Black Screen, Textured or Smooth? Semi gloss, Gloss, Metallic? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-12-2014, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Black Screen, Textured or Smooth? Semi gloss, Gloss, Metallic?

Hello, I am installing a black screen and I'm not sure was will provide the least draw backs for viewing angle/artefacts?

I noticed with some basic testing non reflective black is very revealing of screen imperfections and I would like to minimize that.

I believe I will need a reflective paint to maintain some gain but I am not sure of the benefits of textured vs smooth (other than textured seems like it could cause sse on a black screen?)

I am not attempting to combat large amounts of ambient light. I am looking to improve perceived contrast/black level in a room with controlled ambient lighting (likely led lighting around the edges of the room)

Regards.
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-12-2014, 06:46 PM
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You may get better info posting this on the DIY screen forum, and less grief as well. I've got no problem trying to answer here though.

The more reflective or shiny it is, the MORE it will show imperfections..so shiny or sparkly can become very touchy very fast especially the darker you go.
Texture will help against hotspotting, BUT needs to be pretty microscopic to not show up as ugly texture with the higher than natural gain screen. It's a very tricky balance that is often better off being left as smooth as possible and simply lowering gain closer to natural (flat) until you get the viewing angles and non-hotspotting to a good point.

Even a really good high gain screen won't be able to fight light hitting it from the farther back parts of the room..only the sharper angled stuff near the screen is blocked well and that itself is more easily controlled by simply pointing it toward the seating and away from the screen.

Going dark won't really increase perceived contrast any more than staying light and using the same percentage of reflective material in the mix..and the lighter mix will show more vibrant colors and more visible dark scenes while perceived black levels stay relative to contrast..which stays about the same or better with a lighter screen.

I've tried going dark and then REALLY dark, chasing better black levels and perceived contrast. In the end, I switched back to white as it simply worked best. The human eye's ability to adjust for a dark screen is amazing in all the wrong ways.

If you're painting, I'd try starting with a half-and-half mix of flat-white-interior latex and (if you can find some) rustoleum metallic accents sterling silver. It might give better results if you have a low-pressure paint sprayer, but it can also be rolled on pretty easily.

In general though you'll be much better off the more light you can simply keep off the screen and the more plain/flat-white you can keep the screen.
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Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.

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post #3 of 17 Old 08-12-2014, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I get what your saying but the idea I'm going after here is matching the minimum light luminance floor with ambient lighting to allow mll generally perceived as grey in dark scenes to appear as black. This works on a flat panel via bias lighting and i am not yet sure why it wouldn't work on a projection setup provided the screen is the darkest thing in the room, even if it doesn't work out it'll be a fun project either way. I believe it will be a fine balance between reflectivity and shade of black or gray. Excellent tip about how texture effects hotspotting,that was the missing piece of the puzzle for me as to why one would add texture to a projection screen.
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-12-2014, 09:27 PM
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The main problem with texture besides anything more than extremely fine sandpaper showing like a sore thumb on a reflective screen is that the same widening of the viewing cone it performs to minimize hotspotting ALSO negates its ability to fight ambient light the wider it gets. So not only does the texture need to be extremely fine, but it also has to be fairly shallow for the screen to fight light any better than a flat grey screen. I'm not saying it's impossible, but there are even many professional screen manufacturers that have screwed it up and ended up with users complaining of visible texture.
Just giving a heads-up of what you're up against if you decide to try the texture route.

Bias lighting works well for both and is a fantastic idea (keeping it off the screen is how it is generally used either way, which fits well with projection).

Going darker might work better for you than it did for me, but I still think the best improvement will be from the bias light and keeping as much light as possible off the screen, followed by a bit of added gain on-screen to combat some early reflection from the bias light.

The wash-out on a dark screen happens just the same as it does on a white one and is the much bigger problem than MLL for perceived contrast..also, human vision has a slightly better perception of contrast in the brighter range which means contrast has to be a little better on a dark surface to look equal to how it would on a lighter surface.
I tried an N4 grey and later an N1 or N2 with a low lumen projector with high contrast and could still see that black bars weren't pitch-black just as well as when I used the white screen. Also, whites on the dark screen look really dim whenever there's a lighter surface in your peripheral vision..so I ended up having to hurry with my black-out theater build.
Once again, I'm not saying it can't work differently for you, and if nothing else the experience is both fun and has a chance you'll discover something really cool.
Just letting you know what happened to me.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-13-2014, 09:57 AM - Thread Starter
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By texture i'm basically deciding whether to paint directly on the wall or on a smooth surface material that I can purchase. I am only dealing with 720p at ~90". So i don't believe to much detail would be lost by the not overly fine wall texture. Beyond that i'm not entirely sure what the best/easiest textured material to use would be.

My inspiration is this thread: DIY black screen tests

It appears a black screen with ambient light can be designed to not wash out nearly as much. It will likely depend on how far I want to go with it though as far as complexity and cost, which at the moment I'd like to keep both to a minimum.

I'm not looking to combat massive amounts of ambient light like in the linked thread though so I believe I should be able to give up some complexity for the situation I am going for.
I greatly appreciate your insight, thank you for taking the time to help me out
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-14-2014, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mik James View Post
By texture i'm basically deciding whether to paint directly on the wall or on a smooth surface material that I can purchase. I am only dealing with 720p at ~90". So i don't believe to much detail would be lost by the not overly fine wall texture. Beyond that i'm not entirely sure what the best/easiest textured material to use would be.

