AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,358 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This may seem an odd post for this forum. I don't own a projector; I own a 42" plasma. But I was sort of inspired by the thread in which Alan posted shots of his amazing looking constant height theater. I've always loved super-wide aspect ratio films (big fan of John Carpenter way back) and nothing says "widescreen cinema" like

that 2:35:1 shape. So I completely empathize with those of you who are going constant height. If I were going projection I would contemplate it as well.


From what I could gather, Alan's screen is masked for 2:35:1 (although he doesn't mask the sides of a 1:85:1 image projected on his screen). Having got into masking not long ago I've become a real enthusiast/believer in the concept.


Having to fit a display into the narrow confines of the back room of our house meant limited screen sizes. That didn't bug me too much a few years ago; I loved the image from Panasonic plasmas anyway and have been very happy. But size/room and budget restrictions led me on a continuing quest to increase the picture quality and viewing experience of what I already had (plasma). I thought I'd done it all, tweaked the image to the max...until I tried masking.


The Panasonic plasma is known for it's excellent black levels - among the best you can buy in a digital display (and very close to CRT). So black bars on a 2:35:1 film are quite dark. Not perfectly dark though (even lots of CRT devices don't have perfectly dark black bars too). I watch with the lights out and wondered what it would be like to have nothing visible but the 2:35:1 image. So first I experimented using black cardboard to mask for 2:35:1 (and other wide-screen format) films. Very promising. Then I bought some black stretchy band material and used that for masking (Velcro’s to the back of my plasma for easy on/off).


Holy cow! I never realized how much more the image could pop, even with the lights out. It's not like I was particularly distracted by the black bars before, but having the image surrounded by pure black really did a trick. The depth and realism of the image just took off. After a while I began to think about the fact the plasma was mounted on an entertainment cabinet that was painted a light creamy ochre. With the lights out the cabinet mostly disappeared. It was in deep shadow, so I never thought it would play much into the viewing experience, especially given how bright the plasma is in comparison. Still, I bought some blackout blankets and hung them around the plasma, turned the lights out and....holy crap. Even better! Little did I realize the subtle effects that were present when the background behind the plasma was visible...if even only slightly. With the black masking/backing the image is really against black. Really floating in space. The impact is just amazing. Without anything to distract my eye at all from the image, every detail about the image seems to be brought out: color, details, dimensionality, realism...the whole bag. It's like lookin' through the window.


And I realized that having objects visible around the plasma really give the eyes/brain different cues than viewing the image in a field of black. When the surrounding is visible my mind is picking up cues, comparing to the movie image, that say "this image is X far away from you compared and it is X size" etc. But when the mind is presented strictly with the movie image it sort of becomes the window on the world - you start getting your depth cues from the image, which really makes the dimensionality expand - spatial relationships between the actors starts to take on a subtle realism. Blue-sky no longer looks like a field of blue behind the actors, the space sort expands, becoming deep like a sky you are really looking into (almost like the difference going from mono to stereoscopic vision).


Even on a 42" plasma, under such viewing conditions, the depth of image can make pits in my stomach during chase scenes (e.g. star wars), closer to those imparted by a much larger screen. (I'm not sure how well this same experiment would work with a display that had higher black levels than my plasma. Bordering the image with pure black does put pressure on the black levels of a display, given that in a dark scene you'll really see the blacks are no match for the surrounding masking. That could make some displays with higher black levels look even worse than not masking them).


And the image itself just takes on a more cinematic prominence. It sucks you in all the more.


Now that I've decided my next project is to take over another room in the house for my Home Theater, it will afford me new wall space for a bigger image. And I will be able to control the look of the wall (wife permitting).


I don't know whether I'm going to go projection or one of the big-assed plasmas. I really love plasma images and have been bitten by the magic of the Panasonic 65" plasma...but who knows.


One thing I do know: I'm hooked on having the image masked, no matter what I get.

Having the image in a field of perfect darkness just adds that much to the apparent picture quality and viewing experience for me. So I'll try and have as much of the wall surrounding the display as dark as possible. And I'll place as few distractions anywhere near the image as possible. Just a dark wall and image is the goal.


So, there you go. One guy's little bit of self-discovery on his home theater journey. I couldn't help but be inspired by the images of Alan's theater.


Cheers,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,267 Posts
I agree...I had originally just painted my HT room with a very dark gray paint, thinking that would be enough, but it wasn't. Even the darkest of paint is still reflective. So I bought some black indoor/outdoor carpeting and put that up on the walls near the screen, a big improvement! The darker color and texture of the carpeting really sucks up the stray light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
Yep proper masking of the different ratios cant be stressed enough.


Even in the cinemas the blacks are black. Watch some of the 2.35 trailers before the movie on the 16x9 screen and the bars aren't black.


As JDLIVE said, you can go even further by making the room dark colors.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top