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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
AT screen for 8.5’ viewing distance: manufactured screen fabrics & spandex

I currently have a Falcon Vision HD screen (100"-wide 2.35-aspect) in my small dedicated theater with seating only ~ 8.5' eyes to screen and I often notice the screen texture/holes as a dirtiness in brighter scene elements such as the sun, snow, overexposed windows, etc. Resizing my image and/or enabling e-shift do not visibly change the artifact.

At the time I had purchased my screen (2013) the Seymour UF and Falcon Horizon materials were not yet announced and so I chose the Falcon Vision HD material over the Seymour XD as the weave was much less noticeable at my seating distance; I did not consider the Enlightor 4K due both to cost and as I have young kids I was looking for a resilient material. Well, it is now time for a screen upgrade to coincide with a DIY 4-way motorized masking system (build coming soon).

Below you can find my (in progress, opinions subject to revision) AT screen fabric comparison for 8.5’ viewing distance. I am using a black velvet backing to mitigate any reflected light contamination and I am evaluating on both recent Blu-ray content (Oblivion, Hobbit, Art of Flight [for screen texture on bright APL scene elements]) as well as basic test patterns with single-pixel features. Projectors are a Mitsubishi HC5 SXRD JVC RS4910 and a Mitsubishi HC7900DW DLP. I am testing using the full 16:9 projected image sized to fill the height of the screen.

Current preferred material for my viewing distance and visual performance requirements: DreamScreen Acoustic UltraWeave V6 material

NOTE: If you feel I have mis-characterized a material, I am open to re-examining the contended attribute (although it may take me days to find the time); I'm doing this comparison by eye so it's a qualitative not quantitative evaluation.

Falcon Vision HD

Baseline (current screen material).

Moderately noticeable texture/dirtiness in high-APL scene elements, also slightly visible in mid-APL elements.

Good near-unity gain.

Low cross-pixel light contamination results in good perceived sharpness although some detail does get lost due to the weave/holes.

Inter-pixel gap is difficult to discern up close due to the weave and holes.

Seymour XD

Weave is very noticeable at this viewing distance. Not a candidate.

Falcon Horizon

Slightly noticeable texture in high-APL scene elements, does not dirty the image. No noticeable texture in mid-APL elements.

Lower gain than the Vision HD material but still bright for my setup.

Moderate cross-pixel light contamination that lightly softens the image.

Inter-pixel gap is difficult to discern up close due to the pattern of the fine weave.

Slight sparking.

Seymour UF

Slightly noticeable texture in high-APL scene elements, does not dirty the image. No noticeable texture in mid-APL elements.

Slightly lower gain than the Horizon material but still bright for my setup; is more translucent showing the black backing than Horizon.

Moderate cross-pixel light contamination that lightly softens the image. Similar to Horizon.

Inter-pixel gap is slightly easier to discern up close than Horizon due to the weave pattern.

Slight sparking.

white milliskin matte spandex (from SpandexWorld), single layer

No noticeable texture.

Definitely lower gain than Horizon and UF, I’m starting to get concerned about the low gain.

Very noticeably not color neutral, adds a blue cast. I am concerned what effect this will have if I go with this material; can I calibrate it out without much further brightness loss?

Slightly increased cross-pixel light contamination as compared to Horizon & UF, softens image slightly more.

Inter-pixel gap is clearly visible up close due to the extremely fine weave. Great for sharpness but it seems the cross-pixel light contamination slightly overpowers the benefit.

Very transparent material w.r.t. not introducing artifacts in the image aside from the color cast.

white milliskin matte spandex (from SpandexWorld), double layer

Gain is now comparable or even slightly higher than the Horizon & UF. (need to double check this)

The second layer of spandex adds to the cross-pixel light contamination further softening the image; unacceptable for anything but video at this point.

