$10 styrofoam board as screen? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-19-2000, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi,

We are new owners of a Barco 1200 CRT projector, and have not made the decision about what to do on a screen. I've read most of the DIY screen threads but what we ended up doing as a stopgap is picking up a large piece of styrofoam at our local hardware store. I believe this stuff is made for insulation applications.

Anyway, we are amazed at how bright and clean an image we are getting with this $10 piece of styrofoam, and we are wondering what we are missing by not having a true screen? We sanded it down this weekend to remove some vertical "stripes" in the material, and now it is clean and flat.

We painted a portion of the material with one of the white paints that has been discussed here, but the painted area seemed only to darken the picture a tiny bit and whites became a bit greyer.

We are ordering some swatches of fabric from some of the screen manufacturer's to compare them.

But my main question remains... what are we missing here? Resolution? Contrast? Brightness? Ya think?

Thanks

-John
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-21-2000, 02:14 PM
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Well you're certainly saving a lot of money. Now I'm wondering if the $2000 Stewart StudioTek 130 screen I ordered is such a bright idea... Anyone want to tell me I made the right decision?

Please?

Bryan
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-29-2000, 03:50 AM
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I was thinking about using curtain blackout fabric for my homemade screen. I wanted to use a 52" x 92" screen 106" diagonal.
I kinda want 110" diagonal.
What size styrofoam board do I need to get for a 110" diagonal.
This might be easier to use as a frame because with the curtain blackout fabric I have to buy wood to make the frame. With the styrofoam board, the frame is already in place.
What do you guys think?


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post #4 of 19 Old 09-29-2000, 12:53 PM
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laminant. Home Depot
Grey or White.

Tell what you think. Once you view it. I think you'll find the $1900 savings worth while.



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post #5 of 19 Old 10-01-2000, 04:52 PM
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Morning JJ,

So far, it appears, the only thing your missing is the big empty place in your wallet where a bunch of money used to be.
NOTE: There are no facts to follow in this reply.

Tweaking every little bit of performance out of our gear seems to be an, across the board, quest. Contentment (happiness) seems to last only as long as it takes for us to learn of something newer, better, bigger, faster. Happiness takes a powder.

I find myself in a similar position. My "Dream Screen" (perf. Stewart w/ THX stamp of good viewing) would run $2,700. plus left arm. Might as well cost 9 million. We have a obsurdity meter hidden in the bedroomn clg., above the bed, that we go by here. It clips at a few hundred bucks for this issue of, "What's our final screen?".

At present, we have a sheet of hardend masonite nicely framed in the wall. (Unpainted, slick as snot, shiney side out. Thanks a lot KBK! Can I get some paint yet?) It has a WOW factor (similar to Curb appeal) of 8. The Optimal performance factor is (still not truely known) probably in the .178 range. I know I am missing out! Yet we are happy in the meanwhile.

Shirley, your "Stryo-Vision" is less then ideal.

But, and heres my point (if I ever had one): We are missing out on 15 pounds of performance (when tweaked out add 3 more ounces), of improved colour rendering, visual depth and clarity, image detail sharpness, black levels, brightness, and for non-perforated screens we lack the ability to place speakers in the ideal location. You name it we're missing out on it, across the board. As to what that difference is worth...?

There are valid reasons someone spends $3,000.00 more on something then the next guy. If MY peepers can detect this difference is another matter. (I had trouble this AM distingushing the coffee maker) So, purist, rich, zealot, or fool...somewhere inbetween or any combination there of, where do you fit in? How disappointing was the expectation of an improved image after painting the styro?

There is a value to being happy with your "10 buck stop gap". I am hoping you get to enjoy it some more until some factual info pops up and you can make an appropriate upgrade IF SO DESIRED!

"The backside of the barn is an upgrade from what I started with". jdb

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[This message has been edited by jdb (edited 10-02-2000).]


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post #6 of 19 Old 10-01-2000, 06:22 PM
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I have seen a grey piece of grey foamboard at the local art supply house that is large enough for a screen. Ultra light matte grey at about the correct gray level.

One of these days I going to go buy it and see how well it works.

By the way, I agree that the $2000 screen makes one question their sanity. Its important with a CRT because the light output is so low and high gain screens are a work of engineering.

However as FPs get brighter and cheaper, the cost of these things have got to come down.

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post #7 of 19 Old 10-02-2000, 12:22 PM
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Well. Let me defend this situation.

Money spent on a studiotek130 screen is money well spent. Alot of work went into making that screen as well as is possible. The proper design considerations for a good screen are actually pretty darned difficult to get your mind wrapped around.

Once you have had a good, high grade screen (and this will be entirely evident over time!) after a while you realize how much it's quality allows you to actually relax and enjoy the movie, and forget about the screen. Proper color balance (and all the other problems) within the context of screen design is quite a challange, I tell you.


THE MOST TELLING FACTOR OF ALL WITH HOMEMADE SCREENS???

People keep trying new ones all the time. They can't seem to find one that is entirely satisfying on all fronts. Today fine, tommorow... it has become irritating. It's fundamental flaws have become too noticable to endure them anymore. Don't these results tell you something??? It is not anywhwere as simple as it may seem. Of course people will chime in and say "what the hell are you talking about!! I love my homemade screen!!! Of course they do. For now. Then comes the next attempt. People constantly run the gammut of different screens. Some people have a 'sensitivity threshold' that is much different than others'. So, they go out and, eventually get the best they can find, Cause nothing else will do. So they buy something like the Stewart StudioTek 130.......

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post #8 of 19 Old 10-02-2000, 02:33 PM
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Amen KBK...
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post #9 of 19 Old 10-02-2000, 03:35 PM
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Thanks KBK!

