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manual masking system  

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
i have searched everywhere trying to find a manual masking system. i think if i am interested in one maybe others would be too. i would like to get a feel for how many people with 4:3 screens would be interested. The system would be similar to the motorized versions but with a chain roller dropping the masking from the top while simultaneously pulling from the bottom. a little inconvenience but could save maybe $900 or so. I think I may be able to market something like this for about $700. that would be for a 60:80 screen masking system. would there be any interest? I have read about many other ways to mask on this forum but a totally variable aspect ratio may be of interest? if so, i will order a prototype, see how well it works and post pictures later. with permission from avs forum.
post #2 of 103
With the popularity of 235:1 scope screens you may want to include that as an option as well. Maintaining constant height and changing the width.
I personally would be interested in that version and know of several installations taking place that would benefit from such a system.
post #3 of 103
Thread Starter 
will check on that tomorrow and report back. thanx
post #4 of 103
A totally variable masking system is needed! Of course pricing is critical.

4:3 format screen requires top/bottom masking. 2.35 format screen (constant height) requires side masking. But what if you have something in between like 2:1 (constant area)? This requires multiple masking positions when you use the zoom on a projector.

An additional issue comes up with zooming a PJ like the HT300+. An unbalanced movement between the top and bottom masking systems is needed.
post #5 of 103

I would be interested in constant width with independent top and bottom masking for a 10ft wide screen (Perma Wall)

post #6 of 103
I'm interested.

post #7 of 103
Thread Starter 
OK, I figured I wouldn't be the only one. Will check to see if ten foot is feasible.
post #8 of 103
I am interested in a top/bottom and side masking system for my 16/9 screen.
post #9 of 103
Thread Starter 
C Clark and Bobjew, ten foot would not be a problem and independent adjustment would be an option. Please understand that I am currently working with the manufacturer and this is still in the earliest stages. I still am unaware of the ability to have this system work both horizontally and vertically. I believe a system can be made to work horizontally but havent all the details on it. I have decided to order a prototype for myself. Lets face it, I wanted one and couldn't find one! It may be a month before I have the unit and can post pictures.
post #10 of 103
Put me on the list for a top and bottom option for a 96" 16x9 screen.
post #11 of 103
Keith M:

Can't wait to see what you come up with!

post #12 of 103
Thread Starter 
I'm Keith's daughter, Keith broke his leg and dislocated his ankle last night...so he will not be posting regularly. If you are interested in manual masking please keep on posting, as I will be checking the site for him. If you would like some more information you can email at katielynn31585@hotmail.com (which is my email). I apologize for the inconvenience but there is nothing that can be done.
post #13 of 103
post #14 of 103
I'm intrigued by your project. I'll stay interested.
post #15 of 103
Sorry to hear about the leg, wish you a speedy recovery.

post #16 of 103
Take care of that leg. Hope you feel better soon.

Here is a description of my masking system which was manual and I automated.

Phase 1
16:9 > to > 2.35:1
I have finished a pair of horizontally mounted masking panels covered in black velvet. They are 6" high and 10' wide for our 120" 16x9 screen. This allows me to mask the screen down to a 2.35:1 aspect. The masking panels roll on an aluminum track of 3/4" angle aluminum stock the working/roller edge points out to the side, not toward the seating. The masking panels have two rollers on each end, patio door rollers mounted flat about 4" from each end and an inch from the long edges. The rollers keep the masking tight and fairly level. The masking panels are tied together with a rope and pulley system. The rope goes from the upper masking panel up over the pulley and down to the lower masking panel. When the upper masking panel comes down the lower goes up. It took a little time to get the rope length and stops right but it aligns correctly for fully open and 2.35:1 masking. Once the bottom was connected to the top the masking panels tracked well and stay level when moved from a center point. The panels counter-balance each other.

Aug 2002
The track system mentioned above could possibly be replaced substituting two pairs of vertically mounted European drawer slides. Hiding the slides might prove a challenge however. The above system is totally concealed.

