> Best fabric for Homemade Screen?
Dream: Motorized tensioned Stewart 130.
Reality: Framed el cheapo white cloth fabric.
I've heard of people using cheap white fabric with a plastified backing for rigidity.
Some stretch cheap fabric onto aluminum rails.
Have you had experience in making your own?
Have you ever seen a homemade screen in use?
Thanks for you posts!
The largest size they have is 60" diagonal 4x3 but if this will do temporarily, it's easy and works well. At an arts and crafts type shop I got a framed canvas for about $45 and lightly coated it with Ralph Lauren studio white satin paint. Other than that, this same paint works well on a wall with a painted flat black border.
Thanks for your swell idea Hessel,
I thought of lots of sources, but this gives new meaning to the old French expression:
"se faire une toile" for going to see a movie, literally "to get a canvas".
I'll see if some of the specialty shops have even larger sizes but they don't get any cheaper when they get bigger - Its the opposite:
A friend of mine actually had a "rather large" (5 meters by 3 meters) nineteenth century oil painting reframed: it cost close to $10,000 for the frame structure alone (it now hangs in the lobby of the Theatre de Paris - as even the largest of crash pads here couldn't house it.
To remain on post, I'll still check on how big (100" diagonal?) it can get and remain a relatively cheap solution...
But I was thinking in terms of furnishing fabric of mysterious and maybe even "miraculous" composition - giving budget 1.3 gain and free of wrinkles/creases/folds/curves.
Your enthusiasm has me lunging for my local artist specialty shops.
Hope I can match US and Canadian prices here.
In Europe EVERYTHING is overpriced -
The gain specs you mention are pretty enticing too. Wouldn't you even trade down to a Stewart Studiotek?
Only thing left: how to tension it...
Hessel and Wade,
Just made a trip to my local art supply store and the largest rectagular size they have is 1.96m x 1.30m (about 80"x50").
Aside from the smaller than optimal size for a 1200 lumen CRT projector (though with such low gain material it may be just about right?), there is a choice of fabrics:
- linen in a coarse weave with many imperfections,
- cotton in a fine weave with few imperfections (they told me I could sand them down...but even if the primer is thick, it could discolor it in spots?),
- synthetic fabric with an artificial fine weave surface treatment to make it look to artists like the real Macoy.
Do you know what type of material you have experience with?
Have you used this fabric successfully yourself or seen how it reflects projected light (ie. gain)?
It sounds like the type of fabric a French home theater magazine recently wrote about in their account of an HT enthusiast who bought fabric with a plastified backing from the IKEA home furnishings store for his homemade screen.
It is probably worth a try. Until I can decide between a Draper M2500 in extra widesceen or a quite a bit smaller Stewart Studiotek 130, I'll be testing different temporary solutions and posting my observations here.
The artist supplies fabric screen seems like a no-brainer: relatively inexpensive AND PREFRAMED for those of us who aren't as skilled as Alan here at AV Science (see his homemade curved screen post).
Soon we'll have to organize a "Best Bang for the Buck" shootout between our el cheapo homemades. And we just might be in for some wild surprises...
Sounds like you're in urgent need of a screen, any screen.
I've thought of guessing at comparative (not measured, but relative) gain by taking samples of different gain screens to a fabric store (the French have specialised "department stores" with various types of fabrics on different floors of the building). I had planned on going there to purchase a light blocking fabric for HT windows.
I'll see if US screen manufacturers are willing to send samples to France. When they have distributors overseas, they just refer you to the importers, and you get the royal shaft:
double to triple prices, salesmanship such that you have to come clean with before they will accept your business, and customer service worthy of the middle ages. Where else would they expect you to buy a car without letting you go for a test drive? (my experience here a few years back...and I quickly found out why)
Also, weave and way in which material reflects light could have their importance...
Maybe some type of portable battery powered lighting instrument could be rigged to test the reflection of fabric "on the bolt" and in the store? Possibly a thin portable light beam inside a telescope emptied of its lenses and held against the material? But how to test for dominance of certain color wavelengths? Maybe it wouldn't be sufficient with white fabric to make a noticeable difference.
And does anyone have experience with rigid screen sheets of material such as the high gain synthetic laminates used by those making curved screens?
