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-   -   Making a Screen: The Indefinitive Guide (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-screens/19230-making-screen-indefinitive-guide.html)

Noah 10-27-2000 10:40 AM

Hey everybody,

I have a pile of wood, canvas, and various paints and additives sitting behind me as I type. Somehow I hope to turn these ingredients into a modestly decent high gain screen for my newly-acquired Sony VPH-1031Q. By no means would I consider myself an expert and by no means is this to be considered a guide (forgive the title of this thread). I am the very definition of novice when it comes to matters of DIY screens - nowhere near our own KBK's exalted level! Nonetheless, I believe that sharing information and experience will benefit the community of this forum. Maybe I'm a socialist. I don't know. But I find value in sharing my upcoming experience in the hope that it will be useful to another forum member in their own screen-making endeavors. I welcome any advice, suggestions, comments, or questions.

Here's what I'm starting with:

4 1x4s that will form an 87x49" 16:9 frame
size 6D coated sinker nails
size 12 carpet tacks
3 yards of bright white canvas
1 quart of Mautz 100 White flat latex paint (no primer for me, I'm a cheap *******!)
8 oz. of Dick Blick Artist's Acrylic Gesso
8 oz. of Liquitex Iridescent/Pearlescent Medium
1 quart of Floetrol latex paint conditioner
One Coat brand rollers

Total cost at this point is about $45. I chose the Mautz 100 white over the Sherwin Williams Luminous White that was recommended in previous threads as my local SW store would only sell gallons of the Luminous White (I told you I was cheap). I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the Mautz was even whiter compared to the SW paint chip and contained a higher percentage of pigments (titanium dioxide and calcium carbonate) as well. The Floetrol (recommended by Mr Wigggles) is an additive that is mainly used to make it easier to spray latex paint or provide a spray-like evenness when using a roller.

Here's the painting procedure I plan to follow:

1. 2 layers of Mautz 100 White latex paint, thinned with Floetrol
2. 1 layer of gesso/Mautz 100 White mixture, thinned with Floetrol
3. 1-2 layers of either Pearlescent Medium/thinned gesso mixture or Pearlescent Medium/Matte Medium mixture (haven't decided yet)

Anyway, that's the tentative plan. I'm thinking that once I calm down I'll realize that I should do a few test pieces with canvas scraps after I get the screen primed, just to test various combinations before I ruin the whole thing. I'll update this thread as my screen progresses. Let me know what you think or what you recommend, and please do it before I screw this up too badly!



MrWigggles 10-27-2000 03:04 PM

To plagiarize a commercial:

"With a name like Dick Blick, it's got to be good."

Good Luck - Now start painting!

-Mr. Wigggles

paddy 10-29-2000 04:46 PM


Funny. I started painting my screen this evening in my garage. One word of advice, bugs like to check out your white paint in the evening. Opppps. I am following the exact steps that Mr. Wigggles provided in the following thread:

Other than the bugs, so far, so good. -Pat

[This message has been edited by paddy (edited 10-29-2000).]

paddy 11-03-2000 11:06 PM

I have started the frame for one side of the screen. I am going to use both sides of the tile board, one painted grey (paint choice was a complete guess since I have no guide other than the memory of my father's long since retired slide projector screen) and one side will be white (Mr Wigggles' groovy luminous white). The outside dimensions are 86" x 48". I have cut a notch in the entire perimeter of the frame so that I can place black cardboard masks inside the frame touching the screen. I will use different masks to achieve the appropriate aspect ratios. I will post photos when everything is complete. I am sick of painting, but have another side to go! -Pat

Brett 11-06-2000 09:50 PM

Hi Noah!

It will come as no surprise to you that I'm partial to Canadian mixtures. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif

However I did a little fiddling around with paint myself, and noticed a definite interaction between the 2 last layers of whatever paint you will be using. Actually, I either gained or lost certain reflective characteristics (brightness versus deeper and truer colors) alternating between a coat of bright white interior paint (the local equivalent to Sherman Williams luminous or Behr ultra-pure white) and a coat of a mix of artist titanium white and gesso.

If I make another test screen, I will probably use a base coat of (1/2 Latex interior paint, 1/4 Gesso and 1/4 artist titanium white) to increase the screens in depth reflective power more than with a "flat latex only" base coat, and a top coat with about 1/3 of each. If there is still a little color shift, then I'd try to isolate which is the culprit (the gesso or the titanium white) and then reduce its proportions in one more top coat.

