Well, it was a happy day yesterday. My new VW1000 has been sitting in its carton for about a week because my theater is not ready enough to try it out. I wanted to make sure that it had survived shipping in good shape, so I was able to make arrangements to take it to another theater that I have access to, which also happens to have the same Screen Research screen fabric that I am using. That theater currently has a very very nice SIM2 C3X 1080 with an ISCO III lens, and the screen is a curved 2.40:1 140" wide.
Long story short: wow!
I set the projector up to fill the height of that screen (about 57.5") for a 16:9 image, which produced a 16:9 image comparable to my entire screen (96x54). Out of the box, it was screamin'
bright and just jaw-dropping. It was also delightfully quiet.
I eventually realized that the projector was defaulted to high lamp, so I switched it to low, which was still plenty bright, even after I enabled the dark frame insertion mode to play around with 24p a bit. And of course the projector then became inaudible over some faint sound leaking out of the rack room due to my HDMI cable preventing the door from closing fully.
For amusement's sake, I zoomed the projector to fill the full 2.40 screen, and found that it handled this extremely well. It was certainly up to the challenge in terms of light output, although I didn't have a meter on hand to get exact figures.
Three things I noticed:
- There's a frame in The Art of Flight where you see a jetliner flying overhead in a blue sky. In that frame, I could see that there was a slightly lighter-blue bar across the screen, just below the center of the frame (see below). I didn't notice this on normal content, although I think I might have caught a hint of it when the camera was following a skier down a predominantly white slope.
- Compared to the 3-chip DLP SIM2 machine, I noticed the image refresh a bit more readily on the Sony. For example, there's a scene early in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in which Harry and Dudley are attacked in a dim tunnel with lights along the upper parts of the walls. I noticed the refreshing of these lights as my eyes moved around. Sort of like "rainbow effect", except that the color remained integrated. I was running with dark frame insertion at this point, which seemed to do wonders for 24p judder, and I'm not sure whether it helped or hurt this strobing effect. Given that I was not equipped to calibrate for light output, it may be that the image was simply over-bright. I am extremely sensitive to flicker and related artifacts, and I see the refresh strobing on 3-chip DLP as well if they are too bright, so I will withhold judgment until I'm able to properly try out the projector with adjusted settings.
- I noticed that whenever I switched resolution or frame rate on the signal going to the projector, there was a sound from the projector that sounded mechanical, like a motor repositioning itself. Does anybody know what this is?
Apart from the minor issues in #1 and #2 above, I found the image extremely satisfying, particularly when combined with the installation flexibility, whisper quiet operation, and lower cost compared with 3-chip DLP. I was really pleased with how well the Sony held up against the very high standard of the SIM2, even given that the Sony was out of the box and the SIM2 was recently calibrated by a very well-respected calibrator. I can hardly wait to hang this beastie in my own room and get it really nicely dialed in via the Lumagen's CMS.