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-   -   Making my own screen (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-screens/19429-making-my-own-screen.html)

RandyL712 02-10-2001 05:18 PM

The wall is only 73" wide, normal wall height (I'd guess off the top of my head around 90" ?) I'll be using (most likely) an LCD projector that will sit on a small shelf on the back wall. There's still a chance I'll go with CRT, but LCD just seems more convenient and worthwhile for such a small theater and budget.

I'm most likely going to be using Acoustic Research's Phantom speakers, which hang on the wall and are only ~ 3" deep. (Unless I find something comparable soon, they're being bought ASAP http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif) They fronts are 12" wide each, leaving me around 49" width for the screen. Here come the questions:

This will be for 75% TV watching, and 25% DVD. Every DVD watched is widescreen, but of course that doesn't mean that much as there are a few different widescreen sizes. Do I make the screen ~ 29" Tall? That's 16:9. (On an aesthetic note, the front speakers are 29" tall, it would look great if they matched). My problem, and forgive my ignorance: If I watch TV or other sized widescreens, will the image be NARROWER (I hope) or TALLER? (I hope not) I mean, if I do a 16:9 screen at 50" W x 29" H will the screen also show TV (4:3 obviously) and the other widescreen sizes without adjustment? I know I'll see white or black stripes, and perhaps I'll devise some curtain system to cover for different sizes, but I need to know if I'm even on the right track.

Thanks in advance for your sage advise. I certainly don't want to spend a weekend creating a beautiful screen that only works for 16:9 DVDs.

RandyL712 02-12-2001 08:25 AM


PAP 02-12-2001 08:49 AM

Given that you really don't want your speakers right up against the wall (corner) and given your room is so narrow, are you sure you really want to do a FP set at all? A rear projection set may be better for that environment.

If not, although I'm a die-hard 16:9 screen person, I would bet with such a small screen to begin with unless you go with a 4:3 screen the 4:3 material you watch will be on such a small screen it will be not worth it. By going with a 4:3 you will have bars on top/bottom for 16:9 dvds, but at least the 4:3 image (which is the majority of what you watch) will not be shrunk inside the 16:9 screen.

Lex MC1/Sunfire CG/Hales Rev3's x3/M&K SS150 tripoles/Quadscan/Plus UP1100/Homemade screen

sstieferman 02-12-2001 11:10 AM

"I'm just hoping that regardless of what I watch, the height will never be greater than the screen! "


Unless you buy a projector with dedicated 16x9 panels, your 4x3 images will be taller than the 16x9 image. With a dedicated 16x9 projector, your 4x3 frames will have vertical black bars, in other terms the 4x3 image will be "letterboxed" vertically within the 16x9 frame.

If you purchase a 4x3 panel device then your max screen height would be based on the 4x3 image and the 16x9 material would be letterboxed horizontally within the 4x3 frame. Most digital projectors will allow you to zoom the 16x9 letterboxed image to fill the height while expanding the width.

Unfortunatly you run into two problems, the first being a loss in resolution because you are black masking the top and bottom of the 4x3 frame, there-by loosing resolution. The second being that black mask is not truely black and this might be referred to a "halo" effect because the area surrounding the screen will be hit with light from the projector. There are lenses available to use the full resolution of the 4x3 panel, but this requires a source to be anamorphically squeezed. Currently to my knowledge, only dvd's are produced in this manner. If you have ever seen a 4x3 monitor playing a dvd where the image is very tall and thin, this is an anamorphic disk and the lens would perform its magic by "unsquezing" the picture. Read expensive.

Another alternative would be to go with an acoustically transparent screen, also expensive. Then you could mount the LCR speakers behind such a screen and go wall to wall. Imagine being the first person in history to "live within the letterbox". Cover every wall in the room with black felt and you will "be" the movie.

BTW do you have good ventalation in this room???

RandyL712 02-12-2001 11:17 AM

Hmmm, not what I wanted to hear. So basically, if I buy a projector with a native resolution of 4:3 (and all in my price range ARE!), and I build a screen say 49" x 28" (which is 16x9). Can't I, using power zoom, adjust the image quickly from 37" x 28" (4:3) to the full 49" x 28" (16:9) and everywhere inbetween? Then, even though the LCD is projecting the LETTERBOX black bars, it will be above and below the screen itself and therefore won't reflect very much. (The wall is wood paneling, not white paint, and shouldn't be very good at reflecting)

I realize that when I watch TV, I'll have left and right letterboxing, but hey it's just TV and I think I can live with that. I want the 'ultimate' experience to be during widescreen DVD movies.

