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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! I've reached the point where I am going to design my screen and borders (the wall just doesn't cut it anymore :D), and I would love any help you guys can offer.


Here's the setup:

InFocus LP280 LCD projector; 1000 lumens, 400:1 contrast, 4:3 aspect.

11'4" throw gives me a screen of 91" diagonal at 4:3. Seating is behind and to one side, so ideally the screen should have good off axis viewing up to 40-50° one direction from center. I know this will be hard to achieve. Also lighting is not completely controlled at the moment, so something that works better in not completely dark rooms would be better. The borders I want to make adjustable somehow (doesn't have to be automatic or even powered) for viewing 1.78, 1.85, and 2.35 letterboxed on the 4:3 screen.


Here's what I'm thinking so far:

Large sheet of masonite or mdf for screen, maybe even soundboard covered with canvas or something. Painted with 3 coats sanded of Liquitex white or gray gesso. Borders of velveteen on curtainrods with a rod pocket for a pipe at the bottom to hang straight. I'm not sure how the adjusting will work yet, probably just a simple couterweighted rope/pulley set.


Also for the painting I was thinking of an easy way to get a smooth coat of paint. Just splash some paint on and rub it down with a squeegee or windshield wiper blade. Let dry, sand, and repeat. What do you think?


Comments, questions, criticism, help, all appreciated.
 

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Hey anti :)


Same Figgie as in the [H] :)


Have you looked at blackout cloth for your screen material? That can easily be used and painted and weighs less to ;) Only difficult part is the stretching of the material itself. Very important if noone is there to help you hang the beast up. Black velveteen is good. (that what I use on my screen) There are blacker velvets that are essetially a black hole but they are also a blackhole to the wallet ;) (like $30-$40/sq yd!!) You want at least an inch of black velveteen all around to increase contrast. with LCD you want a "greyer" screen. If you do not have access to an Spray Gun (HVLP) then a roller will work but need to be carefull while painting. The easiest is the spray gun. ROllers are next and the brush is dead last. You are talking about "silk screening" type techinque. I do not think it would work to well just cuz of the inconsitancies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey Figgie.


The issue with using blackout cloth is the framing. Not the stretching, but the building of the frame. I don't have any woodworking tools. I guess I can get access to a friend's tools, but would it really be worth the extra time? Opposed to just getting a piece of masonite cut at homedepot? Since I'm painting it does the base material really matter as long as it's flat?


Also about the paint; how much gray, and what exactly is the gray supposed to do anyway? I'm thinking it would be best to just keep it as flat a finish as possible, avoiding the irridescants and micas and all. This will maximize the off axis viewing correct?
 

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yes. Maximize viewing is greatest with a low gain screen. 1.0 or so. The higher the gain the narrow the FOV. And also the increased likelyhood of hotspotting. Where one area of the screen is brighter than another area.

The grey on an LCD hgelps increase the black levels. If you compare it to say a direct view tv. The blacks on an LCD are greyinh. IF you put a white backgroud. They stay grey. A grey background helps those grey get "blacker"


The way I did my screen. I created a frame for it. Then I actually hung it from the ceiling :) That way if i need to go out to the balcony i can take off the screen and put it aside. And all is good. But I did it more for convinience.


Will you be permanetly mounting it? If so then you can do the mica or mdf. But I think the cloth is cheaper than doing a full blown mdf /mica screen. I like to see an idea on photo if at all possible. There are numerous people here with different a screen :) Though I myself went with the parkland plastic but am about to redo it a bit bigger with the "Thermo Suede" that was mention in another thread.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the screen height is 56.25", so using fabric from a 60" bolt would work fine. I'm just not sure if there is a benefit to the hassle of framing opposed to a masonite board. The screen will be permanent, until we move eventually, which may be a few years, or at least one, so lets say.. permanent but removable? Either way will work for me I guess, I just want to pick the easiest/cheapest if there is no difference in performance. Also I've heard people getting their fabric framed in a window frame. How much does that cost?


I'm still a little confused about the gray... If it makes the black darker, then it makes the whole image darker too right? So I will have to increase the brightness controls to get detail back. Then won't it arrive at the same black level as a white screen anyway?


Too bad the [H] is down today, people are slower at repling here. Not you of course. ;)
 

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It actaully helps in the contrast department. (Sorry i overran that one on my typing spree) :)


Usually an LCD will say like 1000:1 or something to that effect. it will darken everything up but not by that much ;) But it will darken up those grey considerably.
 

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I made mine from blackout cloth (actually looks like 5% gray) from a standard fabric shop, stretched over a large wooden art frame (called stretchers I think) bought from an art shop for about $80.


The frame size was approximately 5' x 8', and I didn't even have to glue or fasten the corners together as the material kept it all aligned.


The stretching was simple: I placed the made-up frame over the material on the floor, and starting at opposite sides just stapled the material to the frame, making it tighter as I went along. The stapler was an ordinary commercial hand unit bought for around $20.


There were absolutely no wrinkles - it turned out perfect, and I'm no DIY'er by any means. It was a work of art literally when I flipped it over! Took 20 minutes total.


I also stapled black velvet on each side to mask it. I made the line absolutely knife-edged by folding the edge of the velvet over on double-sided cello-tape first.


Initially I had a black velvet roll-up blind arrangement top and bottom to mask for different formats (there's a lot of variation in movie formats out there!) But after a while it became too fiddly to adjust for each film, and I discarded these. Electrical masking would be ideal.


By the way, you may be interested in my dual purpose set-up: I have a Technics THX audio system (the best surround sound I've heard for movies, ever, and the 2 gigantic subwoofers makes a mighty low-end). I put 2 small hooks each side in the edges of the screen which exactly match similar eyes in my L&R speakers, which sit each side of my standard TV at the proper screen width distance.


