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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read alot of posts here on screen building, aspect ratios, zooming, masking, etc and realize a lot of things depend on personal tastes. However, I am ready to start building and need some opinions before I cut that first piece of wood!


I have a Sony HS10 and plan on building a 12'W x 18'L home theater in my basement with two rows of seating. Like everyone else, I want as big a screen as possible/comfortable.


I want to build a blackout cloth screen which is only available in 54" widths here, which is okay because the height of the room is about 7'. The obvious choice is to build a 96" x 54" 1.77 ratio screen, right?


However, does it make any sense to build the screen at 108" x 54" 2.0 ratio?


We mostly watch DVDs(80%), with some HDTV(20%).


Does anybody have a similar sized room and screen? Do you wish you made it bigger? smaller? wider?


Any thoughts, opinions, comments are welcome!


Thanks,

CB
 

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Some of that 54 inches will have to fold over the frame to the back where you will attach it with staples, velcro, or a spline. Plus you will probably want a black border framing the viewable screen. Your viewable screen height will wind up being at most 46 inches. I recommend you build a 2.35:1 ratio screen, say 108x46. You can zoom in and mask the sides for 1.85:1 films and get the full benefit of the wide screen for 2.35:1 films. I just built a 38x89 blackout cloth screen using 1x4 lumber and 2 inch black duvetyne tape borders -- it looks very nice.
 

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Does the HS20 have enough range on it's zoom lens to go from 1.78 to 2.35 ratio? I know my Panny l300u doesn't.


I built my blackout cloth screen 50"x104". You can get 50 inches of height with the blackout cloth , but you really have to stretch it. Of course you want to stretch it as much as you can to eliminate wrinkles anyway. I conned my mom into making curtains for me to mask the sides when watching 1.85 and I will have to mask the top and bottom just a little on 2.35 or wider movies. It's as close to a constant height setup as I could get with my projector. Just a little more range on the zoom and I would have been set. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hmm, the pictures I have seen show the blackout cloth stretched and stapled to the BACK of the frame not stretched over the front then stapled on the back.


What is the benefit, if any, of wrapping the blackout cloth around the front instead of just stapling to the back?


Obviously, stapling to the back would give me a bigger height ~50" vs around the back ~46", yes?


Thx,

CB
 

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I'm having trouble understanding your question. Do you mean that in examples you have seen the screen material goes in back of the frame? If so, it would be impossible to have the extra vertical support pieces that are needed for a rigid frame. I built the frame, then placed the blackout fabric on the floor, placed the frame "face down" on top of the fabric, and attached the fabric by pulling it over the frame and stapling it to the back of the frame, like stretching an artist's canvas. Working alone it took ~45 minutes to get the fabric attached, including stopping to reload the staple gun a few times.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Aha! You are correct, the pictures of screens I have seen did not have any vertical support pieces, it must have been a smaller screen maybe?


These supports would definitely be required for a 96" or 108" wide screen, right?


So I will lose some of the 54" due to the stretching around the back and some more due to the black border? Or can the border be built and added later?


Thx,

CB
 

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You could gain a few inches of screen height by building an "overframe" for the black border. I wanted to make my screen extra sturdy because I will be hanging it up in front of my RPTV and taking it down after each use so that my family can watch the RPTV whenever they want to. I probably could have gotten away with using just one vertical support in the middle but figured two would be better. With the blackout cloth stretched around the frame it adds to the rigidity. I originally tried to use a "roll up" version of the screen without a frame, but each time I unfurled the screen to use it there were more annoying wrinkles and ripples in the fabric. With the rigid wooden frame it is tight as a drum.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Instead of having any border at all, couldn't I just use black curtains and/or a black wall to absorb any light spills? The screen will be a permanent installation. . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How did you attach the vertical support pieces? Did you use metal T-braces or attach them to the back of the 1"x4" board with long screws?
 

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Are you planning on projecting on the raw blackout cloth, or are you planning on attempting a DIY painted screen?


If the latter, you have more options regarding material. Some of the heavy muslins used for quilt-making would work great and are available in 108 inch widths, or more. However, you'll need to be a little more careful with your first coat of paint (keep it light). Even if you weren't planning this, Behr ultra-white (flat) or similar is easy to apply and provides a good image.


Frame-wise, you'll want to wrap around the frame no matter what. It reduces the strain put on whatever you use to secure it. Upholstery staples are designed for securing fabric. . . It's what I use.


