the image.
I'm happy with the Stewart 5D as it's a great linear 3D screen and also does OK for 2D which matches up with it's performance description. The Black Diamond 2.7 would be an alternative and offer similar if slightly different performance.
- Projector placement will affect how these screens with gain perform. If you have your projector closer than 1.5x screen width you may have some hotspotting . In my setup I'm at greater than 2x screen width so don't have a real hotspot issue.
- Projector placement may also affect sparkle in the screen. Having my projectors mounted near or at the top level of the screen made less apparent sparkle or shimmer versus having them mounted nearer to the middle of the screen like you would with an HP screen.
- Get samples and test! Put the sample in the middle of the screen, put it at the edges and note the level of light fall off. Compare it to the DIY method to get a comparison of polarization retention or non retention.
I purchased my Stewart 5D through Mike at AVS. Feel free to ping or call him for a quote on whatever you might be considering.
If anyone is interested in reading about how 3D polarizing screens were being tested 13 years ago I recommend reading the tests performed by DrT here: http://www.drt3d.com/info/ScreenTesting.htm
. This testing methodology still stacks up very well today and is how I performed some of my testing.