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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,


I've just started shopping for projectors and screens. I visited two dealers, the first, who couldn't even get his projector to work, insisted that a masking system was quite important to mimimize the stray light bouncing from the "gray" bars on to the image. (I'm paraphrasing.)


The second dealer, who had an "automated"masking system, presented me with a beautiful 4:3 image. The only "problem" was that the automation wasn't smart enough to recognize that we we viewing a 4:3 image so the masking would not engage. Perhaps this was a good thing because it seemed to demonstrate to me two things.

  1. Masking systems are a personal preferrence thing, not a performance issue.
  2. If you get a masking system, go manual, not automated.[/list=1]


    Am I correct? Is this mostly a preference thing, like letterboxing? On a 135" FireHawk screen the price more than doubled going to a masking system. That's quite a premimum if picture quality is really not greatly effected.


    Thanks.


    Larry
 

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Larry,


I never thought that masking would hold as much importance to me. I mentioned my "big picture" movie buff friend in the other thread, who also installed my "low cost" masking system on the 133" screen. The effect is almost emotional, 2.35:1 movies just arent' the same displayed in 16:9.


Both the main screen and the masking are electric, just not automated, hence the "lower" cost. I don't mind the few seconds it take me to set up the screen when needed.
 

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Doesn't matter how black your blacks are, your screen is still white. Black bars on CRT are even quite bothersome to me. After installing it, I feel masking is an absolute must. I can't understand not doing it. Once you go black (masking) you'll never go back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Kei Clark
Larry,


I never thought that masking would hold as much importance to me. I mentioned my "big picture" movie buff friend in the other thread, who also installed my "low cost" masking system on the 133" screen. The effect is almost emotional, 2.35:1 movies just arent' the same displayed in 16:9.


Both the main screen and the masking are electric, just not automated, hence the "lower" cost. I don't mind the few seconds it take me to set up the screen when needed.
Hi Kei,


Thanks again for the response. You mention masking 2.35:1 movies. This would suggest to me that we are dealing with both horizontal as well as vertical masking. Is this an added cost over a standard masking system, or when you buy a masking system do you get both? Or does it vary with the manufacturer?


Thanks.


Larry
 

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I'm also interested in getting some more info Kei is talking about. Is this something that you can add over your existing fixed screen?
 

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Hi. I own a 54 x 96 1.3 gain studeotech by Stewert with a 4 way electro masking system. I have set it up to run by 3 switches. The first engages the side masks. These drop down vertically from the top and are either extended fully or are withdrawn. When they are extended, the screen is a 54 x 72 (1.33). When they are retracted, the screen is 54 x 96 (1.78). The second and third switches run the top and bottom full screen width masking. I only use them when the side masking is up. It works like this. Project a DVD on the screen so that it is full width. Roll down the top masking until it hits the top of the image and then bring the bottom up until it hits the bottom of the image. Takes only a few seconds and saves the $2000 automation system. Just like being at the movies. The film fills the entire screen. Much sharper black edges. Its like sex. Once you have some you want more!


This screen is expensive, listing for something like $8k. Take away the side masking (which I use only when watching 4 x 3 TV, which I do a lot) and it would save about $2K. Of course you can make your own making system with some cardboard, velcro, and some black velvet.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Kei Clark
Larry,


I never thought that masking would hold as much importance to me. I mentioned my "big picture" movie buff friend in the other thread, who also installed my "low cost" masking system on the 133" screen. The effect is almost emotional, 2.35:1 movies just arent' the same displayed in 16:9.


Both the main screen and the masking are electric, just not automated, hence the "lower" cost. I don't mind the few seconds it take me to set up the screen when needed.
Kei


How exactly does your masking system work?

You mention "low cost". Can you ballpark what that means?

I would be completely happy with a manual system.

Thanks for helping here

Rob
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Robert Holloway
......

You mention "low cost". Can you ballpark what that means?

