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post #1 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Grey Screen to Improve Blacks

Hi all,

I'm wondering if there is sound logic in using a grey screen in a completely light-controlled room to "artificially" improve black level performance. Projector in question is a Sony HW40ES which has no iris. I know grey screens can be used in rooms with ambient light to help out there but can the same principle be applied in a fully dark room to achieve better blacks than in the same room with a while 1.0 gain screen?

Trade off is brightness on the screen, but the 40ES is a fairly bright projector anyways. I can light a 138" 2.35:1 white screen or consider a smaller grey screen if it might produce better blacks. Keep in mind we are not talking about having any ambient light.

Have I misunderstood anything here? Is the white screen generally the way to go in a light-controlled room, or does a grey screen potentially present a way to artificially lower the native on-screen contrast?

Thanks
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerce View Post
Hi all,

I'm wondering if there is sound logic in using a grey screen in a completely light-controlled room to "artificially" improve black level performance. Projector in question is a Sony HW40ES which has no iris. I know grey screens can be used in rooms with ambient light to help out there but can the same principle be applied in a fully dark room to achieve better blacks than in the same room with a while 1.0 gain screen?

Trade off is brightness on the screen, but the 40ES is a fairly bright projector anyways. I can light a 138" 2.35:1 white screen or consider a smaller grey screen if it might produce better blacks. Keep in mind we are not talking about having any ambient light.

Have I misunderstood anything here? Is the white screen generally the way to go in a light-controlled room, or does a grey screen potentially present a way to artificially lower the native on-screen contrast?

Thanks
The best way to preserve the black levels your projector is capable of ( if you really want better black levels, you'll need a projector capable of better contrast ), in my experience, would be to treat your room to reduce or eliminate reflections.

Before -


After -


Made a world of difference. In fact, I have better contrast now with a white screen than I did before with a grey screen, and a brighter picture too !
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Craig,

Yes, I will have the entire room painted or treated in some way to make it black, including the ceiling.

I suppose my question is with all of those things already in place, would a grey screen improve the blacks? Assume no light, fully black room and furniture.

By the way, your before/after pics don't seem to be loading for me.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 09:44 AM
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I think you certainly could do this, but you would be better off taking care of any light rejecting back on to the screen first. Then consider a darker screen if you still find the blacks lacking. As a bonus you'd get more contrast when ambient light is present.
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 10:16 AM
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Here is a recent review from Sound and Vision on the Seymour Screen Excellence Ambient-Visionaire Black 1.2 Projection Screen where the author claims this screen will even raise the contrast and black levels from budget projectors.

http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...Dw02iQKfF3C.97
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright upon further research (which I did before posting, but hadn't found enough convincing info until now) I am concluding, that for myself, in a dark room with full light control and non-reflective surfaces, a white screen is going to be my choice. The blacks may be slightly improved by a grey screen, but I think the sacrifice made in colours and bright scene contrast will outweigh (negatively) the improvement in blacks.

Still interested to hear any real-world experience with this concept and other opinions.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 10:50 AM
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In an optimized room with no ambient light and dark surfaces that don't reflect light coming from the screen back onto the screen there is no advantage to a grey screen over a white screen unless your image is too bright for the white screen and you want to reduce the brightness of everything in the image. As much as the grey screen will darken the blacks it will equally darken the whites and everything in between.

The advantage of a grey screen is realized in a non-optimized room with some ambient and/or reflected light from lighter-colored surfaces. In that case if you go from a 1.0 gain white screen to a sub-1.0 gain grey screen the grey screen will reflect less ambient light. It will also reflect less light from the projector, so you need to be able to increase projector lumens to an appropriate level to compensate for the grey screen absorbing more lumens than the white screen. Since ambient/reflected light remains the same, what you are doing in that case is increasing the ratio of projector lumens to ambient/reflected light lumens hitting the screen.

