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Combination Home Theater and Photo Studio

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I'm interested in creating a combination home theater and photo studio. The space available is a basement 13' 6 wide by 31' long by 7' high. The walls are cement block, the ceiling is tiled, and the floor is carpeted.

The plan is to place drywall on the walls and ceiling with new recessed lighting fixtures and electrical outlets. The home theater projection screen would be attached to the 13' 6 wall which would be painted black. The remaining walls and ceiling would be painted neutral flat white (except for a 30 wide black strip on the ceiling across the top of the black wall). There would be a U shaped double ceiling curtain track with the projection screen in the middle of the U shape. The track closest to the walls would have a 12' by 7' green screen fabric normally on one side of the U and a 12' by 7' white projection screen fabric normally on the other side of the U. The track further from the walls would have 12' by 7' black velvet fabric curtains on either side of the U which normally cover the green and white screens. The fabrics would be mounted by snaps to carriers in the tracks such that they could be fan folded and pushed out of the way when needed or pulled over the projection screen when needed as backgrounds for photography. The black velvet curtains can be used as masks when needed to change the aspect ratio of the projection screen or to mask the green or white backgrounds.

Home Theater Considerations

I have been taking 3D photographs for over 45 years and make my own 3D videos and 3D lenticular prints which can be viewed without special glasses. I have used my two Panasonic PT-AE700U LCD projectors with StereoBright 90% efficient polarizers (advisol.co.il) and old 70 square Da-Lite lenticular silver screen for showing 3D videos to audiences up to 200 people. I've recently purchased a new 84 square Da-Lite Silver Lite 2.5 screen for the same purpose. The new screen doesn't have the moiré effect experienced by digital projection on a lenticular screen, but does seem to have such high gain that it is difficult to obtain uniform illumination. I'm hoping that a DIY silver screen in the controlled environment of a darkened room with ceiling mounted projectors (upside down and side-by-side) would provide much better results.
Since I make my own 3D videos, I can control the amount of disparity between views (I have seven 3D HD video rigs in which I can set the spacing between cameras). I normally set this disparity to 1/30th of the image width. Since the normal spacing between eyes is about 2.5, this means a screen width of 75 would be about optimum without having the difference between infinity points becoming greater than the eye spacing. However, I could shoot with less disparity or push the image forward in space if desired to prevent this condition. Nevertheless, I'd really like to see my videos on a much larger screen.

So, my first request is for advice on the type and size of screen as well as the corresponding distance between projectors and screen for my particular projectors. Keep in mind that my polarizers are highly efficient and I doubt a really high gain silver screen is necessary. I'd especially like to end up with even illumination for passive polarized projection.

Photo Studio Considerations

I do a lot of green screen photography; especially for 3D lenticular portraits (my lenticular camera array consists of 13 cameras with a total stereo base of about 8). I also do a lot of 2D portrait photography. Rather than use various canvas backdrops, which I normally do, I'd like to develop a new technique. In this method I'd use the 12' by 7' white projection fabric as the backdrop. I'd project background images onto this screen using speedlights or studio strobes and the appropriate optics with slides. The images could be a single color (green for example) or any image desired. The projection device could be quite small and located behind the subject. Or, a larger and more complex device could be constructed and mounted to the ceiling much like video projectors. In any event, the method would have to work in combination with studio lighting and not result in having the projected image washed out by the other lighting. For example, I often use a ring light for fill and this light might wipe out the projected image if the screen gain or retro-reflectivity is too high. I'd appreciate some comments on how this technique might be made to work.
post #2 of 5
You still need to preserve the polarization "on-screen' and while the degree of screen brightness (gain) might not be the defining issue, the amount of metallic content would be.

Unless...your describing a passive system that does not require such a screen....there are some examples of such...but few are commercially available.

Myself, over in the UK & Ireland, I have created 2 - 200" diagonal passive 3D screens for use with the LG CF3D using a high gain (4.0 est.), metal-based paint solution...but what a PITA it was/is. The paint mix used had a extremely high VOC, and required Industrial-Strength ventilation measures and a exceptionally good Dual Respirator mask.

And another crazy malcontent and I are working to reconfigure the mix to be water-based, or in the least, a mixture of soluble water/oil components. We are very close to our goal, having managed to get oil & water together in a somewhat tentative union, but we really REALLY want to accomplish it with water-based components only before advocating it for general use.

I really would like to help you achieve your goal in this project....so let's keep the lines of communication open...and who knows but that there might be a few others who will pipe in with valid suggestions and help?
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've been thinking some more about the home theater possibilities for passive 3D projection in my 13' 6 by 31' by 7' high basement space.

Rather than use my existing 1000 lumen LCD projectors, StereoBright polarizers, and silver high gain polarization preserving screen, I'm considering using a pair of Epson 8100 projectors with 1800 lumens in combination with the Omega 3D passive projection system. This system is only about 20% efficient (thus needing more light) but has excellent extinction (no ghosting between left and right images) and works with a white screen.

Here are some considerations about screen size for 3D projection. I normally shoot 3D videos (by adjusting the stereo base between cameras) such that the maximum disparity between near and far objects is about 1/30th of the image width. In this case, since the on-screen displacement between the far (infinity) points should not exceed the average spacing between the eyes (approximately 2.5), the maximum image (screen) width should be 75 if the near objects are aligned on the projection surface. The 3D movies designed for theater projection use a much smaller disparity and look best on wider screens. In order to accommodate both commercial 3D videos and my own videos designed for a somewhat smaller maximum screen size, I probably will mount my projectors upside-down and side-by-side on a sliding platform such that I can adjust both projector-to-screen distance and lens zoom to best fit the desired screen size. Again, black velvet fabric masking will be used to properly frame the desired screen size.

With the above considerations in mind, my question now is what is the best recommended paint for application to a prepared drywall surface? Supposedly a white surface will avoid the hot spot normally experienced with high gain silver screens. But, given the lumens of my projectors and the 20% efficiency of the Omega 3D system for a maximum projected width of 12', will my white screen need some gain?
post #4 of 5
RS-MaxxMudd LL

1.3 gain
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Based on a separate discussion on the Official Omega 3D Passive Projection thread, another user of this 3D system suggests an even higher output Panasonic AR100U (2800 lumens) projector would be better suited for my needs. This user finds the 1800 lumens of the Epson 8100 on a 240x130cm (90.6x51.2) silver screen with gain of 2.4 to be just a little dim.

In the case of the 2800 lumen Panasonic, I assume the screen gain for a white screen could be less than the 1.3 you recommended. Since I want to use anywhere from a 75 or thereabouts width up to something possibly as wide as 12' (with the proper projector-to-screen distance and masking for the screen size), I'd be concerned that even with a lower gain screen when not in the 3D mode (2D mode is effectively 5 times brighter than 3D mode) that the brightness might be too high. I assume these projectors have different modes in which the brightness can be reduced. In order for me to keep from asking a series of questions until I zero in on a solution, is there a general method by which I can make these decisions about screen gain by myself? If not, what gain would you recommend for this brighter projector?
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