Couldn't locate any perlescent powder here, but maybe Mr Wiggles' eggshell paint uses the same stuff and can either be mixed with the flat white latex or even replace it either in the base coat or the top coat. Once again, I was staggered by the differences in results between sequences of layers - getting the correct balance between several layers could possibly allow a wider variety of results: for example a bright highly reflective coating could give very poor results as a top coat but give that extra "punch" if it is kept one or two coats beneath the top layer of paint...

These are just speculative ideas, so take them for what they're worth - with a grain of salt.
You may also want to look into Alan Gouger's thread "Screen shadowbox have their advantages.." to which KBK also contributed for our benefit: http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum9/HTML/000363.html

I'll be trying to implement the following design with KBK's screenpaint. You can understand why I would want the best "deluxe screen goop" around after going to this kind of trouble making a framed screen, which may even incorporate built-in custom speakers...

--------------viewer is here---------------
\\......................................................... /
\\\\\\U========== screen ===========U ///

Hope some of this helps you and others in the forum.
Good luck and thanks in advance for posting your ispirations and/or results.




[This message has been edited by Brett (edited 11-06-2000).]

paddy 11-07-2000 07:25 PM

Well, I'm trying to finish the Grey/Silver side of my DIY screen. I went to the Sherwin Williams dealer and got some grey paint that closely matches the Kodak grey. I opened the can in my garage, and started to paint, and looked at the paint... and, boy is it grey. It was too late so I went ahead and painted the grey side with the new paint. Sure enough, it seems too dark for what I wanted. I had already previously painted a coat of paint on my grey side that matched my own idea of what the "silver screen" should look like, which is very close to my memory of my dad's screen that he used when he subjected our family to the "fun" family photographic slide shows (well, it seemed fun when I was eight!) Now, I'm thinking I'll go back to my version of silver. It is less dark and seems more likely to produce good results than the dark grey I just painted on my DIY screen. -Pat

they used to call it, "the silver screen"

tdemelle 11-08-2000 08:30 AM

As I feel I am largely responsible for your mishap with the 18% gray I sincerely apologize.

Only having read about it, I have been under the mistaken impression that 18% gray is the equivalent of a more light than dark .82 gain value. In fact, it is a more dark than light .18 gain value. Oooooops!

Going back to the top of the forum that mentioned the sherwin williams paint, the purpose for this value was for painting the walls of the home theater space and not the screem http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif . I hope you can use it as such and not have completely wasted the material!

This is truly a case of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing.




The HT-2-B

paddy 11-08-2000 04:10 PM

No apology necessary. I find this experimentation fun. I'm about to paint over that coat with a new silver/grey paint that I got today. With no guide or formula, I have no choice but to experiment. I only bought a quart of the dark grey and I will probably use it for some other use, like walls or an outline area. Everything will be fine, and I can hardly wait to start watching movies. -Pat

they used to call it, "the silver screen"

Noah 11-09-2000 08:36 PM

Thanks for all the advice/suggestions guys. I'm nearly done with my screen and I've learned quite a few things so far:

1. I think my choice of screen surface was less than ideal. The canvas just has too much texture. Maybe I should have used a primer, that might have smoothed it out a bit before the other layers were applied. I'm thinking of doing a little light sanding before I paint the final coat, but I don't want to strip away too much of the Gesso layer. Also, after 2 coats of latex and a coat of Gesso, it seems that there is still a bit of light leaking through the back of the screen. Hopefully that will be reduced by the final pearlescent layer. If I repeat this I would probably use a solid surface like a sheet of drywall, tile board, or some other material.

2. The addition of floetrol to the Mautz latex paint was very helpful. Thanks to Mr Wigggles for the suggestion. It really made it roll on smoothly and evenly. I used water to thin out the Gesso, as per the official Dick Blick intstructions (I love that name too, Mr Wigggles), but that didn't seems as smooth as the Floetrol-thinned latex paint.

3. In my test strips I found that the Pearlescent Medium (heavily thinned with Floetrol) makes an ideal final layer. It seems to be the key ingredient in producing gain. I also tried a Gesso/pearlescent layer and a pure pearlescent layer, but neither looked as good as the thinned pearlescent. The gesso/pearlescent looked no different than the flat white latex while the pure pearlescent looked too metallic and silvery.

