AVS Forum banner
  • Take part in a short activity and share your valuable opinion on new design concepts for AVSForum! >>> Click Here
  • Our native mobile app has a new name: Fora Communities. Learn more.

ambiant light/projector options

611 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  MTyson
I'm building my family room to accommodate a front mount projector and want to install it permanatly into the ceiling. My concern is that the light will dramatically effect the picture quality and ruin the enjoyment. Is there a FMP that will handle some light (not direct light on or near the screen) and still give me a good picture. Most of my viewing will be HD TV and a progressive scan DVD player for movies. Thanks in advance for any help.

Not open for further replies.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
If you can control the sunlight (this is the most important issue. By some shades or something that block out over 90% of the sun's rays) and control the ambient lamp light in the room the best you can get to get a good ambient light picture. You have to be clever though. Shaded light works best. Keeping direct light off the screen.

I make a high gain curved silver screen that is very nice in ambient light and is angular reflective, so it gives the best ambient light picture witih a ceiling mounted projector. Some screenshots are below. If you're interested in more info PM me.





Projector was tilted in this shot (I didn't set the leveling leg yet)

Shots are at about 9' to 9'2" diagonal.

Now, I wouldn't recommend watching movies in light like this (sports and games would be fine), but it can be done for some material. My Infocus 4805 was table mounted which means I had to stand up higher to see it at closer to its peak gain (to see the best ambient light picture). This means that even though you can get away with a light above the screen with some material it's not the way to get the best ambient light performance out of this screen. The best way is to light from the side with soft light, preferrably shaded. Any shading of hard light will dramatically improve contrast. It rejects light from the side the best. Since it's angular reflective that means if you only have soft light coming from the side the light will be rejected away from the viewing area making the screen appear dark grey (if that's the only light being used) and maintain more contrast.

The screen is also far brigther in the dark. It's plasma bright even at 9'. I think this screen could make a decently bright home theater digital pull off upto 22' wide at least (providing it has enough resolution and the viewer can sit at least 1x the width away, though most would prefer to sit at least 1.5x the width away).

Here is a screenshot at nearly 14' wide with my 4805 on a pale gray wall. Now, this shot was taken (all shots are in low lamp mode, btw) on my pale gray wall with one light on. I shaded as much of the direct light as possible. This made the room dim, but as soon as your eyes adjust you can comfortably read, eat, move around or talk to friends and actually cleary see them. The contrast was pretty decent for th screensize. Dark scenes from Spiderman looked fairly decent still (a curved silver screen of mine would've still been much better in this type of very low shaded light. BTW, the room is not even remotely close to being as dark as it looks in the photo):


As far as projector recommendations I'd say look into the Optoma HD70 or the Panasonic AX100U since you're wanting to have some ambient light. The HD70 will save you about a grand though.
See less See more
That room looks a little depressing. Do you let any sunlight in there at all? ;)

In low light or dark rooms, the HD70 would have better contrast and color, but I think for rex8200, an ax100 would be better. Typical living room conditions are brighter than your pics (even with camera correction factor).
Originally Posted by juicelee
Do you let any sunlight in there at all? ;)
Not when watching anything during the day I don't; Well, not much anyway. :) I t does not matter how much one tries to block the sun enough of its light escapes through making it not quite as dark as you can get the room at night.
Mtyson's post shows what you can do with a screen that's designed for ambient light, and combine it with a bright projector. If you don't want to build a torus screen, or would prefer a roll up ( electric or manual ) screen, you can get similar results with a retro-reflective screen like the Dalite Hi-Power or Optoma Greywolf. This type of screen doesn't work well ceiling mounted pj's. If you can mount your projector on a shelf or bookcase behind you, and just above head level, then you can use this type of screen to it's best advantage.

Your projector needs optical lens shift to work in this situation. The brightest new projectors with lens shift are the Panny AX100 and the Epson 400, both LCD. If you want to go DLP, the Optoma 7100 has lens shift, but isn't as bright as the Panny and Epson. If you want a real light cannon DLP, then the Mits WD2000 at 3000 lumens would be a good choice, and can be had for the price range of this forum.

I reiterate what MTyson says about sports, HDTV, and Games are fine with some ambient light, but you should save the movies for after sunset.

I have 40' of floor to ceiling windows on the east side of the room, and the screen is on the south side. I don't have any blinds at all. Aside from the early morning, I can get good looking pic when sitting in the high gain cone of the screen for sports and HDTV.

Here is a shot of the 40' of windows


Here is a shot of the screen, with a CRT TV in the shot for a brightness comparison.


See less See more
Originally Posted by jrwhite
you can get similar results with a retro-reflective screen like the Dalite Hi-Power or Optoma Greywolf.
Unfortuantely those won't work well with a ceiling mounted projector. The GreyWolfII has a gain of about 1.0 with a ceiling mounted projector.

My Silver Torus probably has a peak gain as high as 10 and since it's grayish in color it'll mainintain better contrast/blacks in ambient light and have higher gain than a Hi-Power even with an ideally mounted projector. With a ceiling mounted projector and a Curved (it only needs a horitontal curve for a ceiling mounted digital, but I use mine with a CRT) Silver screen you will get much more gain with ceiling mounting. Of course at peak gain you'll get much higher gain than both of those screen regardless of how the projector is mounted. :D

The one really good thing about Retroreflective screens is that they reflect ambient light back to the source (not good though if it comes from the front of the screen). With angular reflective you want to light from the side, below or high above the screen to make sure the ambient light is reflected away from the viewing area. Of course just like with a retro reflective screen you don't want direct light to hit from the front middle area of the screen. The Silver PVC at peak gain can withstand a pretty surprising amount of ambient light when setup right with a good projector.
See less See more
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Not open for further replies.