AVS Forum banner
  • Get an exclusive sneak peek into our new project. >>> Click Here
  • Our native mobile app has a new name: Fora Communities. Learn more.

New to CIH

2493 Views 35 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Vern Dias
I’m in the process of building my theater room and I’m trying to decide if I should set it up to be able to do a CIH screen.

The room is 12 feet wide, 19 feet long with 7 1/2 foot ceilings. I have to double check, but I think I have the seating setup for 9 feet from the screen.

I’m going to making my own AT screen with Seymour fabric. Since I’m doing this I though it might be most practical to just oversize the screen to almost the size of the wall it’s going to be projected on. Then I could mask off the areas for when I view CIH, or 16:9 content. I still have to do research in masking the screen to see how difficult it is.

I would appreciate any input or recommendations on this! Lastly, what are some good 4K or “faux k” projectors that have a memory lens for the CIH?
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
I’m going to making my own AT screen with Seymour fabric. Since I’m doing this I though it might be most practical to just oversize the screen to almost the size of the wall it’s going to be projected on. Then I could mask off the areas for when I view CIH, or 16:9 content. I still have to do research in masking the screen to see how difficult it is.
If you're going to use an acoustically transparent screen with speakers behind it, you probably don't want to use masking, because the masking will block your speakers and defeat the point of the acoustically transparent screen material.
If you're going to use an acoustically transparent screen with speakers behind it, you probably don't want to use masking, because the masking will block your speakers and defeat the point of the acoustically transparent screen material.
I figured you could use some black acoustically transparent fabric to mask the screen
Many people set the RL speakers just inside the 16:9 frame to avoid that problem.

Also many people find RL masking not needed in a light controlled setting as those black bars when zoomed down are not projected black they are outside the frame of the projector.
The recommended projectors tend to be Epson for lower budgets and JVC for higher budgets. Sony also makes projectors with lens memory but most prefer JVC until you are up in the $60k range, at which point you might be considering Christie or another very high end option anyway.

If you are new to it, I would recommend you project on the wall for a bit before you commit to a screen format. You may find you want more flexibility with a mid range aspect ratio (2.0 is getting popular), or even a more extreme aspect ratio (2.55 or 2.76, which I did and don't recommend).

And beating my favorite dead horse: After that experiment, and if you are going DIY and want a standard scope ratio, do keep in mind the standard is actually 2.39, not 2.35, and has been for over 50 years. The 2.35 descriptor is just a tradition, not a measurement. You are more likely to find 2.4 ratio content on disc than 2.35, so 2.4 should be the ratio to build.
do keep in mind the standard is actually 2.39, not 2.35, and has been for over 50 years. The 2.35 descriptor is just a tradition, not a measurement. You are more likely to find 2.4 ratio content on disc than 2.35, so 2.4 should be the ratio to build.
Also keep in mind that the people working in the home video departments of the Hollywood studios are not at all consistent about this, and will transfer films to disc as either 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 depending on how the equipment was last calibrated without giving it any thought. The specs listed on the packaging are written by the marketing department from boilerplate templates and cannot be relied on for accurate information.

I've also found that streaming TV shows that use "scope" aspect ratios are more likely to be 2.35:1 than 2.40:1. So there's still plenty of 2.35:1 content coming out regularly.
I wasn’t going to bring it up but as long as all the ARs are being mentioned some great motion pictures are being made in the new IMAX format that is at least as wide as scope only taller. There is also the issue with a scope screen and scope movie the subtitles may be projected below the image in the black bars along with the BD control bars and such.
The room is 12 feet wide, 19 feet long with 7 1/2 foot ceilings. I have to double check, but I think I have the seating setup for 9 feet from the screen.
Don't let Bud confuse you or obfuscate the issue.

....new IMAX format that is at least as wide as scope only taller....
With a 7.5" tall ceiling, the is no way that 1.4:1 or 1.9:1 (IMAX) image will be as wide or wider than a 2.40:1 scope image in your height limited room.
IMAX has recently begun attaching it's name to movies that are shot in other aspect ratios as well, but this is often nothing more than digital post processing to enhance the image to look better and a certification program for HT that has not exactly taken the AV community by storm since it's announcement almost 3 years ago.