If I find the canvas texture too distracting, I think I might try a very simple combination of white blackout fabric painted with one layer of thinned pearlescent medium. The rubber side of blackout fabric has no texture and is a very bright white, while the pearlescent medium would add gain. It sounds too easy but I think it would work quite well. I'd try it myself but the Home Theater fund is a little low at the moment. In any case, I'll let you guys know how the finished product looks.


paddy 11-10-2000 07:15 AM

Primer would have helped, but more coats of paint will pretty much accomplish the same thing, IMHO. The bottom line is that canvas is not a completely smooth surface. I would think that more coats of paint will help smooth it out and seal up the "leaks".

The smooth surface side of my Tile Board helped give me a very smooth starting surface, but I used a premium brand primer to help the future coats of paint stick to its surface. I'm painting both sides of the tile board, and even the rough side worked out well with the primer. I also used Floetrol-thinned paint. It also helped smooth out the paint. But, AFAIK, the paint will never be perfectly smooth. I have never seen a home application of paint become perfectly smooth. Of course, I'm not a master painter, but even when I buy premium tools, I can't get the paint perfectly smooth.

The advantage of a canvas screen, is that you can have pretty much any resonable size or proportion custom made for your application. AFAIK, With tile board you can not get any larger than 8'x 4' without getting a seam. But a big advantage of the tile board is that it is much less expensive than custom framed canvas. You could always frame your own, though. Which is basically what you are suggesting you will do with framed black-out fabric. Let us know how that works out. There are plenty of threads on this forum concerning framing your own fabric.

Good luck with your continuing experiment. I hope to have mine done today.

they used to call it, "the silver screen"

Noah 11-10-2000 12:05 PM


How much is a 4 x 8 tile board? I'm thinking of scrapping the canvas in favor of something else before I waste too much expensive paint on it. BTW, I did stretch and frame my own canvas and it worked quite well. When I started out, the canvas had several highly visible creases in it from being folded at the fabric store. I did what I could to iron them out, but they were still visible as I began attaching the fabric to the frame. I used carpet tacks to nail the canvas to the 1x4s. I started out by nailing the canvas down on the top edge of the frame, starting in the center and stretching as I went, nailing it down at 6" intervals. I then nailed down the opposite edge in the same way, and then the left and right side. At this point the canvas was fairly tight and the previously distinct wrinkles were hardly visible. I ironed again with the canvas on the frame. And then I realized I could make it even tighter by nailing it down more. I added more nails to the back side of the 1x4s in between the nails on the edges of the 1x4s while stretching the canvas down as far as possible. That might be a little hard to imagine so I'll diagram it:

top view of the edge of a 1x4 on the outside edge of the frame:


top view of the same 1x4 on the back side of the frame:



You can imagine how the lower nails take up the slack that the 6" nail spacing causes while allowing the canvas to be stretched more than simply adding nails in between on the top edge to give a 3" interval. OK, so this is nothing revolutionary but it really seemed to help tighten and stretch the canvas. This thing is like a drum now and there are no wrinkles at all.

Also, I forgot to mention in my previous post a certain painting tool that I've found very helpful. When I was at the local Menards (no Home Depot here http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif ) they had a "painting set" made by One Coat that came with a roller/handle, a roller tray, and an edger. I bought the set since it was cheaper than buying the roller and tray seperately. Take a look at a picture of an edger here. I've found that using this tool to smooth out the paint after its been applied with a roller has been very helpful. If there's any uneven distribution of paint, this thing can take care of it and it doesn't leave any kind of track or texture in the paint. It also cleans up very well and can be used over and over. I'm even thinking of using just the edger to paint the final coat. I've seen wider versions of these things that should be able to take the place of the roller in screen painting.

Well, Pat, let me know how it turns out, and I'll do the same.



[This message has been edited by Noah (edited 11-10-2000).]

kelliot 11-10-2000 01:48 PM

This thread brings back some memories of canvas and paint several months ago.

I gave up because I couldn't get things sufficiently uniform on canvas which had too much texture.

Doing a frame oneself saves a lot of money, to the point if one could find suitable screen material one could reach closure. I myself prefer silver/gray like Pat's been trying.

