Would a screen help at all here? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-03-2019, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Would a screen help at all here?

I’ve been projecting onto a smooth, white wall and have always been very happy with the results. But lately I wonder if a screen would give an even better image.

The room only has one small window, that has roll down shutters and curtains. And anyway, almost all my viewing is at night. That’s the good part.

The not so good aspect to this room is the walls are white, as is the ceiling, and it has a fair amount of glass fronted/topped furniture. Repainting the room is pretty low down my priority list.

Given the room has no ambient light, apart from what’s reflected back from the walls and ceiling, would a dedicated projector screen make much difference? From my research all I could find was that a definite black border to the image is usually a benefit.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 06:47 AM
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I use a stealth screen wall like you do and have been very happy with it for a very long time. My room is treated with dark gray walls and a flat black ceiling. My screen wall is painted with a neutral density gray paint and my projector has the lumens to make up for the attenuation the gray causes. I went to great pains when sanding and finishing my wall to get it flawless smooth as of course a commercial screen would be. Tests have been done that show a 1.0 white painted wall will do as good as 1.0 white screen so I doubt you will see a big improvement.

Now if you feel there is enough light spraying around the room and with a white ceiling there may well be and you get a screen with some ALR ambient light rejecting properties then you may well see some improvements.

A lot of companies will send free or at little costs sample material you could get some and do some comparison testing or maybe even try a ND gray paint on your wall see if you like that.

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnallbe View Post
I’ve been projecting onto a smooth, white wall and have always been very happy with the results. But lately I wonder if a screen would give an even better image.

The room only has one small window, that has roll down shutters and curtains. And anyway, almost all my viewing is at night. That’s the good part.

The not so good aspect to this room is the walls are white, as is the ceiling, and it has a fair amount of glass fronted/topped furniture. Repainting the room is pretty low down my priority list.

Given the room has no ambient light, apart from what’s reflected back from the walls and ceiling, would a dedicated projector screen make much difference? From my research all I could find was that a definite black border to the image is usually a benefit.
What is the projector used?

ALR screens can make a difference in the black level and the colors.
Grey screens are also an option if the projector is bright enough. Some ALR's can have a raised black level vs a grey screen, but still better than a white screen.

Either fabric can be purchased separately for under 200$, just need to build a frame.

Different paint mixes are also an option, check the DIY sub section of this forum.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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What is the projector used?

ALR screens can make a difference in the black level and the colors.
Grey screens are also an option if the projector is bright enough. Some ALR's can have a raised black level vs a grey screen, but still better than a white screen.

Either fabric can be purchased separately for under 200$, just need to build a frame.

Different paint mixes are also an option, check the DIY sub section of this forum.
The projector is an Epson EH-TW5500 from 2012. I tried to find the equivalent US model but strangely there might not be an obvious translation. The maximum output is 1600 ANSI lumens, but I run it in Eco / Cinema, so it’ll be actually running quite a bit lower.

Thinking a bit about your reply, I can see how an ALR screen could help me, but don’t understand how a regular grey screen (without ALR properties) would help. Wouldn’t that just make an overall darker picture, the same as me manually turning down the brightness with my current setup?

I think the action with the best impact would be the very one I’ve all-but ruled out, and that’s to paint the room dark and replace the shiny furniture.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
My room is treated with dark gray walls and a flat black ceiling. My screen wall is painted with a neutral density gray paint and my projector has the lumens to make up for the attenuation the gray causes.
It sounds like you’ve a dedicated home cinema setup where you’ve gone to some effort to really get a nice setup.

I don’t see it explicitly mentioned, but I imagine you’ve also controlled unwanted lighting, so the only lights are those you deliberately choose to leave on and from the projector itself?

If that’s the case, why did you choose a grey screen rather than a white one? Haven’t you then had to crank up the PJ output to compensate, and you’re back to where you would have been with a white screen and lower PJ output?

I think there’s something about grey screens in a light controlled room I just don’t get.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnallbe View Post
It sounds like you’ve a dedicated home cinema setup where you’ve gone to some effort to really get a nice setup.

I don’t see it explicitly mentioned, but I imagine you’ve also controlled unwanted lighting, so the only lights are those you deliberately choose to leave on and from the projector itself?

If that’s the case, why did you choose a grey screen rather than a white one? Haven’t you then had to crank up the PJ output to compensate, and you’re back to where you would have been with a white screen and lower PJ output?