For more info you can peruse this: IMAX Enhanced
  • Like
Reactions: 2
I've also found that streaming TV shows that use "scope" aspect ratios are more likely to be 2.35:1 than 2.40:1. So there's still plenty of 2.35:1 content coming out regularly.
I did not know that but it makes sense. I did not plan my theater for TV, though, so I prefer a baseline of 2.4 and can leave small pillar boxes for true 2.35 if I don't want to crop it.

Now I say that having just bought a manufactured 2.35 screen on Prime Day. If I build again in the future it will probably be 2.55 and I will let the 2.66 and 2.76 content get letterboxed on those very rare occasions.
I did not know that but it makes sense. I did not plan my theater for TV, though, so I prefer a baseline of 2.4 and can leave small pillar boxes for true 2.35 if I don't want to crop it.
There is no "wrong" answer here. Either type of screen will work fine for CIH.
Now I say that having just bought a manufactured 2.35 screen on Prime Day. If I build again in the future it will probably be 2.55 and I will let the 2.66 and 2.76 content get letter boxed on those very rare occasions.
If you use an anamorphic lens and a scaler, there is no rule that says you can't zoom in more for > 2.40:1 releases to eliminate the top and bottom bars and sacrifice some of the image on the sides.

BTW, 2.66 is not a standard aspect ratio. It came about because that's what you get when you put an anamorphic lens on a 16mm projector (1.33:1 aperture dimensions) and run an anamorphic print. So, studios have been cropping 2.35 to 2.66 for years on anamorphic 16mm film releases.
Many people set the RL speakers just inside the 16:9 frame to avoid that problem.

Also many people find RL masking not needed in a light controlled setting as those black bars when zoomed down are not projected black they are outside the frame of the projector.
I’m going to be setting my front left and right channels about 60 degrees apart which puts them right next to the side walls.
I came across a post where someone made a 4-way masking setup that you can slide by hand to manually adjust the size of the screen. Would I be able to just make the screen as big as the wall itself, and then just adjust the masking as needed to fit the different aspect ratios? I figured doing it this way then I wouldn’t have to be tied down to a making the screen and masking panels based on one screen size.

I would like to keep my budget for the projector at or under $3000 give or take. I’m fine with buying used from the forum here, which is actually what I want to do so I can get more bang for my buck. I’m looking for a 4K projector (e shift is fine), with lens memory so I can just click a button to go to a different aspect.

Also, I’m just looking to do the CIH via zoom and lens shift, I’m not interested in a lens.

Thoughts?
Masking is a lot of work but there are some great threads on DIY solutions. A good one by Sor using aluminum extrusions recently - don't recall which forum he placed it in. Again, I suggest starting without a screen if the wall allows and invest in a one after you have had some time to try different things. You can probably find a used one or clearance item if you really don't want to use the wall.

At 3k you are right at the breakpoint between Epson and JVC. Epson's are higher volume items that are rarely discounted, and not more than $200 or so. JVC is a dealer only item and the dealers have wide discretion on actual sales price, though they always advertise the MSRP. I think you can find a used JVC 540 or 790 (same item, different sales channel) for sale well within your budget. A current generation JVC will probably run you more, but it doesn't hurt to make inquiries as to how much and then decide if you can handle that. The HDR performance of the current generation is said to be phenomenal due to the image processing capability of the new platform.
See less See more
Masking is a lot of work but there are some great threads on DIY solutions. A good one by Sor using aluminum extrusions recently - don't recall which forum he placed it in. Again, I suggest starting without a screen if the wall allows and invest in a one after you have had some time to try different things. You can probably find a used one or clearance item if you really don't want to use the wall.

At 3k you are right at the breakpoint between Epson and JVC. Epson's are higher volume items that are rarely discounted, and not more than $200 or so. JVC is a dealer only item and the dealers have wide discretion on actual sales price, though they always advertise the MSRP. I think you can find a used JVC 540 or 790 (same item, different sales channel) for sale well within your budget. A current generation JVC will probably run you more, but it doesn't hurt to make inquiries as to how much and then decide if you can handle that. The HDR performance of the current generation is said to be phenomenal due to the image processing capability of the new platform.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve definitely been leaning more towards the JVC since it’s the D-ILA instead of the LCD like the EPSON.

