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$40 DIY Yardstick Frame Masking System for Pull-Down Screens

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
It seems that masking solutions are primarily for fixed screens, but I have a 92", 16:9 pull-down screen, and gray bars on the 2.35:1 movies have always bothered me.

Here's an inexpensive, quick, lightweight solution for pulldown screens that I built yesterday. It can easily be attached and removed by a single person using common office binder clips.

Here's what I used to build two 82"x6" masks:

* (11) Yardsticks - 1 1/16" wide x 1/4" thick. I would recommend 3/8" for larger screens.
* (1) Bag of Craft (Popsicle) Sticks
* Bottle of Wood Glue
* Velvet cut 6" longer than the length of the mask
* Stapler
* (4) Large office Binder Clips
* Saw to cut the yardsticks and scissors to cut the velvet.

The yardsticks were $1.00 each, the velvet was $20.00, and I already had the wood glue, craft sticks, and stapler.

Cut the yardsticks as follows:

* (8) Full Yardsticks plus (4) 10" pieces to be used for the top and bottom rail of each mask.
* (8) 3 7/8" pieces to be used as vertical supports.

Glue the frames together using two craft sticks per joint. Trim craft sticks as necessary for best coverage for the vertical pieces.

Glue extra craft sticks around the perimeter to attach the staples for the velvet. The staples will poke through the front if attached directly to a 1/4" thick yardstick.

After the glue has dried (I waited about an hour, although overnight is better) attach the velvet with the stapler.

The masks are attached with a single binder clip on each end and can be adjusted up or down to accommodate variances in image height.

Making the frame:


Frame on screen:


Completed masks:
post #2 of 42
Great tip! I have 100" pulldown myself and this looks like a great and affordable way to address those lightspills when watch 2.35!

Thanks

Victor
post #3 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by victor-eyd View Post

Great tip! I have 100" pulldown myself and this looks like a great and affordable way to address those lightspills when watch 2.35!

Thanks

Victor

Glad this was helpful. Makes a huge difference and the picture really pops now. BTW, the velvet is priced at ~ $12.99/yd. so make sure you use one of the frequently available 40% off coupons from Jo-Ann Fabrics. You can get them via their e-mail newsleter or in the Sunday newspaper.
post #4 of 42
Excellent idea! Will use it for side-masking my new 2.35:1 pull-down. Thanks.
post #5 of 42
Thread Starter 
Victor and Brajesh - I'd love to see some pics when you build your masks, especially seeing how the clips will work on the side masking for Brajesh.

As for me, it looks like I'm going to have to wait a few more days to enjoy my new masks as the lamp on my Sanyo Z3 dimmed noticeably on Monday and went out for good on Wednesday.
post #6 of 42
Thread Starter 
Well, I installed a new lamp in the PJ and had a chance to take a couple of screen shots to compare with the masks on and off. I had to use Paint Shop Pro to bump the black level 30% on each photo as the camera crushed the dark areas of the image to black. Nonetheless, the relative difference between masked and unmasked should be apparent, although in-person the improvement is even more significant.

Without the masks:


With the masks:
post #7 of 42
Cool idea. Was looking for a low cost solution.

Thanks for sharing.
post #8 of 42
Very cool idea. It's amazing what we can think of using everyday items around the house to make our Home Theater viewing experience more enjoyable.
post #9 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deewan View Post

Very cool idea. It's amazing what we can think of using everyday items around the house to make our Home Theater viewing experience more enjoyable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLloyd View Post

Cool idea. Was looking for a low cost solution.

Thanks for sharing.

Thanks BLloyd and deewan. It was fun to join the DIY crowd by starting with a quick project like this.
post #10 of 42
Hey ajstan99,

Just wanted to say thanks for the idea. I made the masks today and the difference is absolutely huge! Like you said, it really makes the image pop, whereas before my picture seemed a little dull and disappointing. It's almost like I have a new projector. Thanks again.
post #11 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lalakersfan34 View Post

Hey ajstan99,

Just wanted to say thanks for the idea. I made the masks today and the difference is absolutely huge! Like you said, it really makes the image pop, whereas before my picture seemed a little dull and disappointing. It's almost like I have a new projector. Thanks again.

Hi lalakersfan34 - glad to hear that someone else has tried building the masks. Please post some pics if you get the chance.
post #12 of 42
Huge thanks, can't wait to give this ago.
post #13 of 42
Works great, theres no going back now unless i upgrade to a Pj that shows black as black on the 2.35:1 bars.
We watched Wall-e last night without the distraction of non total black bars that our Epson TW700 produces, priceless.
Thanks again
post #14 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rover2002 View Post

Works great, theres no going back now unless i upgrade to a Pj that shows black as black on the 2.35:1 bars.
We watched Wall-e last night without the distraction of non total black bars that our Epson TW700 produces, priceless.
Thanks again

Hi Rover2002 - thanks for letting me know that this was helpful. Enjoy!
post #15 of 42
Awesome! I am going to do the same thing. Or maybe some wire to hang the masking from the case instead of the clips. But the frame is creative. Thanks for posting this.
post #16 of 42
Thanks hugely for this, ajstan99, this worked a treat for me.