Phase 2
16:9 > to > 4:3
I recently completed this phase of my masking being able to reduce 16:9 down in width to a 4:3 aspect ratio. I wanted several things from this masking:
· Very firm clean vertical edge
· Flat smooth surface to blend into existing wall
· Maintain a constant tight distance from the screen
· Be able to overlap and also use my existing horizontal masking
I did this using a rather different method than others have used. I mounted a pair of spacers made from two 2x4’s glued together into a stack screwed horizontally to the wall just inside of the extremes of the horizontal masking travel. One spacer set high, one low. I had grooved the spacers to fit European drawer slides, which were screwed to the spacers this prevented slippage. I cut large panels using MDF to which I also mounted the other half of the European drawer slides. I made a jig to keep the slides square and correctly spaced. These panels were then covered with black velvet, which I was able to get for 50% off at JoAnn’s. (Fate shines on the DIY’r) I also mounted some simple home made adjustable screw stops to the back of the panels and the mounting blocks to allow for fine tuning the position of the panels in the 4:3 masking position. The European drawer slides are spec’d for a 100 lb load, my panels were about 27 lbs. So they slide very easily. I was going to tie these panels together for manual operation but I have clearance for Phase 3.

Phase 3
My next step was to automate these masking panels using small air cylinders controlled via electrically operated air valves. I know everyone talks about motors. But the air cylinders eliminate several issues:
· The air system eliminates the limit switch worry, i.e. no fried motors
· I can run the whole thing on 12Vdc.
· Silent operation (Assumes a remote location for mounting a small air pump, air tank and the valving.)
On the con side the system will not allow multiple masking stop points on say the horizontal masking. This is an issue some have addressed using the Drape Boss (discontinued) to drive multiple stop point masking, but which I feel affects too few movies to create a great worry. IMHO

Phase 4
I decided the variety of aspect ratios via the different formats DVD, LD & DSS and the lack of buttons on the remote that I could dedicate to masking choices made trying to program all the choices too cumbersome. So I have tied my masking system into my Niles Intellicontrol by using a contact closure set on the Intellicontrol main unit to control the masking providing a Masking Yes / No signal. Instead of having the masking choices programmed I have the four choices:
16:9 Displaying my full screen
16:9 masked to 2.35:1
16:9 masked to 4:3
both masking sets in place work out to be letterboxed 4:3

These are selected via switches mounted on my center console table between the front row chairs. The switches are within inches of the remote but out of site. I can make the masking selection and at the appropriate point the masking rolls into place. Let me give an example:

· I load a DVD that is formatted in 2.35:1. I choose the appropriate masking selection switch.
· (INTRO) All appropriate gear is powered up and audio / video input selections occur via the programming. The room lights dim to mid level. Then my Intro DVD plays its “Welcome to the Stargate†introduction “Oscar Night†opening chapter without masking.
· (DVD) selects my Movie DVD player. All appropriate gear is powered up and audio / video input selections occur via the programming. The room lights dim to mid level if not already dimmed. Then the DVD launches.
· (Menu – DVD) I set the Audio choice from the DVD menu. My 1st generation Sony 7000 does not automatically seek the DD 5.1 track.
· (Play – DVD) The lights dim to OFF with only the steps lit. The masking rolls into place and the movie begins to play.

· (Pause – DVD) The DVD pauses, lights come to mid level, masking rolls out, and the Intro DVD Intermission chapter begins.

RETURN TO THE MOVIE - Here I have two paths, two choices.
· (Record – DVD)* The Intro DVD plays it’s “ Now back to our feature presentation “ chapter. Then the lights dim to OFF with only the steps lit. The masking rolls into place and the movie begins to play.
· (Play – DVD) The lights dim to OFF with only the steps lit. The masking rolls into place and the movie begins to play.

· The (Record – DVD) remote key was an unused key, since you can’t record DVD’s within the gear in my system.

· (Stop – DVD) The DVD stops, lights come to mid level, masking rolls out, and the Intro DVD “We hope you enjoyed tonight’s feature presentation.†chapter begins.

· (System Off) Room lighting returns to full on. The audio gear returns to a preset level of –32db. All operating gear is powered off.

Well that’s a taste of some of the capabilities I have been able to incorporate. It's been well worth the effort.

The black velvet I used to cover the masking panels was well worth the price, about $145. I tried putting the masking panels down with a 1.85:1 image being projected obviously this was putting a full brightness image onto the masking panels the velvet absorbed 98% of that light. It was a real surprise how much light that stuff soaks up.