I got swatches of the DaLite fabric.The DaLite SuperWonder Lite looks like canvas with a tighter weave and aluminum paint.

The Gray DaMat is gray vinyl with best guess being 40% grey. (I don't know where they get the .8 gain from, a 90% Kodak card looks white, and its much closer to an 18% gray than a 90%)

The Gray DaMat would look pretty good if they through some silver in it.

Ken Elliott

KBK 11-10-2000 04:58 PM


If you decide to paint on the canvas again, try placing some supporting structure beneath it. This will immensly help the situation regarding the eveness of the rolling of the paint. It will stop false 'edging' with each pass, due to the fact that it will hold the canvas perfectly flat as a painting surface.

Mr "W", by the way, appears to be breaking out in hives from the stress.

If you find a GLIDDEN paint distributor, then you will find the pearlecent powder igredient. Be careful with it. You will be breathing pure death around that stuff. Pure carbon black can also be found as LASER TONER. Great stuff, due to the exact, controlled particle size. Once it 'impregnates' a mixture, it can be counted on not to change in character due to mixing.

Mixing speed and time must be exact each batch.

If you wish to share results, this must be included as information.

Your exact last request there, was going to be mine as well. It could only have gotten worse.

---Place Signature Here---

paddy 11-10-2000 06:33 PM


The tile board was $9.89 plus tax. It is on the same aisle as the wood trim at "my" Home Depot. The board has one side that looks like a corrugated card-board and the other side has a glossy white, plastic looking, type of finish (but it is too glossy for a projector, it would reflect too much) I suppose it is for paneling walls in bathrooms or kitchens, since it was next to the wood paneling. I had a Home Depot employee cut it to a 86" length, since 86" x 48" is a 16:9 ratio (although my projector has a 4:3 aspect). I figure I can use YXY or something on an HTPC to scale. I don't know because it has not been completely built yet and I don't have it. I have commissioned Wayne (XCEL) on the HTPC forum to build it for me, since he knows what he is doing. I digress...

You have to put some latex primer coats on the glossy side so that your white paint can stick to it. And, if you want to use the cardboard side, you obviously have to prime to smooth the surface out. I got the premium primer, at Home Depot, the product name was "1-2-3 Primer".

With regard to the top coats, even with the Floetrol-thinned paint it will not be perfectly smooth. I believe that is just the nature of the application equipment. I used the Purdy White Dove smooth surface rollers. I have never tried a spray paint machine; it would probably make a smoother finish. I painted two coats of the white paint on top of two coats of primer on the glossy side. On the rough side, I painted three coats of primer and five coats of silver/grey. I wish that I had done about five coats of primer on the rough side. I recommend more than three coats of primer on the rough side because I can still barely see the original surface. I used a new clean Purdy roller for every coat just to be safe. That was the biggest expense at $3.35 for each roller. I probably could have reused a thoroughly cleaned primer roller on the rough side.

I am also framing it with 1"x2" poplar wood trim painted black and with a groove next to the screen so that it can hold black card board masks. I am hoping this will help give a shadow-box effect which supposedly will fool the eye into believing that it is a bigger picture than it already will be. Of course the frame is taking 1.5" off of the the perimeter so the screen's final proportions will be 83"x45". I am hoping that it will be sufficient size since I will be sitting 11' away from it. It should be, but size and distance is a matter of personal preference and another thread indeed.

It is not perfect. But considering the low cost, and the fact that I don't know yet what size of screen I really want, and that I will have two sides with two different paint colors, I thought it would be a great way to start. Mr Wigggles gets all of the credit. He was the first to tell me about the tile board, and I followed his advice. He is a very helpful person indeed, despite his fun posts. -Pat

PS. Don't give up on the canvas just yet. You have to expect to spend some money on several coats of paint. I think you are doing a better job with the canvas than I would have. Besides, you have to accept the occasional mistakes while experimenting and learning. It is the way of these things and only natural. Keep up the fight! It's for a great cause. The Movies!

they used to call it, "the silver screen"

[This message has been edited by paddy (edited 11-10-2000).]

[This message has been edited by paddy (edited 11-10-2000).]

MrWigggles 11-11-2000 12:51 PM

Thanks Paddy,

Although it is aparent to some extent that the dark fiber board is showing through, I did not have the same problem. I used Behr's own primer/sealer. I did two coats of it and three coats of eggshell ultra pure white and I think it is pretty much as bright as it gets.

