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Why is dark walls so important? - Page 3

post #61 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by ATWindsor View Post

Well, you CAN measure difference between audio cables too, if you have good equipment. But that doesn't mean the impact is something we can hear smile.gif I guess you can say the same about dark walls, although its a measurable difference doesn't mean you can sense it (though everything seems to point too that the difference is indeed visible), but it would be interesting to get some more "Hard science"-discussion.

Sorry there is no need to math.. all you have to do is look.. I have seen it with my own eyes in more that one room. There have been photos posted in other threads like this in the past..
You have heard the folks from the dedicated forum.. Here is a thread in the projector forum http://www.avsforum.com/t/1465053/black-theater-improvment-thread-once-you-go-black-you-never-go-back/0_100

Another one from this forum http://www.avsforum.com/t/1442134/do-dark-walls-matter-yes-yes-they-do/0_100

It is not a question of does dark walls, ceiling and floor help, it is more do you care or can you live with the reduced contrast under certain content conditions. Is it a compromise you are willing to make. Hell I watch pawn stars and baseball while my wife has the light on reading.. Do I want to fight with her, or just watch the show..

To measure the difference you would need to measure the contrast of a screen and projector in the room painted white, then move the same screen and projector to a dark painted room, set it up the same and remeasure. You would focus on reassuring along the top and sides of the screen as that is where the reflected light does the most damage.
post #62 of 126
It also isn't an all or nothing prospect. While a matte black or velvet/matte cloth absorbs light the best that doesn't mean that is your only option. You could cover your screen wall in fabric or paint it black and then have your ceiling and side walls a different color.

Before I redesigned my theater space it was an open concept space with dark brown walls and a white ceiling/soffit. The walls including the screenwall did not have a noticeable impact on the picture and seemed to fade away. The white ceiling/soffit very noticeably affected the picture. I taped up a sheet of black construction paper/board and the difference on screen was obvious.

The carpet was also a light beige and while I can’t say it impacted the screen I can say it conspicuously stood out in your field of view compared to what I have now.
post #63 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by fstanek View Post

Neat thread. I'm surprised that no one has actually done any math to determine if/what advantage dark walls make.

Lots of people seem to think dark walls are better, but there are also a lot of opinions that a $200/ft audio cable is better than a $10/ft audio cable, and the (blind test) numbers just don't back that up. Perhaps the same is true for dark walls.

I have recently remodeled my basement and we now have darker walls/ceiling, but I'm not quite sure that it has made any noticeable difference. When I play games or watch movies, I do not stop and think to myself that the walls are too light.

Don't go there on audio cables. Please. It is a really good way to turn nearly everyone against you. Audio cable, has been measured to hell and also tested double blind numerous times. We pretty much know that as long as the gauge is equal....you can't tell the difference reliably at all; It is a measured and statistical certainty. One nice person actually made a nice page which does indeed show that cables like kinder cable are "technically better" (http://diyaudioprojects.com/Power/DIY-Braided-Speaker-Cables/). But considering the difference (milli dB) where the roll off starts and our threshold/capablity of hearing vs frequency (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22436407), you can't tell. Maybe somebody with a highly trained ear at high frequencies could.. but that doesn't make sense for the overwhelming vast majority.

As for darker walls, your experience seems to be lacking key data. This usually where the fight comes in as I posted above. One thing is that is an irrefutable fact is that reflected light back on a screen WILL reduce contrast. The math is simple. Lets say I have 1 lumen @ "black" on 1/2 the screen and 1000 lumen @ "white" on the other half. Now lets say I reflect one more lumen "equally" over the whole screen . My contrast just went from 1000:1 to 500.5:1. This is why when you turn a light on in a room, it is really easy to nuke your contrast into sub 100:1 unless you have a light canon. If you watch inherently dark movies...this comes quicker. If you watch brighter films (like animation) this comes later.

I stated this above....and I won't go into again. But I will summarize, light control becomes important when you set the stage to exacerbate unwanted reflections. Putting a black border on your screen sets that stage. It helps focus our eyes and immerse ourselves. But at the same time it sets up a contrast reference point our eyes can link too since our eyes will scan. In short, it is a two edge sword. Now how much "darkening" do you need in your room...depends on your room and materials. For "darkening", the key area is the ceiling and floor just in front of the screen. That is why some people will just work those areas. It is a "big bang for buck" on terms of minimizing a sizable amount of the light that may reflect back. But, if you are going to have a white room with white carpet/ceiling, the black border is probably the one thing you don't want if you sit a reasonable distance from the screen. In this case you might be better off by having your screen border-less. It will give your eyes a difference reference point which his your white wall which is now your "black". You still won't get amazing black level or contrast. But, what you will get is the removal of a visual reference of what black is.

