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My 126" Diag Center Stage Screen build with constant width masking

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I thought I would share my screen build for those that may be interested in building something similar.

A couple of quick notes:
- Coming from a 106" Diag 16:9 Severtson HC Gray Screen (which mated with my Panny 900 very well)
- Goal was to go considerably bigger (within reason) and have the ability to place an in-wall center speaker directly behind the screen.
- I watch quite a bit of 16:9 material and wanted as big of a 16:9 picture as possible so I went with this set-up over a constant height set-up.
- Room is 18' wide by 24' long and 8' ceiling. Seating at 12' and 17'. Projector at 14'. Completely light controlled.

I basically used the screen build pdf file provided on the SeymourAV site to design the frame. I considered poplar, composite wood, etc for the frame, but I finally came to the conclusion that standard 2x4's would work well for my design. I needed the 1.5" thickness of the 2x4 because I wanted to bevel the inside frame edge and leave 1/2" straight edge that would match up with my masking. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find 2x4's in 10' lengths that were straight enough but luckily Lowes had some choice cuts that were darn near perfectly straight (less than a 1/4" crown to them). At a couple of bucks a piece I was pretty pleased.

I miter cut the corners at 45 degrees and added the bevel. I then used the black velveteen fabric I already had and a light duty stapler to wrap the frame pieces. I highly recommend using the velveteen. It's cheap, quite black, and you can get a very tight wrap due to its stretchy-ness. Fidelio is a bit blacker but the velveteen was just as black as the material on my Severtson screen.

My hardware store didn't carry 6" L brackets so I used 2 4" L brackets for each corner which worked well. Two of my corners had small gaps so I added a single 3" wood screw to each corner to tighten things up.

Frame corner:

Completed frame:

Next, I used a 4x8 sheet of cheap white foam board and the 1/2" thick foil-faced foam board (used later for my masking) to provide 1.5" of total thickness support to help staple the screen material to the frame.

I rolled out the screen material and taped it to the frame to keep it in position.

I then worked my way around the frame using some clamps and my light duty stapler. It worked great. I only had to re-adjust in a couple of places.

You'll notice that I stapled the material towards the middle of the frame width. I later realized that I needed to add another row of staples as close to the inside frame edge as possible to keep the frame taught and to make my masking work.

Next, I got to work on my masking. I came across the 4x8 sheets of John Mansville foil-backed foam board and it was exactly what I was looking for. It is very ridged, very light, and easy to cut. Just $6 or $7 a sheet if I remember correctly. Since my screen length was beyond 8' I decided to go with two pieces for the top and two for the bottom.

I cut the pieces to the proper length and width and wrapped them in the velveteen.

To keep the masking panels in place I decided to use magnets. I cut out shallow cylinders in the back of the panels so that the magnets would lay relatively flush and then I glued them in place with gorilla glue.

Figuring out how to attach the opposing magnets behind the screen took a bit of trial and error but I eventually figured out a solution. I cut some small pieces of the foam board, glued in the magnets flush as I had done for the panels, and then stapled a piece of velveteen over the magents so no light would be reflected through the material. I then simply taped the magnets in place behind the screen material. I first tried duct tape but it wasn't strong enough so I switched to blue painters tape and that worked well.

I then hung the screen with a french cleat system. Here's a shot without the masking panels (not sure why the photo is skewed)

Screen with masking panels in place:

Close-up of corner:

The panels easily snap on and off.

A few screen shots (note that I am not a pro at screen shots yet):

All in all I am quite pleased with the way the screen and masking turned out. Outside of the cost of the screen material total cost for wood/velveteen/brackets/foam board was less than $50.
post #2 of 3
Originally Posted by IA_Hi_Fi_Guy View Post

- I watch quite a bit of 16:9 material and wanted as big of a 16:9 picture as possible so I went with this set-up over a constant height set-up.

Looks great. But out of curiosity, with an 18' wall, why didn't you go with a 161" 2.35:1 screen? The 16:9 image would be the exact same as you have now (126" diagonal, 62" high), but the width for scope movies would have been much greater (12' wide vs. 7' wide). You still would have had almost 3' between the edge of the screen and the side walls, and you'd be able to put your L/R speakers behind the screen as well if you wanted. It might also be easier to put up vertical masking instead of horizontal masking (wouldn't have to reach up to the top of the screen and the panels would be smaller and easier to handle).

I have a 126" (16:9) screen in my room as well with just about the same seating distances as you. Unfortunately, my screen wall is only 12' wide, so if I went with a 2.35:1 screen, I'd have to shrink my 16:9 image a bit. I wish I had an 18' wall.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Believe me, I went back and forth for some time before deciding on a 16:9 screen.

With my current projector (Panny 900), the brightness and sharpness tails off considerably beyond 130 inches diagonally, so to zoom to 160" would affect the picture greatly. I do have plans to upgrade to a 1080p projector but it may be a year or two.

I really liked the idea of getting all 3 front speakers behind the screen but with a room width of 18' and my seating distances, the right and left speakers need to be spaced out at least 11' or 12' for proper listening angles from the second row which are the money seats. So I would have been looking at a 12' wide 2.35 screen at a minimum. Then, if I wanted to mask for 16:9 I would have to use acoustically transparent material for the masking panels.

And the main factor for me is that I plan to use the extra wall space to mount a flat panel on each side. I'm an NFL nut and want the ability to watch 3 games at once.

If I decide not to add the flat panels to the sides I will probably switch to a larger 2.35 screen down the road. Since I've got less than $200 in this screen it wouldn't be a huge loss and I could probably sell it.
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