I would also like to further describe the not completely smooth surface we both have for the thousands who might be reading. The micro bumps are subpixel in size and really aren't much of an issue. However, you can "buff" or sand them donw if you have 2 or more coats.

I haven't done it yet because I don't think it will help all that much. (For a flat gain surface I am pretty darn happy with what I have.) But for glossier surface these micro bumps might actually help diffuse a potential hotspot.

With this in mind, I am a little greedy. I will be getting a sample of Da-lite's perlescent screen surface which has a gain of 2.0. If I like what I see, I will try and copy it with a coating of higher gloss paint on my current screen. If I think the da-lite is unbeatable, I will order it cut-to-size which is actually quite affordable ~$10/square ft. I will then mount it on top of my current screen which is flexible but sturdy (i.e. I can curve the screen a little more or less if I need to).

Bottom line: whatever happens my experimenting will not be fruitless.

I will keep you informed. I should be trying this comparison next weekend.

-Mr. Wigggles

Ps. Kelliot, a screen that has gain gets the extra output by reflecting more light back to the center viewers and less to the side viewers. Let's call this "reflective gain". There is also gain associated with the color of the screem. For pure white this would be 1.0 and then lower for other shades of grey. For lack of a better term, let's call this "whiteness level". All screen's can be aproximated by these two factors. It would be possible to make a grey screen that had a reflective gain of 2.0 and a whiteness level of .4 which would equal .8 total for on-axis viewers. Without the material infront of me, maybe this is what Da-lite did. Anyway, for your particular viewing situation a screen with some reflective gain might be good. Day light coming from your side windows would bounce across your screen and hit the wall on the other side while less of this light would be reflected back to the viewers which are more centrally located. Just a thought.

The Mothership is now boarding.

[This message has been edited by MrWigggles (edited 11-11-2000).]

[This message has been edited by MrWigggles (edited 11-11-2000).]

kelliot 11-11-2000 05:24 PM


Can't agree more with the definitions. I would prefer to call it reflective gain and absorptive attenuation to describe the physics more accurately, but that's just semantics.

The problem with that argument is that I my gray Dalite sample doesn't seem to have much reflective gain. One side seems to work better than the other and it is slightly shinier but its still dark. I have a Kodak gray card for comparison under diffuse ambient. The gain of the Super Wonder Lite is very obvious.

It is still just too dark. The DaLite Super Wonder Lite is just a little too bright and susceptible to texture-related distortion. The Gray DaMat is a matte gray version of a matte white.

Ralph Lauren Candlelight Silver from Home Depot comes very close to the Super Wonder Lite but I could never get it uniform. I even used some lamp black to darken it some.

If Dalite just threw a little aluminum powder in the Gray DaLite Mix and removed some of the lamp black, it would start coming close to ideal. Then I'd just buy it from DaLite. (or Stewart or Draper or Vutec if they do it).

Also, it doesn't take a lot of gray to begin to improve the image. I have (best estimate) 1300 lumens into 100" diagonal right now with a 75% gray. Note that I'm using fabric because it was much more uniform than my paint. The back side of the fabric is vinyl and almost the same color as the gray DaMat. The weave is not perfectly uniform and that shows under certain conditions. It still looks pretty decent for the price and I'd never trade it for white.

The gray helps a lot and I still can watch with some ambient. With the Gray DaLite, I'd need a G20 DILA for the ideal image, but its a bit beyond my budget. I'm hoping for the Panamorph to fold the brightness from 4:3 into 16:9 to get some help.

Ken Elliott

Noah 11-12-2000 10:49 AM


I discovered the need for a supporting surface beneath the canvas after my first coat and have since been using a large coffee table that just fits in between the framing boards. It does help keep the paint even and smooth, especially with a roller.

Unfortunately the only Glidden dealer in town (the not so well stocked Menards) doesn't carry the pearlescent powder, but I think the pearlescent medium will have the same sort of effect. In my test strips I haven't had the best luck in mixing the medium with paint. It doesn't add the expected pearlescence (maybe that's where the powder would work better) so I was planning to use the medium itself as a top coat, heavily thinned with Floetrol.


No, I'm not giving up on the canvas yet. It's good to know that there's a solid, cheap surface material in tile board, though.

