"Is there an optimum height for the pj to be mounted with the FH? E.g., what would this be with my eyes at 38" above the floor, sitting ~12 ftt from the screen, with the center of the screen ~ 47" above the floor, and the pj ~ 16 feet from the screen? "
The Firehawk is an angular reflective surface, somewhat analogous to a billiard table bumper, but picture the bouncing ball being divided into a bunch of smaller balls, but bouncing in a defined distribution, centered on the probable bounce path of the originating impact. This behaviour is uniform in vertical or horizontal performance. So light hitting the surface, exits at a complementary symetrical angle, but diffused and distributed. So an extreme example: Projector on the floor, a large amount of light would be directed upward in a complementary angle, toward the ceiling. A high ceiling mount would direct light down below toward the floor. We always have to look at the recommended lens geometry of a particular projector, as clearly illustrated by the previous data on the upcoming Optoma projector. When you have a flexible lens with vertical offset capablilty, a good way to go is to align the lens with a perpendicular horizontal line, originating at the upper edge of the screen. Many projectors are designed to do exactly that. So optimum for Firehawk is always above the screen surface. The further away you can place the projector, then the distribution of incident angles is tightned. This results in better center-to-edge uniformity, and a wider acceptable viewing angle.
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On the fabric selection, the presence of ambient light, other than just re-reflected light would lead me more toward Firehawk, however, you should really use the longer throw option. The Grayhawk would be plenty bright, and would have wider viewing cone, better white field uniformity, but you must be more dedicated to the control of ambient light.
The threat of 'sparklies' is a non issue. We re-formulated Firehawk a little over a year ago, specifically to eliminate sparklies, and to slightly reduce gain, and widen the viewing cone.
The light-producing aesthetic elements you describe, if poorly placed, would harm contrast for any screen. What I have seen in the field, is people using lighting control systems, automated dimmers, which bring the elements down when the projection begins. If you don't want that sort of complexity, use creative placement and manual dimmers instead. Provided you use a surface with the ability to work around some lighting, if you avoid the rear wall, keep that pretty dark, and avoid adjacent areas of the perpendicular walls, you can use the elements. The adjacent perpendicular walls are a great place for deep colored, acoustical treatments. That will help your video and audio. The Studiotek surface will really look much better if you eliminate all of the decorative element lighting while viewing is underway. There will be enough room illumination from the screen alone, to allow people to appreciate where they are, and usually to allow safe ingress and egress, unless it is a really dark scene.