But this is a fabric thread...<s>
A new project:
Instead of aiming for a low budget low gain screen, why not take this opportunity to invent a new (and cheaper) way to make a top quality high gain screen.
The idea would be to start with a blank canvas - as in most fully creative processes - and find the best surface treatments to reach high gain without the usual drawbacks:
=> color accuracy
=> respect of spectral balance
=> no hotspotting
=> no vignetting
Obviously, these targets will be hard to meet, but might be easier than one may think:
Industrial screens are limited by constraints such as ease of consistently repeating manufacturing processes in scale productions, utilizing previously acquired equipment (cost absorbtion requirements) and often the less than creative conceptual approaches and/or prejudices of design teams (or software).
Homemade screens can also utilize numerous techniques which would be prohibited for industrial production due to handling, transportation and durability issues.
A canvas sprayed with a variety of product coatings would be very hard to effectively protect during manufacturing, shipping, and for corporate utilization. However, a cautious HT enthusiast could exercise full control over his fabrication and utilization conditions, and even repair himself any damage incurred, freeing him effectively from the severe limitations as to surface treatments to which manufacturers are subjected.
It is therefore more than likely that any normally constituted individual can fabricate a homemade Home Theater screen of equal or even higher quality than the best standard of the industry.
This is not a wild challenge, just a measure of common sense. Many of us are ready to go that extra mile to enhance our viewing experience, building and tweaking our HTPCs and spending inordinate amounts of money on improving our equipment and inordinate amounts of time in AV Science's HT forums.
With the wherewithal of fellow members, our best effort should become the new REFERENCE SCREEN for the HT community.
I hope you will join me in this worthy challenge which probably merits its own thread?
So lets get cookin'!
I wonder whether a highly reflective or metallic undercoating sprayed over by a matte white paint would give heightened luminosity while remaining fairly neutral with respect to the original spectral projection?
"Clearcoat" type oversprays or high sheen varnishes however would probably accentuate hotspotting, but who knows. I have a manual on how to restore old oil paintings, and it describes dozens of types of varnishes of different composition, each with its own properties. Acrylics should also provide a field for experimentations.
What are the advantages using fabric compared to sheetrock with the sherwin williams paint? It would be perfectly smooth, cheap, and would reflect all light, with none "spilling" through the screen and reflecting off the wall behind.
For that matter, what are the advantages of a pre-made, low-gain screen compared to sheetrock?
I've gotten answers like "You wouldn't put $50 tires on a Ferrari" But I'm looking for specific answers.
Hey...I'm just the newbie that started this thread -
Until we get some truly authoritative opinions in later posts, dare I speculate:
Could it be that the light reflection off a totally smooth surface would be somewhat unrealistically "hyper-defined" with a surreal representation that fails to give a sense of material texture?
Clearly, when a fabric weave or paint surface is of too large a texture, it could become distracting to transposing a viewed image into a perceived fictional reality. However, if this texture if very fine grained or finely woven, it possibly "captures" and diffuses some of the projected light in its small fibers or aspersities, and thus gives an unconsciously perceptible "gleam" to a projected image with a subtle texture.
I could be WAY OFF on this one, and empiricists will probably find scientific arguments to both refute and defend this proposition. However, what this is all about is our perceptions. And the best guide to the existance or absence of a perceived phenomena is whether or not YOU can see it. How many times have AV Science members posted "that ISF expert isn't the one who will be viewing film in MY home theater"?
An simple illustration of this phenomenon can be made in a few seconds. Standing in front of a clear (preferably not smoked) mirror and look at your hand in good lighting. Notice the obvious perception of reality of your visual perception due to the interaction of your skin texture and the reflected light. Then look at your hand in the mirror. You will see a sharp, crisp and clear projected image (reflection of multi-source ambient light off hand and onto a reflective screen (mirror) and back to your eyes. However, as precise and defined as that image is, it will not convey the same perception of texture as first hand viewing. (sorry for the pun...)
So maybe a textured screen fools your eyes into perceiving a form of textured reality in a similar way to which the substance of inert and organic matter reflect light?
I know that this is a serious forum, but sometimes "wild guesses" are what best advance prospective experimental research.
Hope all of you got the signal: here's a thread for the torching!
WOW! Rare earth magnets! That has got to be the ultimate in screen masking panel fitting.
