"Black" Theater Improvment Thread (Once you go black you never go back?) - AVS Forum

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Digital Hi-End Projectors - $3,000+ USD MSRP

SOWK's Avatar SOWK
04:24 AM Liked: 111
post #1 of 1181
03-25-2013 | Posts: 4,009
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Sorry for the semi inappropriate title.

But too many threads have become a home theater improvment color scene around "black"ing out the screen area. Flat black paint, black felt, black velvet, black carpet... You name it!

I'm sure I am a huge reason for it... Lol. But figured lets put it in this thread and share our thoughts / noticed improvments / methods / pictures of before and after. smile.gif

I'll start:

Picture:



"Black" Frame around screen (Fidelio Velvet)
"Black" Material covering up the screen wall (Black Blizzard Fleece - Joann.com)
"Black" Material covering the Top and Bottom Stage (Black Blizzard Fleece - Joann.com)
"Black" Material covering the first 8 feet out from the front of the stage (Black Blizzard Fleece - Joann.com)
"Black" Flat paint on Ceiling / Walls
"Black" Semi gloss paint on crown molding




How to:

"black" out carpet area in front of screen for cheap?

1. Get cheap fitness pads (Kmart for me)


2. Duct tape all seams front and back

3. Get Black Fabric to cover and adhere to fitness pads

Picture of how I did mine from underneath.


Finished Product:

mark haflich's Avatar mark haflich
07:09 AM Liked: 442
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Or you can just get out your check book and call 1-800-construct me a black pit HT.com.
sonichart's Avatar sonichart
07:50 AM Liked: 11
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03-25-2013 | Posts: 205
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SOWK,

Great idea with the wrapping the fitness pads in fabric. My plan is to paint the entire room black... in fact I went to Lowes, purchased black paint, and had them add as much black pigment to can as possible... I'm not sure if going with dark carpet for the whole theater will case the room to be TOO dark-- but I have free reign of the room and create the blackest of bat-caves if I want.

That being said, I'm already thinking about the possibility of attaching velvet to the ceiling above screen. I had theater in my old townhouse with which I painted the ceiling dark blue. I remember doing so drastically improved the picture, but also didn't eliminate all of the light reflection from the projected image.

I saw in another thread, Zombie posted a link to some material that self-adheres to the wall/ceiling/whatever but I'm worried about it ruing the drywall ceiling. I've used self-stick conduit in the past that had a similar effect and I'd like to avoid it if possible. Though i'm also wondering if I could attach the self-adhering velvet material to a thin piece of plywood and then attach the plywood to the ceiling space.
Toe's Avatar Toe
08:20 AM Liked: 434
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03-25-2013 | Posts: 13,043
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I have tested protostar, flat black paint, black velvet and black felt and the best was black velvet. Not only is black velvet the darkest out of the bunch, but in doing the flashlight test it kills off whatever light hits it from the screen the best. Protostar was 2nd best and also worked well. The black paint and felt while much better vs light paint was not as good as velvet and Protostar.

There is some good info in this thread from a few weeks back on this topic.......

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1461420/does-it-really-make-a-difference-painting-your-movie-living-room-dark-or-even-black/30



SOWK,

Love the fitness pad idea! cool.gif I need to do something like that. Right now I just have sheets of black velvet laid out on the floor which performs excellent, but looks a bit rough (with the lights on at least......cant see it when watching a movie). What you have done there looks awesome.
zombie10k's Avatar zombie10k
09:29 AM Liked: 317
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good idea to have a dedicated thread. I have a fresh perspective on this, having just completed this process ~ 2 months ago.

Pros - This is stating the obvious, but there is no better way to get maximum contrast. The image is very immersive when there are no distractions or reflections from adjacent walls,ceiling and floor.

Cons - DI becomes more noticeable, I can sometimes see brightness changes between scenes. Dark movie / sci-fi fans will quickly realize the limitation of the native contrast / black floor on their projector. Any recent JVC gets a full pass, HW50 / Epson 5020 a 1/2 pass (both very good for non-LCOS) and then a partial pass on DLP's like the Sharp 30K, Mitsubishi HC8000 and the BenQ W7000. When I watch these DLP's with the blacked out room, I am always wanting a lower black floor with my low APL movies / concerts.

My ceiling is a grid of 55 tiles (2x2), and some 200 sections of suspension grid. I used these new black tiles from PrimeAcoustic.

blackout2.jpg

ceiling.jpg

Lights are painted with High-temperature BBQ paint.

ceiling1.jpg


My 142" 16:9 HP is practically touching the ceiling. The white grid was painstakingly covered with the Protostar black flock material. This stuff is never coming off, be warned ahead of time that it's a permanent installation.

http://www.protostar.biz/hitack.htm

This is a shot before I finished the front titles + grid. the 'after' results are one of the few times we can say there is a day/night difference in the results. If you own a high contrast projector, you're missing out on the best possible PQ without these light treatments.

blackout.jpg

blackout1.jpg
Craig Peer's Avatar Craig Peer
10:03 AM Liked: 257
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Excellent job Zombie. I've got more work to do painting my theater darker - just as soon as the wife goes out of town on business !wink.gif
mark haflich's Avatar mark haflich
12:18 PM Liked: 442
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Basically you are saying that when your wife goes on a business trip you get down to business. smile.gif
AV Science Sales 5's Avatar AV Science Sales 5
01:06 PM Liked: 400
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Nothing like an image floating in blackness. smile.gif

Second image is with the LED's on behind the screen. Can make the LED's different colors.

