I've followed all the posts on this forum - particularly the long thread on screen fabric - and it has been exceptionally useful in helping me develop my current screen.
My first screen was a half-inch thick chipboard sheet about 6' x 4', painted flat white, and edged with a few inches of black velvet. It was an improvement over my off-white colored wall, but the overall effect was messy... the glue seeped through the velvet mask and reflected as bright spots, the chipboard wasn't smooth enough and I saw the texture whenever there was a panning scene.
For my perfectionist trait, this was a disaster.
So I revisited the stretcher bars and blackout fabric thread, and decided to do this.
It was amazingly easy. Instead of sweating for 2 days over sanding, painting, cutting and gluing as I did with my old screen, this one was completed in an hour.
I bought stretcher bars from the local art shop, 66" and 44" - two of each. They fitted together nicely, and I decided not to glue them, figuring the fabric would hold them together and keep them square too.
The blackout material was a very slight off-white, maybe 5% if it could be measured. I stapled this to the bars, starting at the middle of each bar and working my way round, a couple of staples at a time. In 20 minutes I had a perfectly stretched screen with not a wrinkle in sight. This was VERY encouraging.
I had black velvet left over from my first screen, so I ironed a sharp fold in the strips to give a clean edge, and stapled the two vertical strips top and bottom, then along the sides to give a neat side-on fit.
The top horizontal strip was just stapled at the top and I let it hang over. The bottom was fixed with a couple of rubber bands secured through a hole at each end as a temporary measure.
OK - I'm getting to my masking question... but first, the test. Last night I put the screen up, and, bing - perfection! It was even better than the Da-Lite I had bought a week earlier and returned because I got markedly better performance off my wall. (Surprising - but true... there was a 50% improvement between my off-white wall and the Da-Lite).
I have an old SharpVision LCD that I had bought for a song, and replaced the bulb (the bulb was twice the cost of the projector!) The new, slightly gray screen has reduced the chicken wire effect, which I mostly focus out anyway, but the screen quality is mighty. No hotspots, it is flawless, with good blacks and whites as you can get with this primitive 220 ANSI lumen projector.
Now, my problem. The screen is masked at the sides and top and bottom in the 4:3 ratio. I want to devise some masking system for the top and bottom only to get the other ratios.
One thread on the subject suggested rare earth magnets. I can't figure out how this would work. You'd have to have the masking material on a backing board, and I haven't had much success mounting it. So this is out.
What I think I need is some tensioned roller blind arrangement where the black material is drawn down - and up from the bottom - and secured with black-painted clips. This way I can mask very closely.
Any thoughts? How are the electric masking systems on Stewarts done... will they give me some ideas?
Your ideas from this marvellous forum are appreciated!