Projector use in ambient light - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-12-2019, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Projector use in ambient light

Not sure if this is a new phenomenon, there seems to be an increase in advice requests for projector setups in ambient light. With lights on, windows open, etc.
Most are looking at their first projector in the sub 2K$ if not sub 1K$ range.
Essentially a big TV.

This is probably the result of price drops in the budget projector market, and increases in TV diagonals. The new UST's (from an aesthetic angle) with those highly viewed videos of UST + ALR combinations are also responsible.

It gives people the impression that a large screen can be had in medium or even high ambient light conditions. If the image were to be inspected, it's not all as it would seem. The bright parts of the projected image have better visibility than the dark, but with too much ambient light both will be washed out.

This is not the environment projectors were originally made for. A dark room, with darkened walls, not an excessively bright screen, in other words a cinema hall. Even with lumens having increased over time the task of using a projector in a ambient light environment is a challenging one.

In low ambient light, a grey screen will absorb some of the light bouncing around, and will keep the image from being washed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
Here is an example done years ago by a member. It is a side by side comparing a mild neutral gray to a white. The samples were painted one with a flat white paint the other with a flat neutral gray in around the .7-.8 gain range.

One photo is taken with a dark theater setting and the other had some ambient light turned on in the room.

Draw your own conclusions there were no trick settings to the camera and I believe the poster to be honest and he said the photo closely showed what his eyes saw.

With more ambient light, the image would be even more washed out.


Even with an ALR screen, if there is too much light the screen will not be able to help. Increasing the lumens would also do little. Strategic placement of lights so they don't hit the screen directly and not too much light will improve a setup with ambient light.

More info on ALR screens here:
https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...g-screens-work
https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...ection-screens
https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...rfect-together

To illustrate how ambient light affects PQ I placed two white A4 sheets on the center of the screen (ALR Cinegrey 3D). Room with white walls, projector puts out ~800 lumens in this configuration. Screen is rated at 1.2 gain, probably it's 1.0 or less. No light is coming from the direction of the projector.

The four scenarios are, from left to right:
1. Lights off, blackout curtains on.
2. Lights off, blackout curtains off, transparent (orange tinted) curtain on. An orange tint can be seen in the second picture.
3. Lights off, all curtains off, with two windows open, in daytime. One window is just the right of the screen (3m/9ft), the other one is at a 45 degree angle (5m/15ft).
4. Curtains on, one light on at 1.5m/5ft from the screen. It directly hits the screen. A yellow spot can be seen in the upper center of the screen.

The result is as described above. The bright parts of the image are better off, the dark parts are seriously washed out.
More examples with this setup:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...l#post58809924
Other examples
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/110-d...l#post46962857
There are plenty of pictures and videos of ambient light setups available online.

LE:
Note: also tested vs a white screen and a Cinegrey matte screen, rated at 1.0, but probably lower, with the same setup. Also had a sampe of a paint mix, the Black Widow Grey pearl.
The Cinegrey 3D increased the saturation of the colors vs the white and especially the grey screen.
The grey screen was washed out with desaturated colors, but with better black level. PJ brightness was about 20fL.
Black level was best on the Cinegrey matte>Cinegrey 3D>white screen.
The BL GP was almost identical to the Cinegrey 3D in the dark, but with lights on it behaved similar to a matte surface, i.e. washed out.

When the lamp was at around 3500h with ~15fL the Cinegrey 3D was bright enough in medium to medium-high ambient light conditions.

More shots with the same setup:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/68-di...l#post57673262

LE2: A review of Carl's ALR with an Epson 6040UB at unknown distance. The pictures projected are very bright so it's unclear if there is a hotspot, but from the pictures one cannot be discerned:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...lr-review.html
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Last edited by noob00224; 11-18-2019 at 08:57 PM.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-12-2019, 02:01 PM
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Have you seen any threads or posts doing the same thing with UST ALR screens?

ALR screens tend to have some serious weaknesses and I talk pretty snotty about them most of the time because all the ones I've seen so far have really looked horrendous. Great for a sports bar, but not ideal for home theater use due to sparkling, non-image uniformity, and hot spotting. These issues persist after the lights are out, making a very poor viewing experience compared to a $300 Silver Ticket screen.

But, I've yet to see a lenticular UST ALR screen.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-12-2019, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
ALR screens tend to have some serious weaknesses and I talk pretty snotty about them most of the time because all the ones I've seen so far have really looked horrendous. Great for a sports bar, but not ideal for home theater use due to sparkling, non-image uniformity, and hot spotting. These issues persist after the lights are out, making a very poor viewing experience compared to a $300 Silver Ticket screen. But, I've yet to see a lenticular UST ALR screen.
The lenticular alr screens like the dnp supernova, dalite parallax, and evp darkstar9 all have 0 to extremely little sparkling with relatively low min throw ratios(1.5 and I dont see hotspotting at 1.3-1.4 with the parallax .8), excellent horizontal half gain(80⁰), but poor vertical half gain(17-22⁰) due to the lenticular design, but they will almost completely reject light from above and below, if eye level is at 1/3 screen height than the light dropoff should be unnoticeable.