Better than Velcro as you can easily slide them around to adjust your initial positioning. If you haven't patented the idea...I'll be tempted to join in on this one. Any idea of where you can get these through the Internet or by mail order? (failed to find them in France a few years ago)
Not really trying to start anything that would bring discredit to industrial screen manufacturers...only trying to push the screen quality envelope a bit further thanks to a craftsmanship which is either hard to implement in scale productions or has cost impact factors that might tend to marginally reduce manufacturers' competitive positioning on the market.
In other words, even if we are cost conscious too, we don't have to bill someone else for the time, care and attention we are investing in improving our viewing experience.
This grants us a creative freedom which - for one-off items - gives autonomous individuals a conceptual advantage over corporations, a greater potential of creativity in problem solving (fewer organizational and economic constraints - other than "family harmony") and relative freedom as to the inventiveness of the processes we can try out. Additionally, there are no where near the same short term performance requirements - as most of us just aim to gradually improve our setups.
Whew...got that out.
I'm glad you've had occasion to build your screen with the special fabric you mentioned previously. It would be interesting if you had a chance to borrow a small sized blank and primed (they all are) fine weave artist's canvas and compare and rate their "relative performance". You just might be on to something...
I'm travelling the same road as you (2.35:1 format). What projector do you plan to use - that's a pretty big size screen! It would also help us better understand your appreciations and give an idea of the approximate gain level of your screen fabric.
You sure would have a hard time beating that price. I look forward to following your experimentation and hearing what results you get from a coarser weave heavy-weight canvas fabric. Hey, we may all be in for a surprize?
May I assume that you use MUSE in reference to our present form of aMUSEment, Home Theater?
For there are those among us who believe that there is room for both industrial products and craftsmanship, and that these are in no way mutually exclusive!
I sincerely hope you do not construe this thread to be either disrespectful or in any way damaging to the screen industry as it stands today...
At worst, it will raise our expectations in terms of screen quality, and turn us into prime prospective commercial candidates for new generations of top quality screen products from leading manufacturers. In time, we are contributing to the development of an elite screen market segment.
At best, our purposeful and accidental experimentation will stimulate manufacturers' research and development efforts which foster conceptual and technological renewal in this burgeoning industry. Also, by improving the price/performance ratio of the projections of newcomers to HT, it would only help draw more people to the market.
Should you or other parties consider that this thread goes against the interests of the Home Theater enthusiasts to which this board is dedicated, or to economic interests which might supersede them, the issue should be taken up directly with "the management". They have full authority to delete this thread and ban me from the forum - Members will advise.
Just as the sociocultural diversity of the international community affords sufficient freedom for the coexistence of both Hollywood's commercial blockbusters and avant-garde artistic cinematography - within the commercial environment of Home Theater there is a need for market self-education.
For it is through direct interaction with the utility parameters of products and services that customers determine the properties and utilities that they value and will purchase.
It is referred to as economic freedom.
And you, if anyone, must realize that Home Theater is progress driven - and that many Home Theater enthusiasts don't want to be back-seat drivers.
While in forum threads, people sometimes take offense to comments that were never so intended, probably due to some sort of cultural gap. As this board spans the world, so such eventualities are inevitable.
However, despite our highly divergent cultural reference frameworks, I did manage to understand that you have information which you have chosen to divulge regarding a person whose name closely resembles that of a well-known screen manufacturer.
I am not privy as to whether this reflects a strange coincidence, personal allegiances or grievances, or an attempt to politicize an otherwise neutral discussion. (this tends to happen in France)
I have not had the privilege of meeting the gentlemen to which you refer, and I cannot fathom what might have motivated you to illustrate this individual with sole reference to his possession of motor vehicles stored in an enclosed locale.
Is this form of "car communication" a tradition in Florida or its geographic vicinity? If so, please forgive my failure to bring forth the expected reaction to your statement. I am truly at a loss...
I trust this is not meant to reduce people to their choice of personal transportation or taste in automotive engineering? Do you attach such importance to brand names or nationality of production, or was this an insinuation as to his financial status? (strictly none of my business, it pertains no relevance as to the presence or absence of personal virtues)
Nonetheless, I salute your vast experience in home theater, and would readily welcome your collegial contributions to this thread.