My inspiration is this thread: DIY black screen tests

It appears a black screen with ambient light can be designed to not wash out nearly as much. It will likely depend on how far I want to go with it though as far as complexity and cost, which at the moment I'd like to keep both to a minimum.

I'm not looking to combat massive amounts of ambient light like in the linked thread though so I believe I should be able to give up some complexity for the situation I am going for.
I greatly appreciate your insight, thank you for taking the time to help me out
You might ask in the thread you mentioned for advice. You are talking DIY, and Screens... not projectors. They might have more input.

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post #7 of 17 Old 08-14-2014, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I might, but i'm pretty well set for now. I got permission to paint my apartment wall black as long as I repaint when I leave. So i'll give that a go with semi gloss light black/dark gray and see how that combo looks. I will likely go more complex down the line.
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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First attempt with a semi gloss black failed miserably It turned out darker than it looked in store, which is to say far to dark. Now I know why ambient light rejecting screens cost so much. Just not sure if I should go brighter shade, less glossy or both.
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 06:59 PM
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If black was too much, try having the store mix you "Grey Tabby" which is a darker grey that might be a good compromise. It's technically a middle N5 grey I think, but even a middle grey looks pretty dark next to white.
Looks about as dark as the "quick reply" bar above this as I'm writing.
If the semi-gloss wasn't giving you too much hotspotting or texture trouble, go ahead and try again with SG at a lighter shade and see how you like it.
I think anything other than flat looks bad, but if it looks okay to you it's an easy way to get some light fighting and gain.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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There was very noticeable hot spotting with semi gloss. To the point where white sparkled and half the image was about 1/4 as bright as the center. It seems as though even flat latex indoor paint might be a higher gain than 1.0 projection screens and I think semi gloss was just complete overkill. I will ditch some of the gain and go for a dark to medium gray, I'll just have to mull it over until I figure out the balance.
Much appreciated
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post #11 of 17 Old 08-16-2014, 08:14 PM
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I don't think there are many options of gloss between semi-gloss and flat; there's usually Satin and occasionally there's Matte/Ceramic which is slightly above flat. A lighter shade can help even-out the brightness difference between center and edges somewhat, but moving to a less glossy sheen will make the biggest difference for that.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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post #12 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 08:38 AM
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It sounds as if mistakes are being made here that I've seen previously discussed in the DIY screen forum. I don't quite understand the insistence on keeping this discussion in a projector forum when it's all about a DIY screen. The hardcore DIY screen experts who can offer the best advice from personal experience mainly post in the DIY screen forum, which is where this discussion would produce the best results.
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post #13 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 11:39 AM
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These mistakes are pretty "user discretion"..black/dark reflective paint is never going to look that great, the user needs to find a balance they can personally live with.

I was kind of hoping a mod would be able to scoop the whole thread up and lay it gently into the DIYS forum. Is this something that usually happens naturally or should someone try a PM?

Edit: okay, I'm an idiot and/or blind..I thought there used to be a really easy way to contact a mod, but I'm just not seeing it.
Little help?

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.

Last edited by Ftoast; 08-17-2014 at 12:08 PM.
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post #14 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 03:10 PM
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Ftoast, I hope you didn't think I was criticizing your efforts to help. I really appreciate that you are always trying to help others. I was just concerned that the OP might be able to avoid further missteps if he had access to advice from all the experienced DIY screen members on the correct forum for this thread.

After a quick search, I found way, way down at the bottom of the page a "contact us" feature. I clicked on that which allowed me to send a PM to the moderators to let them know this thread needed to be moved to the DIY screen forum. Hopefully the folks there will be able to give advice to the OP so that he doesn't end up repainting his wall a dozen times.
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post #15 of 17 Old 08-17-2014, 06:37 PM
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Thanks..twice!
I even scrolled down to the bottom looking for such a tab and didn't see it at the time, I really AM blind.
Poof, there it is.

Simple <$250 dedicated black-fabric theater room, build in a day, takedown in an hour.
Easy $25-40 DIY black/dark-grey ambient-light rejecting screen, grab two things from a local store..mix..roll..done.
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post #16 of 17 Old 08-18-2014, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Ftoast, I hope you didn't think I was criticizing your efforts to help. I really appreciate that you are always trying to help others. I was just concerned that the OP might be able to avoid further missteps if he had access to advice from all the experienced DIY screen members on the correct forum for this thread.

After a quick search, I found way, way down at the bottom of the page a "contact us" feature. I clicked on that which allowed me to send a PM to the moderators to let them know this thread needed to be moved to the DIY screen forum. Hopefully the folks there will be able to give advice to the OP so that he doesn't end up repainting his wall a dozen times.
No worries, I have found and read one the main threads on black screen research and any fault is completely my own here.
I didn't realize how dark the paint was nor did I give much thought to what a diffuser can do to even out the viewing angle/hot spotting.
I was in a bit of a rush to try to get the screen up for some daytime gaming which of course led to mistakes.

I'll head over to the diy thread for more advice.
Thank you
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post #17 of 17 Old 08-18-2014, 05:54 PM
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Cool. The folks who post in the DIY screen forum have a huge amount of experience with different paints and will be able to point you at a shade and even a brand of paint that's likely to give you exactly what you're looking for.
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