Something I'm not quite following here...
Originally Posted by stanger89
Not quite of the same mind
I'm one of those "other folks" you mention. I don't have any side masking on my CIH screen and it doesn't bother me a bit. With 16:9 or 4:3 content I'm so focused on the active image area that I can't even see the "white" to the sides of the screen (it's just as black as the velvet screen border).
Originally Posted by stanger89
And I think it would be an entirely different thing for me with a VIA/CIA setup. If you don't have masking in that setup, then I'd think something would just be wrong because nothing would "fill the screen" there'd be empty space on all sides, 100% of the border, and you'd need something (masking) to define where the screen is.
But if you don't find you need to "define" the side border of the screen via masking in your CIH (for non scope material) why would you suddenly need to do so in a VIA/CIA set up? Especially if, as you say, the image area beyond the image is so black? I guess it would be the new presence of the not perfectly black bars for scope content that would bug you?
BTW, does your use of a lens mean your projector is never projecting "black bars" for any AR? Or is your projector doing black bars for the sides of non-scope content?
Originally Posted by stanger89
I don't remember your journey to VIA, but I'd imagine the VIA destination plays a large role in your opinion of masking.
VIA had no role in my opinion of masking; it only proved a pain in the ass because of the opinion I already held about masking.
I bought my plasma when Panasonic had just moved to it's 4th generation (in 2001 or 2002...can't remember). I experimented like a madman trying to get the most impressive image I could. Early on I made masks for my plasma for scope content and was hooked. It amazed me that covering "black bars" that were already pretty black had as profound an effect as it did. So I bought big bands of black material, cut them to size, put velcro on the ends (and on the back of my plasma) so the masks could be put on and off easily for watching scope films. (I have always watched movies in the dark, btw, even back in the VCR days, so the move to projection based system was natural). I hadn't heard of anyone else masking their plasma, then or now, but I was a nut about this stuff.
Next I started experimenting with adding more black to the viewing experience. My plasma was held, by an articulating arm, aloft from a large, ochre-colored entertainment center/bookcase. I bought some black material and hung it behind the plasma. With the lights off I experienced another WOW moment: just seeing that vivid scope image (masked) floating against a black background made so much difference in terms of apparent image vividness, dimensionality and realism! I learned again that those things you don't think you notice really do play a role in how you are perceiving the image. I always figured I was concentrating on the plasma image and not the surrounding - and the surrounding was pretty dark anyway since I would watch with lights off - so why would changing the surrounding make much difference? But, it really did and it really does.
I gradually added more and more black material behind my plasma for watching movies. Keep in mind this is a meagre 4th gen "ED" resolution plasma, not even hi-def. Yet even as years went on friends and guests who saw images on the set up, including people who owned much "better" HD flat panels, would all be amazed at the image and virtually everyone thought I had some sort of extra expensive "special" plasma to get the picture they were experiencing. But it was all in the tweaking of picture settings and especially in paying attention to all those little details in presentation that most people don't think about.
So when it came time to do a projection-based system I was absolutely determined to put everything I'd learned about image presentation into play, and that meant always having the image floating against a big, solid black background - hence, masking.
My desire to vary the image size just made it all the more difficult, paired with this intractable desire for masked images.
Now that my projection set up is being seen by others I'm getting similar reactions from various folks who say they've experienced projection set ups
elsewhere, but have never had the impact or experience they find with this set up. Just recently the guys from the AV store who installed a lot of my equipment came over to see the results. This store is the largest installer in the city for flat panel and projection systems. But their top guys pretty much all said they hadn't seen anything quite like it and how much better the image looked than they've seen, even though they sell the same projector I'm using (JVC...but they sell newer versions). They were like "Holy sh#t."
Now, none of this means I've done anything remotely original (aside from, perhaps, the VIA thingy). The type of things I'm talking about you certainly know and most experienced AVSers are well aware of these ideas and many implement them. But even a lot of pro installers don't seem to pay the type of attention to detail that a lot of us do here. (Certainly their clients are likely quite happy so they don't need to).
But the take home point for me is how much all the little things add up when trying to present the best viewing experience. When people say things like "Oh, I don't actually notice X so doing something about it doesn't really matter"....I immediately suspect that they are wrong. The reason anyone gets good at something, be it art, engineering, or anything to do with presentation, is that they find out all the things that matter that other people don't realise, and they work on those issues. (I can't help but think here of Apple, and how even a lot of techies don't seem to get why Apple is selling so much more than other companies who have access to just as good or better technology...it's in the implementation and attention to detail). As for Home Theater, even people who never noticed a "problem" playing scope films on their 16:9 flat screen can immediately appreciate the impact of scope on a CIH system, because someone else cared and sweated the details in doing something about.
That's were obsessive types like you and me and the other nuts in this asylum can excel.