All of the above assumes a neutral grey lambertian screen with sub-1.0 gain and not an ALR screen that is grey but with positive gain that results in a narrower viewing cone.
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 10:53 AM
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A perfect room go with a white screen. The one exception is my case I have a perfect room or close to it and have a gray screen the reason being is I want a perfect image with every light off in the room and the room catching all the stray light all I need is extra lumens and the image is exactly the same as white. BUT when I watch the super bowl with a bunch of people or a UFC bout or want to watch a tv movie on the screen and eat a pizza and make it a more social setting I can do that with well-directed controlled ambient lighting. You can also do that with a white screen but not as well. I can watch a tv and she can easily read a book at the same time.

If you are always going lights out, go white and save the lumens. I’m never quite sure where they go when you save them but at least stay in eco mode.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 11:22 AM
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Stick with a white screen with the least amount of screen texture and get your room as much of a black pit as possible.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-14-2016, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Settled enough for me. Thanks again to all.
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post #11 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 03:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
In an optimized room with no ambient light and dark surfaces that don't reflect light coming from the screen back onto the screen there is no advantage to a grey screen over a white screen unless your image is too bright for the white screen and you want to reduce the brightness of everything in the image. As much as the grey screen will darken the blacks it will equally darken the whites and everything in between.

The advantage of a grey screen is realized in a non-optimized room with some ambient and/or reflected light from lighter-colored surfaces. In that case if you go from a 1.0 gain white screen to a sub-1.0 gain grey screen the grey screen will reflect less ambient light. It will also reflect less light from the projector, so you need to be able to increase projector lumens to an appropriate level to compensate for the grey screen absorbing more lumens than the white screen. Since ambient/reflected light remains the same, what you are doing in that case is increasing the ratio of projector lumens to ambient/reflected light lumens hitting the screen.

All of the above assumes a neutral grey lambertian screen with sub-1.0 gain and not an ALR screen that is grey but with positive gain that results in a narrower viewing cone.
Thanks for the explanations.
I have a Sony 65 projector in a white living room. Furthermore, I can t use the low lamp mode because of some flickering issue. So I will go to a grey screen.
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post #12 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 05:42 AM
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Thanks for the explanations.
I have a Sony 65 projector in a white living room. Furthermore, I can t use the low lamp mode because of some flickering issue. So I will go to a grey screen.
You should consider a true Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen and not just a grey screen. In a non-light controlled room a grey screen will just give you slightly grayer blacks. An ALR screen will give you blacker blacks by rejecting the reflected light. They actually work by shunting the reflection off in a direction away from your eyes whereas a grey screen will reflect it right back to you.

Martin
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post #13 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by mhconley View Post
You should consider a true Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen and not just a grey screen. In a non-light controlled room a grey screen will just give you slightly grayer blacks. An ALR screen will give you blacker blacks by rejecting the reflected light. They actually work by shunting the reflection off in a direction away from your eyes whereas a grey screen will reflect it right back to you.

Martin
Thanks for the information, do you have some product example?
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post #14 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 07:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreMo View Post
Thanks for the information, do you have some product example?
Projector Central recently reviewed a slew of them: http://www.projectorcentral.com/ambi...-screens-2.htm

Add to that list in no particular order:
  • Elite Cinegrey 3D and 5D
  • Dark Energy Abyss
  • Silver Ticket Silver ALR
  • Elunevision Aurora (not yet released)

Then you have the whole DIY painted ALR screen thread: Easy Ambient Light Rejecting Screen Paint

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post #15 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhconley View Post
You should consider a true Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen and not just a grey screen. In a non-light controlled room a grey screen will just give you slightly grayer blacks. An ALR screen will give you blacker blacks by rejecting the reflected light. They actually work by shunting the reflection off in a direction away from your eyes whereas a grey screen will reflect it right back to you.

Martin
That only works if the ambient light is coming from someplace above or off to the sides and not from the direction of the viewers. The screen can’t tell the difference between projected light and all other light.

On the other hand a gray with low gain high dispersion will absorb ambient light coming from all directions. But does require higher lumens from the projector to overcome the lower gain.


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post #16 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
That only works if the ambient light is coming from someplace above or off to the sides and not from the direction of the viewers. The screen can’t tell the difference between projected light and all other light.

