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AT screen: cheaper than factory made, easier than DIY

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
I was planning on building a DIY frame for Seymour DIY AT material - but ran across a review of Jamestown Home Theater screens a while ago, and thought "why couldn't I use that inexpensive frame, and replace the material with Seymour AT fabric?". So I contacted Chris Seymour (Seymour A/V) and James Millard (Jamestown HT) to discuss it, and they said it should work.

So I purchased 13' of the Seymour CenterStage XD material, and hired James to build me a custom 136"x64" viewable frame (no material). The material arrived Thursday, and the frame arrived today, so I set about putting it together. Not quite done, but close - still need to paint the center supports with flat black, restretch the fabric, trim the excess "tab" material, and hang the screen. This far took me about 3 1/2 hours today, not hurrying.

The pictures are probably pretty self explanatory - let me know if you have any questions. I'll add some screen shots once the fabric is restretched, and the screen is hung.









































Flash shows reflection from center supports; will paint them flat black. No noticeable reflection while watching a few movie clips on it.



Edit: removed prices to protect the innocent (me)
post #2 of 79
Thanks for posting, Brad.

I have a couple questions. Obviously the weave is quite fine, so I can't see in the pictures - but, is the material "tilted" as Seymour describes it, to help ensure you get no moire? Does this change the way you tension the fabric? And of course, I have to ask - can I get a few pictures of the tensioning process? I think I read once a good description of how you need to work in the direction of the weave, to keep the material from puckering, but I would really like to see it in action.

Fred
post #3 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

Thanks for posting, Brad.

I have a couple questions. Obviously the weave is quite fine, so I can't see in the pictures - but, is the material "tilted" as Seymour describes it, to help ensure you get no moire? Does this change the way you tension the fabric? And of course, I have to ask - can I get a few pictures of the tensioning process? I think I read once a good description of how you need to work in the direction of the weave, to keep the material from puckering, but I would really like to see it in action.

Fred

Yes, I did tilt it to the degree that I could, given the screen size and material size - I think it ended up about 11-12 degrees? I don't think changes how to tension it - not that I know of.

What I've done so far is just a preliminary tensioning, as much as I needed to do to cut the material to size and cut the tabs. I'll see if I can make some better pics of the tensioning process when I get to that (during the week, since leaving for a weekend getaway).
post #4 of 79
very good! I like it!
how much total cost you spend. I think people want to know also. I think a lot of us who want to make like you did..

Hopefully I can make 150inch 16:9 to do this. Thanks brad for sharing..
post #5 of 79
Thread Starter 
Well since you asked

The frame was $300 shipped; the material (13') was $294 shipped - so just a little less than $600 total for a fairly ginormous AT screen, I doubt I would have saved much if anything if I built it from scratch (was considering 80/20 aluminum, not cheap) - and I was ready for some instant gratification.
post #6 of 79
Lookin good Brad!!
post #7 of 79
I gree that this is a pretty good route, if you do not have a screen and do not want to build the frame. If you have a frame, then I would retrofit it with Seymour Center Stage material. That is what I did. Only took me a couple of hours to do so. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...rt+elunevision
post #8 of 79
Nice job! I love my Centerstage material...are you happy with your new screen?
post #9 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AirBenji View Post

Lookin good Brad!!

Thanks Ben!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjg100 View Post

I gree that this is a pretty good route, if you do not have a screen and do not want to build the frame. If you have a frame, then I would retrofit it with Seymour Center Stage material. That is what I did. Only took me a couple of hours to do so. http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...rt+elunevision

Oh yeah, if I had an existing screen frame, I would have reused that too. Saw your thread before, a great approach if you've already got a suitable frame!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

can I get a few pictures of the tensioning process? I think I read once a good description of how you need to work in the direction of the weave, to keep the material from puckering, but I would really like to see it in action.

Fred

Well Fred, I went ahead with my tensioning, but forgot to take pictures sorry! It was really quite easy, following the instructions that came with the frame, and it worked perfectly the first time - but I feel like I had some experience already after having stretched fabric on all the panels in the room!