The last picture is with three 65 watt flood lights on full, right above the screen. None of the pictures were taken with the black velvet on top of my subs.
drapp1952's Avatar drapp1952
02:18 PM Liked: 10
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@ Zombie

"When I watch these DLP's with the blacked out room, I am always wanting a lower black floor with my low APL movies / concerts."

After going through several projectors over many years this is my conclusion as well. My RS35 is adequate with close attention paid to gamma at 5-10%

In my ceiling I use black fabric about the weight of bed sheet held by flat black-painted larger thumb tacks into the dry wall. I've not as black as Fidelio velvet, but lighter and cheaper. Some day all my theater walls will be Fidelio-covered.

Of course, all LEDs and such are black-taped over and the room is a weird black hole to my wife and my daughter who is an interior designer. Another indication of marked obsession here: I have covered the sofa at the viewer end with black velvet though cheaper in quality than Fidelio. I do go short of making my guests wear black.

I recall darinp years ago commenting on how small areas of light surface (like a viewer wearing a white tee shirt) in the home theater mess up intrascene contrast ratios by some small but perceivable percentage. Back then he had High Power screens, as I do, that are more sensitive to light from the direction of the projector.
Kelvin1965S's Avatar Kelvin1965S
02:26 PM Liked: 42
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I've posted this before elsewhere, but I once measured the ANSI contrast of my setup which is a typically lightly decorated UK living room. At the time I had the JVC HD350 and I measured 75:1. Now the absolute values aren't so important (especially comparing to other people's ANSI measurements) but the difference in values when I rigged up a simple black cotton 'tent', threw some dark sheets on the floor and on the sofa to the left of the screen (not used for projector viewing). The reading shot up to 230:1 so it was literally tripled. eek.gif I don't know what kind of projector I would have had to buy to get such an improvement (hampered of course by the untreated room) to achieve the same gain, or if one would even be available.

Needless to say the picture looked so much better that way. However the implementation was a bit clunky, so I grew tired of the hassle setting it up before a film. I'm planing to try to come up with something slicker that is concealed when not using the projector since I've now moved onto an X35 which does look better (even in the untreated room) but I know how good it could look having seen one at a dealer with a complete black pit of a room.

Even if you can't permanently make your room like a black hole, it might be worth considering some kind of removable treatment for the vast improvement it can give.

For now, here are some pictures showing my existing room and the 'tent' experiment (Mark H has already had a laugh at this previously, so I'm prepared for jokes at my expense biggrin.gif).



Older photo, but gives the idea and contrasts with the lighter room treatment above:


dougri's Avatar dougri
02:31 PM Liked: 33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombie10k View Post

Lights are painted with High-temperature BBQ paint.

ceiling1.jpg

[/img]

The reflections coming off those lights are killing your contrast. I know I could not live with knowing that. You should really put some baffles on those. tongue.gif
SirMaster's Avatar SirMaster
02:36 PM Liked: 24
post #12 of 1181
03-25-2013 | Posts: 101
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I did this to my apartment. Made a large difference IMO. Especially considering my screen is so close to the ceiling and the paint is all semi glossy white.

In addition to better contrast and such I find it just all around less distracting looking at the screen watching a movie.


Toe's Avatar Toe
03:28 PM Liked: 434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drapp1952 View Post


Another indication of marked obsession here: I have covered the sofa at the viewer end with black velvet though cheaper in quality than Fidelio. I do go short of making my guests wear black.

Same here! I have my whole sofa covered in black velvet except the seat I sit in. tongue.gif I dont make guests wear black, but I have quit inviting people over since they were messing up my contrast! j/k of course. biggrin.gif .............well somewhat.
TedO's Avatar TedO
03:56 PM Liked: 12
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Zombie,

Your before and after pictures of the black ceiling don't look much diffrent, could it be the camera angles? Talking more about the T bars.
zombie10k's Avatar zombie10k
04:00 PM Liked: 317
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TedO View Post

Zombie,

Your before and after pictures of the black ceiling don't look much diffrent, could it be the camera angles? Talking more about the T bars.

