High contrast screen or new projector - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 01:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I currently have a Optoma Hd700x (HD65) that is projecting onto a 84" Elite VMAX 2 Electric screen (White). My only real complaint with this budget (Under $600 spent) setup is the black levels. My room also has white ceiling tiles and mint green paint but for the most part very little ambient light. I'm fine with the fact that it's only a 720p projector.

I have very low 7ft ceiling in my basement so I really like the form factor of my projector. If I went with an Epson or something similar in size, I would have to relocate my mount and all the wiring to the back of the room so that people would not hit their heads on the projector.

It does not seem like there are any high contrast projectors with a small footprint, with the HC4000 probably the closest but the lens offset is too much for my low ceilings without using keystone.

My question is, would a high contrast gray screen make enough difference in lowering the black level to be worth the investment or put the money toward a new projector if I could find one with a small enough foot print worth upgrading to?
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdolen View Post

I currently have a Optoma Hd700x (HD65) that is projecting onto a 84" Elite VMAX 2 Electric screen (White). My only real complaint with this budget (Under $600 spent) setup is the black levels. My room also has white ceiling tiles and mint green paint but for the most part very little ambient light. I'm fine with the fact that it's only a 720p projector.
I have very low 7ft ceiling in my basement so I really like the form factor of my projector. If I went with an Epson or something similar in size, I would have to relocate my mount and all the wiring to the back of the room so that people would not hit their heads on the projector.
It does not seem like there are any high contrast projectors with a small footprint, with the HC4000 probably the closest but the lens offset is too much for my low ceilings without using keystone.
My question is, would a high contrast gray screen make enough difference in lowering the black level to be worth the investment or put the money toward a new projector if I could find one with a small enough foot print worth upgrading to?

Fixing the ceiling so it is not white would be the cheapest and biggest improvement you can make.
Black velvet 5 ft out from the screen on the celing and walls would make a big difference. To test on the cheap, by a twin bed black single flat sheet at bed bath and beyond for $10 and attached to the ceiling in front of the screen.. Watch the black level improve!
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Awesome idea, but no way wife will go for that. I wanted black ceiling tiles and grid but obviously lost out on that idea as well.
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 04:54 PM
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Go buy the sheet, and put it up temporarily so she can see the image for at least one night .. $10 and some tape.. she can not deny you that.. one night.. If the grid for the ceiling is made of ferrous metal then you can add velvet or even the dang sheet with magnets taped to the back so the hold it up when in use and you can pull it down and fold it up when not.. keeping the wife happy.
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post #5 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 07:49 PM
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A new projector will not do anything about the light being reflected off the ceiling/walls & killing your black level. Yes the blacks may start off blacker, but they'll be washed out by all the reflected/scattered light.

High power screens (retroreflective) are better than simple matte screens for your situation in that more of the light is sent back toward the projector. That is, less scattering. There will still be scattering, and you'll still see the walls & ceilings light up, but the ratio of light scattered to walls/ceilings vs. light sent back to your eye (which must be near the level of the projector) will be lower for a HP screen compared to a simple 1.1 gain screen. Furthermore, since HP/retroreflective screens send more light back towards the source, light bouncing back from walls/ceilings tend to mostly bounce right back to walls/ceilings (outgoing light rays just have the negative vector of incoming ones). So the majority of these reflections will not make it to your eye.

So a HP screen will likely really help with your contrast. I just went through this exercise & quantitated contrast ratios, which is why this is all fresh in my memory smile.gif

I also added black velvet curtains extending 2ft out from my screen. This really helped with blacks as well, even with the HP screen, and especially so for blacks near the top of the screen that were otherwise being washed out by reflections to/from the ceiling.
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post #6 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 08:18 PM
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By the way, here's a description of my black velvet curtain setup:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1425961/ultracontrast-in-a-living-room-worth-it#post_22342051
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post #7 of 16 Old 08-27-2012, 08:42 PM
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Would an ND filter help?
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post #8 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 02:56 AM
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I would paint the celing tiles close to the top of the screen flat black with spray paint it iis cheap and works. You can alwas replace the tiles or buy new ones to paint and save the old ones. If not to help balck levels you need to go to a gray screen. But you would loose some light. There are some screens like the dalight high contrast cnima vision or Black Diamond that do hava a slight gain and are also a gray screen the BD is probably the best since it does not light up the celing or walls around it. That is your best bet.