My preference (if you're painting especially) for frame construction is a base frame of 1x3 or 1x4, with a half-round molding piece attached, flat-side out, to the front side of the frame around the outside edge. The fabric gets stretched over the half-round and secured to the back of the 1x material, and eliminates frame "show-through" issues, especially if the lumber warps (twists) at all. Makes for easy bracing as well. My limit on 1x3 is 30 inches unsupported, 1x4 40" unsupported (i.e. brace minimally every 30 or 40 inches, both vertically and horizontally). Make sure you brace diagonally also! a "V" is generally sufficient - top corners to middle of bottom (upside-down V doesn't work right!) If you want to minimize overall thickness, you can get half-inch lumber and half-rounds. I have a 48" screen quite comfortably using 54" blackout. I could have gone 50".


FWIW, my frame-building/stretching technique comes from years of doing it for painting paintings. ;)


C
 

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Quote:
FWIW, my frame-building/stretching technique comes from years of doing it for painting paintings.
cjd,


Could you please post a recipe for those that would like to use a board of choice? Would having to support the extra weight change how it should be reinforced? I am going to go with Sintra which will weigh 25-35 lbs. for a 52X92 screen depending on going with 1/8" or 1/4". What are your recommendations that would help getting the board to seat in best and are there any other considerations for it?


Thanks
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CharlieBoy
How did you attach the vertical support pieces? Did you use metal T-braces or attach them to the back of the 1"x4" board with long screws?
I attached them to the backs of the horizontal 1x4s using longer screws -- I didn't want the screen fabric to touch them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I am planning on just using the raw blackout cloth. Is this what most people are doing? I compared the cloth to some samples I have from Dalite and it's not that far off from some of them!


How far apart do you place the staples? 1"? 2"? 3"?


I think I'll use 1"x4"s to create a 104" x 50" screen with two braces at ~35" and ~70" secured with long screws and adjust the HS10 projector accordingly between the different ratios.


Are 1' wood corner braces(cut at 45 degrees on both ends) helpful at all or will they get in the way of the stretched fabric?
 

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I generally put staples every ~3-4 inches. If you find it needs more, that's fine.


Start at the middle on the of the one long side, put a staple in. Go to the opposit side, pull it snug, staple. Then, do the same at the middle of the narrow side, except that you'll need to pull each side a little.


Then, put a staple or two on each side of your previous staple, stretching tight each time - depending on the proportions, 2-3 staples (4-6 total per side) on the long side for every one (2 total) on the short. The goal is to reach the corners at the same time on each side.


Bracing the corners is a must! If you use the half-round on a base, you can get away with 1/4" plywood (or similar) corners on the inside. If you do it this way, put a brace at each corner. If you do a "V" then that's all you need.


For hanging hard-board, I'm not sure. I've never done that. However, I think quality 1x2 should give you what you need (since it doesn't have to withstand the tension of a stretched fabric) This is guessing your board is ~1/8" thick or so.



Lay a frame of 1x flat with the same outer dimensions as your board. Build an outside frame of vertical 1x2 (vs. flat as for stretching) so that it fits around the outside perimiter of your board and above frame, and attach the two to form an "L" (on its back, so to speak). Brace it with flat 1x2. Lay the board on the bracing, inside the vertical surround. Place 1/2" half-round around the perimiter, and tack it to the outside 1x2 surround. This will trap the board in the frame without requiring any holes or glue.


1x3 or 1x4 for vertical bracing will also add some strenth if you're concerned.


If the board is stiff, diagonal bracing isn't necessary in this situation (but it won't hurt any either). If it's somewhat "floppy" (say, you're framing a piece of Parkland) then the "L" shaped border as described above would be required. You may also find you need to run backing braces (both vertically and horizontally) more than necessary for strength alone (to provide adequate support for the board).


Thicker board will work, you may just need to tweak the lumber dimensions to get it all fitting smooth and such.


After typing all this, I'm sure I've forgotten something :p


C
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by CharlieBoy
...How far apart do you place the staples? 1"? 2"? 3"?

...Are 1' wood corner braces(cut at 45 degrees on both ends) helpful at all or will they get in the way of the stretched fabric?
Here are a couple of close-up pictures. The first one shows how the vertical braces are attached.
 

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This picture shows a corner. In addition to the "L" braces that attach the sides to the top and bottom I used metal corner braces for extra support. I stapled about every 1.5 inches using the basic technique described by cjd. The frame feels very solid but is light enough to put up and take down fairly easily.
 

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Originally posted by cjd

Are you planning on projecting on the raw blackout cloth, or are you planning on attempting a DIY painted screen?


Hi CJD!


I'm assuming that you have painted or considered painting your screen.

Could you share your experience on painting? There's so much information on this forum on different mixes , types, brand, colors of paint...that this is very confusing.
 
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