Your thoughts? This is clearly a cheap project (LCD projector <$1500) and of course I will get hooked and upgrade next year http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

RandyL712 02-12-2001 09:30 PM

I don't have the depth to spare for a RPTV, so FPTV is the way to go here. What I'm concerned with is this: If I make a 16x9 screen, I understand that when I watch TV it will have 6" black bars on the right and left, I can live with that given that the TV image still will be around 46" diag! (Much improved over the current 32" TV I am now using)

When I watch a movie in 16:9, it will take up the whole screen, giving me an image 49" x 28", which is pretty darn big for this room and should still be small enough to be very clear and bright, even with a less expensive projector.

What I'm concerned with, is the OTHER resolutions that widescreen DVDs come in. Will they be too TALL for the screen, or will they just be different widths? Sorry if this is a really stupid question! I'm just hoping that regardless of what I watch, the height will never be greater than the screen!

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
-Chuck Reid

johnbm 02-13-2001 07:59 AM

Randy - check out my website posting for the screen details - maybe that will help. Dimensions are very close. I'd go with as big a screen as possible for every aspect ratio and mask to suit. I'd also put the L and R speakers under the screen either end (the corner proximity notwithstanding). All the best. John http://www3.sympatico.ca/john.mckenzie

RandyL712 02-13-2001 08:20 AM

Putting the speakers under the screen is not a bad idea, but of course I'd have to use a screen material that allows for this, right? What are my options? Prices?

KBK 02-13-2001 10:17 AM

If you are going to be using anything other than a CRT unit for alot of TV viewing, get ready to eat some major bulb costs. About $4-500 bucks a shot, anyway. A CRt unit is the cheaper way to go in this regard, but it doesn'thave the brightness for daytime viewing. In that small a screen, it might not be that much of a problem if you have any control over the lighting in the room. The trick of course, is finding a place for a CRT unit in such a small place. Ultimately the better choice, but not for your exact desires.


RandyL712 02-13-2001 10:24 AM

I'm avoiding CRT because the units are so much bigger, and because they seem to require a lot more maintenance and cost more. Assuming I use the projector 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, that's 56 hours a week. That's about 1 lamp a year for an LCD projector, for a total of $400. With CRT, I've heard I need to have it calibrated professionally, there's burn-in to worry about, the units are bigger and much heavier, and with lights on I'm just plain screwed http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif With an LCD it seems that I can get a cheap ceiling mount, use my remote with the powered zoom to calibrate to my screen, and replace the lamp easily once a year (assuming I don't upgrade http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif) I plan to watch a lot with some lights on (especially for TV) but being so close to the screen (only 37" width means around a 5' throw) even 600 lumens should provide good brightness with some lighting on.

Obviously I'm new to this. I just want a totally flat viewing area because it's also a walkway in the basement. FPTV and Acoustic Research's Phantom series speakers provide this for me. I CAN'T spend more than $2000, and have found several LCD with 600-800 lumens, SVGA and power zoom for $1500-2000.

TGroom 02-13-2001 09:57 PM

I think John meant underneath the screen, not behind it. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


RandyL712 02-14-2001 09:24 PM

ALRIGHT! The wife is letting me rearrange the furniture in the basement to aim the projector on a bigger wall! We're going to move everything tonight and see how it feels, but I think it will work! (I've actually cut out little pieces of paper cut and drawn to scale and arranged them on a scale drawing of the basement... boy I have too much time on my hands)

This means I'll most likely go with a 70" width!! This basically alleviates me looking for that 'one' projector that would work for my tiny 37" width and choose one with a good lumen and power zoom. It also means I'll most likely buy a screen rather than make one from scratch.

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
-Chuck Reid

abshar 02-15-2001 04:38 AM


would you give the detail about you screen masking?

it looks cool!

I sent you a private message


RandyL712 02-15-2001 08:36 AM

I bought a Sanyo PLC5600N and I may buy a screen around 70" width. I'll let y'all know http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; In practice, there is.
-Chuck Reid

johnbm 02-15-2001 10:49 AM

Abshar -
I didn't get your private message re screen details, but check my posting in the Screen forum on 5 Feb titled: One more time - my HT pics (Screen query) There are some details in response to a similar question. All the best. John

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