The general approach is to loosen all the screws on the metal bars that hold down the screen material "tabs"; then tighten a couple on the bottom middle, move to the top, stretch across the screen, and also pulling out towards the corners, and tighten a couple screws there; then do the same on the middle of the sides; then work your way out from the middle of each side / top / bottom a screw or two at a time, pulling out and towards the corners (and trimming material if the tab cutout isn't deep enough, and is hitting a screw). It went quite quickly, took maybe half an hour; then another fifteen minutes to go around and cut off the excess fabric.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutheater View Post

Nice job! I love my Centerstage material...are you happy with your new screen?

Very! The picture looks great, and significantly brighter compared to the temporary muslin screen that I used for sizing.
post #10 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post

The general approach is to loosen all the screws on the metal bars that hold down the screen material "tabs"; then tighten a couple on the bottom middle, move to the top, stretch across the screen, and also pulling out towards the corners, and tighten a couple screws there; then do the same on the middle of the sides;

Somehow, I looked at your pictures and didn't realize the aluminum bars were going to clamp down the fabric. That's simple. And if you can easily pull it tight enough by hand, that's really simple. Thanks for sharing.

Fred
post #11 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

Somehow, I looked at your pictures and didn't realize the aluminum bars were going to clamp down the fabric. That's simple. And if you can easily pull it tight enough by hand, that's really simple. Thanks for sharing.

Fred

Yeah, instructions suggested having one person pull on the fabric while another tightens the screws - but I did it myself, and didn't find it that hard. The scary part was cutting the material - fear of screwing up and ending up too short, or a hole in a screw cutout - but once I made the first cut - "OK, I'm doing this" - it went fine and pretty quickly too. Just had to remind myself to slow down a bit, because sometimes I get cocky, do something too fast, and screw up (predrilled pilot holes on THT top panel, realized I had the panel upside down after I had it halfway attached - recoverable, but better to slow down).
post #12 of 79
Looks great! Nice job and a nice value.
post #13 of 79
Brad, do you think the material will unravel at the tabs without a hem?
post #14 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoCaboNow View Post

Looks great! Nice job and a nice value.

Thanks Cabo!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpeter1093 View Post

Brad, do you think the material will unravel at the tabs without a hem?

Hmm, never considered it - but I doubt it, the material is quite thick and stable, not really like a thin fabric where you could pull a thread on the edge and it would run away. And the fabric is held down by pressure across a broad area by the metal bars, not by individual screws - the screws go around the fabric, not through it.
post #15 of 79
Did you use a form, or piece of cardboard or something as a template to cut out the tabs? Or did you measure each one as you went? Scissors or razor to do the actual cutting?
post #16 of 79
Thread Starter 
I just dove in with the scissors and eyeballed it, gutsy dude that I am. There is a fair amount of leeway, since the screws are set back about an inch from the viewable area, so you don't have to be super duper precise. I erred on the side of cutting a bit too little, and once I had the material in place, trimmed a handful of the cutouts a little bit more to keep the fabric clear of the screws once stretched.

James recommended buying the frame with material and using the stock material as a template for the Seymour material, but I wanted to save that extra money ($75) and not waste the material.
post #17 of 79
Thread Starter 
Got the screen hung - still haven't painted the vertical braces, but its working great nonetheless.

Here's a few pics, check my build thread for more screen shots:







post #18 of 79
Brad did you have an at screen before if you didn't could you give your impressions of the audio and video quality differences. Any input is appreciated your like a beta tester for me as I first got the Jamestown screen but the more I read the more it seems at is the way to go.
By the way the screen shots look great but not enough of them like your build thread!

Congrats
post #19 of 79
Thread Starter 
I listened to movie soundtracks during the course of construction before I had the projector installed; then when I had the projector installed and a temporary muslin screen; and now with the projector and the AT material. Maybe the speakers sound a teeny bit brighter with the AT material compared to the muslin, but it could just be placebo effect, as I felt that the muslin was "by ear" pretty transparent, surprisingly.

