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Dark Screens. Videos from Screen Innovations included...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have the AE 7000 coming in soon.

Idea is to get a ezFrame screen for my perfect control over ambient light room. I am also willing to paint my room dark in order to improve quality.

These 3 videos have shocked me...




The last video is what got me. The person talking mentions that most people can't paint their rooms dark due different reasons.

If I paint my room dark, would I get similar results as with that Black Diamond if I'd use the ezFrame? Afterall, the BD simply reduces light scatter, but if your room doesn't reflect lights, wouldn't that be inane?



EDIT: Also, would a dark screen give me a better quality picture than say a white one? I'd like to get that amazing color as in those videos without spending near 3000 dollars for the screen. Or is it just wishful thinking....
post #2 of 7
The BD screens are made to combat challenging room conditions, bright room decoration but especially ambient light (where you have actually have some lights on in the room). They are terrific at what they do. And that's not to say they don't also look good in fully dark conditions too. Even when you try to control room reflections, it's hard to get "perfection" so some people find they see benefits to a BD screen even in rooms with darker decor (but certainly this means diminishing returns for what a BD screen brings to the party, the more you control room reflections).

But, yes, if you paint your room dark enough to kill reflections you'll negate a lot of the benefit of a BD screen, and can achieve similar results with a (likely cheaper) white screen. A neutral or low-gain white screen will also tend to have the benefits of less hot-spotting, wider viewing angles, less visible screen texture than the BD screens.

The BD screen is made to work in ambient light etc. That's normally why you'd buy one. However, even some people who've made their room darker and non-reflective like to have the option of watching with some lights on in the room, sometimes (sports are often mentioned).

It should be noted as well: if you are careful about how you set up your lighting, e.g. using focused track or pot lights over "task" areas or the viewing seats that are not aimed at your screen, you can get away with having some lights on even when using a white screen.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Excellent info, thank you.

How do I go about picking the right color to minimize reflections? Is it about color per se or the chemical that the paint is made of, or both? I'd like to avoid going with black if I can.... a dark blue would nice if possible.

post #4 of 7
Thank you very much Rich, this pretty much sums it up in a few words.

May I quote this in the german hifi-forum?
post #5 of 7

Yes go ahead :-)


It's not about the color per se, it's more about the lightness or darkness of the paint and it's reflective properties. As in any pursuit, you can get incredibly picky, or you can relax certain criteria. For instance, any range of dark colors will cut reflections for a projection-based home theater, however to the degree the paint still reflects somewhat back to the screen, it can alter the color of your image. So if you choose a dark red, that paint color can reflect back to your screen and subtly alter the color of your image. Though I don't think that people other than professional calibrators or their equipment may pick up on that fact.

Nonetheless, such considerations lead some people to choose "neutral" black or gray to paint with, for minimal color shift effects on their image. And you don't have to go super dark or black to get much of the benefits.

If you start with, say, white walls and then paint them neutral gray, often referred to as %18 gray:

---that will go quite far in reducing image reflections. In fact I seem to remember more knowledgeable folks saying it will go most of the way to reducing reflections, with diminishing returns afterward. Still, in my and other people's experience, you can get benefits from going even darker.
But, if you want some other color for your room, just think of colors around that darkness above, or darker, and it will help a lot.

The other thing you have to look for is the reflective quality of the paint. Most paint has a glaze, a sheen, to make it look richer. That means even the darkest looking paint can be quite reflective of light. Not a few people have discovered this, having painted a ceiling near their screen "black" only to discover that the sheen on the paint looks like a mirror, with the light from the projection screen lighting up the ceiling, and hence reflecting back on to the image. You want to avoid this......so it's best to go for non-reflective, "matte" paints. (Any paint store will understand the difference and give you a matte version of a paint).

Then there's the issue of whether you want to do the whole room dark or not. Depending on your screen choice, there can be diminishing returns. Some people have found they get large benefits in light reflection control only by treating (with dark paint or velvet) the area around the screen, out to about 6 feet or so from the screen, and beyond that they leave the room a lighter color. Again, benefits accrue as you do the whole room, but treating the closest reflection points, which tend to be the first 6 feet or so from the screen ceiling/floor/walls, tend to give the most obvious benefits.

If you are really serious about cutting room reflections, nothing does it better than fabric, especially a dark velvet (most people use black velvet). The pile of a fabric, especially velvet, acts as light traps in a way no paint can achieve. If you have the darkest matte black paint you can get, you'll still be able to see it light up somewhat if it's placed near the screen. With certain black velvets (e.g. Devore or Fidelio) they become true "black holes" and you see virtually no reflection. So some people surround their screen to some degree with black velvet, instead of paint. I use Fidelio black velvet to surround the screen wall, and also to cover my left/center/right speakers near the screen, which lit up and distracted during movies. Covered in the black velvet, even though the speakers are inches from the screen, they are completely non-reflective and invisible during movies.

I happen to be a big proponent of curtains as a huge help for home theater rooms, particularly when you don't feel like painting the entire room super dark. I use dark, brown velvet curtains to the sides of my screen. They remain stacked in the corner, very discrete yet adding a touch of luxury. When watching a movie I simply pull them forward along the side walls and they have a massive effect on light reflections, cutting down reflections. The double benefit is: 1. I'm not chained to having to choose any particular color, dark or otherwise for my walls (I went with fairly light walls to make it a cheery room when no movie is playing), and when the curtains are employed it's actually better than even the darkest paint I could have found. You can see photos of how I approached my room in the links below my name.

Just some things to think about....
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

I can't thank you enough for your very thorough information. I didn't think of fabric (or black velvet thereof) and to be honest, that would be the best choice in my opinion. It's easily removable and can, as you say, give a bit of a luxurious feel to the room. Plus it may even help with the sound in my room (maybe I'm just talking about of my behind here, but maybe it does, lol).

Black Velvet will me my choice!


und ich dachte dass ich der einzigste Deutsche hier bin

post #7 of 7
Thanks for the post Ray; that last video showing the effect of light scatter in a dark room is a real eye opener.

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