I should have been more clear, both of those are 'before' photos, I was stating that after it looks amazing. smile.gif

I'll go back and post the same scene with the T bars blacked out. The ceiling is completely invisible even though it's inches above the big 142" HP.
rabident's Avatar rabident
05:50 PM Liked: 23
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Here is a link to independent testing of the "blackness" of various materials commonly discussed here. There is a chart on the bottom that shows the materials relative to each other.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=85
jbkbs's Avatar jbkbs
07:16 PM Liked: 10
post #17 of 1181
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Great idea putting this on a new thread! smile.gif
bosng's Avatar bosng
07:31 PM Liked: 15
post #18 of 1181
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anyone have a source and recommendation for velvet black panels that are good at absorbing light?
xb1032's Avatar xb1032
07:44 PM Liked: 26
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I'm going to do black velvet on some sofits in my room. Got a sample and it's vastly better than the flat black paint in the room now. Any recommendations on where to get it cheapest as well as the best way to attach it to a low ceiling?
petercw2's Avatar petercw2
08:02 PM Liked: 11
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Im redoing my room (11x20) and installing a JVC46 in the next few weeks.
I just can't do black (WAF), but I have painted the white ceiling a very dark charcoal grey (flat) and will also paint the wall the screen (115") will mount.

will anyone make me feel better that "somethings better than nothing"? (charcoal grey > white)
R Harkness's Avatar R Harkness
08:11 PM Liked: 321
post #21 of 1181
03-25-2013 | Posts: 11,978
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Agreed. Room treatment (and masking) are the best part of my system.

Aside from getting the best contrast and image consistency possible, going black as much as possible in the room is just a way better viewing experience:

AppleMark

Whenever I come back from my friend's house, watching a movie on his projection set up in which he has done nothing to hide equipment or treat his room, I'm always knocked over again just how much better the image looks and how much more immersive the viewing experience is in my treated room.

As I've mentioned to the point of exhaustion, I employ black curtains that pull around the room when watching movies, which allows for a cheery brighter room by day, and "bat cave" for movies.

Though my ceiling is currently dark brown felt, I want pitch black velvet up there for watching movies, like the rest of the room. This week I'm having a system installed that will let me easily hook up velvet on the ceiling for movie watching.
jbkbs's Avatar jbkbs
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I was wondering about buying some ceiling tiles for a drop down ceiling & covering each one with black velvet. I was thinking that they could be cheap & easily cut to fit around the screen. I would just use small nails to attach them to the walls & ceiling since they would be light weight too. Any thoughts?
Toe's Avatar Toe
11:14 PM Liked: 434
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabident View Post

Here is a link to independent testing of the "blackness" of various materials commonly discussed here. There is a chart on the bottom that shows the materials relative to each other.

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=85

Thanks for posting this as I have never seen it. I got the same results with the less scientific flashlight test.
coderguy's Avatar coderguy
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03-26-2013 | Posts: 9,983
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xb1032 View Post

I'm going to do black velvet on some sofits in my room. Got a sample and it's vastly better than the flat black paint in the room now. Any recommendations on where to get it cheapest as well as the best way to attach it to a low ceiling?

You can use tacks, black tacks are hard to find though (all the retailers only seem to sell white or silver head tacks, so find them online or paint them). It's the easy temporary way to do it. Not sure where to get black velvet cheap though, probably online as well. You probably only need regular short tacks, you don't need those nail-like ones, if you use the bigger/thicker nail tacks it might leave visible holes in the ceiling, but the other tacks are too thin to see the holes left.
stanger89's Avatar stanger89
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03-26-2013 | Posts: 17,394
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zombie10k View Post

My ceiling is a grid of 55 tiles (2x2), and some 200 sections of suspension grid. I used these new black tiles from PrimeAcoustic.

Where'd you get those, those look intriguing?
sonichart's Avatar sonichart
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Alright, so I'm strongly leaning toward implementing a Fabricmate system for the front-half of my room. I think it won't be much of a problem to get the walls and soffits done, but after exhaustively searching the forum I have not found anyone surrounding canned ceiling lights with fabric.

Can it be done? Here are some pics of my freshly drywalled space... I already bought 3 cans of flat black and primer which I'm now kicking myself for doing because if I go with fabricmate + velvet, I'll only end up using half of that...




AV Science Sales 5's Avatar AV Science Sales 5
06:25 AM Liked: 400
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petercw2 View Post

Im redoing my room (11x20) and installing a JVC46 in the next few weeks.
I just can't do black (WAF), but I have painted the white ceiling a very dark charcoal grey (flat) and will also paint the wall the screen (115") will mount.

will anyone make me feel better that "somethings better than nothing"? (charcoal grey > white)

Any dark flat color will be much better than white and well worth the effort.
zombie10k's Avatar zombie10k
06:52 AM Liked: 317
post #28 of 1181
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Where'd you get those, those look intriguing?

There is a company in Canada call 'PrimeAcoustic'. I found a dealer in the US that shipped them to me a few months ago.

They are a black fiberglass material. When looking at them straight-on, they aren't as dark as the protostar material, but when the light hits them on a sharp angle, they completely disappear. Very cool effect and they look nice with the lights on.
stanger89's Avatar stanger89
07:21 AM Liked: 142
post #29 of 1181
03-26-2013 | Posts: 17,394
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Yeah, I was curious about the US dealer, I can't find anything more than a press release for the Black ones, nobody seems to list them.
Nyal Mellor's Avatar Nyal Mellor
07:29 AM Liked: 72
post #30 of 1181
03-26-2013 | Posts: 932
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I think that's a pretty new product so probably not up on people's websites. We did not have it listed but I just fixed that. Here's the Primacoustic StratoTile 24" x 24" and here's the Primacoustic StratoTile 24" x 48". Feel free to call or PM of course with any questions.

Reason for edit: added product links.
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