From fixed frame screen to Stewart VistaScope: worth the big $$? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 11-19-2016, 04:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Is going from a fixed frame screen to a Stewart VistaScope worth the big $$?

I have been wrestling with this decision for quite awhile now (too long) and now I am in the final stretch: I have 3 options (all 14' 2:40:1 native): 1) fixed frame Stewart ST100 ($) 2) Stewart Vertical Masking System, black masking lowers like a window shade turning a 2:40:1 into a 1:85:1 masked ratio, so only a two ratio screen, big $$ or 3) Stewart VistaScope variable masking screen, huge $$$. Option 2 may or may not be doable due to an angled black velvet valance getting in the way of the large top case frame.

My projector is the 5000es. I mainly watch blurays, and stream occasionally. There is no cable tv in the theater.

No doubt all 3 options are excellent high quality solutions from Stewart. However, I am drawn to the infinitely variable VistaScope, as it is a beautiful piece that is without compromise, but it's really pushing the limits of my budget, which has thus far prevented me from pulling the trigger. I am open to all feedback, but especially from those that have gone from a fixed frame screen, then upgraded to option 2 or 3. For those who made the upgrade, do you feel the very high cost was worth it? This will be very helpful.

This is the last screen I intend to buy (excluding a possible screen material update if needed), as such I have given this lots of thought.

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post #2 of 13 Old 11-19-2016, 05:11 PM
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Unfortunately, I think you know the answer to your question

Once you live with a variable masking screen the black bars of a regular screen will bother you! Any chance of doing a 16:9 screen with variable horizontal masking? That tends to be less expensive than the vertical masking.
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post #3 of 13 Old 11-19-2016, 08:47 PM
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Or get a zero edge Stewart screen and build your own masking system to sit in front of the screen -- I'm in the middle of building something like this, see the link in my signature. All parts will be pre-cut extruded aluminum so essentially just need to assemble it all.
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post #4 of 13 Old 11-20-2016, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellebob View Post
Unfortunately, I think you know the answer to your question

Once you live with a variable masking screen the black bars of a regular screen will bother you! Any chance of doing a 16:9 screen with variable horizontal masking? That tends to be less expensive than the vertical masking.
Yeah, you're right... I already know the answer. Just looking for someone to eloquently talk me out of it.
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post #5 of 13 Old 11-20-2016, 04:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjcook View Post
Or get a zero edge Stewart screen and build your own masking system to sit in front of the screen -- I'm in the middle of building something like this, see the link in my signature. All parts will be pre-cut extruded aluminum so essentially just need to assemble it all.
Very impressive. Not sure I am up to the building task at the moment.
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post #6 of 13 Old 11-25-2016, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
Yeah, you're right... I already know the answer. Just looking for someone to eloquently talk me out of it.
Or you could get two Stewart Luxus electric screens - one 2.35:1, one 16:9, for less money, and size each one for optimal size.




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post #7 of 13 Old 11-26-2016, 05:24 PM
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There are also fixed screens that offer panels (you place the manually).

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post #8 of 13 Old 11-27-2016, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Or you could get two Stewart Luxus electric screens - one 2.35:1, one 16:9, for less money, and size each one for optimal size.




Very nice screen wall Craig. My current setup is very similar to yours: one screen is fixed and the other is an electric drop down.

My final screen renovation will be a much larger one screen approach (14' wide) with masking. The masking of the various ratios have the obvious benefits, but I am hoping the infinitely variable masking, will allow for flexible screen size adjustments that will suit particular movie genres and HDR brightness levels. Hopefully it will be worth the large cost.

Thanks for the tip mmiles. I am looking for a bit more flexibility than the fixed panels offer.

Last edited by G-Rex; 11-27-2016 at 07:21 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 11-28-2016, 07:24 AM
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The only reason to look at option 3 IMHO is if you place a premium on presentation that is content specific that for you requires a different size. Like you I was in the CIH camp but felt some scope content didn’t raise to the need to be show that large and more often even some of the lesser AR stuff I felt cheated in immersion. I liked the idea of a CIH+Imax size screen as a starting point and then mask or don’t mask to get the image size what I personally felt is correct for my tastes.

If money was no object for me I would have the VistaScope system without a doubt. In my case I was more fortunate than you because the VistaScope wasn’t stretching my budget, it was totally outside my budget short of hitting the powerball and then I would get one to go in the new house.

My solution I’m sure is not for you but works for me and accomplishes the same goal. I run a dark gray screen wall that accommodates Imax immersion. I do a lot of my less serious viewing thru a HTPC setup and scale and place the image as I see fit. The boarders are far from perfect black but are equal all the way around the image and in conjunction with the dark screen are not at all bothersome for almost everyone and only slightly a bother to me knowing they are not coal black. I project my image off a mirror and have built a manual 4-way masking system at the mirror for special showings. To set the masking after selecting my size only takes me about a minute. It accomplishes all the goals of a PIA (personal image area) presentation at a tiny cost in my case.

If I could afford fully automated masking I would go for it, but I couldn’t, but that doesn’t mean I wanted to sacrifice a method of presentation that suits me best, So I found a work around.

Bud
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post #10 of 13 Old 11-28-2016, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
Very nice screen wall Craig. My current setup is very similar to yours: one screen is fixed and the other is an electric drop down.

My final screen renovation will be a much larger one screen approach (14' wide) with masking. The masking of the various ratios have the obvious benefits, but I am hoping the infinitely variable masking, will allow for flexible screen size adjustments that will suit particular movie genres and HDR brightness levels. Hopefully it will be worth the large cost.

Thanks for the tip mmiles. I am looking for a bit more flexibility than the fixed panels offer.
Yes, a Stewart Directors Choice would be the ultimate variable masking screen. If I had one I'm afraid I'd be constantly analyzing which size was " perfect " for each movie.
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post #11 of 13 Old 11-28-2016, 02:02 PM
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There are several other options offering similar performance to the Directors Choice at lower cost and some that go far, far beyond it. The biggest limitation is that almost all are preset driven which somewhat compromises the idea of infinite variability.

Neil Davidson - DT Screens
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post #12 of 13 Old 11-29-2016, 02:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Rex View Post
Very nice screen wall Craig. My current setup is very similar to yours: one screen is fixed and the other is an electric drop down.

My final screen renovation will be a much larger one screen approach (14' wide) with masking. The masking of the various ratios have the obvious benefits, but I am hoping the infinitely variable masking, will allow for flexible screen size adjustments that will suit particular movie genres and HDR brightness levels. Hopefully it will be worth the large cost.

Thanks for the tip mmiles. I am looking for a bit more flexibility than the fixed panels offer.
Feel free to check/contribute to this thread (more or less on the same subject) as well:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ult...ns-new-ht.html
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post #13 of 13 Old 12-02-2016, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holy Grail View Post
Feel free to check/contribute to this thread (more or less on the same subject) as well:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/86-ult...ns-new-ht.html
Ok, thanks for the link.
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