I’m just going to start with the projector and project it onto a white sheet so I can decide on my screen. It’ll be a DIY screen with DIY masking.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’ve definitely been leaning more towards the JVC since it’s the D-ILA instead of the LCD like the EPSON.

I’m just going to start with the projector and project it onto a white sheet so I can decide on my screen. It’ll be a DIY screen with DIY masking.
Depending on what route you decide, you may or may not need to mask your setup. The main benefit for masking is to cover the "black" letterbox bars of a scope film shown on a 16:9 screen. Since all but the most expensive projectors don't get truly black, this increases the perceived contrast of the image. Since about half of the films out there are shot in scope this helps quite a lot for those folks using a 16:9 screen. However when using a scope screen to show a scope film those letterbox bars are not being projected onto the screen (whether you use an anamorphic lens or lens memory to zoom the picture to fill the screen). So of course you wouldn't need any masking in this case. Where this gets interesting is when you start looking at the next most common aspect ratio for film, 1.85:1. In this case on a scope screen you have unused side areas, usually referred to as pillarboxing. However unlike letterboxing in this case pillarboxing is NOT being lit by those "black" pixels. So the benefit of masking is greatly reduced. To the point that in all of the scope home theaters I've visited none bother with masking. You do still have instances of Academy aspect ratio films (1.37:1) being pillarboxed by "black" pixels on a scope (or 16:9) screen, but depending on how often you watch that content and how much you are bothered by it will make the case for masking here. If you go with a JVC I can tell you from personal experience it gets black enough that I wouldn't worry about it.

Screen wise if you go with a scope screen (which would be my recommendation) I wouldn't worry too much about what you build. The difference between 2.35:1 and 2.40:1 is a few inches at best. Just make sure that when you mock up a screen you get the image height where you want it in relation to the seating distance. In a setup with those variables right a 16:9 TV show will be just as big on a scope screen as it will be on a 16:9 screen, however a 16:9 screen will always diminish the impact of wider aspect ratios.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
Depending on what route you decide, you may or may not need to mask your setup. The main benefit for masking is to cover the "black" letterbox bars of a scope film shown on a 16:9 screen. Since all but the most expensive projectors don't get truly black, this increases the perceived contrast of the image. Since about half of the films out there are shot in scope this helps quite a lot for those folks using a 16:9 screen. However when using a scope screen to show a scope film those letterbox bars are not being projected onto the screen (whether you use an anamorphic lens or lens memory to zoom the picture to fill the screen). So of course you wouldn't need any masking in this case. Where this gets interesting is when you start looking at the next most common aspect ratio for film, 1.85:1. In this case on a scope screen you have unused side areas, usually referred to as pillarboxing. However unlike letterboxing in this case pillarboxing is NOT being lit by those "black" pixels. So the benefit of masking is greatly reduced. To the point that in all of the scope home theaters I've visited none bother with masking. You do still have instances of Academy aspect ratio films (1.37:1) being pillarboxed by "black" pixels on a scope (or 16:9) screen, but depending on how often you watch that content and how much you are bothered by it will make the case for masking here. If you go with a JVC I can tell you from personal experience it gets black enough that I wouldn't worry about it.

Screen wise if you go with a scope screen (which would be my recommendation) I wouldn't worry too much about what you build. The difference between 2.35:1 and 2.40:1 is a few inches at best. Just make sure that when you mock up a screen you get the image height where you want it in relation to the seating distance. In a setup with those variables right a 16:9 TV show will be just as big on a scope screen as it will be on a 16:9 screen, however a 16:9 screen will always diminish the impact of wider aspect ratios.
Thanks so much for the detailed response! I didn’t realize that the pillarboxing was less noticeable than the letterbox bars. That’s really good to know.

When you refer to image height, is that the vertical dimension of the screen, or the distance of the image off of the floor?

