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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It feels like forever since I've been on these forums and I've been trying to catch up.


I see that 2.35 Constant Height is all the rage and I'd love to go this route but I've got a few limitations...


- my basement wall for viewing has a 4:3 shape no wider than 96" Max

- my PJ is an Infocus LP350 1024 x 768

- my projector is not easily accessible after mounting


I'm trying to figure out the best consolidated solution to maximize my PJ quality and minimize complexity.


1. Is there a reciever that will allow me to use my PJ as the monitor output and properly upscale and pass through optimal signal from HD sources including my HTPC? i.e. HD Cable/Sat, Blu-Ray


2. If I use my HTPC to do the Vertical Stretch, will I be able to obtain a vertical stretch from the rest of the sources?


3. I want to use a fixed VC lens because I don't want to have the 4:3 image project larger than the 16:9 screen. The PJ is difficult to access so zooming to scale is cumbersome


4. If I do a vertical stretch of a 16:9 source then use a VC lens to obtain a proper picture, will the same vertical stretch of a 2.35:1 source work on the same VC lens without scaling changes?


More and more, it sounds like I would need an external scaler if I want to use a VC lens on my PJ. But be honest, am I just wasting my time and money and should I just go with 16:9 screen, run the PJ Native 4:3 and forget about the Scaler? My guess is that if I do that, I can use pretty much any reciever that has HDMI switching / upscaling and my PJ wil be fine. What do you guys think?
 

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You might want to hit up the 2.35CH section of the forum here, might be better info. I'm not sure if you can even do a 2.35CH setup with a 4:3 projector.


But as far as the the Anamorphic lens goes, there are some motorized ones that are controlled via RS232 and such that you can control it from your PC for all the different video sources you'll be watching.

http://www.vidikron.com/cinewide.html
http://www.optomausa.com/PressReleas...sp?Press_id=54
http://www.digitalprojection.com/content/view/262/2/


like I said I am not sure you can or can not do CH setup with a 4:3 setup.


But in terms of a HTPC many ppl are using them for CH setups as it makes it much easier to do the horizontal or vertical stretching needed for the CH setups.


as far as the rest is concerned I am not sure how you can do CH setup with external sources like your sat box or blu-ray or anything like that without a scaler, the HTPC basically does the scaling part for DVD's thats why ppl use the HTPC it's a cheap scaler.


- Josh
 

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lithiumus: Once upon a time I bought a huge add-on "Super Panatar" variable ratio anamorphic lens on Ebay, originally made for 35mm theater film projectors. There is a knob on top that allows you to alter the horizontal stretch all the way from 1.0 to 2.0, which when combined with my 1.33:1 native format projector, meant that I could dial my projector to any aspect ratio between 1.33:1 and 2.66:1 just by turning the knob. I then used a HTPC program called YXY to stretch the image to match the AR I was using at the time. I already had a zoom lens and a variable masking projection screen.


However this was a lot of trouble for not much benefit. Firstly having non-square pixels is a pain in the butt for many application programs. Secondly the lens caused a slight light loss and I had to create some light baffles to kill the reflections. Thirdly and most importantly, I had a situation like yours, my home theater is also my front room and the screen is limited in size, with a grandfather clock on one side and some framed needlework on the other. I could have any aspect ratio I wanted but no more than about eight feet wide. So I could not simply stretch the width, I had to zoom the lens to keep the image within the width constraints I had (which I think you have too).


Understand all this worked. But when you are viewing your screen from about one screen width, it doesn't matter what the aspect ratio of the projector is, because (as long as you have excellant HTPC resolution scaling) there is no visible resolution difference between cropping a 1.33:1 image vertically and stretching it horizontally. If in fact you do notice any difference under these circumstances, you are sitting too close and you are actually seeing individual pixels.


I admit this would be different given a different room setup and the ability to actually acheive a constant height image and simply crop the sides with curtains or other masking. However I don't have the room for that and it sounds like you don't either.


After playing with the lens for a while I gave up on it and I kept it for my next projector and house after I retire. I figure to have a constant height setup then when I can do it right in a dedicated theater room. This would include:


1) Having a high resolution 16:9 projector. I figure 1920X1080 would be the real minimum, possibly by another ten years or so the new Quad HD resolution would be affordable (3840X2160). Even with 1.33:1 material that would still leave me a 1440X1080 image with a 1080p projector, or 2880X2160 with Quad HD.


