AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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I just installed another room treatment tweak that I've been waiting to try for quite a while. During my original build, I had a drop down ceiling that covers most of the room finished in dark brown felt. It is very dark and very good for keeping light off the screen. But as I added more pitch black velvet into the room - on the floor, curtains that can surround the room for movie viewing, my velvet masking system, it had become true pitch black everywhere around the image. Except at that point even the dark brown ceiling felt couldn't compete with the black of the velvet, so it was somewhat visible during movies.
So I just had a curtain track installed over my screen, and another Fidelio black velvet curtain hangs from it, stacking to the side of the screen, in front of my right side black velvet hanging masking system.
The great thing about using black velvet on all of the screen wall is that whatever else you add becomes essentially invisible. I brought in my family and they couldn't even detect anything had been added or changed on the screen wall.
Anyway, the idea is that when I really want to make sure everything disappears around the image, I pull the curtain and quickly attach it (with attached dowels) to 2 hooks in the ceiling, forming a velvet canopy over the screen. I've done some preliminary trials and viewing in the last two nights and...wow...it does have the impact I was looking for. With that last bit of visual information gone around the image there is only the geometry and depth cues in the movie image itself for the eyes to latch on to. The sense of depth and layering that the image takes on is amazing and really does often feel like watching 3D without the glasses. (Comfortable 3D!). Watching familiar scenes of movies sometimes felt new, because the depth cues were so believable!
And of course the contrast looks amazing. It's just super consistent no matter what type of image goes on screen bright or dark or mixed. Credits roll along a black background that does not lighten or alter as the white credits near normal reflection boundaries like the ceiling. It's just a pure image from the JVC RS55.
Now all I want is for projection to continue gains in contrast/black levels. It's obvious in such a dark room that we still have quite a ways to go before we see truly "off" level blacks on a screen at acceptable brightness settings. If projection ever really could do pitch black (throughout all the scenes) the result would be mindblowing.
(And, btw, that brings up a slight beef I have with a recent Widescreen Review article, in which it claimed the latest JVC projector they tested "no longer required masking" and that the black levels were as pitch dark as the surrounding black screen frame...on which I call total bullsh#t).