From your many interesting posts I have had the opportunity to read on this board, I would assume that you must have done alot of personal experimentation with screen materials yourself, or at minimum be in a unique position to formulate judgments and express constructive opinions and helpful suggestions concerning our innocent endeavor.
Until that time - happy viewing!
Keep us posted about the results of your test - any idea what this fabric is called?
there are a few of us here in Aussie, and like you said screens from the standard screen manufacturers are desparately thin on the ground.
Enjoy the hols anyway.
Fred, Iani and David,
I guess we are reaching an initial barrier to effectively sharing our experimentation: names of fabrics and materials is a starter, although these can change from country to country, and sometimes also from manufacturer to manufacturer.
So far though, we do have descriptions of them and leads on material types which might be pursued for "sister products".
I had thought of painting wide vertical stripes in different white or reflective paints on a primed "wide screen" artists canvas, and comparing the way these different coatings perform when viewing film.
It would however be in no way an A - B comparison, as each surface treatment would reflect a different part of the image and the simultaneous comparison would inevitably cause one (possibly brighter) stripe to seem better than another (maybe more color accurate).
One would need to reserve judgment until rating each stripe numerous times with different films and passages, and maybe even changing their respective positions (too much work for a 'lone ranger' in my view).
But I'll have to wait until I get the projector set up.
This thread's gone quiet lately - perhaps while Iani is on hols.
I've a bit of time on my hands and am willing to wear out a bit of shoe leather, but it would help to have the names of some materials etc.
So far my attempt to go into LinCraft (big materials store in Aus.) and ask for "that curtain masking fabric that is smooth on one side and rough on the other" hasn't drawn a lot of success:
Assistant: What size window do you have.
Me: Oh I don't have a window it's a basement
Assistant: You want a curtain...for a room...with no window (backs away slightly)
Me: Well it's like this... I found this site on the Internet...
Assistant: I think you'd better speak to the manager.http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
Well, I just have to get in on this one. I to have gone through several home made screens. The first was a white linen sheet. I was desperate! Next was (2) 4 by 8 sheets of thin white wall board, reduced in size and duck taped together...Hey, it had a semi reflective surface, it worked for a while. The best was 2 thick white shour curtains, again duck taped together on a vertical line, tacked to the ceiling and pulled tight by looping string through the gromits and around a 2 by 6 that was 10 foot long, hanging just off the ground. I also had to iron the shour curtains to get the rinkles out (that took hours).
One day I was walking through the local shopping mall and I noticed a blind shop (window coverings). Thats when I see the perfect material, its a 3 ply vinyl and 1 ply fiberglass, with a slite gain and a nice texture. It comes on a roller with a plastic chain on one side to roll it up & down. I bought the largest they had, 96" by 72. It cost 100.00 bucks!! I am a happy camper
[This message has been edited by Kent Mascotto (edited February 25, 2000).]
Anyone got anything further on this?
Is Iani back from his hols?
My picture size has sidetracked me from this quest: CRTs on a 2.82 meter wide (not diagonal) screen has made me shift my quest from the ultimate "normal gain" homemade - to a homemade high gain screen.
So I'll be ordering a Draper M2500 - NO! THIS IS NOT A BETRAYAL OF THE QUEST...to use as a reference screen for experimentation with other materials and surface treatments - and just maybe something homemade and relatively reasonable in cost will pan out well enough to supplant it as Screen of choice.
However, I'll wait until the 2.5 gain screen is up and all is calibrated, and - of course - I get a date with Inspiration, to post again.
However, even if for 1.0 gain screens the most viable homemade options (in my humble uninstructed opinion) would likely be between mixed or synthetic fabrics and fine weave canvas with proper paint, high gain screens would be easier to experiment with the later solution...testing combinations of mat or reflective primers (they will definitely change the way light will reflect), different types of white paints (with homemade additives?), and surface treatments (my book on how to restore oil paintings has dozens of types of varnish and surface treatments (obviously the glossy ones - if not all of them - must be avoided).
Maybe a layered approach to high gain would best capture the light on the screen - an extremely reflective undercoating, a less reflective paint layer, and a mat surface coating? Or would alternating different gloss levels of white paint with a mat overspray produce good high gain results? The M2500 should provide a decent backdrop for comparing test canvases.
