You requested pictures when my room was finished so here you go. It was finished last spring. Here again is the Google Sketchup idea for the room:
And here is the finished room, with black out blinds 1/2 way down:
If you click the links below my name you can see lots more photos, including the masking in action and descriptions of how I built the system in my build thread.
The screen size takes up most of the wall, with usable screen area of about 124" wide to 62" tall. I combined the Carada top/bottom masking system with a remote controlled Goelst curtain/panel system for side masking. The commands are made into macros on my RTI universal remote (which has been a Godsend). I can alter the size and aspect ratio of the screen to my hearts content. Right now I have around 16 pre-set image ARs and sizes (for various sizes of 16:9, 2:35:1 and 4:3 ARs) and don't feel the need for more.
If I want to change an image size from, say, a 105" diagonal 16:9 to a 118" wide CinemaScope image, I simply press the image size button I want (118" - WIDE
) and the whole screen wall looks like it starts changing shape. At the same time the projector's lens pattern appears on the screen.
I just have to press zoom-out and by the time the masking has found the new shape, the image zooms out to meet the new size. One more press of the lens shift up or down and the image fits perfectly in the masking. Takes about 13 seconds from the comfort of my sofa and it's actually fun as heck to do (really impresses guests seeing the image change size like that).
I absolutely LOVE being able to vary the image size to my desire. Sometimes I want a huge image, other times depending on mood or source material/quality I like it smaller. I can watch a movie like Avatar at up to around 135" diagonal which feels downright IMAX-like from my 10.5 foot viewing distance.
As you have already extolled, there's nothing like having pitch black around the image to increase the vividness, dimensionality and professionalism of the image. The first time I put up my Carada masking, put up a 2:35:1 movie and then activated the masks to see the "black bars" disappear was incredibly satisfying. There was just something professional and "complete" about what it did for the image. Without the masking it feels a bit hackneyed.
And it still never ceases to amaze me how masking makes a difference. Occasionally if I don't get the image perfectly within the masking (say if the movie is a slightly narrower AR than 2:35:1) I can see thin projected black bars above/below the image. They are so dark I could almost imagine it wouldn't make a difference to cover them up "who would notice?" But then I jog the masks to cover those thin bars up and...wow...adding that perfect, crisp, pitch black edge around the image really DOES make a difference. It just looks better. Taking care of the little details in image presentation really does add up to a bigger difference than one might imagine.
(It's funny because guests to my place to watch movies have often viewed movies on other projection set ups at friends places. But they all say that somehow it all seems better at mine, and it's like they are focused on and taken away into the movie more, even though they can't put their finger on why).
Anyway, good stuff on your set up! That's really resourceful work on your end.