My masking system and RTI universal remote control are fully programmed.
I've been able to program as many different AR shapes and image sizes as I desire. Right now I've stopped at 16 pre-sets because I can't find the need for more. So there is a dedicated button (with the image size on it) on my touchscreen remote for each AR/image size.
I have a SCREEN SIZE page on my remote with the available image sizes to operate masking (one button press) and the lens controls for my RS20 projector mapped the hard buttons. I press the image size I want and the masking starts changing the screen shape. As that is happening I press the lens control button and the lens pattern goes up on the screen. Fortunately the RS20 Zoom/Lens shift pattern has all the relevant ARs outlined. So I just zoom out the image to the new image width, shift the image up or down and done.
I've timed the process switching from various AR/image sizes and it takes a mere 15 seconds or so (sometimes only 12 seconds)
to entirely switch the screen size and fit the projected image. And it gets a "wow, cool" from guests.
It's an incredibly easy, fast process. My 11 year old son had no problem learning how to do it in minutes. (This is where a good universal remote really pays off).
So...CIA - or as I like to call mine Variable Image Size (VIS) (or should that be Variable Image Area? (VIA)? - can be achieved without spending the price of a new car on the masking. The expense for my masking/remote is around what I might have spent for a Panamorph lens set up if I did CIH.
(And if I did the A-lens set up, I'd still feel compelled to spend more money on masking anyway).
And like I mentioned in the Avatar thread, this set up allows me to be entirely unperturbed or unconcerned about the AR of any film as all films can be given "wow" impact. I have a 118" to 120" wide scope image at the moment from a 10 to 11 ft viewing distance (screen is actually bigger so if I ever want to add an A-lens I can increase that size...but I have no desire at this point). Of course I can run the system as a CIH system whenever I want. But this gives me more flexibility in how I present the films. If I stuck with CIH I'd have a mere 104" diagonal 16:9 image to display Avatar in it's released AR (the AR intended by Cameron). But in this set up I can choose a 126" diagonal 16:9 image - a subjectively huge step up in image size and immersion. So I'm happy as a clam viewing whatever AR Cameron intended.
Another plus is not really getting "used" to any particular screen size, as can happen in fixed screen size scenarios. The size is always changing (as I desire) for SD, or 16:9 sports, for comedies (not so huge) and Blu Ray Epics (blow that image up big!), different ARs etc. It just feels continually fresh, almost like I'm always getting a bit of the "wow" of installing a new screen, at the press of a button.
For anyone interested in going this route, I can give thumbs way up. Living with this flexibility has spoiled me and given the chance I wouldn't do it any other way.
I plan to get pictures...and likely video...up within the next couple weeks, of my system in action.