I think there’s something about grey screens in a light controlled room I just don’t get.
Here was my thoughts on the subject and why I made the choice I did going with an ND gray screen and one as dark of gray as I chose .5 gain.

First off my room is 99.9% light tight. During the day hours with the BOC curtains drawn on the entry archway there is so little light coming in it’s almost impossible to detect. There are no windows or any other way for light to enter. The walls are very dark and the ceiling black, floors and furniture are also dark. In terms of perfect say everything black velvet covered being a 10 I’m a 9-9.5 I guess.

This would be a perfect room for a Lambertine 1.0 white screen as you suggest.

I watch lots of movies in the perfect lights out condition on my Lambertine .5 gray screen with doubling the lumens I would need for the 1.0 white screen. Because I have a fairly bright projector and a modest screen size 110” max area on my stealth painted wall I get the exact same image returning as I would with white. Even though the room is very good a little light rebounds to the screen the same amount as with the white screen and half the lumens but in the case of the .5 gray it attenuates 50% of that rebound light thus half the impact on CR loss albeit small. That’s reason one for gray.

Reason two is the room is multi purpose and with young kids or friends over to watch sports or even evening TV while eating pizza and drinks I don’t want the room so black when the projector goes dark I can’t see my hand in front of my face. So I add back in what I call good ambient light and there is a huge difference in it being bounced off a white ceiling or leaking in from outside. When it is controlled it can be directed right where it is needed and what bounces off gets absorbed by the dark elements in the room before much gets back to the screen. A little will always make it back and again the dark screen takes care of half of that. Friends come over for a bright sports showing and the brighter the image the more task lighting the room can take. I have often heard I didn’t think projectors worked in bright rooms. I do one additional trick for that type of showing and that is I go to a brighter setting. Where I might like 10-15FL off the screen brightness in the dark for movies I will bump that up higher for bright sports content even if the brighter mode has a little less color accuracy CR is more important to me and the brightness / dark screen seems to help that.

Reason three is with a stealth screen I don’t deal with masking I have a dark chip 3 DLP 1080p .65” DMD projector and it does ok with self masking and does better IMO self masking on a dark screen. I’m not sure of the science and I do get faint black bars but I also use zooming to change image size sometimes staying within the full 16:9 frame. We watch some old time TV and poor quality older movies and they just look better compressed smaller. The method I use for zoom is different than anyone else and I have my ceiling mounted projector on an inclined slide and can actually move the projector to zoom. In doing this when I move smaller for TV I get a smaller image and the FL go up, so a win/win. Full size my seating distance is adjusted to be scope or IMAX and both of those would be lights out anyway and some of the best mastered more modern movies fully immersive.

I tried to craft my room to be many things as in a full media room. I have a laptop input into the system and we even show family slide shows and home movies from many years ago 8mm or VHS converted, and newer stuff from the age of iPhones. Youtube even has a lot of interesting poor vintage video that contains great audio still. My first theater was just that and it got used here and there for movies. This time around I figured the room has the best sound and the best seating why not make it the everything room.

Hope that explains a little why I like gray. Sadly gray is almost gone because with 4k HDR and people wanting some huge size screens they don’t have lumens to spare as the HDR highlights they want very bright. The white screens 1.3 etc are just getting them there. I’m old school I guess and like the film-like quality of a very dark space and then classic FL specs.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post

Here was my thoughts on the subject and why I made the choice I did going with an ND gray screen and one as dark of gray as I chose .5 gain.

First off my room is 99.9% light tight. During the day hours with the BOC curtains drawn on the entry archway there is so little light coming in it’️s almost impossible to detect. There are no windows or any other way for light to enter. The walls are very dark and the ceiling black, floors and furniture are also dark. In terms of perfect say everything black velvet covered being a 10 I’️m a 9-9.5 I guess.

This would be a perfect room for a Lambertine 1.0 white screen as you suggest.

I watch lots of movies in the perfect lights out condition on my Lambertine .5 gray screen with doubling the lumens I would need for the 1.0 white screen. Because I have a fairly bright projector and a modest screen size 110” max area on my stealth painted wall I get the exact same image returning as I would with white. Even though the room is very good a little light rebounds to the screen the same amount as with the white screen and half the lumens but in the case of the .5 gray it attenuates 50% of that rebound light thus half the impact on CR loss albeit small. That’️s reason one for gray.