Who knows, we might yet be able to give our CRTs a bigger picture with even less sensitivity to hotspotting - and at least we'd know that our "streaking" was due to the great wine we drank while painting it!
HOLD IT !!!!!!
I might have stumbled unto something good here. This weekend I ventured to a fabrics store in search of some black velvet to line the wall I am using for a screen. After finding the velvet, I ventured and looked through the white fabrics I found what is called "blackout" fabric, which I am told is used to line the back of window curtains and, you guessed, block out light. This fabric has a smooth and vinyl-like texture on one side and a canvas-like surface on the other. At 5.99/yd I bought 2 yds and headed home along with the black velvet. Considering it's so cheap I simply stapled the blackout against a long wooden block at the top and let the fabric hang in front of my old screen-wall. How does it work ? Let me tell you, I cannot imagine getting a considerably better image no matter how much money I spend on a screen, this is GREAT. I am using the canvas-like material and the image is gorgeous off of a NEC DLP projector. Iâ€™m guessing there is very little gain (no problem with bright DLPâ€™s) and the viewing angle seems unending. I am sold on this material, am I the only one who has ventured to try this ???
This week I will try the vinyl-like side and report but guys, this is very good news.
I just have to chime in here. I went to Texas Art supply here in Houston,Tx and talked to a man named Vu. For $200 he stretched a canvas to 96x54. I bought a gallon Sherwin Williams Luminous White and had at it... 3 coats later I have a beautiful screen. I have a Davis DLP providing me the image. I also have some sample from the Stewart and Draper, and only the M2500 sample looks brighter when held up against my homemade job.(even then it's not much brighter) I am very pleased and have no intention of changing this screen, unless I win the lottery... If you are near Houston give Vu a call, I'm sure he'll help you out!
HIGH GAIN IN A CAN!
Great news for your setup. I knew that it should be possible, but you've taken all the leg work out of if.
Now...if I only could find Sherwin Williams in France. Could you tell us something of the Luminous White's specs, ie water or oil base, for those of us overseas?
Hell - you're making me want to skip the purchase of a Draper M2500 for test comparison purposes and reach out to my local paint store. Actually, the real problem will be measuring the gain without an expensive light meter. (anyone with tips on a cheap way to test for gain? - approximate measures are okay by me)
With the high light output of your projector, I'm sure your present screen will woo you for years. But with a CRT projector, I'll need higher gain yet (though it might be enough) and especially an acceptably low level of hotspotting.
Thanks for the great news.
[This message has been edited by Brett (edited March 28, 2000).]
Could you please give more info on the Sherwin-Williams Luminous White paint? I have spoken to a couple of local S-W dealers and they are having difficulty finding a product by that name.
A product number would be nice.
As you can see you've sparked some intense interest here. Does it look like any of these?http://www.sherwin.com/DIY/interior/...atingchart.asp
If you click on a paint bucket you'll access their product browser - it may have a reference that rings a bell.
Their website only recommends a few color schemes doesn't list all available colors - just sends you to the store locator - so I couldn't surf for luminous white. Sounds like an awfully pretty color though...
It might also come in either Flat, Satin (egg-shell), Semi-Gloss or Gloss. Does your miracle high gain paint look flat or more like satin?
Could it be this:
"Interior latex Bath PaintÂ® features satin and semi-gloss finishes and is available in hundreds of luminous and pastel color choices from the Sherwin-Williams ColorAnswersÂ® System."
After reading your post, I stopped at the fabric store on the way home and bought some "blackout" curtain liner.
I really have nothing to compare it to (my only other screen has been a white sheet), but it looks great to me.
I compared the two sides by hanging the material, "vinyl" side out, and then folding the bottom 1/3 up on top of it. That gave me a somewhat 1/2 & 1/2 comparison screen with "viny" on the top and "canvas" on the bottom (it was actually my wife's idea).
For my eyes, both sides looked the same for dark colors. However, the whites and bright colors looked brighter using the "vinyl" side (makes sense).
Have you had a chance to try out your "vinyl" side.
Vinyl sounds nice (Peter's suggestion) ...anyone for latex? <s> (Supposed to be good for flesh tones?)
