Originally Posted by JonStatt
I saw some discussion about choosing projectors and perhaps choosing a cheaper or different projector because their room was not optimal, and therefore the higher contrast would not be beneficial and would be wasted.
Let me state very clearly, that you CAN see the contrast improvement on a higher end projector regardless of room. You will not be able to get the full appreciation of a superbly low black level in all instances, but there will still be a difference nonetheless.
I totally agree with this. Back in 2011 I had a normal, bright room but fancied a more higher specced projector. I was always told that unless my room was a batcave, it would be a waste of money. I did some experimenting and bought an Optoma HD87 and a JVC HD750 and I could easily see the benefit.
Let me put the results into pictures.
This is a typical wall in the room as it was back in 2011:
In a dark scene (forest scene, LOTR 2 towers) the reflections were so low that I had to over expose to make reflections on the wall visible:
Not much reflected light, despite the poor walls. The next image is how it looked during a very bright scene, and using the same exposure as above, you can clearly see the reflections are much higher. (bear in mind both are over-exposed to the same degree - this was necessary to show the difference in reflected light but its not what it looks like in reality - both are a bit less bright)
So thats what happens to walls with different scenes in a movie. Jon referred to raising the black levels on the projected black bars and this is what can be seen in these images below.
This is a copy and paste from my experiment thread on avforums back in 2011:
Ok, so here's the result of my latest experiment. Please note, these aren't reference pics as to how a projected image will look in your room. I can manipulate my camera to show whatever I want and I've done so to enable me to show the results. You see, between dark and bright scenes, your eye will adjust. For the test, I need to set my camera up so thats its fixed setting for each picture in the test - and therefore, the camera's 'pupil' stays fixed, unlike the human eye.
I've used the same scene's as shown with the HD87 earlier - the snowy mountain for bright, the forest scene for dark and I added a midrange scene as well. I set the camera to take a pic of the bottom left corner of the screen. In picture, at the bottom is my black velvet screen border - above this border, on the right you will see the JVC projecting its black bars - above this, you will see part of the actual on screen image and to the left, you will see my white screen material (with nothing projecting onto it)
On the white screen to the left, even though nothing is being projected onto it, you will see the level of washout light arriving back towards the screen. It varies on each scene, almost like a washout measurement tool. On the projected blackout bars you will see how this washout light reduces the JVC's ability to show black.
Before I show the test results, here are the 3 images used, one bright, one average, one dark:
And here are the test results:
And to mention again, this isn't what my eye sees, just an experiment to show how the level of washout light on each scene. My eye sees much darker than any of the shots above.
Whats interesting, in the dark scene, just directly above is that the JVC is trying to project a black bar, the area to the right. The level of washout light is on the left, which isn't a huge amount in comparison to the black bar. So I think its safe to say that here, the amount of reflected light in the room isn't doing very much damage to the JVC's ability to project black as the JVC's projected black is still higher in light output than the level of light being reflected back.
You will also notice that as I move to the brighter scene's, the JVC then loses its ability to project the black bar and washout starts to come into play, making the black bars brighter. And the brightness of the area to the left (which is my washout measuring tool if you like) increases too. I also see this with my own eyes too but not to the same extent as in the pics above, much more subtle changes than that. I also made reference earlier that in really dark scenes I get a flavour of what the JVC can do for projecting blacks and shadow detail and this test helps show what I mean.
The whole point of the thread to begin with was to answer the question, will one of the higher spec PJ's show benefit in a regular room? The answer is yes. Not in every scene, but the improvements are there. For the more high contrast, dark and light together scenes, the room will do quite a bit of damage to the image, but it will still look at least as good and most likely better than a low contrast machine. But for fairly dark scenes, you'll be able to reap the benefit of those deeper blacks time and time again.