[... Lots of more great detail cut]
Thanks so much for that really detailed answer. I get it now! You crank up the PJ output so the whites on the screen are the same as before, which means the light reflected off the rest of the room is the same as before, but when that reflected light hits back on the dark scenes on the screen, only half as much as before is reflected back from that to your eyes.

So the white remains the same, the dark is half as bright, and so the contrast is doubled. Have I got that right?

I’m not sure I’d want to crank up my PJ any higher, as even on the eco mode I find the fan noise slightly annoying. I’ve got it inverted, and Epson in all its wisdom puts the fans on louder when “Front/Ceiling” is selected.

But I suspect I’ll soon be replacing it for a new model (as there’s some annoying dust & hair in the optical path I’ve been unable to shift) and I’ve got my eye on a HC 3700 (TW6700) if it’s reduced enough in Black Friday, and that has much higher output.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 12:41 PM
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Thanks so much for that really detailed answer. I get it now! You crank up the PJ output so the whites on the screen are the same as before, which means the light reflected off the rest of the room is the same as before, but when that reflected light hits back on the dark scenes on the screen, only half as much as before is reflected back from that to your eyes.

So the white remains the same, the dark is half as bright, and so the contrast is doubled. Have I got that right?

I’m not sure I’d want to crank up my PJ any higher, as even on the eco mode I find the fan noise slightly annoying. I’ve got it inverted, and Epson in all its wisdom puts the fans on louder when “Front/Ceiling” is selected.

But I suspect I’ll soon be replacing it for a new model (as there’s some annoying dust & hair in the optical path I’ve been unable to shift) and I’ve got my eye on a HC 3700 (TW6700) if it’s reduced enough in Black Friday, and that has much higher output.
I think you got it. Most gray screens are not as low gain as mine, in fact very few commercial screens are that low. Most of the time the simple gray’s are .7-.8 gain. Ironically StewartFilmScreen makes a .4 gain gray they sell exclusively to Disney for their 360 screens.

There are also ways to have a dark screen and then add angular gain back in. I do a little of this in mine as I added clear water based poly into my gray paint mixture and I get just a little improvement in angular gain.

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post #9 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 01:15 PM
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The projector is an Epson EH-TW5500 from 2012. I tried to find the equivalent US model but strangely there might not be an obvious translation. The maximum output is 1600 ANSI lumens, but I run it in Eco / Cinema, so it’ll be actually running quite a bit lower.

Thinking a bit about your reply, I can see how an ALR screen could help me, but don’t understand how a regular grey screen (without ALR properties) would help. Wouldn’t that just make an overall darker picture, the same as me manually turning down the brightness with my current setup?

I think the action with the best impact would be the very one I’ve all-but ruled out, and that’s to paint the room dark and replace the shiny furniture.
The TW5500 reportedly has good blacks. In that room the reflections on the walls wash them out.
https://www.facebook.com/projectiond...2721894385217/

The only way to turn down the brightness would be changing the lamp mode, or moving the projector closer.
The projector should display the entire greyscale, from 16 (black) to 235 (white). If the setting known as Brightness is lowered, the blacks will be crushed.

If you want to read more about grey/white screens there is a good thread here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...op-whites.html

With that projector room treatment would be most recommended.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-04-2019, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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The TW5500 reportedly has good blacks. In that room the reflections on the walls wash them out.
https://www.facebook.com/projectiond...2721894385217/

The only way to turn down the brightness would be changing the lamp mode, or moving the projector closer.
The projector should display the entire greyscale, from 16 (black) to 235 (white). If the setting known as Brightness is lowered, the blacks will be crushed.

If you want to read more about grey/white screens there is a good thread here:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...op-whites.html

With that projector room treatment would be most recommended.
Wow. Thanks for those links. The video of the checker pattern is amazing. What a difference it makes to hide the white ceiling and walls.

Unfortunately I really don’t think I’ll be able to do that to my room. I mean, it could be done. But there are a load of other - non-home cinema - items higher up the agreed priority list. Maybe one day.

At least now I understand a lot more about the subject and know what needs to be done. And I can get back to enjoying my PJ and white wall screen as I have the last six years.

PS: also really impressed by the great responses I’ve got here to my question. Thanks everyone!
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