These materials can provide a reference image in a non-reference room, but ambient light from additional sources will still raise black levels if the room is reflective, and sidelight will wash the image out. But with some planning you can have a pretty decent ambient light level for extended/casual viewing without washing out shadow detail or effecting intrascene/bright scene contrast, and lights off should provide a reference black and low apl contrast if the projector is capable.

If you really want a dynamic image in a well lit room, you could use a matte 0.1 gain black material and a 10000lumen projector, but you'd need at least a dedicated 15amp circuit, a temperature controlled projection room(3k btu/hr), and incur the associated bulb and power costs.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
Have you seen any threads or posts doing the same thing with UST ALR screens?

ALR screens tend to have some serious weaknesses and I talk pretty snotty about them most of the time because all the ones I've seen so far have really looked horrendous. Great for a sports bar, but not ideal for home theater use due to sparkling, non-image uniformity, and hot spotting. These issues persist after the lights are out, making a very poor viewing experience compared to a $300 Silver Ticket screen.

But, I've yet to see a lenticular UST ALR screen.
First time users are reluctant to treat the room for reflections, or can't. It's a media room they have in mind, with some lights on viewing, rather than a completely cinema like experience. Sports/games with other people requires some ambient light.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Regarding UST ALR's, anyone have any experience with Fresnel type screens?

Quote:
Originally Posted by diggumsmax View Post
The ones that claim to be ALR seem to block light from above and from the sides to only reflect light from back towards the user. These tend to have a lower gain (0.4, 0.5) than the brands mentioned above which are between 0.6 and 0.8 but also cost more. Grandview seems to be the only middle ground as the Da-lite parallax and SI are just to much for me. I can't justify spending more for a screen than the projector itself.

Lastly there is fresnel. These seem to be relatively new. DNP makes them but that's to high end. XY makes them as well but they are hard screen which makes shipping extremely difficult and costly. The only downsides are limited viewing angle, potential hot spotting and glare but they appear to handle ambient light much better and have a higher gain.

Even though you don't get the real experience from videos it's easy to tell from videos and screen shots that these screens do make a big difference for contrast and brightness with ambient light.




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post #6 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
Have you seen any threads or posts doing the same thing with UST ALR screens?

ALR screens tend to have some serious weaknesses and I talk pretty snotty about them most of the time because all the ones I've seen so far have really looked horrendous. Great for a sports bar, but not ideal for home theater use due to sparkling, non-image uniformity, and hot spotting. These issues persist after the lights are out, making a very poor viewing experience compared to a $300 Silver Ticket screen.

But, I've yet to see a lenticular UST ALR screen.

ST2-169100-UST

On Silver Tickets website, one of the product images states "Lenticulated screen to redirect the light from Ultra Short Throw into the eyes of the audience."

Are the Elite Screens Aeon CLR for UST's lenticulated? What about XY Screens? Is the Silver Ticket above the best of the bunch then?
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdht View Post
The lenticular alr screens like the dnp supernova, dalite parallax, and evp darkstar9 all have 0 to extremely little sparkling with relatively low min throw ratios(1.5 and I dont see hotspotting at 1.3-1.4 with the parallax .8), excellent horizontal half gain(80⁰), but poor vertical half gain(17-22⁰) due to the lenticular design, but they will almost completely reject light from above and below, if eye level is at 1/3 screen height than the light dropoff should be unnoticeable.

These materials can provide a reference image in a non-reference room, but ambient light from additional sources will still raise black levels if the room is reflective, and sidelight will wash the image out. But with some planning you can have a pretty decent ambient light level for extended/casual viewing without washing out shadow detail or effecting intrascene/bright scene contrast, and lights off should provide a reference black and low apl contrast if the projector is capable.

If you really want a dynamic image in a well lit room, you could use a matte 0.1 gain black material and a 10000lumen projector, but you'd need at least a dedicated 15amp circuit, a temperature controlled projection room(3k btu/hr), and incur the associated bulb and power costs.
I think maybe I was thinking of the Fresnel type UST screens.

The DNP Supernova looks very poor with every issue I listed as a major factor. If someone doesn't see those issues, I'm not sure what to say. I don't think I have 'special' eyeballs.

I've seen the same with standard ALR fabric from both DaLite and Draper.

