Originally Posted by JustMike
I'd like to do this type of setup at home, but to do it properly requires true 4-way masking with variable size in BOTH horizontal and vertical dimensions. There are motorized screens that do variable masking of the image height, but for width, all the screens I can find can only select one or two fixed widths by lowering curtain-like masks.My question:
has anybody found a way to do variable screen-width masking with a motorized screen?
I believe I have, although my system is being put together as I write this. Whether it works great remains to be seen. But I have no particular reason to think it won't work.
I'm employing 4 way automated masking, because I want to be able to vary my screen size and shape. 4 way automated masking from the screen manufacturers is hideously expensive, and even some $18,000 4 way masking systems aren't as flexible as I'd like (or as you'd like, it seems).
I didn't want to go the full DIY route because I'm not a handy-man and it's clear automated 4 way masking is quite a trial, even for the DIY guys.
So I decided to combine two professionally made products to create my 4 way masking. For horizontal masking - varying the image height - I'm using the Carada Masquerade Horizontal masking system:http://www.carada.com/Masquerade-Masking-System.aspx
As you can see Carada will soon be offering a vertical CIH masking system.
However, when it comes to creating motorized four way masking, it's typically much easier to come up with a solution for the side masking (motorized curtains, etc) than it is for the horizontal (top/bottom) masking. Which is why I'm buying the Carada horizontal masking system.
For vertical masking - the side masking - I searched for a company offering automated curtain systems, preferably that would allow me to program pre-set stopping points for various image widths. Then I found Goelst, who offer just what I was looking for: Their 6200 track system is remote controlled and offers up to 5 programmable stopping points for various image widths:
But then I noticed they also do a roller panel system, using the same motor:http://www.gsoft.nl/index.php?id=15
Video of roller panel system:http://www.gsoft.nl/index.php?id=35
So I decide on using the roller panel system instead of the curtains for side masking. I can get a nice clean edge with the roller panel system and a nice clean look over all. Also, the panels stack behind each other, to either side of the screen when opened up, taking up little space to the sides of the screen. (I'm going to modify the edge of the inner side masking panel to orientate it closer to the screen surface, to avoid shadowing).
So the combination of the Masquerade for top/bottom masking and the Goelst panel system for side masking will make for 4-way remote controllable automated masking.
My screen will be as wide and as tall as I can fit in the room - in my case I'll end up with a 124" wide by 61" high viewable screen area - and the masking system will alter the image shape and size as I wish, while I zoom to whatever size I wish depending on the movie, source quality, my mood or whatever. Always fully masked.
As far as how it will operate: Both the Masquerade and the Goelst system offer a continuously adjustable travel so I can zoom the projected image to the size I wish, and then "jog" or adjust both top and bottom masking to fit the image.
As far as pre-set image sizes go, that's a bit more of a mixed bag. The Goelst will allow the 5 pre-set image widths - 6 if you count "fully open" - which would actually cover most image sizes I might use. Whereas the Masquerade has fewer presets - "open" and "2:35:1" masked. You can have Carada set the 2:35:1 stopping point wherever you want.
So there's the issue of the side masking offering more pre-sets than the Carada top/bottom masking. Personally this is fine with me as I'll be adjusting the masks likely anyway. Having some pre-set image widths can expedite the masking process to some degree: Select an image width, the masks move to that width, zoom the image to that width, then bring down the top/bottom masks to fit. And in fact it might be possible to program more pre-set image heights
with the Carada. The Carada has a "jog" button that moves the masks in 1/2" increments with each push. At least one forum member has found he's been
able to program the Carada to stop at various image heights, using macros on his universal remote to activate the jog feature to discrete numbers of steps.
I'll likely try the same.
One other issue is how projector zooms tend to work: They don't always zoom out proportionately, e.g. the top portion of the image will expand more than the bottom portion. How much this occurs will tend to depend on how much lens off-set you've had to use, dependant upon how centered to the screen you are able to place your projector (the more lens off-set you must use, the more uneven the image will zoom out).
Is it a big deal? In my pre-tests for this system, I have not found it to be so, either zooming with a manual projector or with my new JVC RS20. The JVC has remote controlled zoom and lens shift. I've practiced zooming the image from the JVC, using various tape marks on my wall to see how easy it is to adjust the zoom and image shift to within specific boundaries - as will happen with the masking system. It has been very quick and easy to do so, so I don't foresee any issues. (I've also tested out this "zoom method" on another forum member's RS20 projector on his screen and it was a cinch).
My room is under reno and the screen wall is being rebuilt right now. I have the Goelst roller panel system in hand and I'm awaiting my Carada Masquerade.
Fingers crossed it all works..but it should. I'll be able to give every aspect ratio it's full glory, even including IMAX content, The Dark Knight etc. And the price for the Carada/Goelst combo will come in just under $5,000. Around 1/4 the price of options from the screen companies, and even more flexible than some of those more expensive offerings.
Hope that helps.
(I'll be starting my Home Theater build thread with all the details very soon)