But..the test for each person is pretty easy and chip. A black fabric from joans and a few sewing needles will give you quite a bit of "real data" to work with. You can then decide on your own "what works best" for you and level of comfort. For the people that are dropping $20k into a dedicated room and then more for gear and not taking that into account...well, might as well say "I just like spending money to say I have something expensive"
post #64 of 126
Personally, I don't like dark walls in my theater area, as it wouldn't look right as the rest of my basement is open. I am sure that some light bounces off my light carpet, and my white ceiling and creme colored walls, but I have never thought. "I can't see the picture well with these light reflections"...


As with many things, personal preference is key...
post #65 of 126
It's not saying you can't have white glossy enamel walls, ceiling and white marble floor. It's just that it's not optimal and you will have lower picture quality (and acoustics with a tile floor in this imaginary scenario) than you could have.

You also don't need the inside of a coffin and almost no one builds their theater space as such. Dark matte walls, floor and ceiling reflect less light back to the screen than light walls, floor and ceiling. It's up to you how much of a compromise you want to make.
post #66 of 126
One last thought.. Anyone ever go to a movie theater (built in the past 50 years) that has anything other than dark everything? As was said, it is up to the room owner as to what compromises they can live with... Bread and water or Steak and wine.. Both beat starving!
post #67 of 126
Trepidation mentioned the most important area to darken is the ceiling and floor directly in front of the screen. For a 100" screen placed in the center of a 9' wall, about how many feet out from the wall should be
Covered on the ceiling and floor to produce a noticeable effect? Some people have a lot of space in their theater rooms, so it's hard to gauge exactly what he means.
post #68 of 126
Very interesting thread.

I've been thinking of putting a PJ in my living room with cream walls and white ceiling as well. I do have some advantages however; 19' ceiling and no side walls. The light would have to travel a long ways to make it back to the screen.

My only question would be, how important is the color of the wall behind the screen? A lot of the photos I've seen in this forum and the dedicated HT forum have black or dark walls behind the screen. Would this make a big difference in a room with high ceilings and no side walls?
post #69 of 126
The back wall does not effect the actual image as the light from the projector hits the screen not the wall. That wall will be lit up by the reflected light from the rest of the room, especially if you have white walls and ceiling be they close or far away. The idea in making the back wall black is so the screen appears to float in nothingness and you remove all distractions of feeling like you are watching a big box in a room. You become immersed in the content on the screen. So in your case room aesthetics may be of more value than having a black wall. The reason I say this is that with all the white walls and ceiling even very high will still light up the room and you will see everything around your anyway, which may void the validity of the dark back wall especially if there are other furnishings or wall hangings to either side of the screen as it sounds like a very large room.
Hope that makes sense?
post #70 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post

The back wall does not effect the actual image as the light from the projector hits the screen not the wall. That wall will be lit up by the reflected light from the rest of the room, especially if you have white walls and ceiling be they close or far away. The idea in making the back wall black is so the screen appears to float in nothingness and you remove all distractions of feeling like you are watching a big box in a room. You become immersed in the content on the screen. So in your case room aesthetics may be of more value than having a black wall. The reason I say this is that with all the white walls and ceiling even very high will still light up the room and you will see everything around your anyway, which may void the validity of the dark back wall especially if there are other furnishings or wall hangings to either side of the screen as it sounds like a very large room.
Hope that makes sense?

I think I got. So in theory, no matter the size of the room or height of the ceiling, with white walls and a white ceiling, the light will be reflected back onto the screen and all surrounding walls; reducing contrast and immersion.

It isn't a huge room, 19'x15' with 19' ceiling. But where I would put the screen, it is completely open on one side to the kitchen and the other wall is a good 3' or 4' away. My wife and I were planning on painting the room gray, so maybe that would help with some of the reflection?

I wish someone would just make 100"+ TVs that were affordable to reduce the anxiety of building a HT/multi-purpose room.
post #71 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyFTwedge View Post

I think I got. So in theory, no matter the size of the room or height of the ceiling, with white walls and a white ceiling, the light will be reflected back onto the screen and all surrounding walls; reducing contrast and immersion.

It isn't a huge room, 19'x15' with 19' ceiling. But where I would put the screen, it is completely open on one side to the kitchen and the other wall is a good 3' or 4' away. My wife and I were planning on painting the room gray, so maybe that would help with some of the reflection?