Replacingthe projector will help but not that much if you went with the epson 5010 or 6010 you would be at 2400 lumins and throughing even nmore light around and back onto the screen. However it would trick your eye a bit since your whites and colors would be so much brigher.
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post #9 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for your input, I will try the black sheet just for an experiment and Sarangiman's velvet drape idea looks like it might pass the WAF factor. I have some extra ceiling tiles so I can try painting them black also. A 1K + screen is really not an option for my $340 projector. One of my friends is a SnapAV dealer so I can get one of their Dragonfly screens at cost so I might get the high contrast gray fixed screen and keep my cinewhite Elite electric screen for sports since it can drop down over the fixed screen. I would just have to make sure it's mounted in exactly the same spot where the electric drops down.
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post #10 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 12:32 PM
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Yea the snap screen does not hold a candel to the BD but the BD is $$$ unfortinally you just have what sounds like a hard room and a limited budget which don't play well together, no offence. Maybe some day some chinees firm will find a way to make a knock off of the BD. Until then it is a pretty special screen. Snap make a .85 gain gray screen I would have your frend get a sample although there is no ambiant light rejection gray will help a little but not that much you have to decide if it is worth it. I am using a screen innovations senation screen almost the same thing and love it but the dragonfly screen a friend has I like it alot as well. A higher gain screen will not help much you blacks will be even less black. A new projector with more lumins will give the perception of better blacks. but again $$$ for anything decent.
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post #11 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 12:32 PM
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please delete duplicated
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post #12 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm thinking I might paint the wall with the screen black, paint is cheap. Sorry for the bad iPhone pic.

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post #13 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 03:49 PM
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wall that the screen is on is not the problem, it, the ceiling!
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post #14 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 03:56 PM
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Just wondering if you have used a calibration disk to properly set your brightness and contrast since the top of your screen is fairly far from the ceiling.
There is a trick to setting the brightness on a DLP that could help. Using a calibration disk (AVS disk is fine) display a 0% pattern and stand in front of the screen turn brightness up, you will see tiny ant like spots dancing on the screen (the dlp mirror moving) now turn brightness down one click at a time till the ants stop moving, it is very noticeable. This is the ultimate setting, however if shadow detail is crushed you may need to bump it up a click or 2. When the ants stop the mirrors are in the off position and not moving at all. Do this with the iris disabled.
Then set contrast with the contrast pattern and recheck brightness as the 2 interact.
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post #15 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post

Just wondering if you have used a calibration disk to properly set your brightness and contrast since the top of your screen is fairly far from the ceiling.
There is a trick to setting the brightness on a DLP that could help. Using a calibration disk (AVS disk is fine) display a 0% pattern and stand in front of the screen turn brightness up, you will see tiny ant like spots dancing on the screen (the dlp mirror moving) now turn brightness down one click at a time till the ants stop moving, it is very noticeable. This is the ultimate setting, however if shadow detail is crushed you may need to bump it up a click or 2. When the ants stop the mirrors are in the off position and not moving at all. Do this with the iris disabled.
Then set contrast with the contrast pattern and recheck brightness as the 2 interact.

Thanks for that, I have never heard of that trick before. I have been procrastinating doing a full calibration, I have the colorimeter and software just not the time.
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post #16 of 16 Old 08-28-2012, 04:50 PM
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I wouldn't buy a Black Diamond Screen even if it were $400. The texture in highlights is unacceptable to me. I find myself focusing on the texture over the content. More so than even my GrayWolf Panoview... which is pretty bad in and of itself.

The Da-Lite HP or HCHP screens in Model C factor (pulldown) are only $450-$470 for 120" size (widescreen).
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