i just wanted to share with you all some recent changes i made in my room which still have me smiling each time i enjoy a movie now. this isn't so much a screen build post but rather how i created custom 2.39:1 velvet masking panels in case someone else is looking to do the same. also, this is a quick history of the different screens i've used in my room and how i ended up with what i have now. the room is 11.5' wide, 7' tall, 22' long.
- 106" silver ticket white (black levels were awful)
- 106" silver ticket grey (black levels marginally better)
- 110" silver ticket ALR (good black levels, awful hot zoning & sparkle effect)
- 140" diy white over black spandex 16:9 (went as large as i could with the 60" wide material from spandexworld)
- 148" diy white over black spandex 2.39:1 (went the full width of my wall and dropped the ugly grey letterbox bars)
- 157" diy white over black spanxex 120" tall material from rosebrand 16:9 (awful image quality. spandex had visual imperfections and you could see the weave of the fabric from the front row of seating). this screen didn't last long.
- 157" diy white over black spandex 120" tall material from spandexworld 16:9 with velvet masking for 148" 2.39:1 image (best of both worlds)
the new screen (using spandexworld 120" tall material) has exceeded my expectations. there is no sparkle effect, i can't see the weave of the fabric from the front row, and there are no visual or cosmetic blemishes. for 16:9 material the large size is stunning, however the dark grey bars still annoyed me. time for some diy velvet masking!
i ended up using (4) 12' pieces of 1x3 pine that i ripped down to .5" thickness, and attached 8" metal brackets between 2 pieces to create the frame of the masking. given that my room is not perfectly square and the basement floor has a tilt for drainage i had to incrementally adjust the distance of the brackets to increase or decrease the size of the masking panel to make sure i was only covering the portion of the letterbox bar that i needed with velvet for the bottom piece (similar trickery was used with the ceiling as the brackets needed to be adjusted to only cover the grey bar on top too--trial & error). the bottom panel rests on the floor when not in use and provides an inky black floor border to help kill light bouncing from the carpet to the screen. i have the top panel mounted with two door hinges that drops down into place. when not in use, we created small pieces of wood wrapped in velvet that are bolted into a floor joist with washers for spacing that swivel, so you can turn the piece of wood and lock the masking in place against the ceiling (made two of these both within reach when standing in the middle of the screen). i first tried to secure the top panel to the ceiling with recessed magnets but that didn't work out as well as i had thought it would. the swiveling wood locks are so much better.
this project took some creativity & energy to pull off, but was fairly inexpensive. the end result is hard to put into words though. i'm incredibly happy that i did this. i loved the 2.39 148" screen i had before but felt like i was missing out with tv shows, variable aspect ratio movies, "imax" footage, 4:3 shows, etc. i'm going to create masking panels that will hinge on the left & right walls for 4:3 content next.
here are some pictures of the project if anyone enjoys seeing this kind of thing. please note that yes, under bright light the velvet is not the prettiest to look at, but for me the trade-off is a no-brainer as this is a dedicated room to do one thing in. when the lights in the room are off it's 100% pitch black (which is kind of surreal). the velvet amplifies the picture quality in ways that are hard to describe or capture in a picture. i could never go back to dark painted drywall
and yes i know the screen has a blemish on the far left-middle side. it's a knot in the wood that i didn't notice until i had finished covering the frame with the screen material. luckily i can't see it when watching content or else i'd have fixed it already. additionally you could stiffen the masking with more bracing but as is it's very sturdy, i was surprised actually and thought i would need to frame it stronger similar to the screen but i wanted it to be as light-weight as possible.
i swear i'm done tinkering with the screen now, really... haha