I have for the last 5 years on and off experimented with what I call a stealth screen, screen wall, or borderless screen. I have used this concept exclusively for the last year and my plan is it will remain my normal method of presentation going forward. The main reason for starting this thread is to see if others are doing this or something similar and to overall discuss the concepts.
The screen type can be DIY or commercial and as such I’m posting it here for wider visibility and discussion. Of course the screen design and function plays a large part in how well this works but I don’t want the thread to become a workshop in DIY paint mixes or particular commercial screens or projectors. It is impossible though to talk about borderless screens without talking about the screen surface the room environment or the projector used though and I understand that and how each of them affect the outcome.
Borderless screens are about pros and cons. To clarify what the reason would be to use one it is about the media we watch and both the changing aspect ratio and changing size of our images. I will also add a third possibility for using one is changing location of the image.
We all know movies come in different shapes they started out as 4:3 (1.33:1) as did TV and later changed to the Academy AR of 1.375:1 there were many ARs tried and the industry kind of ended up with Flat of 1.85:1 and Scope 2.35:1. Then came along IMAX 1.43:1 and last the new IMAX I call IMAX1.89 that is 1.89:1. Much of the prestige TV that we stream now is 2.0:1. Some movies mix and match ARs like First Man changes between Scope and IMAX1.89 or The Grand Budapest Hotel switches back and forth between Academy, Flat and Scope depending on the time period of the movie. The Life of Pi has you thinking you are watching a scope movie and then fish jump out of the water and off the image and into the black bars. By far most movies still stick to one AR though and the container we get them in max out as a 16:9 rectangle. Most projectors are that native as are TVs and TV signals and BD and UHD BD. So until it changes we have 16:9 to deal with as the max AR it all has to fit inside.
Keep in mind 16:9 is an AR not a size. TV sets have a fixed size projectors don’t because they have zoom. All these movies and ARs above have intended sizes (somewhat) based on how far you are sitting from them. Of course commercial theaters have many rows of seats so we can all customize our visual immersion to suit our tastes. But in general most people want to experience an IMAX movie like the director intended as more immersive than a made for TV movie say.
Modern projectors many of them have the ability to automatically adjust zoom, focus and offset with the push of a button to any of a dozen presets you program in, and of course the media we play dictates its AR. There are many regimented methods of presentation CIW, CIH, CIA, CIH+IMAX and on and on, or you can make up your own changing say to liking Game of Thrones in your face and hugely immersive and regular TV more modest sized.
All that is holding us back from this is one thing. Gray Bars.
Most theater enthusiasts feel the need to mask these Gray Bars and doing what is suggested above requires 4way masking top and bottom right and left. To do it manually is a chore and to do it automatically for a screen size most want these days for an IMAX feel to movies might cost $10,000 or more for a store bought solution.
So hand in hand with borderless screens is what I call self-masking. That’s when the combination of the projector being able to cast a fairly dark black where there is no image and a screen that allows for that projected black to look dark and then a room that controls light well enough to convince you that the area around the image is black or good enough black you don’t mind it, or can get used to it, or feel the advantage outweighs the disadvantages.
Most commercial theaters don’t worry about masking any longer, as they are just lazy and don’t care about presentation. Most moviegoers have learned to ignore gray bars as they are used to them on TV now and don’t really know to be bothered by them. Then there are all these movies that flip between AR that are imposable to mask for and no one seems to notice.
For me I found an acceptable point with a good dark room painted dark colors and a dark gray screen and a projector, DLP that has the Dark Chip 3 technology. I size my screen as I like it for content and raise and lower the image depending on my seating preference that day. The pros outweigh the cons.
What say you all?