On the other hand a gray with low gain high dispersion will absorb ambient light coming from all directions. But does require higher lumens from the projector to overcome the lower gain.
Correct. The vast majority of ambient light, especially in normal living rooms, not batcaves, is reflected from the walls, ceiling and floor onto the screen. That is what ALR screens are made to alleviate. Light coming from behind the projector will be reflected back into the viewers eyes by any screen, albeit slightly less on a grey screen, 20% less on a 0.8 gain grey vs a 1.0 gain white screen. Hopefully light from that direction can be dealt with in other ways.

Martin
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post #17 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 09:20 AM
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I used a sub-1.0 gain (grey) screen with a high-lumens projector for years with excellent results (I removed it from my sig a year ago: Optoma HD65 projector with a Da-Lite Hi-Contrast screen); it definitely improves the perception of blacks with front projection. However, since I got my OLED and it's "perfect blacks", I haven't watched a single movie with my projector!

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By definition ALR screens have narrower viewing cones than lambertian screens. ALR screens are also more likely to have visual artifacts such as hot spots, sparkles, etc. Finding just the right ALR screen with the fewest compromises for a given room environment can be challenging.
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post #19 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhconley View Post
Correct. The vast majority of ambient light, especially in normal living rooms, not batcaves, is reflected from the walls, ceiling and floor onto the screen. That is what ALR screens are made to alleviate. Light coming from behind the projector will be reflected back into the viewers eyes by any screen, albeit slightly less on a grey screen, 20% less on a 0.8 gain grey vs a 1.0 gain white screen. Hopefully light from that direction can be dealt with in other ways.

Martin
That’s only somewhat correct with a lambertian gray screen and light coming from the direction of the viewers because of the 180 degree dispersion very little of that light comes back to the viewer as most fills the wide dispersion areas and is thrown to the walls. In a dark screen with angular gain more of that ambient is brought back into the viewing cone. All light projected and ambient bounces around the room endlessly until something absorbs it. The gray properties of the screen will absorb first reflections and 2nd 3rd …. As will dark objects in the room walls and ceilings. With a dark screen and dark walls and ceiling they work together as a light trap. An ALR screen with windows to the left and a white wall to the right that is lambertian white as most paint is more or less will redirect the window light to the wall but then the wall redirects it in all direction around the room.


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post #20 of 21 Old 04-19-2016, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
That’s only somewhat correct with a lambertian gray screen and light coming from the direction of the viewers because of the 180 degree dispersion very little of that light comes back to the viewer as most fills the wide dispersion areas and is thrown to the walls. In a dark screen with angular gain more of that ambient is brought back into the viewing cone. All light projected and ambient bounces around the room endlessly until something absorbs it. The gray properties of the screen will absorb first reflections and 2nd 3rd …. As will dark objects in the room walls and ceilings. With a dark screen and dark walls and ceiling they work together as a light trap. An ALR screen with windows to the left and a white wall to the right that is lambertian white as most paint is more or less will redirect the window light to the wall but then the wall redirects it in all direction around the room.
I'll have my first ALR screen in my room setup by next Saturday; it's my first screen of any type. Most my viewing will be a night with a white ceiling and floor and a tan wall on the left side of the screen; there is no wall on the right. Some viewing will be during the day; there are two windows on the left wall with blinds; the right side of the room has several large windows with no light control but they are more than 25' away. I'm hoping the Silver Ticket Silver ALR I bought will do the trick...

Martin
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post #21 of 21 Old 04-20-2016, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mhconley View Post
I'll have my first ALR screen in my room setup by next Saturday; it's my first screen of any type. Most my viewing will be a night with a white ceiling and floor and a tan wall on the left side of the screen; there is no wall on the right. Some viewing will be during the day; there are two windows on the left wall with blinds; the right side of the room has several large windows with no light control but they are more than 25' away. I'm hoping the Silver Ticket Silver ALR I bought will do the trick...

Martin
I think you should be very happy with your screen selection. I know you have been doing your homework and it sounds like your room is well suited to your screen.


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