My only regret was not doing this SOONER!!! The difference is amazing the added apparent contrast improvement is very dramatic. All who have seen the completed setup have been wow’d. My daughter’s comment when she saw the finished system was “You have got to be kidding†and her friends “Oh Wowâ€, “This is so cool†and “I’m coming here to watch moviesâ€. When the kids are impressed you know you’ve done well.
post #17 of 103
My site shows my manual masking system "Curtains".

post #18 of 103
Jim Mc:

Would you be willing to supply a kit with instructions/support for those of us challenged for time or building skills/tools? I and possibly others would be very interested if it were resonably priced. Your masking system seems fabulous; but beyond my skill level!

post #19 of 103
post #20 of 103
get a chain operated black shade for the top and a tensioned shade for the bottom....roll down top shade to proper height, pull up bottom shade and you are horizontally masked. if you want side masking get a tensioned roller shade for each side. ifyou have electric screen you just need shade for top and you bring bottom of screen up to right height. everything mounts on blocks to keep erm in front of screen
post #21 of 103
I'll eventually build or buy a top/bottom masking system for my 87x49" 16:9 screen.

I don't care much about 1.66/1.33 sources beyond wanting them smaller than wide-screen material (In the last six months, I've watched just a couple of short low-res compputer clips) so horizontal masking isn't a big deal.
post #22 of 103
OK Keith,

We're sick of the bad leg excuse, where's our masking system??? :) :)

post #23 of 103
Jim Mc

I am intrigued by your masking system. I visited your photo gallery and perused your profile. It is apparent that your background and training in biomedical engineering was a big help to you in designing this system.

I am an ophthalmologist, and I like DIY projects and doing things with my hands, and I would like to attempt something like that to mask my 66"X116" (16X9) screen down to 2.35:1 aspect ratio. I don't need it to be automated at this time.

Is there anyway possible that you could post a drawing or a diagram of the specific detail of how the mounting rails and pulleys interact etc.
As good as your description and pictures are I can't seem to grasp it well enough to start the project or jump into it without more detail knowledge of how it goes together.

My screen is very professional looking with a KBK goo surface and has an 8" frame around it covered with black velvet. I had considered using velcro to mount the panels, but a pulley arrangement would be much better. I would be willing to even pay you a fee if that could be arranged. You could send me a PM if you wish.
Larry Raulston
post #24 of 103
I think a lot of people would be willing to spend a few bucks if detailed drawings and a list of materials were supplied. I’ve been trying to think of a way to do this without having to manually move each side of the masking for a few weeks and haven’t been able to come up with anything yet. I’ve though about a pulley system but unfortunately I’m not that mechanical.
post #25 of 103
Thread Starter 
There seems to be some problem with a part necessary to complete my prototype. I am still waiting for them to build and ship. I haven't abandoned the idea, just haven't had anything of value to add since the accident!!! I will have pictures when I can but I don't know when it will be. Sorry for the delay. I hope I will have the unit in my possession by early to mid august. I won't be physically able to mount it till then anyway.
post #26 of 103
I am interested too.
post #27 of 103
1) can some body point me to a simple silver screen ( pull down ) that can somehow mask to 16 : 9 or 4: 3 when we need them

( model no.and px)

2) I will get 16: 9 projectors( sanyo z1 or AE 200) ; I think DVD would best use 16: 9 screen & for VHS & Tv sources , 4: 3 screen .

3) I think I suggest in pt 1 ) would the most ideal for my 16: 9 projector
post #28 of 103
I just completed my manual masking system essentially copying the system devised by Jim Mc. By the way it works perfectly and is wonderful. It is amazing how masking the 2.35:1 movies markedly increases the apparent contrast ratio and black levels. Thank you Jim Mc.
Larry Raulston
post #29 of 103
1) Any thoughts on my question ?
2) LArry: could you point me to the link for the step by step guide
to the manual masking system ?
post #30 of 103
Faithfoo, There is a link to the Stargate in a post by Jim Mc earlier in this thread. In that earlier post within this thread he describes in detail about how he built his masking system. You can also send him a private message and he will probably answer any questions you might have. He answered a couple of questions that I had which enabled me to go ahead and construct the system.
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