Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Croton on Hudson, NY, US
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Given the following assumptions:
-Widescreen movies should be seen larger than narrow screen movies- i.e. 2.35:1 should be as tall as but wider than 16:9, which in turn should be as tall as but wider than 4:3, just like in the movies.
-Light spill and black bars above and below the screen are undesirable.
I came up with the following screen strategy:
Figure out how wide you want your 2.35:1 movies to be displayed. These will be the largest movies you'll see.
Order a 16:9 ratio screen in this width.
Within this screen have the factory apply additional masking at top and bottom to create a 2.35:1 active screen area within the 16:9 screen. I've checked with Dalite, this is a very cheap option. I assume other manufacturers will do the same.
This will create the following constant height, variable width result, with no black bars, just like in the movies:
4:3 movies will just use the middle of the screen.
16:9 movies can be projected wider, so that the height of the image just fills the active area of the screen. If no anamorphic lens is used, the light spill above and below the image will be perfectly absorbed by the additionally masked area. If an anamorphic lens is used the masking will be unneccessary, but still provide a nice, black border.
2.35:1 movies projected with an anamorphic lens will fill the 2.35:1 area of the screen, with light spill from the black bars again perfectly absorbed by the additional masking.
In the future, should you switch to a 16x9 chip projector, without an anamorphic lens, a 2.35:1 film will fill the active area, with light spill again absorbed by the additional masking. With an anamorphic lens the resulting 2.35 image will require no additional masking, but it will still provide a nice, black border.
Of course, one could also order a 2.35:1 screen and paint your wall black to accomplish the above, but this approach avoids drastic home redecorating and should work well in a pull-down screen.
This leaves the question of how to provide masking at the sides for the narrow width format. Felt plus Velcro (or curtains) should work fine.
I plan to order the above in the near future. Anyone see any flaws in this strategy?