Now I'm looking forward to my StudioTek 130 again (but dreading my credit card bill...).

Thanks,
Bryan
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-02-2000, 04:18 PM
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Here is a final consideration for folks.

When you get to a screen that has a gain higher than 1.00, then all hell begins to break loose with the problems that you are up against. The higher the gain, the greater the breaks made from proper design considerations, and the greater the flaws will be. The trick is in the trade off of problems. Which are the ones, to your sensitivity, are the most benign, and least interfering to your movie enjoyment?

Remember the movie "A Fish Called Wanda" near the end where John Cleese is trying to get 'Otto' (Kevin Kline) to put his hands up...... He would smile and only put up one hand at at time, not both. No matter how determined John Cleese, was, Otto would only comply with one hand or the other....

Screens are sorta like that.

You can fight with one consideration, get it where you want it, FINALLY!, but... loose in other areas. Tradeoffs, always tradeoffs. A very delicate balancing act.

Studiotek 130 is one of the best balancing acts out there, period. It pulls enough of the proper tricks off... that it looks as good as you are going to get, without getting into tradeoffs. You can push it a little higher, like 1.5 (gain) or so, but it starts to get kinda tricky after that. Specific application for specific screens here.

A bit of money spent on a good screen can reap rewards of a picture that can literally cause you to 'start' each time you see a new scene... an effect that only becomes evident in the best screens. It actually never goes away. Years later, the effect is still there, you find your self thinking, 'god, that looks real....'

The screen dissappears, and it all comes down to the content-the film itself, where it should be.

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post #11 of 19 Old 10-02-2000, 06:29 PM
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Tells me there is a group of frustrated people out there waiting for your Magic Screen Paint, and trying anything they can get their hands on in the meanwhile.

It is you, KBK! You are to blame for such insanity! Beware, you may hide, in your cardboard tower, but we shall seek you out, and with torch and pitchfork raised with mite against you, we shall get our promised paint!

Actually, with devastation following bliss, hunger following gluttony, and happiness following contentment: I am learning to be content. Getting old has a lot to do with it too.

As for the group of people who are only stilled when in the possession of the newest, fastest, biggest, betterest "thing" (yeah, Betterest) - Tough beans.

But for those of us making do with purposeful "stop gap" measures, until the optimum item (quality within financial sanity) comes along, we are outside of the temporal DIY bliss of momentary success you so articulately described above.

There is not one item in my room that wouldn't benefit from being redone and having a unlimited budget to work with. So be it.

"As crumby as it is, it's still better then having to stand out on the sidewalk in front of the dept. store, peering in the window, to catch the nightly news". - jdb.

"It keeps my husband off the streets". - jdb's wife.


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post #12 of 19 Old 10-02-2000, 06:46 PM
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Try painting the cardboard! You can get some neat effects from that... A friend reccomended a holographic paint to me today, for painting screens. 'Not unless you include the LSD', I told him. And the three days atferward to recover from the seemingly fun self abuse.

Soon! But the wait may be more fun than the product! "funny, she looked great in the bar..."



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post #13 of 19 Old 10-03-2000, 12:11 AM
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I'm still going to try my cheap foamboard.

The endless search is probably frustrating at times to the truly obsessed.
I myself find it frustrating at times, entertaining at others.

Such is the nature of R&D (which is what screen experimenters/developers are really doing). One in ten ideas works well if one is lucky.

I myself would rather roll the dice and hope for a $2000 result with a $200 investment. Even if I spend $2000, at least I can be altruistic and pass the knowledge along.

I know through experience how tough it can be. Getting that paint uniform is a royal pain in the butt. I have yet to suceed. I assume KBK has had better luck.

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post #14 of 19 Old 10-03-2000, 07:02 PM
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Sorry KBK, bit I totally disagree with you on this one.

Most of us are in this as a hobby - we *enjoy* timkering around and for $2000 I can try a *lot* of homemade screens - about 40 I reckon. Might even be able to afford some of your paint..

As for the happy homemade screen owners (I am one) we never post because, well, we have nothing to post about. But I can tell you I have performed side-by-side demos of my blackout fabric against a portable Stewart screen from my work, and no-one in my audience could spot any real difference.

Why not just recognise that it is up to the individual. I reckon for whatever small improvement i could get grom an extra $ on my screen I would be a lot better off spending that $ on other parts of my HT setup, like a progressive DVD player or.. or... or...
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-03-2000, 09:52 PM
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I've got a KBK grey paint jones! GIVE IT TO ME...GGIIIVVVE IITTTT TOOOOO MEEEEEEEEEEE.
I'll be a beta tester, a guinea pig, a fall guy, an unabashed promoter, a schill, a lab rat.

"...but if you try sometimes, you get what you need." -OverTheHIll Brit RocknRooster

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A woman is weeping over shadows on a screen, a man gets excited over ink on a page, a child is frightened over words in a book-
The mind gets caught up in the unreal and people become identified with it. But its power is such that it rules the world.
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-06-2000, 06:08 AM
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I once had a horse, named Stewart, converted to a Porche by a guy on the net for $10. The insurance cost $42,000.00.

Hope this helps, jdb

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post #17 of 19 Old 10-06-2000, 08:16 AM
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False logic:

It costs more so it must be better.

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post #18 of 19 Old 10-06-2000, 06:51 PM
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And sometimes, with a little sweat, a good idea, and $10... a DIY kinda guy can roll the clock back to a time when $10 was a months wages.

Have you seen the pop corn wagon with a price tag of 2,400.00?
Man, is that elitest or what? For that kind of money it better pop a damn good kernel, eh?

Maybe I am just getting to old. jdb


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post #19 of 19 Old 10-06-2000, 09:42 PM
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Well, I can't really disagree with any of you. All I have ever used is homemade screens.

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