I’m definitely going to go with a scope size screen. Then when we watch 16:9 content we’ll just deal with the pillarboxing, or mask it if it’s bothersome. I’m not sure if I’ll do 2.35:1 or 2.40:1, but probably which one has more content available. I’m honestly not sure if I watch anything in the academy aspect ratio, I guessing not though. I just watch popular movies and tv shows. I’ll also be watching football down there.

Thanks again for the info!
Thanks so much for the detailed response! I didn’t realize that the pillarboxing was less noticeable than the letterbox bars. That’s really good to know.

When you refer to image height, is that the vertical dimension of the screen, or the distance of the image off of the floor?

I’m definitely going to go with a scope size screen. Then when we watch 16:9 content we’ll just deal with the pillarboxing, or mask it if it’s bothersome. I’m not sure if I’ll do 2.35:1 or 2.40:1, but probably which one has more content available. I’m honestly not sure if I watch anything in the academy aspect ratio, I guessing not though. I just watch popular movies and tv shows. I’ll also be watching football down there.

Thanks again for the info!
Image height. Usually the method that works for most is to setup a chair at your desired seating distance and project an image until it gets to the limit of what you are comfortable vertically. Use that vertical sizing to base your screen around. We generally have much more peripheral vision, so we run out of vertical field of view before horizontal.

Again the difference is really slight between 2.35:1 and 2.40:1. Some go in the middle (2.37:1) and some choose one end or the other. If you're buying a screen I just advise finding the material and manufacturer you like and don't sweat what AR in that range they built it in. Since you are building a screen you have a lot of flexibility. It may just come down to do you want a few extra inches of screen to the sides or does a tiny bit narrower work better. You're not likely to see any difference when watching movies.

I doubt you'll be bothered by pillarboxing. A lot of the rooms I've visited have invested way more than I have with regards to light control and room treatment and they aren't bothering with masking. There's a lot of good stuff in Academy ratio, check out The Seven Samurai (which spawned a lot of western copycats like the Magnificent Seven) and Casablanca at least.

With your budget I second trying to locate an e-shift JVC if possible. But the newest Epson's really do a great job at their price points. Keep us updated on how things turn out.
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 1
I’m not sure if I’ll do 2.35:1 or 2.40:1, but probably which one has more content available.
Again the difference is really slight between 2.35:1 and 2.40:1. Some go in the middle (2.37:1) and some choose one end or the other. If you're buying a screen I just advise finding the material and manufacturer you like and don't sweat what AR in that range they built it in. Since you are building a screen you have a lot of flexibility. It may just come down to do you want a few extra inches of screen to the sides or does a tiny bit narrower work better. You're not likely to see any difference when watching movies.
I have a strong opinion on this and I admit I am complaining about mere inches. The reason I advocate so much for 2.4 is that there is a LOT of content at that ratio and anything narrower, 2.39. 2.35, or whatever, will by definition fit on a CIH screen built for 2.4. If you start at 2.35 you will be getting letterboxing on 2.4 or you will have to zoom and crop it. I would personally rather let 2.35 get cropped a little when not using a specific lens memory for it than to crop 2.4 or have letterboxing, especially when zooming to 2.35 is an option.

Perhaps it is psychological - the lazy setting is to treat both the same. You can't even see it when you lose a little of the 2.35 when you are watching on a 2.4 screen but unless you are zooming to a point that you are always cropping the sides of 2.4 and all around the 2.35, then the 2.4 will have bars (on the 2.35 screen). If you have zoomed that far you have lost that much picture of both, all the time. If you haven't zoomed that far then you have to take some action to hide it.

2.4 catches all cases.

Except 2.55. and La La Land is awesome.

Awesome.

(and Lady and the Tramp)

(and Bridge on the River Kwai)

(and...)
See less See more
Thanks for the info. I’ll probably go with the 2.4 since that seems to have the most content. Then I’ll consider the masking after if test it out. I’m going to have absolutely no ambient light and I’ll be painting my ceiling and walls black, so I’m guessing I’ll be fine without the masking. We’ll see though. I’ll keep my eye out for a JVC 540 or 790. I’m putting up drywall in my room now so I’m probably have a couple weeks until I move onto the next step.
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top