...
My fear is that this "low cost" is VERY relative, otherwise Kei would not have put it in "..":(


____

Axel
 

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just about anyone could accomplish a relatively inexpensive manual masking solution.

if you have a fixed screen against the wall, it would entail building a 'box' frame several feet larger than the perimeter of the screen, and then devising a railing system to move each panel in place.

the box frame would have to extend several more inches from the wall than the actual screen, but that seems only more advantageous to the final projected image anyway (sort of like a mini shadowbox).

i'll dig up a link to the 'plans' i made of my system if anyone is interested.

cost me about $100 or so in materials (including wood and black velvet).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ckolchak
i'll dig up a link to the 'plans' i made of my system if anyone is interested.

cost me about $100 or so in materials (including wood and black velvet).
Please please please.

This would be very interesting to see.

Thanks

Rob
 

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I actually posted this questiuon on the screen area, but that seems dead.


Does anyone have a point of view on how high a 16x9 screen should be from the floor when you are seated on a standard sofa?


I think mine is 6-9 inches too high, but would appreciate any comments

Rob
 

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 this thread here.

i went with a floor-to-ceiling/ wall-to-wall set-up because i wanted to cover up the wood paneling on the screen wall, and i later went with commercial carpet on the other walls to give it more of a theater feel (but it really screwed up my acoustics).

i doubt many people will want to build a floor to ceiling contraption like this just to mask off their screen, but you might get an idea to modify it for something that would work on a slightly smaller scale.
 

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I'm back.


My friend Larry is responsible for the masking system which he installed into our theater. Bascially, I have an electric screen and installed in front of that is an electronic black shade. It only masks horizontally as I don't watch much 4:3 material. On 2.35:1 movies, the screen goes up slightly, and the mask comes down to the top of the image. I should automate the remote process into one, but I've not done so and need to control the two separately.
 

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Masking on the horizontal can be as cheap as you want to be i guess. I 100% agree that masking is a must. I use a electric screen but added a manual way to mask it cost about $50 and you can remove it when a are convinced and go for a real system :). It needs a tube (mine was 3 meters), curtains and begin and end parts. I guess for about $50 more you could add a electric motor and control it using x10.

http://www.submarine.nl/mmbase/daniel/ht/


Select masking.


Daniel.
 

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an alternative is to stop the light in front of the PJ. My IF7200 is ceiling mounted, i suspended some black cardboard 50 cm in front of the PJ. The Cardboard can slide up and down with a clip holder, it's of course 'paper clip engineering' but it works. The cut on the screen is pretty sharp, of course you have to shift down the 2.35 movie in the lower part of the screen and mask the upper part.


try it !
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dubmaster
an alternative is to stop the light in front of the PJ. My IF7200 is ceiling mounted, i suspended some black cardboard 50 cm in front of the PJ. The Cardboard can slide up and down with a clip holder, it's of course 'paper clip engineering' but it works. The cut on the screen is pretty sharp, of course you have to shift down the 2.35 movie in the lower part of the screen and mask the upper part.


try it !
I did something similar with my LS110, which has a lot of light spill. Worked great - definitely an improvement.

(Now with my S2 I do not need it any longer).

____

Axel
 

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I think a reasonable analogy of the impact from masking is the sound quality improvement when moving from Pro Logic to DTS.


It is a major upgrade for the picture and viewing experiience. Until you have watched a movie with a masking system in place, it is hard to appreciate at face value.


The increase in contrast due to the obliteration of the gray bars is significant. The visual impact of the bright picture surrounded by a total black abyss is powerful. The black borders also increase the perceived blacks, too.


It is one of those upgrades when doing a theater that should be considered heavily. So much so that sacrifices in Audio and Video equipment should be considered (they can and will always be upgraded). Masking, if you buy the max screen size for the room, is a one time buy.


I sacrificed audio equipment upgrades (processor, speakers and amps - still using my 7 year old equipment) to buy a masking system and haven't regretted it for a second. The masking is that important to the HT experience!! Add a microperf and nirvana!


Whether you do an Electrimask or a DIY, the rewards reaped are great!
 

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A masking system, even on the cheap, is well worth it. Simple black velvet fabric from the fabric store and some sort of rigid substrate to place the material on and Velcro to hold it into place is enough to work wonders. I've seen what I'd call the $10 masking system and also an expensive masking system and they both work wonders. Its all about perception, and nothing beats a nice colorful projected image sitting in a field of black.
 
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