S-SE Enlightor 4K (EN4K)

Before ordering I thought this material was fragile and paper-thin but its actually a tough fabric not unlike others. I was concerned about the durability of this material (for the cost) since I have young kids but it seems that it would be durable enough and may even allow for very light spot cleaning if needed.

Best inter-pixel contrast. Little-to-none cross-pixel light contamination.

Very sharp compared to UF/Horizon.

Inter-pixel gap is difficult to discern up close due to the pattern of the fine weave.

Moderate speckle/sparkling/sheen, much more than Seymour UF and Falcon Horizon, making this material significantly more visible than UF/Horizon on white snow scenes for example in Art of Flight. This totally killed this as a candidate material for my seating distance as I really don't want to see the screen fabric in high-APL scene elements.


S-SE Enlightor Neo S

Sample yet to be ordered. Don't know anything about this material, looks somewhat like spandex from the photos but probably more color neutral. Is this available for DIY?

Stewart Tela 80

Sample yet to be ordered.


DreamScreen Acoustic UltraWeave V5 material (sometimes referred to here on AVS as AVScience V5)

Advertised gain of ~0.81

Very slightly noticeable texture in high-APL scene elements, does not dirty the image. No noticeable texture in mid-APL elements.

Absolutely no sparkle or sheen to the material.

Less cross-pixel light contamination than Horizon, slightly less than spandex single layer (hard to be certain due to low gain of spandex). EN4K still owns the local contrast crown by far.

More visible pixel gap than Horizon but not as defined as spandex due to the weave.

Slightly less gain than Horizon.

DreamScreen Acoustic UltraWeave V6

Review in progress: this material uses a finer weave on the front surface for even better fine detail than the V5

Severtson SAT-4K

Excellent gain. Brightest material tested, even brighter than the Falcon XD material.

Under ambient light only, significantly more sparkle than Horizon or UF. Under projection illumination, the sparkles are only a little more obvious than Horizon/UF. Sparkle creates a speckle effect (like the EN4K but to a much lesser degree) that makes the material somewhat visible in high APL content, more so than Horizon/UF but not much more.

Comparison of cross-pixel light contamination is difficult due to the extra gain; still not as good as EN4K but looks better than V5/Horizon but that may simply be due to the gain.

The SAT-4K is a slightly finer weave than the Seymour UF but also a thicker material (reflects more light); it is about the same fine-ness weave as the Horizon but the weave pattern is regular enough that Severtson cuts at an angle to avoid moire. Milliskin spandex is much finer. The surface fabric of the Dreamscreen V5 is also finer although its so transparent that you pick up on the coarse layer underneath. The Seymour EN4K is a finer weave too although it does have a surface roughness/sparkle that shows up as speckle.

If the extra gain is needed, I would consider this fabric over Horizon without reservation.

Severtson TAT-4K

Similar material & weave as the SAT-4K but grey instead of white.

Display Technologies DT Screens AT Reference

Review coming soon: sample arrives Oct 10

Any other screen fabric recommendations???

Comments welcome and encouraged.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How about the EluneVision Reference Studio AudioWeave 4K?
Thanks for the recommendation. Two years ago when I was originally evaluating screen materials I did get a sample of the AudioWeave 4K -- I will have to see if I can find it to comment on it again, but from what I recall the weave was more visible than the Falcon Vision HD and the gain was lower (or it had a yellow cast lowering the perceived gain).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think part of the problem is your room is not larger enough for and AT screen..
I understand that current AT screen materials are not targeting my seating distance as their sweet spot (and would surmise that current materials work very well for 10-11' seating distances) but I disagree with the assertion that the room needs to be larger to use an AT screen.
 