Anyways, I wonder if that latex bathroom paint from S&W (no - that's not an upside down M) would hit the hot spot? (a problem for CRT users)
All kidding aside, for lower gain, this curtain backing fabric seems to be a no brainer. Yet someone here will probably come up with an even better result using paint on a canvas - that might make the perfectionists at large switch?
But for high gain, the commercial solutions are reportedly fraught with problems (that Draper is now unofficialy unaware of). So a homemade is a must. Get out your paint cans and lets have us a showdown!
Who's the fastest brush in the West?
Joe I'm glad you agree on the usefulness of this extremely cheap fabric for screen use. I haven't had a chance to try the vinyl side, I have been using the "canvas" side of the blackout fabric since I put it up and I couldn't be happier. It would seem that the vinyl side would create slightly higher gain and I plan to test this weekend with some extended viewing.
My next step is to create a wooden frame and have an art store create a canvas using the blackout, get the fabric nice and smooth.
Meanwhile I will skip the paint and continue to stand by the blackout as the best fabric for homemade screens (did I mention cheap ?).
This is a great thread and I've been following it with interest.
I just want to check my own sanity here-- would you say the fabric diy screens you've seen are much better than a matte wall? I have an LCD 250 ANSI Lumens with a picture that's about 90" and reasonably bright, with plenty of viewing angle. Maybe I'm just a slack-jawed yokel, but does blackout fabric make a big difference?
Glad to have you onboard!
From what I've gleaned, there is a debate (though the real experts will tell you this matter is settled) between framing your picture, or even your entire HT room, with either matte black, or what is known as Kodak grey (or optical grey), that is a shade of grey that doesn't change dramatically like some under different lighting sources.
Others here, please correct me if I'm wrong.
It is considered that a black framing makes your black level seem greyish, although it technically would be improved due to the reduction in reflected incident light around your screen. This would be due to the psycho-sensory perception of the difference of the black outline in contrast to the black level of your projection.
This is reportedly already a perceived effect with CRT projectors, which have the darkest black levels of any front projection system. So, I can only imagine that it would be potentially worse yet with an LCD projecting dark gray rather than deep black.
The safest bet, and what I plan to implement at some later date, is to paint my surrounding walls & cieling in "Kodak" gray, samples of which are available for a small fee from them (try a search in these forums under: kodak. I saw a thread here once that posted a link to the source).
I hope others here will let us know if I am way off base or only partially correct.
OK, my screen is done.
I picked up some 1x4's for the local Home Depot, made a frame with inside dimensions of 96"x53" and covered it with black felt.
I then streched/stapled the blackout curtain liner, ("vinyl" side out) to the back side of the frame (I had help with this).
End result is a beautiful 110" 16x9 screen for about $30. Again, I have never had a "real" screen, but this thing looks great to me.
I did get my samples from Draper and had my wife hold them against the screen. I could see no differece between the M1300 and the curtain liner. The M2500 was different, but I'm not sure how to describe it. It is kind of a "silvery" finished material and didn't look at all (to me) as good as the matt white. (The samples are only 8x11", so it is kind of hard to tell anything).
On the Grey vs. Black issue...
My back wall is draped in black sheets from WalMart, the ceiling is painted black above the screen, and the floor has a dark area rug on it. The contrast is wonderful.
However, I was looking at the overscan/halo(?) that my DLP throughs onto the black sheets, and I think it looks about like a shade grey. So while the overscan/halo is hardly noticeable on the black backgroud, it might very well disappear on a grey background.
Thanks for everyone's input. This has been a extremely usefull thread for me.
Sorry I got you started on that Kodak gray and didn't give more info. Actually, I had read about it in this forum...if I remember correctly. It stated (copied this to notepad) that:
One should order from a Photographic supply store a Kodak reference gray card and then chose one's paint by matching a gray paint to it. You should probably also check the color of your gray paint in the daylight as well as under the indoor lighting, as the Kodak gray reportedly doesn't change with different lighting as much as other types of gray.
This card is called an "18% Gray Card"
or just "Gray Card" and is available at all photo supply stores. In this case, don't fool around with clones. Get the real thing from Kodak, part number R-27, list
$8.95. It is packaged as two 8 x 10 cards and one 4 x 5 card.
That's what the man said - hope this helps.
Let us know whether you choose to pursue this further or stick with another option.