The center speaker sits in the TV base and I occasionally use the THX system for watching TV if the situation demands it. When the screen fits in place on the hooks, voila! the sound system and seating is perfectly set up for large screen movies as well.


I've tried using board and painting, but honestly it was a pain. The screen took ages to sand, prepare and paint, was heavy to lift, warped, and wasn't at all professional looking. It looked amateurish.


A screen done my way was heaps lighter to shift around, was warp-free and absolutely, perfectly wrinkle-free. No contest.


Ken Silver
 

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Just a final thought - I've had the screen for well over 2 years now, and it is still as good as the day I made it.


Even when I leant it against a doorknob for a few days, the indentation eased out of its own accord a few days later...self-healing!


Don't do the masonite/painting thing - it ain't worth the effort!


Ken Silver
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Ken. I decided a few days ago to go with the framed cloth type. You make it sound so easy, but somehow things always get complicated when I do projects. ;) I got a miter box and saw to make the miter corners. The only problem I've run into so far is that the black-out cloth is a 55" bolt. My screen design is 56.5" tall, which calls for about 60" of width. So the bolt isn't wide enough. I'm going to have to get 2 lengths of fabric and add another strip of about 5" to the top. That sucks. I guess everyone else has shorter screens? It's probably because I'm making a 4:3 screen. I don't think it will be that bad though. It will be at the very top, where most movies will be masked off. Also I'm going to paint it, so hopefully that will remove all signs of a seam anyway. Oh, you said your frame was 5'? So your blackout cloth must have been over 60" wide, unless you also used 2 pieces?
 

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Anticowboyism,


Well, I guess it sounded easy because the main part - the stretchers - was already done for me.


I don't have a workshop with bench, miter saw and measuring stuff, and I even if I did I couldn't produce the same quality as I had bought. Being a perfectionist for me means getting it as much ready-made as I can.


For the material, maybe I found some nonstandard size, but it gave me more than enough without using two pieces. So long ago I don't remember the details.


Why are you painting your material? Is there no right color out there? Seems you're making a lot of work for yourself.


But good luck with your fitting. You'll find it an improved difference.


By the way, my 20 minutes build time also included trying to prevent our Birman from playing on it - but I had more fun than she did!


Ken Silver.
 

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I made my cscreen from a cloth called "thermo suede" it has a very fine texture, and is nice bright white, I have a thread for it here tile is "trying new screen material" only downfall is it gets dirty easly, strech the cloth over your frame in a clean place.. Or if you are going to paint a shade of grey, then you wont have to be so careful..


My screen is not painted, but will be just to see what a grey screen will do for me.


The frame was rather easy, i have a table saw but it could be done very easly with a hand saw and one of those cheap plastic angle cutter things.


I did mine a butt frame meaning all the angles are 90 degrees not 45's.. and simple bought 8 metal braces two for each butt joint, it took me about 20 minutes to build the frame and strech the "thermo suede over the frame and staple it in place, I had help from my wife to strech the cloth.


For those people that dont have tools, go to you local school and talk to the wood shop instructor, you pay taxes and they possably will let you use there tools to cut a few boards, and some nice shop teachers, will actually have students help build what ever you want... A project like this could be a good one period shop project for a few students.... if thats the case they may even furnish the wood!


Shop teachers usually have set projects for lower classes and the upper classes are usualy doing whatever the student wants to build... so you may be lucky with the older classes..


Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update on my design:


I've decided to go with a Parkland screen rather than blackout. Mostly for cleanability. I live in the middle of LA and if you leave the windows open for a while everything gets dirty. So this should be easy to just wipe clean. They had the 4x8 sheet at HomeDepot so I got one, and some molding to put around the edge. I wanted to make the screen 56.5" high since my projector is 4:3, but I decided 48" should be fine for now because I don't watch any full frame movies. If it bothers me later it should be easy enough to order one of the 5x8 sheets. I tacked it to the wall last night, haven't tested it out yet. Going to get some black paint today to paint the molding. On that thought, what is the blackest, flatest paint I can buy?


On the subject of adjustable borders, I have 2 ideas. One is to get 2 of those cheap pulldown blinds, line them with velveteen, viola! Instant adjustable border. The other is to use velcro along the edge of the border and the edge of the screen frame and velco the border to the correct height. For the sides I was thinking simply 2 strips of velveteen cut to size, with tiny curtain rods on the top and bottom for support, and just hang them on the wall from hooks.


I'm not sure if I'm going to paint the screen now. I'm sure it will be better with a gray, but I don't want to sacrifice the cleanability of the plastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update:

Got some OSH brand flat black paint to paint the frame. Used 2 coats of black primer and 2 coats of flat black. I bought the OSH brand because it was suggested to me that this was flatter than the Krylon or Rustoleum. It was only 1.99 so why not. So far it doesn't look very flat or very black. :D It is still drying however, and maybe it will flatten as it dries more. On a side note, the cheap $8 miter box & saw I bought at home depot worked like a charm. Nearly perfect miter corners.


I found the perfect thing I was looking for for the side borders. It's called a 5/8" Sash Rod set at OSH. It's 2 thin 14" rods and sets of wall brackets to hang them. One rod on top, the other on bottom of each side piece. Perfect.


I had a genious idea for the top and bottom adjustable borders. Magnetic curtain rods. Just your basic 80" curtain rods, strong ceramic magnets epoxied at each end, and a small metal plate attached to the wall at each height required. Or even a long metal track making it infinitely adjustable. It would be hidden by the side borders so it looks is not an issue. Comments?
 
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