2) Fabricating or buying a horizontally-curved screen to eliminate the geometric distortion and compromise focus of a flat screen. This would possibly be a perforated screen for concealing the front speakers. However in every case that I have heard such a perf screen setup there has been an audio frequency response compromise involved even when compensators or equalization was used to attempt to correct the problem, so this is not certain.


Torus-shaped screens are even better but the most visible distortion on wider aspect ratios is in the horizontal plane - and one can buy cylindrical screens whereas torus screens are costly custom fabrications, and totally preclude perforated fabric and speakers behind the screen.


3) I would have the glass prisms on the Super Panatar coated with modern coatings to reduce reflections. Although an old design, I find that glass prisms are more geometrically correct with fewer chromatic abberations than the newer plastic and liquid filled anamorphic lenses. If you can find an ISCO glass lens they are also impressive although much smaller than a Super Panatar.


4) I would have more than one row of seating in my dedicated home theater with CH screen. I find that my viewing comfort zone is further back from the wider images than from the taller ones. Maybe this arises from being accustomed to my present constant width setup but I'm not sure - I like it when the image fills my field of view and I sit closer than most people find comfortable at one screen width already.


====> However for right now, I am simply using my 1.33:1 projector with variable vertical masking. It results in the largest image for both 2.35:1 films and 1.33:1 films that I can have given the wall space available to me.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy /forum/post/0


......

====> However for right now, I am simply using my 1.33:1 projector with variable vertical masking. It results in the largest image for both 2.35:1 films and 1.33:1 films that I can have given the wall space available to me.


Gary

Auto or manual masking system?


- Josh
 

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The screen is a fixed wooden frame that sits upon a doublewide windowsill when in use, also providing total light control for that window when in place. It resides in the garage when we want to use the room for conversation while grouped around the fireplace. The manual masking is black panels that attach via velcro to the black wooden frame. The projector sits discretely on top of a tall bookcase on the back wall. The seating furniture is mounted on 3" diameter castors to move easily over the carpeting.


When not configured as a theater the room can still be used for TV. The front three speakers, two HTPCs, and the surround receiver are concealed in a custom credenza below the doublewide window. There is a 47" flatscreen 1080p TV that rises out of the credenza in front of the window and is used with the same surround speakers and A/V receiver as the projector. Either my overstuffed chair and ottoman or the loveseat easily re-position via those castors into the surround sweet spot about 4' in front the TV. The subwoofer is concealed within a mock end table that fits the antique furniture style. Once I hit the switch to lower the TV and then move my chair back to the normal location, one has to look hard to see any A/V gear.


This is not the dream home theater I wanted, which would not fit in my modest California home. The wife wanted the room for a formal space for Grandma's antiques and I know when to compromise, so I spent a lot of time and did some custom woodworking to make a dual-purpose room. I am promised a dedicated theater in my next home.


Gary
 

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Sounds like a quick and dirty setup for the masking system. I am thinking of doing the same thing. Just working to see if I can get the masking system on a sliding rail or string system, mostly ideas though.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary McCoy /forum/post/0


I am promised a dedicated theater in my next home.

Aren't we all, aren't we all



- Josh
 

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Well I'll either have a home theater or a house all my own with a home theater and without Grandma's antique furniture, and a new wife.


The variable horizontal masking for a CH screen is real simple: sliding panels that are moved with drapery motors. I use "door skins" from the hardware store covered with black velour fabric for my vertical masking. These are lightweight plywood less than 1/8" thick. I find that I don't need to reconfigure more often than once per movie, so that the velcro is not any inconvenience, and I have marked all the common aspect ratios. What sometimes annoys me is the difference between 1.78:1 and 1.85:1 aspect ratios - I freeze the film, get up and move the panels rather than tolerate what amounts to 4 rows of pixels too few or too many top and bottom. I suppose that sort of perfectionism means I'll want variable remote controlled horizontal masking in the promised theater.


Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Gary,


Thanks for the response! I've got a modest Toronto home... even though I tried to design the basement with a home theatre in mind, there was just not enough space to work with so I had to make do with what I had.