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I understand that current AT screen materials are not targeting my seating distance as their sweet spot (and would surmise that current materials work very well for 10-11' seating distances) but I disagree with the assertion that the room needs to be larger to use an AT screen.
That is exactly what I meant.. the material is not made for small rooms and I would guess that is because the weave needs to be larger enough to allow the sound to pass unimpeded and our vision is good enough to see the holes in the weave from 8'. I would think you will need to go for a non commercial fabric and DIY a screen to achieve your goal. Have you checked the DIY screen forum for spandex brands and configurations that may allow for your close seating distance? I would assume there will need to be comprises made in color neutral and audio to get something tight enough you can not see it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Have you checked the DIY screen forum for spandex brands and configurations that may allow for your close seating distance? I would assume there will need to be comprises made in color neutral and audio to get something tight enough you can not see it.
Yes I have (per my comments in the original post); my main problem with the de facto white milliskin spandex is the lack of color neutrality (slight-to-moderate blue shift) -- otherwise I would consider the spandex option, although its low gain is worrisome.

The Enlightor Neo S looks promising (hard to tell if it is a finer weave than the UF/Horizon materials) and that is probably the next sample I need to obtain as no doubt the color neutrality should be better than the spandex.
 

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Excellent thread. Thanks for taking the time to do these comparisons and report.
I have gone down a similar road and found similar results.
XD is SO textured at 10 feet that it is unwatchable. Falcon is better, but still noticeable...and unwatchable.
A sample of Seymour UF is texture free at my distance. In the end I went with the spandex option and am using white over black. This gives a completely smooth surface and the low gain provides slightly better blacks for my DLP projector (BenQ W1070). It also has the benefit of smoothing out the pixels from my close 1:1 viewing distance. I live in Canada so am using spandex from Fabricland, not Spandexworld as most are. Perhaps I'm not very sensitive to color shift, but I'm not aware of any inaccuracies unless making a direct comparison, and even then I would call the difference minimal.


My advice would be to try the spandex, perhaps white over silver. The cost is minimal and you might find that it suits your needs.
 

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Completely off track, but thought I would post my question here rather than PM you.
I see you have sold several lenses. I assume you have tried different options to fill a larger screen from your short throw distance. Pin-cushioning and color aberration an issue using lens with such a short throw?
I also see in your Avatar that your JVC is mounted backwards, firing off a mirror to increase throw distance. Is this an old picture or your current setup? I tried desperately to use a mirror, even purchasing a $300 "optical grade" first surface mirror but always found this technique to produce banding artifacts, especially in bright scenes. In the end I gave up on using a higher end projector and purchased the BenQ W1070 because it's some what shorter throw requirements were perfect for my application. Would love however to get a better, higher contrast unit such as your JVC, but not willing to give up 20 horizontal inches of screen to get it.
What has your experience been?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Excellent thread. Thanks for taking the time to do these comparisons and report.

...

My advice would be to try the spandex, perhaps white over silver. The cost is minimal and you might find that it suits your needs.
Thanks. As I'm building my own frame anyways, I probably will try the spandex route first to see it not on a small sized sample; as I've read you are very critical of the image, your opinion is particularly valued.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Completely off track, but thought I would post my question here rather than PM you.
I see you have sold several lenses. I assume you have tried different options to fill a larger screen from your short throw distance. Pin-cushioning and color aberration an issue using lens with such a short throw?
I also see in your Avatar that your JVC is mounted backwards, firing off a mirror to increase throw distance. Is this an old picture or your current setup? I tried desperately to use a mirror, even purchasing a $300 "optical grade" first surface mirror but always found this technique to produce banding artifacts, especially in bright scenes. In the end I gave up on using a higher end projector and purchased the BenQ W1070 because it's some what shorter throw requirements were perfect for my application. Would love however to get a better, higher contrast unit such as your JVC, but not willing to give up 20 horizontal inches of screen to get it.
What has your experience been?
Yes the mirror is being retired due to the faint banding artifacts. I have a Navitar HDSSW065 to test out when I get the opportunity, I'm expecting very little distortion when properly aligned. Hopefully I can use the full 1.4 TR zoom of the JVC without any vignette. I'll report back on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Might be cheaper to get a place with a bigger room. :)
The price for being a videophile :) I bought the lens used for ~60% so it's not as painful as it could have been, but part of the clarity of the new texture-free screen is also removing the artifacts from using the mirror; I will probably tolerate a little softness or slight geometric distortion versus the banding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Yes the mirror is being retired due to the faint banding artifacts. I have a Navitar HDSSW065 to test out when I get the opportunity, I'm expecting very little distortion when properly aligned. Hopefully I can use the full 1.4 TR zoom of the JVC without any vignette. I'll report back on that.
I know this is off topic for this thread, need to move to a build thread, but thought I'd answer this here:

