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My living room / theater - thinking of going 2.35:1

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've talked about switching to a 2.35:1 in a couple of other threads, but figured I'd start up a new thread dedicated to my room to discuss the subject. I've moved a couple of times, and in our current house I previously was using our upstairs loft as a movie theater, but there were a couple of issues with that room, most significantly was the simple fact that it seemed like a chore to convince my wife and daughter to move up there when it was "movie time." They both always wanted to stay in the living room (especially during the winter when we might have a fire going), or watch it in our bedroom (it was probably a mistake to upgrade our bedroom TV to a 52").

Conversely, I never enjoyed being in our living room. I personally didn't love our couches, and much preferred the movie chairs I had up in the loft (I should note that my wife and daughter disagree with me on that - they prefer the warmth of the couches fabric vs the leather on the theater chairs). The TV in the living room, while acceptable for TV watching, was too small and too high (above the fireplace) for enjoyable movie watching.

After recently upgrading my projector from a Panasonic 720p LCD to the Epson 8350, I wanted to make use of the theater loft even more but it was still a battle getting them to agree to "move upstairs" in the evening to watch a movie. So I decided to float the idea of moving everything down to the living room. I had rejected the idea when we first moved into the house because I thought there would be no way of controlling all of the light, and I wasn't sure how to sell my wife on the idea of having the movie chairs in the living room. She didn't resist, so I moved quickly and brought it all downstairs. I experimented with projecting onto a couple of different walls, but I think this is where I'm settling. I'll upload some photos in my next post via my iPhone.

I'd love to hear suggestions/comments. We're looking to paint the main area soon, which will darken things up a bit, but it will still be a relatively light color. There are some windows without any coverings in the raised "band stand" area (which now has the couches - and has turned into a comfortable sitting area), and I'll be doing something with them to cut down the light. Up in the loft, the skylights are letting a lot of light in, and I'm going to try to block those off somehow, too. We're also going to be replacing the carpet and the new carpet will be a darker earthy shade.

As for the screen, the one in the pictures is my current 45x80" (92" diagonal) 16:1 Da-Lite High Power (older 2.8 gain). Don't bother commenting on the fact that my center channel is encroaching on the screen, as I didn't want to put new holes in the wall until I got my new screen, so I'm just hanging my old one on my curtain rod. I'm thinking of upgrading to a 116" wide Da-Lite Model C w/High Power (2.4 gain). I'm leaning towards a 2.35:1 screen, but with extra black masking above/below so that the overall aspect ratio of the screen when pulled down will be 16:9 with a 2.35:1 "window" which will allow my Epson 8350's light spillage to be absorbed by the black masking.
post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here are some photos...
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Here are some more photos...
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post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by srauly View Post

Here are some more photos...

srauly,

You have got a wonderful house and nice setup too. I have the same projector and I have been using it for over an year now. I liked it much but, wasn't impressed with the colors in the x.v.color mode so I tweaked them in the cinema mode and am very happy with it. May be it is my screen that is not that good at reproducing colors. So I am looking at the Model C or similar 92" (16x9) screen with 30" masking on the top and at least 4" on the other 3 sides to make it a 2.35:1 one. Btw I am looking at the electric screen since my current one is a manual pull down.

Given the brightness of the 8350, I was wondering anything beyond 'High Contrast Matte White' will be an overkill. So why did you go for 'High Power' and how was your experience with it?

thanks
bob
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the compliments. The house has a very open floor plan with some very interesting details, which is what we loved about it when we first saw it, but the open floor plan and angled white walls don't allow for many options when trying to fit in a home theater.

I think I've been running my PJ in "Natural" mode. I don't remember if I ever tweaked any of the settings. I've been happy with how that looks at night, so I've delayed spending serious time trying to adjust the settings.

As far as the High Power screen is concerned...I thought about switching to a gray material, to aid in daytime viewing, but I've read mixed opinions with some saying that they don't get enough punch from it. I suspect that I'd find myself having to run the lamp in a higher power mode more often, which I'd rather not do. Quite honestly, I think I've come to the opinion that there's (almost) no such thing as too much brightness. At night, I can run this projector in a low-power mode, and while the blacks might not be pure black, that's usually only noticeable in super-dark scenes. In any scenes that have some amount of brightness in them, the black areas look plenty black to me. During the day is when I think I might get some benefit from a gray screen, combined with running the PJ's bulb in high lumens mode. I worry, though, that if I'm also going to increase my screen size significantly, I'll be lacking the lumens I need. And, as I said, at night I currently don't find the image to be too bright in my low-power mode (though perhaps it might be), and it will dim as I increase the screen size, even if I stick with a High Power material.