These fabrics are great for increasing contrast in bright rooms, but with the lights on or off, the sparkling, uniformity issues, and hotspotting are clearly present from all three.

I would like to see the PET Crystal screen at some point. I will always reserve judgement, but I've installed the DNP Supernova as well as the Elite Black Diamond and while it was appropriate for the room it went into, it was a far cry from a cheap white screen in terms of dark room viewing quality.

I really think people have a hard time calling out these screens for a lack of performance in dark room viewing conditions, which is really sad IMO.

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post #8 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 02:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noob00224 View Post
First time users are reluctant to treat the room for reflections, or can't. It's a media room they have in mind, with some lights on viewing, rather than a completely cinema like experience. Sports/games with other people requires some ambient light.
This doesn't, in any way, demand a ALR screen.

If a room is a media room, then you can put a ton of light in the seating area with very little light directed at the screen. Floor lamps with directional covers are all over the place and do the job nicely for, well, the price of a floor lamp.

Spending $1,000+ on a specialized screen to fix a $30 problem is someone being given the shaft when that $1,000 solution harms image quality significantly.

Until I see a ALR screen that performs as well as a white screen, I'm going to continue to call them out for their poor image quality and how they negatively impact the on-screen image far greater than just using a white screen and turning off the lights in the room.

No room treatment is necessary to get a better image than what these screens deliver in a typical basement media room (no windows or blackout shades in place).

Family room locations are a different matter, but then standard ALR screens aren't always great with general room lighting coming from around the same location as the projector. So, care must be taken.

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post #9 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 02:44 PM
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Grey painted screens work well, IMHO, when there is ambient light in a less than optimal room, such as the ~145in screen that I'm working with now.
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post #10 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
The DNP Supernova looks very poor with every issue I listed as a major factor. If someone doesn't see those issues, I'm not sure what to say. I don't think I have 'special' eyeballs. I've seen the same with standard ALR fabric from both DaLite and Draper. These fabrics are great for increasing contrast in bright rooms, but with the lights on or off, the sparkling, uniformity issues, and hotspotting are clearly present from all three. it was a far cry from a cheap white screen in terms of dark room viewing quality. I really think people have a hard time calling out these screens for a lack of performance in dark room viewing conditions, which is really sad IMO.
I don't think we're talking about the same materials, maybe you're thinking of the dnp 23 / parallax 2.3, and draper react? Then sure, poor horizontal half gain, long minimum throw ratio, and gain artifacts, but they're 2.0+gain screens.

The dnp 08 85 / parallax .8, and evp darkstar9 are artifactless screens with excellent horizontal half gain.

Here's the st100, parallax .8, and elite cinewhite. Notice the parallax has no sparkle, no hotspotting, and perfect uniformity(for a dirty used sample). The cinewhite has very observable sheen and hotspotting.
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-13-2019, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
This doesn't, in any way, demand a ALR screen.

If a room is a media room, then you can put a ton of light in the seating area with very little light directed at the screen. Floor lamps with directional covers are all over the place and do the job nicely for, well, the price of a floor lamp.

Spending $1,000+ on a specialized screen to fix a $30 problem is someone being given the shaft when that $1,000 solution harms image quality significantly.

Until I see a ALR screen that performs as well as a white screen, I'm going to continue to call them out for their poor image quality and how they negatively impact the on-screen image far greater than just using a white screen and turning off the lights in the room.

No room treatment is necessary to get a better image than what these screens deliver in a typical basement media room (no windows or blackout shades in place).

Family room locations are a different matter, but then standard ALR screens aren't always great with general room lighting coming from around the same location as the projector. So, care must be taken.
In the first scenario from the first post the ALR was a shade darker than the white paper with lights off (better black level).
With small amount of ambient light the ALR was less affected than the white paper. No light hit the screen directly, just ambient light.

ALR fabrics don't have to have obvious/bothersome hotstpots and sparkle, a longer throw is one way to diminish these artifacts:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-sc...lr-review.html

Acceptable results can be achieved with a matte screen, but if the hotspot/sparkle's presence has a small presence like in the shots of the Carl's link, that might be a superior option, for some people.

In an area with a small/medium degree of ambient light such as the one described above (lights in the seating area) the choice could be between a slightly washed out matte screen and an ALR with some minor artifacting.
Same kind of compromise with lights out as well.

If the hotpost is larger and the area does not have excessive ambient light, a matte screen would be more appropriate.

These screens don't have to cost a lot. Not everyone can do it, but if the user can build a frame, ALR fabrics can be had at a very low price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
I really think people have a hard time calling out these screens for a lack of performance in dark room viewing conditions, which is really sad IMO.
It's up to each individual user and their environment, needs and preferences.

Last edited by noob00224; 11-13-2019 at 03:51 PM.
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