I want to be clear, this thread is not a critique of Silver Fire. Silver Fire has proven to be a great mix for a great many people. That said, there are some things about my specific application of that mix that isn't working for me. MississippiMan and others have made it clear that they doesn't see the same issues I am seeing or to the same degree. My problem could be my mix, my spray technique, my primer, my projector, my dry times, my number of coats, the grounding in my house, my vision sensitivities, any number of things. Regardless, I've given up on trying to find the problem with my specific application of Silver Fire. I recommend anyone who thinks Silver Fire will work for them to try Silver Fire first. It is proven to work great for many people. This thread is simply my attempt to find a mix based off what I learned from Silver Fire that improves upon the issues I couldn't solve.
I started a beginner thread
a couple of months ago looking for help painting my first screen for my simple theater. Like so many other DIYers on this forum that simple request has turned into an obsession and I'm now looking to create a screen mix that works for my preferences. This thread is where I'll post my progress looking for the right screen mix for me and I would love some help from any veterans who may want to lend a hand as a stumble along.
The screen I'm using now and looking to replace is a Silver Fire 2.5 ~3.0 screen. Silver Fire is a great screen paint. However, my mix and application of Silver Fire had the issues of greater flashlighting and more graininess than I would like. These things are somewhat subjective and I probably did some things wrong being a beginner so I don't want to claim all Silver Fire mixes have these issues. But, mine did and I cannot seem to fix them. It may be that I am simply more sensitive to these artifacts than others. I tried to lighten up my SF mix with more UPW but I found that although adding more white reduced the grain and flash lighting, it also significantly decreased my contrast at a much greater rate. Showing that the metallics do more for white levels in Silver Fire than deluting them with UPW can put back. I've also tried other tweaks to my existing SF mix to no avail.
Rather than continuing to try and adjust my existing SF mix I decided to try taking a more fresh look at the problem.
I'm going to call this paint Gray Glow. Since I'm basically hoping to find a paint mix like Silver Fire, but with less. Less dark of a base color and a less gain (hopefully ending up with less of the artifacts commonly associated with gain). I hope that by moving those dials back I'll find a screen with less grain and a more even brightness while finding adequate contrast. My theater is mostly ambient light controlled so I don't need a strong ambient light rejecting screen. However, I do have a cheap not very bright projector (BenQ w7000) and a larger than average screen (154" 2.35:1). So, I need a grayish screen to help my projector with contrast and I need to find/retain as much gain as I can while attempting keep grain and flashlighting below my subjective tolerances. That is the balance I'm trying to find.
If anyone is aware of an existing mix that might meet my needs I'd love to hear about it. But, as I've learned about the various give and takes of a theater screen and where my preferences sit in that spectrum. I no longer expect to simply find one.
I've already covered Silver Fire and my thoughts on that. The other screen mix I've tried is Cream and Sugar
(C&S) Ultra mix from the Home Theater Shack (HTS) forums. The HTS members go about screen paint creation very scientifically. They seem to believe that grain in a screen should be non existent, a screen should have mostly perfect light uniformity, and should have excellent color balanced. They test all of those standards with tools and sensors. This makes their screens very technically sound. However, because of their aversion to grain and screen unevenness their mixes are often very low gain and generally boring. That is what I found with the C&S mix I tried. Good colors, but the paint wasn't grey enough to help my projector with contrast and I actually found that I prefer my screen to have a little bit of grain and a little more pop than what I got with C&S. I think a little grain can help blend/diffuse projector pixels and I'm willing to lose some screen uniformity if I can get get some improved gain and contrast.
My first attempt is a mix between C&S and SF metallics.
I'm starting out with the C&S N9 mix (with half a measure of water) as a color meter tested base with close to 1.0 gain. Then I created a Rustoleum SS and Pearl White mix which I can incrementally added hoping to eventually achieve my desired balance of grain, gain, and screen uniformity to match my preferences
My metallic mix is currently 8:1. (8 parts Pearl White 1 part SS)
I've gotten decent results with a ~1:1 ratio. (1 parts C&S 1 parts Metallic mix) It appears to match the brightness of Silver Fire (on axis) with just a touch of grain and very little uniformity issues. I'll post some pictures later. If I were to stop today I would could go with this mix and be happy. But I'd like to try a few more tests first.
I'm a little nervous that the more of my custom metallic mix I add the further from C&S's base color neutrality I will get. Does anyone have any tips on how I check for basic color neutrality in a mix without buying a color meter?
I also haven't tested any polyurethane or Gold Acrylic in the mix yet. I'd love some pointers as to what role those 2 components add to Silver Fire to help determine if I should attempt to incorporate either of those.
I'll try and keep the thread up to date as I go.