I was also considering audio transparent screen, but after reviewing the frequency response graphs, I decided against it esp. if you are considering nice speakers for the Home Theatre. I've seen samples of the material and it just looks like little pinholes. The more dense the pinholes, the more it affects the picture and the less dense the holes, the more it affects the audio... not worth it IMO.


I'm going to go your route with the screen. A wood frame with manual masking. I think I'm just going to do a 16:9 and mask the 2.35 and deal with the 1.78 / 1.85 with a mini mask. I'll rarely do any 4:3.


I'm sure there are solutions for you that will allow you to set up to 4 settings so you can mask all the ratios you need...


After renovating our basement and kitchen, the Home Theatre has but a limited budget now so the less I spend the better. Thanks again for all your insight and advice. I'll simply use the HTPC for DVD and other Digial viewing. I'll probably get a reciever that will upconvert signals to 1080i and let the projector handle the signal and pass it through without scaling. I'm curious as to how the PJ will handle different HD signals but I'm sure I'll be able to get a pure image (no stretching or compression) to make things simple. I'll probably bring my projector to a shop to test it before I purchase a reciever.


What DVD software do you recommend? I've got a lot of reading ahead of me to see what others also recommend. I'd like to use something that is tried and true. I don't like the thought of changing software every few months...
 

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TheaterTek is a popular DVD software here.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lithiumus /forum/post/0


It feels like forever since I've been on these forums and I've been trying to catch up.


I see that 2.35 Constant Height is all the rage and I'd love to go this route but I've got a few limitations...


- my basement wall for viewing has a 4:3 shape no wider than 96" Max

- my PJ is an Infocus LP350 1024 x 768

- my projector is not easily accessible after mounting


I'm trying to figure out the best consolidated solution to maximize my PJ quality and minimize complexity.


1. Is there a reciever that will allow me to use my PJ as the monitor output and properly upscale and pass through optimal signal from HD sources including my HTPC? i.e. HD Cable/Sat, Blu-Ray

Off the top of my head, the Anthem AVM-50 and Statement D2 will do that. I think there are some "mid-fi" recievers that are adding scalers now, but none with the quality of the Genum VXP in the Anthem units.

Quote:
2. If I use my HTPC to do the Vertical Stretch, will I be able to obtain a vertical stretch from the rest of the sources?

I know scalers can do that, I'm slightly confused on if the Anthem's will.

Quote:
3. I want to use a fixed VC lens because I don't want to have the 4:3 image project larger than the 16:9 screen. The PJ is difficult to access so zooming to scale is cumbersome


4. If I do a vertical stretch of a 16:9 source then use a VC lens to obtain a proper picture, will the same vertical stretch of a 2.35:1 source work on the same VC lens without scaling changes?

Yes, because in reality 2.35:1 sources are 16:9 with padding added to the top and bottom of the picture.

Quote:
More and more, it sounds like I would need an external scaler if I want to use a VC lens on my PJ. But be honest, am I just wasting my time and money and should I just go with 16:9 screen, run the PJ Native 4:3 and forget about the Scaler?

Well, if you need to change the AR of HD sources, yes, you're going to need a scaler. IMO, if DVDs, HD and other 16:9 content are a priority for you, and it sounds like they are, I'd just get a good 720p 16:9 PJ and screen and be done with it. That can be done, probably for less than the cost of a scaler+lens and will probably be a significant improvement over your current PJ. For example, something like an Infocus IN76 would be a large step up from what you've got now (1500:1 measured contrast vs 500:1 spec, the IN76 has >500:1 ansi contrast).


Heck, I think you can probably get a 1080p PJ for the cost of a good scaler and lens.

Quote:
My guess is that if I do that, I can use pretty much any reciever that has HDMI switching / upscaling and my PJ wil be fine. What do you guys think?

Sounds like new PJ and screen might be your best bet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all your answers stanger! You guys have definitely helped me make my confusing situation clear and I feel that I'm headed in the right direction now.


The IN76 is definitely the right projector to get... I've got my eye on that one but will settle running the LP350 for now. My LP350 has about 30 mins of lamp time since I've had this for 5 years now and have not had a proper setup to use it! What a shame... In the meantime, I'll run this PJ until I save up enough for the IN76 or something else that is more current.


Thanks again!
 
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