I really doubt anyone in an A/B test could tell the difference between the speakers alone and the speakers behind the screen - probably could detect with measurement equipment - but even then, once MCACC/Audyssey has been run, maybe not even measurable.
post #20 of 79
I just learned of this thread. Thanks for the tips Brad. I will probably look to go this route to save a few bucks on the screen. I noticed that SeymourAV is having a closeout of their Center Stage fabric just to give others a heads up if they are looking to go this route as well. I'll probably go with a 110-120" screen but still figuring things out. I'll make sure to bookmark this thread for when I start making my purchases.
post #21 of 79
Which projector are you using?
post #22 of 79
Thread Starter 
Jvc rs-20
post #23 of 79
So what could be a masking option to go with this keeping with the theme "cheaper than factory made, easier than DIY"?

I keep looking at this:

www.aspectmasking.com

but the trip across the ocean worries me if I have a motor issue.

Oh, and if you were to do those tabs with the Enlightor 4k, I would be worried about it unraveling. My sample is unraveling a little. Can't see how the 2k would unravel though.
post #24 of 79
Super nice!

I'm planning on a DIY screen using the Seymour material. I can't wait to finally have my center speaker on the same plane as my mains! I'll be going over this thread with a fine tooth comb in the meantime.

Thanks for sharing!
post #25 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by turls View Post

So what could be a masking option to go with this keeping with the theme "cheaper than factory made, easier than DIY"?


I don't have a screen yet, but I was thinking of maybe getting two strips of black fabric, then velcroing them to the back of the frame on top and bottom and letting them hang over the screen. Not sure if it would work, but man it would be CHEAP!
post #26 of 79
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by turls View Post

So what could be a masking option to go with this keeping with the theme "cheaper than factory made, easier than DIY"?

If there any solutions that fit into that category, I haven't found them yet, at least motorized / automated. The only thing that comes to mind would be creating manual masking panels, either hinged or held on by rare earth magnets, like Seymour. Oh, I guess I did see a DIY build that used linear actuator motors, which at least are a lot cheaper than the Somfy motors - but that's real DIY, a lot of work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by curtlots View Post

Super nice!

Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bassage View Post

I don't have a screen yet, but I was thinking of maybe getting two strips of black fabric, then velcroing them to the back of the frame on top and bottom and letting them hang over the screen. Not sure if it would work, but man it would be CHEAP!

Seems like it would work - did you mean for masking a 16:9 screen down to 2.35, or masking a 2.35 screen on the sides to 16:9? For the latter, I've seen some folks used motorized black curtains.
post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Horstkotte View Post



Seems like it would work - did you mean for masking a 16:9 screen down to 2.35, or masking a 2.35 screen on the sides to 16:9? For the latter, I've seen some folks used motorized black curtains.

I meant for masking a 2.35:1 screen on the sides for 16:9 content. I would place the velcro strips on the back of the frame on the top and bottom, and strips on the back of the cloth. make the cloth pieces long enough to cover the sides of the screen and reach to the back of the frame to attach the to velcro. I don't have a screen yet and this is my first projector, so I'm just seeing this in my mind, not sure how well it would work. It wouldn't be fancy, and it's ridiculously simple and cheap. Cheap enough to be worth a try I guess. It might not look as nice as a professionally built masking panel, but as long as it does its job, who cares what it looks like in the dark?
post #28 of 79
Just curious if you ever painted the supports or if once in use you decided it wasn't necessary.
post #29 of 79
Thread Starter 
Yes, I did find that I could see reflection off them sometimes on scenes with a white background, so I took them out and sprayed with a black flat spray can that I had on hand, and then put them back. Now they are never visible.
post #30 of 79
Thx for your 'blazing the trail' here Brad! I'm ordering a screen in the morning...I talked to James today and they are now also offering the Centerstage XD material from Seymour...you've made quite an impression!
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