Originally posted by MrWigggles:

I will be getting a sample of Da-lite's perlescent screen surface which has a gain of 2.0. If I like what I see, I will try and copy it with a coating of higher gloss paint on my current screen.
Mr Wigggles,

I'm a little surprised to hear you recommending eggshell and glossy paint. I've always thought that flat/matte is the only thing that wouldn't result in hotspotting. It makes sense that more gloss = more gain, but the nature of gloss seems to produce a more specular rather than the desired diffuse reflection. I'm rethinking my next few coats of paint. Do you think adding in a few layers of a bright white gloss or eggshell paint would help add gain while still avoiding hotspotting?

Here's what I've done so far:
1. Mautz 100 flat white latex
2. 2nd coat of Mautz
3. Thinned matte gesso

At this point I was planning on just finishing with thinned pearlescent medium, but with the surface texture as rough as it is and light still leaking through the canvas, I'm not sure I'd be happy with the result. Any thoughts on adding a coat or two of gloss or semi-gloss/eggshell followed by some matte gesso (to tame down the gloss) before the final coat of pearlescent medium? I think the gloss might address my concerns by smoothing the surface a bit and preventing leaked light.

On the other hand, I'm still wondering if eggshell would produce too much added texture and gloss would cause hotspotting. Well, I guess that's the nature of experimentaton.


KBK 11-12-2000 03:48 PM


Get a spray bomb can of flat black paint, and spray the back of the canvas. that should be the cheapest method of realizing a fully opaque canvas. Do not make any more changes untill you see what happens.....

---Place Signature Here---

paddy 11-12-2000 09:05 PM

I tried my grey paint screen today, and I don't really like it much. I tried a "torture" test and projected the Antarctica snow scenes in The X-Files and the snow looked blue, even when the brightness was boosted way up. I suspect it is because the grey paint I selected was mixed with a blue hue. I will have to have a grey made that has only white and black in the formula. I seem to remember a thread about a guy that went to Home Depot and kept having the attendant mix a little more and more black into the white paint until he got the grey he wanted.

As a side note: I found that my viewing room's dimensions are not going to cooperate with my UP1100 projector. The distance from the projector's position to the screen is causing the image to be too big. I knew it would be close, but unfortunately the 45" height of my screen isn't enough. So, I either have to move the projector out away from its shelf and more into the room, or move the screen closer to the projector, which will put it too close to the viewing area. Problems, problems, problems...

Of course I could always buy a commercial screen that has larger dimensions, but that would take some personal pride and accomplishment out of my endeavor. -Pat

they used to call it, "the silver screen"

Noah 11-14-2000 02:10 AM

Originally posted by KBK:

Get a spray bomb can of flat black paint, and spray the back of the canvas. that should be the cheapest method of realizing a fully opaque canvas. Do not make any more changes untill you see what happens.....

My goal in trying to reduce the light that seems to be leaking through the screen was to increase gain. In my mind if light passes through the screen it is not being reflected back to the viewer and gain is reduced. My weak understanding of physics suggests that black paint on the reverse of the screen will not reflect this leaked light but absorb it. I don't want a fully opaque canvas if light is being absorbed rather than reflected. I would guess that additional coats of paint applied to the front of the screen would help reduce this leakage, or perhaps a more reflective coat on the reverse. I wonder if a metallic silver layer sprayed on the back would result in increased reflectance. Any thoughts on that? I would guess that a fully opaque material such as drywall or tile board has a early advantage over canvas or other fabrics. On the other hand, simply because light does not pass through a material doesn't mean it is reflected.

Hmmm, well I'm thoroughly confused. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/confused.gif

I guess the leaking light is just a sign that I need more coats of paint on the front to reflect it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but more coats on the front versus a black coat on the back seems to be a choice between reflection and absorption. In seeking high gain, reflection is the obvious choice.


KBK 11-14-2000 08:12 AM

Yes Noah, you are correct. But, and a big but, maximum contrast range in the realizable sense occurs when the baseline black level is as low as possible. What is slightly noticable to the human eye, when corrected, can lead to a measurable change in the 100's range, ie., 300:1, going to, let's say, 500:1.

When this is done the 3-dimentionality of the image really perks up.

Silver would be more reflective, but due to the construction of such a paint, it will probably colorshift the base character of the image. The true black level brought about through the use of a proper black will more thatn offset any losses that may possibly occur. The operative phrase here is 'possibly'. I doubt that there will be a noticable absorption, but a definte increase in the quality of the black level. Due to the character of human vision, the result wil be a net gain in subjective quality.

