White or grey screen for my Benq W1720 (110", white walls)? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-14-2019, 02:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Question White or grey screen for my Benq W1720 (110", white walls)?

I am pretty much set on buying a Benq W1720 as my first projector (contrast: 10,000:1, brightness: 2000 ANSI lumens). I live in Europe and this model gets lots of praise here.

What I can't decide on is what colour screen I should buy. It's going to be a 105-110" pull-down screen with black borders, installed in my light-controlled living room (window blinds, dimmable lighting in the room, dimmable ambient lighting behind the screen). The wall behind the screen is dark grey, however, the rest of the walls are white (right wall close to the screen, left wall far from the screen), the floor is hardwood beech and I am not willing to paint the living room in a dark colour. The projector is going to be positioned 350cm (~11'6") from the screen.

I have read numerous threads on this topic but I still can't decide. On the one hand, I think I should get a grey screen because of the white walls, on the other hand, I'm worried the projector won't have enough brightness in eco mode, or that a white screen would be better for 4k HDR.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-15-2019, 07:50 AM
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@Mike_13 , the reason it's not easy to decide between white and grey projection screens is that they both have tradeoffs that appeal to different personal preferences. That's why it's so often recommended to try to let your own eyes tell you what's best for you instead of relying on conflicting advice from others who may have widely different personal preferences. Buying the projector first without a screen allows you to experiment on plain painted walls to get a rough idea of how the projected image looks to your eyes and decide what may be optimum for you. Since you have both white and dark gray walls you have a great opportunity to try projecting on both to see how the white wall will produce a brighter image with more convincing white levels while the gray wall will produce a darker image with more convincing black levels. Your own eyes will tell you which direction works best for you.
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-16-2019, 05:01 AM - Thread Starter
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This is such a simple, yet such a helpful answer. Thank you!
I don't know why I was so set on buying a screen before I get my projector. You're right, I can do all the testing I want on my walls and decide if I want a grey or a white screen myself.
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-18-2019, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
@Mike_13 , the reason it's not easy to decide between white and grey projection screens is that they both have tradeoffs that appeal to different personal preferences. That's why it's so often recommended to try to let your own eyes tell you what's best for you instead of relying on conflicting advice from others who may have widely different personal preferences. Buying the projector first without a screen allows you to experiment on plain painted walls to get a rough idea of how the projected image looks to your eyes and decide what may be optimum for you. Since you have both white and dark gray walls you have a great opportunity to try projecting on both to see how the white wall will produce a brighter image with more convincing white levels while the gray wall will produce a darker image with more convincing black levels. Your own eyes will tell you which direction works best for you.
I think not knowing the color grey on your walls and considering that screen "material and design" has everything to do with the difference between one screen company and another, projecting onto your walls might not be a great way to decide screen material, screen size, yes.

Maybe order screen samples of each and see if that can help your decision.
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post #5 of 18 Old 06-18-2019, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by drober30 View Post
I think not knowing the color grey on your walls and considering that screen "material and design" has everything to do with the difference between one screen company and another, projecting onto your walls might not be a great way to decide screen material, screen size, yes.

Maybe order screen samples of each and see if that can help your decision.
While it's likely that the white and grey wall paints are not color neutral, color accuracy is not critical to viewing the basic effect of projecting on white and grey surfaces. Casually projecting images on both will give a basic hint of how lighter and darker screen surfaces look to your eyes in your environment. Small screen samples can be useful but they are also not perfect indicators. The more you experiment and research different options the more knowledgeable you become about what might work best for you. Deciding on a specific screen material from a specific screen company is the final step in the process.
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post #6 of 18 Old 06-18-2019, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drober30 View Post
I think not knowing the color grey on your walls and considering that screen "material and design" has everything to do with the difference between one screen company and another, projecting onto your walls might not be a great way to decide screen material, screen size, yes.

Maybe order screen samples of each and see if that can help your decision.
Any use of a wall as a learning tool is ok as long as you keep things in perspective. Wall paints can be flat to gloss in sheen and that factor could make a bigger difference than white or gray. You may also find a darker neutral density gray is to your liking and then find there is no screens out there that are ND and that dark. Some of the screens are very dark almost black looking but are pumped up with gain and you won’t find that in any wall paints but there are DIY screen recipes that come close and can be painted.

II have read dozens of posts where someone gets a projector and starts showing it on a beige wall with flat paint and are blown away and then they buy a flat white screen and think they liked the beige wall better. Of course a beige wall is not color neutral but it was altering colors in ways that didn’t really make them look bad.

Use everything you can find to learn about how screens work including walls and just keep in mind it is only a reference point.

Bud
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post #7 of 18 Old 09-20-2019, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_13 View Post
This is such a simple, yet such a helpful answer. Thank you!
I don't know why I was so set on buying a screen before I get my projector. You're right, I can do all the testing I want on my walls and decide if I want a grey or a white screen myself.
What color did you finally set to ?
I would be nice knowing your settings.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-20-2019, 11:52 AM
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Neither white nor standard grey, steer towards ALR. If you're in Europe, this looks like a great option.

https://cine-screen.fr/
https://www.passionhomecinema.fr/blo...is-de-gregory/

Also, XY Screens Black Crystal, and other options include Seymour AVs Matinee Black, Screen Innovations Slate, Da Lite Parallax/DNP Supernova.