I wish someone would just make 100"+ TVs that were affordable to reduce the anxiety of building a HT/multi-purpose room.

There was a post I had read a while ago with a similar setup. They were having some serious sound issues with the open side as there was an imbalance in sound. On the side with the wall you have a lot of reflection of sound.. the open side none.. So walled side is much louder and sound stage is all messed up.. I would assume with sufficient room treatment on the walled side you could tame it down.. (acoustic panels and such)

If you go with a gray that would be helpful and you could probably do a darker color gray on the back and walled side of the room.. like 2 accent walls or whatever the designers call it! ;-) It is all about compromise.. you may give up a tad of contrast and a little bit of immersion, but you have a really big TV screen!
post #72 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyFTwedge View Post

I think I got. So in theory, no matter the size of the room or height of the ceiling, with white walls and a white ceiling, the light will be reflected back onto the screen and all surrounding walls; reducing contrast and immersion.

It isn't a huge room, 19'x15' with 19' ceiling. But where I would put the screen, it is completely open on one side to the kitchen and the other wall is a good 3' or 4' away. My wife and I were planning on painting the room gray, so maybe that would help with some of the reflection?

I wish someone would just make 100"+ TVs that were affordable to reduce the anxiety of building a HT/multi-purpose room.

You have it exactly. However, your anxiety should be proportional to how much you are spending though. If you are the guy who drops less than a few 1000 on their HT gear (which is still an awesome setup), then the effects will be less pronounced because your projector's black level isn't that stellar anyways. But once you starting spending a few Cleveland's on the projector...then, you should probably start considering things. In your case, you will never have perfect light control (based upon your described room) so maybe the effects of reflections will be dominated by ambient light effects. My biggest advice is do what you can w/o killing WAF.
post #73 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post

Most all AT screen fabrics are designed for a seating distance of at least 12-13ft or you will see the weave.. something to consider.

The 4k screens have a tighter weave. Also you can typically order samples. I did and could not see the weave pattern from over 9 feet for Seymour's xd material.

Also with this short throw consider DLP. They typically have shorter throw.
post #74 of 126
Here is a comparison of Seymour XD (AT), Seymour BW (non-AT)and Moleskin Spandex (AT). From about 10' away you don't notice the weave in the XD although as you can see here it is very visable (this is not 4k material)
D6230BFD-4880-4E86-B684-C5E24F6C0733-154-00000005E997336B_zps7fe97776.jpg

I'm to hoping to finally get around to testing all three this Sunday.
post #75 of 126
With all the compromises you need to make, I would suggest a large (70"-80") flat panel instead of a projector.

I have a dedicated room, and I started out with a living room setup that I wasn't satisfied with. My room is very small (10x12) with a large (8') screen so went with black velvet on all the walls. I also built a ceiling tray that is covered in velvet, and have black carpeting to 3 feet in front of the screen. This way during a movie you have no idea how small the room is, and the contrast is excellent. I also have a High Power screen, so it looks like a giant plasma floating in the room. smile.gif

I purposely bought a 3 bedroom house knowing one of the rooms would be dedicated. Those with less space, or living in apartments have fewer options, I realize.

You could always demo the projector of your choice on a white wall to begin with to see if it meets your needs. Over time you may want to tweak things to improve picture quality though. wink.gif
post #76 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by design1stcode2nd View Post

Here is a comparison of Seymour XD (AT), Seymour BW (non-AT)and Moleskin Spandex (AT). From about 10' away you don't notice the weave in the XD although as you can see here it is very visable (this is not 4k material)
D6230BFD-4880-4E86-B684-C5E24F6C0733-154-00000005E997336B_zps7fe97776.jpg

I'm to hoping to finally get around to testing all three this Sunday.


Has anyone tested these for sound quality too ?
post #77 of 126
Jeff M tested a bunch a while back, here is the report he published
http://accucalhd.com/documents/accucal_front_projection_screen_report.pdf
post #78 of 126
Also for the spandex there are a number of threads discussing different ones in the DIY screen forums, regarding PQ, AT and so on.