---Place Signature Here---

Noah 11-15-2000 12:53 AM


I'll give the black backside a try. I tend to lose sight (no pun intended) of overall quality when seeking the ultimate brightness of high gain, but, as I'm sure the DLP and LCD owners are constantly aware of, contrast and black level are equally as important. Hopefully I can spray it light enough to avoid any seepage onto the white side. I'll let you know how it goes.

I find it interesting that what's going on several layers deep into a screen may be nearly as significant as the primary surface layer. Previously I had thought that whatever was beneath the surface layer simply provided a base of reflection to prevent leakage or absorption of whatever gets past the surface. I suppose I'll see what degree of effect secondary layers and even paint on the opposite side of a screen can have.


Steve13 11-15-2000 07:00 AM

Speaking of flat black spray paint........

I noticed a new line of Krylon paint the other day in Home Depot (or maybe Lowe's). It's their "Camouflage Paint System". The can describes it as a non-reflective , ultra flat finish.

I used it to paint the 2" wood border pieces around my screen and it works very well. It also comes in a light and dark gray, white, and some brown shades.


Trying to figure it ALL out (and hope I never do!!)

Philosofy 11-17-2000 10:14 PM

Hey guys, sorry to be coming into this thread so late, but I have a couple of suggestions. First off, I don't know a lot about screens, but I have over 12 years formulating paint. First off, the Gesso. IIRC, that's an artists' paint, and is very thick. (I made a couple of quarts for a boss' wife about ten years ago.) It's not designed to flow, but rather leave a stipple effect: I would use this as your primer coat to even out the canvas texture. You can almost scrape it on with a plastic putty knife.

Regarding your choice of paints: titanium dioxide is the only white pigment in paint. The calcium carbonate is a white powder, but doesn't contribute to the whiteness. It's there to lower the gloss. If you look at the labels, you will see the high gloss paints only have TiO2 in them. The flowtrol is a good suggestion if you are painting your screen horizontally: it helps the paint flow out, and you won't leave as many brush or roller marks.

About the pearlescent pigments, I have no idea where you could get any without being in the industry. Be careful, tho. Aquapearl from Benjamin Moore is just a medium-low gloss paint: there is no "pearl" effect in it at all.

Another tip would be to use a paint with 100% acrylic resin. Some of the interior paints are made with cheaper resins (like vinyl acrylics) which could yellow over the years. I don't think the brightness of the projector could accelerat this, but better safe than sorry.

I have thought for a while that I should formulate a "screen" paint. If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to give it a try.


KBK 11-18-2000 04:04 PM

The screen paint I have been working on is done. I am using a high grade custom designed pure acrylic. It takes 4-8 weeks to fully 'heal' or 'clarify'. It pushes the level of objectionability of hotspotting and colorshift right to the edge. I thought it was too hot a mixture untill it had settled in for 4 weeks... now it is completely unnoticable for color movie viewing. Black and white films still realizes a very slight colorshift, but that is about it. the gain is coming in at about 1.5-1.6 or so.


Now you guys know why it take so long to develop a proper screen paint. Every time I try to get the stuff to do something, it takes 4 weeks to even come to the point where I can see what the heck is going on.

It is also the most complex mixture to ever come out of a place that has designed 4000 different paints. This is the kind of paint that properly handled, should last a very long time before any trouble occurs. It is also -flatly- the highest grade of acrylic paint on the planet.

The CRT base paint is what has been formulated, and all other mixtures will flow from that. I can now make any gradation of a true grey, and any level of color correction. I can also create any level of axial reflective characteristic, which overlaps directly into the overall gain calculation. I needed the perfection of that CRT mixture first. All mixtures will have the same price.

Installers can now please e-mail me for some initial testing runs.

I also found some excellent vynil for a base material. It turns out that it is a screen that is avilible from some other manufacturer. I ran in to their source. Whoops. I don't think it is a very nice thing to do, to buy up the same material and have people use it for painting over... that would be pretty rude.

---Place Signature Here---

[This message has been edited by KBK (edited 11-18-2000).]

kelliot 11-18-2000 07:59 PM


Are you selling finished screens to a custom spec? I'm sure you're product will beat the pants off of the "Greyhawk".

