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Winery/DIY Dinner Theater needs a projector: Suggestions???

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was tasked with building a theater in our winery's "ballroom" with a budget of only $15,000. I built three of Wayne Parham's upgraded 4pi speakers for the mains, and twelve of his 1pi speakers for the surrounds. I built four F20 horn subs (thanks lilmike) using Daytona's Reference HF driver. It is designed to be a 7.2 system. Today I installed a Center Stage XD screen from SeymourAV over a 30" deep baffle wall that contains the mains and the subs. The screen has an advertised gain of 1.2. Right now, the screen is 168" x 100", but will be getting a 5.5" velvet border that will alter these dimensions to 157" x 89", or ~ 180" measured diagonally (see below).

I originally budgeted $5,000 for the projector, but having gone over budget on the audio portion, need to scale that back to $4,000. The room is 45" long and 30" wide. The rear of the space has a balcony that is also 15' deep. The area that does not have a balcony has 19' ceilings, the space under the balcony has 8' ceilings, and the area above the balcony has 9' ceilings. Overall, the room has volume of about 20,000 cubic feet. There are many glass doors and windows in the space that allows a lot of natural light in. I plan to have heavy drapes on the windows and doors, but the projector needs to do well in all lighting environments...probably in the 4,000+ lumen range.

I have been looking at the BenQ SH960 and the BenQ SP891, but am needing feedback on what projector might best fit our needs at that $4,000 price point. I should note that the projector will be mounted under the rear balcony at 27' from the screen.

My build thread is located here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1342983/building-a-dinner-theater-w-diy-speakers-subs-etc

Edited by dutchswan0311 - 12/5/12 at 6:53pm
post #2 of 8
For under $4000 you could look at a BenQ W7000, Epson 5010, Epson 5020, or even a Sony VPL-HW50ES. All are excellent choices and should be bright enough for that screen. The BenQ will be the brightest one listed. Read up on these. There are many reviews out there. Find one that fits your wants in a front projector. You won't be disappointed by any of them. The ones you listed are very bright but will be lacking in some areas, most notably black level response.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I also noticed the BenQ SH910 for $1,800. But, I am wary about spending so little, as though it will not do our space justice. Have you heard anything about the SH910? Am I just not being a savvy buyer; spending more than I need to?

I have thought about the BenQ W7000, but thought maybe it was not bright enough? At 27' from the screen, the lumens are not going to do as much for us as they might in a home theater application in which the screen is only 10' - 15' from the projector. If I remember correctly, if you double the distance...you quadruple the "dimness".
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Further research has revealed that rather than focusing on the lumen output of any given projector, it is more effective to look at image brightness on your actual screen (measured in fL). Using Projector Central's calculator, I have calculated the image brightness on our screen for several projectors (with consideration to a 27' throw distance, a 180" image size, and a screen gain of 1.2). I read that the ideal image brightness for a light controlled theater is 16fL. The source went on to say that rooms with increased ambient light, such as a living room, need an image brightness of 25fL - 30fL.

BenQ W7000: 11fL
BenQ SH910: 20fL
BenQ SP890: 22fL
BenQ SP891: 25fL
BenQ SH960: 30fL

Epson 5010: 9fL
Epson 5020: 18fL

Sony VPL-HW50ES: 9fL
Edited by dutchswan0311 - 12/5/12 at 9:40pm
post #5 of 8
That 960 is a flame thrower but it does lack in contrast to say the least. i would recommend that you also look at the bulb set ups in projectors. meaning if they are claiming 4000 contrast on a single low wattage bulb and the chasis of the projector is extremely small in size then its a good indicator that the lumen output claims are BS. high wattage bulbs or multiple bulbs and a coolng system to handle the heat are good indicators that the lumen output is realistic. that uses two 330 watt bulbs i believe so you id say the lumen claims are legitimate. i have used a couple of the w6000's and 7000s but not on anything that big so dont have any words of wisdom for you on those models. I use a lot of the epson 6010's/6020's and love them, image brightness and awesome contrast combo...but on a screen that big your getting a little low on fL especially when you factor in ambient light...which that calculator on projector central doesnt do.

anyway you can post more pics of the room. anyway you can get that projector distance closer? that would help tremendously with fL output. That throw distance is killing you and will make any ambient light in that room a bigger problem.
post #6 of 8
another option would be the http://www.airflex5d.com/ system but it blows your budget all to hell. we looked at this at cedia last year and its pretty damn impressive. you could do some amazing picture quality on large screens for way less than other projectors out on the market. ive been wanting to do the airflex system with 2 6020's on a 170 2:35 but havent gotten to it yet. youd have about 10-12k in a system like that but the performance would rival projectors in the 50k range easily
post #7 of 8
just because your limited on options Ill throw this out there also. Im not a big del projector fan but the Dell 7700 is 5000 lumens and has a rated contrast of 20:000....it does get some very good reviews and cost less than 3500
its a DLP but it will work in your throw range . id also check your numbers on fL. i ran the numbers on the sh960 on a 1.2 gain 180 diagnol screen and got a distance of 26'2" with 59fL
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
@dbals....Thanks for talking with me today. I couldn't find the above posts you mentioned, but then realized that I opened a second thread just for the projector (I am used to only having to check my build thread). My build thread and lilmike's F20 thread are pretty much the only two I have frequented as of late.

For more views of our space, here are a few pictures from one of our albums on our winery's facebook page:

Standing about 15 feet into the room, and approximately 27 feet from the screen. The projector gets installed right above my head from where I am standing when I took this photo. We are looking West in this photo. We left some of the rafters exposed because we thought it looked cool, and I figured it might help with acoustics a tad too.

This is a photo taken while standing in the middle of the "ballroom" (looking East). You are looking up at the balcony. The ballisters have bags over them to project them from the mudders when they were doing the sheetrock. There is a fireplace on the east wall of the balcony. The rectangle sheetrock at the top of the image shows where the eastern most chandelier was later installed. The middle of the eight can lights above the stage will have a ceiling fan installed.

This is an angled view of part of the South wall. You can see two of the three 8' french doors, and three of the four left surrounds (1pis).

This is a view of the north wall. You can see it is broken up by a stage that also has three large windows, and a couple more of the 1pi surrounds.

This is another view of the balcony from before the sheetrock was installed. This photo was taken while standing on the stage. This view gives you a better idea of why we want to install the projector on the edge of the overhang of the balcony.

This is a view of the ballroom ceiling. I took this photo standing next to the screen on its right hand side. We are looking up and to the Southeast in this photo.
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