I performed a quick trial of the Navitar with my RS4910 set up on the kitchen island (as I do not have a mount for the lens yet). As it turns out I can only use about ~1.51 TR zoom on the JVC for an effective TR of ~0.98 with the lens before I get very slight vignette. This is with the lens directly against the front of the projector with lens mount foot attached. There is room to move the lens a little bit closer without touching the JVC lens if I remove the lens foot and mount the Navitar by lens body alone somehow.

I did not get the time to extensively explore the focus uniformity and/or chromatic abberation -- I will say that the gap between pixels was still very sharp even at the corners near vignette so that shows promise.

Due to the effective TR it will limit me to approx 98"-wide 16:9 image. My (to be retired) 2.35:1 screen is 100"-wide. I just now realized that since I'm using the zoom method, its okay if the lens vignettes the 16:9 corners as it won't affect the 2.35:1 image -- thus I will not have to take a (slight) cinemascope screen shrink to use the Navitar lens instead of the mirror -- yay.

So now I'd like to figure out my maximum 2.35 image size before vignette so I can finalize the size of my new screen, but I just packed up and shipped my RS4910 to its new owner this morning (doh!) -- now waiting for a JVC RS400/RS500. Actually, the math of using the maximum zoom of 1.4 native TR, the maximum possible width will be 106", so I'll just shoot for a maximum width within that window of 100-106" for my 4-way variable masking system.
 

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jjcook,


I'm curious to see how you feel about the Enlightor 4K. I bought some for my DIY AT screen several (5-6?) years ago as there were only about two options at that time, that I recall. It seems there are quite a number of "4K" AT materials available now.


Like you I sit rather close to my screen 6-7 feet. I may not be sensitive to the weave, but I don't really notice it during normal viewing. However, if you look close you can see it. Granted I don't have kids, but it seems like pretty durable material to me. So, you may not need to worry about that so much.


Hope you can find a material that'll work for you!


Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm curious to see how you feel about the Enlightor 4K. I bought some for my DIY AT screen several (5-6?) years ago as there were only about two options at that time, that I recall. It seems there are quite a number of "4K" AT materials available now.

Like you I sit rather close to my screen 6-7 feet. I may not be sensitive to the weave, but I don't really notice it during normal viewing. However, if you look close you can see it. Granted I don't have kids, but it seems like pretty durable material to me. So, you may not need to worry about that so much.
I've updated my first post with my initial comments on the EN4K material. Yes it is definitely more durable than I thought, in that regard I wouldn't hesitate to use it despite having young kids. Unfortunately I found the material to still be quite visible, particularly in bright scenes such as snow scenes in the Art of Flight (my litmus test), in fact it seemed to be more visible in those scenes than the Seymour UF and Falcon Horizon due to the amount of sparkles in the material.

At this point, I'll probably go with the white over black milliskin spandex for now to get the new screen in service. I'm anxious to learn more about the new AVScience DIY fabric that will be coming out soon, as @Mike Garrett gave a very positive review w.r.t. texture visibility vs EN4K recently. I'm hoping this new material prices no more than about 50-75% of EN4K. Once its available I might consider changing to this material if the delta in quality is visible.
 

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Great post, thanks for doing this!

I have EluneVision Reference Studio AudioWeave 4K. I either didn't know about Falcon Vision HD or it wasn't available when I put my theater together. I'd love to get rid of more texture if I could. Keep searching! (I will too)
 
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