By the way, for newbies, the following contains my favorite KBK posts,
I still can't believe it.

Ken Elliott

[This message has been edited by kelliot (edited 11-18-2000).]

KBK 11-18-2000 08:43 PM

The big prblem as usual, is if I pipe up and say I have what peole want, I eventually end up feeling like Graham Chapman when he is in the hermit's hole, trying to hide from the crowd.(Life of Brian) I would like to sell some screens, but not all of them at once.

I mean, they have to hang for at least a week beore they can be packaged up. The paint has to heal for at least tht long. It cannot be rushed, the structure may radically differ in the final outcome if it is. The best high grade acryics do take their time. The big problem is that I cannot do that many screens at this time. I simply do not have the space. You are on the short list. In kingston alone here, I have a standing order for five grey screens...all color corrected for davis machines. At this time I am all formulated up for true greys and the CRT paint. Where is BarkingArt now?... I am sure he will want to get in on this. I do not want to start a thread on this, as I would probably start a stampede, and I don't need that right now.

---Place Signature Here---

[This message has been edited by KBK (edited 11-18-2000).]

kelliot 11-18-2000 09:38 PM


Just don't corrupted by it all. You are doing great work.

Some of us appreciate that this(screen-making) is both an art and a science and that they(art and science) are not mutually exclusive.

Ken Elliott

Emil Naepflein 11-19-2000 12:39 AM

I don't know whether you followed http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/Forum10/HTML/003322.html .
One of the major problems with your paint seems to be to get the right grey and the right color correction for each projector. I think to overcome this issue at least for the color correction would be to use the known filter characteristics of photographic filters as reference. So people wanting to do their own screen just measure the color temperature and color correction factor with a light color meter they can rent from somewhere and give you the corresponding values. You can then either mix the exact match or you can send out premixed paints. A further possibility would be to provide a kind of kit with which the customers can mix themself. It could consist out of a base mix in white, a black, a color temperature and a color corrector. You would have to provide a correction chart containing the photographic reference from which, depending on the measured values, the amount of each corrector can be derived. This chart is certainly not easy because you also have to take to light loss through color correction into account.

Over time you can collect the correction values for all kind of projectors so that the buyers can even avoid doing there own measurements.

I am sure this will make handling for both, you and the DIY folk, much easier.


Noah 11-20-2000 05:46 PM


Good to have you onboard.

First off, I don't know a lot about screens, but I have over 12 years formulating paint.
12 years formulating paint! Excellent. And none of us (maybe I should speak for myself on this with Don Stewart and KBK among us) know too much about screens as we are gradually finding out. Basically, my goal in creating a screen was to accomodate the needs of my older projector. I need a bright high-gain screen as my projector only emits 500 lumens. My approach to this was to produce a screen that would reflect the maximum amount of light while doing so in a diffuse manner. Many commercial high-gain (gain of 2.0+) screens have a coating of tiny glass beads (perhaps similar to the paint found on road signs?). Glass beaded screens are retro-reflective, that is they reflect light back to its source, favoring a table-mounted projector. Medium gain (1.3-2.0) screens often use a pearlescent surface. There is a product made by Liquitex called Glass Bead Medium that I had thought of using, but I feared that a smooth/even application of this product would be nearly impossible with conventional methods, so I chose to go with a final layer of pearlescent medium.

What would you recommend, paintwise, for producing a bright high gain screen? Would you have access to or know of a source for a glass beaded paint that might be able to be applied evenly using rollers?

In any case, thanks for the advice. I checked my Mautz latex and it did have some vinyl acrylics in it. I'm guessing I'll have repainted a few times before yellowing becomes an issue and the gesso should cover it up a bit, but it's good to know to stick to 100% acrylics for future reference.


Glad to hear that you've finished your screen paint! BTW, as I recall from your previous threads you were planning to sell the paint alone rather than producing screens yourself. Just out of curiousity, why did your plans change? You say that spraying skill and technique is critical; would it be possible to formulate a paint that wasn't so sensitive to application method (maybe even possible to use an inexpensive sprayer or even rollers)? I haven't had any problem with uniformity using rollers and an edger with the paints I've been using. What are you planning to charge for your screens?

Well, good luck to you in your screen business.


[This message has been edited by Noah (edited 11-20-2000).]

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