I guess the bottom line is that I'd love to try out a gray screen, but I'm wary of spending the money on something that I may decide I'm not happy with. And I don't think an 8.5x11" sized sample is going to be big enough for me to gauge how it will really feel. Whereas, with a larger High Power screen, I pretty much know what I'll be getting: a larger, dimmer version of what I've already got.

But now you've got me thinking...maybe I should inquire with Da-Lite about what a fairly large sized piece of one of their "gray" materials (I think the HCMW falls into that category) would cost with no frame or anything. If I could get something like a 45"x40" piece, that would be 1/2 the size of my current 45"x80" screen, and I could hang it over the current screen, and get a really good feel for how they'd compare. If I could do that for less than $100, it might be worth it.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Bumping this thread and sharing some recent thoughts...

So I was pretty much all set to go 2.35:1, and I may still do that. But then I was thinking about 3D (why I was bothering to care about 3D, I'm not sure, since I don't have a 3D projector and, when I tried out the 3D Epson 3010 before settling on my 2D Epson 8350, my wife hated wearing the glasses and I had mixed feelings about the overall experience). As I just posted in another thread, it seems like more and more big-budget action movies are coming out in 3D and it seems ilke most 3D movies are 1.85:1/16:9. There are possibly several reasons for this, but the simplest explanation is that 3D works best when it fills your field of vision, and most people at home have 16:9 displays, so if you're trying to sell them your Blu-ray 3D movies, you want to fill the entire display.

The side-effect, though, for someone who might not care about 3D at all, is that most of the new action movies might be 1.85:1/16.9 instead of 2.35:1 as they traditionally would have likely been.

I recently went through a list of my favorite movies, and cross-checked it online to determine the aspect ratio of those movies. I didn't crunch the numbers, but it felt like over 80% of them were 2.35:1. So going with a 2.35:1 screen seemed like a smart decision. But if the newest action movies end up all being closer to 1.85:1 (because they're all being released as 3D movies), then that trend will start to shift.

Meh.
post #7 of 8
What kind of movies do _you_ like to watch? That matters more than the trend for new releases.

I would go with 2.35 (2.39, 2.40, whatever) with one exception: if you primarily watch movies made before about 1953 (which are almost all 1.37:1, in which case a 4x3 screen is appropriate). Otherwise, 2.35 makes good sense for most viewers, and provides the appropriate sense of scale for widescreen films (which are generally composed to be shown on larger screens than the narrower formats).
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
bippy, that's why I've been leaning towards 2.35:1. I went to this site which has a list of most movies, along with their aspect ratios:
http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/FeatureStats.php

I then cross-checked that against a spreadsheet I put together a while ago (which I haven't updated in a little while, so it's missing several of my recent movies) and filled in the aspect ratio info for my favorite movies. In the end, I had aspect ratio info filled in for about 130 movies, with about 2x as many of the movies being 2.35:1/2.40:1 compared to the less-wide formats. What I don't have info on is trending, though. Ideally I'd also add the year to my movie list, and filter it to just show movies from the last year, last 5 years, etc., and look to see if there's a noticeable shift towards 1.78:1/1.85:1 in more recent years.

All that said, I am still leaning towards going with a 2.35:1 screen based on my current list of favorite movies. If 1.78:1/1.85:1 ever takes the lead for action movies, it will probably be a while yet. And, IMO, many of the more recent action movies that are being released in 3D 1.78:1/1.85:1 I've been disappointed with. One example in a certain category would be the Marvel comic movies. The 1st Spiderman was great and was 1.85:1, but of the other examples I can think of, the Spiderman sequels, Iron Man movies, and X-Men movies were all 2.35:1/2.40:1. Thor and the Avengers were 1.85:1 and shot for 3D. Well, as much as I loved the Thor comic books, I didn't think much of the movie, and was disappointed with the Avengers movie as well.

So, in summary, if there is a recent trend of shooting action movies in 3D and 1.85:1, but that trend also includes crappier scripts, then I won't care to own those movies anyway.
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