I had to improvise a bit, as in the UK yardsticks are hard to come by, but I pretty much followed your instructions, and have created my own screen masks, which work really well.

So thanks again, for giving this DIY philistine the stones to go out and make something that hugely improves the viewing experience.

Cheers
post #17 of 42
Neat Idea man...
I haven't Made or Bought a screen a yet...But I am looking for masking ideas.

If yard sticks are hard to find...grab your self some Lattice(sp?) strips(usually come in lengths of 8')
post #18 of 42
Thread Starter 
tom cierzo, yousuredo, and windrockwater - thanks for the kind words, guys. Glad you all were able to find the post.

Until I tried it, I couldn't believe masking would make that big of a difference, but it really does.
post #19 of 42
Most excellent.

I'd say a doable refinement would be to use some Black Velcro to do the "attaching" since the Velvet/Stick assembly is so lightweight.
post #20 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Most excellent.

I'd say a doable refinement would be to use some Black Velcro to do the "attaching" since the Velvet/Stick assembly is so lightweight.

Thanks, MMan. Good point. I used staples since I had an office stapler handy, but other methods (e.g. velcro, spray adhesive) might work as well or even better.
post #21 of 42
I cant believe people go through the trouble to mask off black bars by putting more black bars..lol..

I guess letterbox has never bothered me. Guess its a personal thing kind of like some dlp sets bother people with rainbows and such..
post #22 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikieson View Post

I cant believe people go through the trouble to mask off black bars by putting more black bars..lol..

I guess letterbox has never bothered me. Guess its a personal thing kind of like some dlp sets bother people with rainbows and such..

I can't believe that someone who frequents an HT DIY screen thread wouldn't know that masking is used to cover gray bars not black bars..lol..

I guess I never understood why people feel the need to drop in on a thread just to say that it has no value to them. Guess it's a personal thing.
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajstan99 View Post

I can't believe that someone who frequents an HT DIY screen thread wouldn't know that masking is used to cover gray bars not black bars..lol..

I guess I never understood why people feel the need to drop in on a thread just to say that it has no value to them. Guess it's a personal thing.

I drop in on threads that have some value and that I find interesting. Thats all. Like I said..I still dont get it but its good that some of you do..
post #24 of 42
Very nice

I'm tempted to try something similar with my manual screen. Do you think the clips you use to attach the masks could cause waves in the fabric?
post #25 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Warbie View Post

Very nice

I'm tempted to try something similar with my manual screen. Do you think the clips you use to attach the masks could cause waves in the fabric?

Thanks for the note, Warbie. It hasn't caused waves for me. I pull the screen tight before clipping, and the back of the clip attaches behind the screen border pressing against the frame of the mask, not the white area of the screen.
post #26 of 42
I was looking for exactly this solution! I'm going to make masking for my new high power screen when it comes in next week!


Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan View Post

Most excellent.

I'd say a doable refinement would be to use some Black Velcro to do the "attaching" since the Velvet/Stick assembly is so lightweight.


I believe what MississippiMan is referring to is using the velcro to attach the masking instead of the office clips. That way the attachment would be invisible & when not in use, the black of the velcro should blend in with the black of the pulldown screen's border.
post #27 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billqs View Post

I was looking for exactly this solution! I'm going to make masking for my new high power screen when it comes in next week!

I believe what MississippiMan is referring to is using the velcro to attach the masking instead of the office clips. That way the attachment would be invisible & when not in use, the black of the velcro should blend in with the black of the pulldown screen's border.

Thanks for the note, billqs.

Now that you mention it, it does look like I may have misinterpreted MississippiMan's suggestion. Any thoughts on whether the velcro would cause the screen to roll-up unevenly and create waves?
post #28 of 42
That's a good question, though I'm more worried about the velcro glue coming loose & causing the screen to get caught in the roll-up canister.

Do you think foamboard would work as an alternate to your use of yardsticks? I was thinking of getting foamboard of the proper length & width & covering it with black velvet. Would that be more likely to warp?

Thanks!
post #29 of 42
Thread Starter 
Seems like it may work if you used a thick enough piece, but I've never used foamboard. Maybe the folks who use it for screens can give you some feedback.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Excellent idea! Will use it for side-masking my new 2.35:1 pull-down. Thanks.

Where did you get a 2.35:1 pull down screen?

Thanks in advance, if you still read this. Your post was a while back.
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