I'm very pleased with mine so far and for $200 or so there really isn't any comparison. If I had loads of green I'd have just bought some top of the line 4k material but then I wouldn't have built a theater myself either.
post #79 of 126
I do have a question on this, right now my walls are a dark blue, painted with a semi-gloss paint. So no real reflection from the walls, however I do have a white suspended ceiling. It's not very reflective, it's that foam/cork material. The first couple rows of tiles, definitely light up white. Now, I've never really noticed light reflecting back onto the screen, but would it make much of a difference if I were to paint the first couple rows? If I were to paint them, how far out should I go, any tile with white on it while a movie is playing?
Edited by cbo0485 - 6/25/13 at 1:11pm
post #80 of 126
I have the Seymour Center Stage XD(AT) screen, and it's absolutely beautiful. I don't have any other screens, so I can't compare it, but what i can say, is my 120" screen, even from just 8-9 feet away, you can barely see the weave. Our seating is about 11-12 feet away, so you can't see the weave at all. And the sound is amazing through it. All I did was raise the db on the center/front left and front right channel by 2db.
post #81 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo0485 View Post

I do have a question on this, right now my walls are a dark blue, painted with a semi-gloss paint. So no real reflection from the walls, however I do have a white suspended ceiling. It's not very reflective, it's that foam/cork material. The first couple rows of black tile, definitely light up white. Now, I've never really noticed light reflecting back onto the screen, but would it make much of a difference if I were to paint the first couple rows? If I were to paint them, how far out should I go, any tile with white on it while a movie is playing?
5' out should be enough.
For a cheap fast test, go to Bed Bath and Beyond and by a single twin size black flat sheet, about $10. Find a way to attach it to the ceiling in front of the screen and view what effect paint will have. When done use it in the spare bedroom! wink.gif
post #82 of 126
I've done that ^
post #83 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbo0485 View Post

I do have a question on this, right now my walls are a dark blue, painted with a semi-gloss paint. So no real reflection from the walls, however I do have a white suspended ceiling. It's not very reflective, it's that foam/cork material. The first couple rows of tiles, definitely light up white. Now, I've never really noticed light reflecting back onto the screen, but would it make much of a difference if I were to paint the first couple rows? If I were to paint them, how far out should I go, any tile with white on it while a movie is playing?

I believe in the shootout thread in the 3k+ forum (one by zombie) he noticed a marked improvement when switching to black tiles. I can't remember what he bought though.
post #84 of 126
Was going to have the screen wall black and the floor with dark grey ceiling and walls. Would this be suitable?
post #85 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijotter View Post

Was going to have the screen wall black and the floor with dark grey ceiling and walls. Would this be suitable?

Yes, much better than white!
I posted this in the Black thread over in > $3000 forum but here is a link to my living room update

Living room Projector and environment update
post #86 of 126
To be honest, I didn't read any responses after the first few. But a simple answer is, watch a movie at night with the lights on. Halfway through, turn ALL the lights off. Notice the difference in percieved picture quality as SOON as you turn the lights off? Now, as your eyes adjust you start to notice the walls and furniture more. All dark walls, floor, ceiling and furniture give the same effect as when you first turned the lights off. I think we get WAY too caught up in specs, unwritten "rules" and ideas ("you can't put anything on the internet that isn't true", right?). We forget the important things are what actually work in practice.
post #87 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffHurt View Post

To be honest, I didn't read any responses after the first few. But a simple answer is, watch a movie at night with the lights on. Halfway through, turn ALL the lights off. Notice the difference in percieved picture quality as SOON as you turn the lights off? Now, as your eyes adjust you start to notice the walls and furniture more. All dark walls, floor, ceiling and furniture give the same effect as when you first turned the lights off. I think we get WAY too caught up in specs, unwritten "rules" and ideas ("you can't put anything on the internet that isn't true", right?). We forget the important things are what actually work in practice.

Even with dark surroundings, your eyes adjust. Someone upthread mentioned dark theaters for the last few decades or so. I went to one today and if you choose to be distracted you will be as your surroundings will soon be visible to you.
post #88 of 126
No they don't. If you've never had a matte dark grey walled theater, you're eyes CAN'T adjust as it turns into a visual hole. Like the screen is floating in the middle of nothing.
post #89 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffHurt View Post

No they don't. If you've never had a matte dark grey walled theater, you're eyes CAN'T adjust as it turns into a visual hole. Like the screen is floating in the middle of nothing.

So what are you saying?
post #90 of 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by mijotter View Post

So what are you saying?

If the room is black enough you can not see the walls or ceiling or floor, it is just back. Just like the camera saw when it took the picture of the finished night time setup in my signature below. You can not tell where the ceiling and wall meet, it is just black. You may see other objects in the room that reflect light. The important thing is there is no light from close by surfaces to reflect back on the screen and you as the view can only see the screen floating in space which draws you in..
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