These are much better options for your room. While you can turn lights off, the room is still reflective, which is what light control/treatment is referring to.
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post #9 of 18 Old 09-21-2019, 07:45 AM
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TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch). All screens have various tradeoffs so anyone considering an ALR screen needs to carefully research the pros and cons as they vary with each specific type of ALR. With <1.0 gain neutral matte grey screens it's pretty simple in that there's only one negative to be considered -- they require more projector lumens to properly illuminate. For example, a 0.5 gain matte grey screen reflects only half as much ambient light as a 1.0 gain matte white screen but requires twice as many projector lumens to properly illuminate. Beyond that one requirement there are no other negatives. Given twice as many projector lumens as a 1.0 gain matte white screen the image on a 0.5 gain matte grey screen will be just as bright and accurate while being 50% more resistant to the washout effects of ambient light and cross reflections. @bud16415 can confirm this from his personal experience.
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-21-2019, 08:12 AM
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There are two methods for example in @Dave in Green example to get the extra lumens needed. You can get a projector with twice the brightness or use a screen with half the area. Of course you can always pick up a little brightness with using the shorter throw length and the wider zoom or running your projector in full vs eco. If you feel good about maybe some color accuracy loss or color saturation there are also modes that supply extra lumens. In my case I do all of the above depending on how I choose to apply ambient light back into the room.

Unfortunately the new 4k projectors with HDR for brighter highlights in the image are demanding greater lumens, not that different than the demands 3D put on brightness. Combine that with the most accurate high end projectors assume a perfect room and a reference screen.

So the issue then reverts back IMO to projector selection based around the room and ambient settings etc. If the goal is to get the best image in a given room there could be a good case made for the best projector might not be best. Presentation projectors are the extreme example of this. They weigh heavily on the effects of a poor room. Most of the time way worse than even a bad setting at home. But there are projectors that work in areas somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately again most of these 4k HDR projectors are not designed around these factors.

Given some time maybe we will see more projectors optimized for such usage. Right now advanced screens help a lot when married to the right projectors and from what I have read some of the UST projectors married to the UST screens do a fair job.

Bud
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-21-2019, 03:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Given twice as many projector lumens as a 1.0 gain matte white screen the image on a 0.5 gain matte grey screen will be just as bright and accurate while being 50% more resistant to the washout effects of ambient light and cross reflections.
Im only aware of a couple retractable low gain screens, drapers xh600v a .6gain pvc material and Stewarts graymatte that can be difficult to get ahold of. Are there others?

Most of the materials he'll be looking at are 0.8 to 1.2 gain high contrast gray, and wont fight ambient light anywhere near as well as dark grey lambertian or dark grey alr materials.
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post #12 of 18 Old 09-22-2019, 08:41 AM
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Im only aware of a couple retractable low gain screens, drapers xh600v a .6gain pvc material and Stewarts graymatte that can be difficult to get ahold of. Are there others?

Most of the materials he'll be looking at are 0.8 to 1.2 gain high contrast gray, and wont fight ambient light anywhere near as well as dark grey lambertian or dark grey alr materials.
The selection is very limited to non-existent. Stewart makes a material they sell primarily to Disney for there 360 circular theaters that is a Lambertine Gray .4 gain, but I don’t think it is widely available to the public or can be fit into a retractable screen.

This is for the most part why I went DIY with my .5 gain stealth screen. A side benefit IMO is the dark surface works good at self masking the image and that opens up a whole new idea of presentation for variable AR and image sizes.

Again the loss of half your lumens is the price you pay and why many don’t use this.

Bud
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post #13 of 18 Old 09-22-2019, 10:41 AM
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but I don’t think it is widely available to the public or can be fit into a retractable screen.
The Graymatte can be retractable. They make runs from .4 to .7 gain so you just have to wait and keep in touch with stewart to get the gain you want.
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post #14 of 18 Old 09-22-2019, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bdht View Post
Im only aware of a couple retractable low gain screens, drapers xh600v a .6gain pvc material and Stewarts graymatte that can be difficult to get ahold of. Are there others?

Most of the materials he'll be looking at are 0.8 to 1.2 gain high contrast gray, and wont fight ambient light anywhere near as well as dark grey lambertian or dark grey alr materials.
It's unfortunate that there aren't more <1.0 gain matte grey screen material options as it really has no negatives other than requiring more projector lumens. For those who are willing to go DIY there are some good neutral density grey paint options. Some have even successfully used paint on retractable screens.
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post #15 of 18 Old 09-24-2019, 04:19 AM
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Harkness screens have some very low gain screens.
Not sure if in a retractable option.
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-24-2019, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
It's unfortunate that there aren't more <1.0 gain matte grey screen material options as it really has no negatives other than requiring more projector lumens. For those who are willing to go DIY there are some good neutral density grey paint options. Some have even successfully used paint on retractable screens.
I know of several successful DIY paint jobs of retractable screens, but to be honest I don’t know of any that were done in this day of 4k projectors that would meet some members expectation of 4k screen quality.

I don’t see where it wouldn’t be possible though given some very exacting specs to the process.

Bud
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post #17 of 18 Old 09-24-2019, 10:13 AM
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Harkness screens have some very low gain screens.
Not sure if in a retractable option.
Could you share a link, please? Couldnt find any on their website.
http://www.harkness-screens.com/cinema-screen-data
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post #18 of 18 Old 09-24-2019, 10:17 AM
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Could you share a link, please? Couldnt find any on their website.
http://www.harkness-screens.com/cinema-screen-data
There is no info on the website, you need to send them an email.
Did this about 2 years ago, was sent some documentation. Prices comparable to Siverticket/Elite.
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