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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello !


I'm changing my projector for an Epson 8350, switching from an Optoma HD72.


First of all, forgive my english as I come from Montreal and speaks french.


I currently have a 100" DIY screen, I simply painted my drywall with off the shell white primer; and I afterward put wood moldings that I painted in black to act as frame.


I now wonder if I could do better, at a reasonable price. I've looked at Goo paint for example but find it expensive, another option I guess would be to buy an 100" screen (I saw some white mate screen with 1.2 gain for about 200$).


Here are some info on my room :

basement, no ambient light and full control on interior lighting

ceiling are 8'

my drywall (actual screen) is blemish free

the projector is ceiling mount at 13' from wall

I have 16" of wall space between edge of screen and side wall on each side

I have two seating position : one at 13' and then another on a stage at 18'

I don't think I want to consider spraying...


Is paint still the way to go ? If so, what brand/color/finish would you recommend ? Therer are already 3 coats of primer actually. I'm coming in the USA in 2 weeks and could buy there.


Do you think paint is the way or is there real added image quality by going with a screen, like say the Jamestown "100" Diagonal Matte White Fixed Wall Home Theater Screen" ?


Also, I want to repaint my room. Any advices on colors/finish ? I probably don't want to go with black, maybe a dark grey. I'm guessing mate for the ceiling and satin for the walls ?


many thanks for your help !
 

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DIY Granddad (w/help)
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A medium Gray in a Satin for the Walls, and a 3x darker Gray in Flat for the ceiling.


Is there an overriding reason concerning this job why you want to Roll only...or could you decide to spray if that delivered you truly exceptional results within you budget?.


Absolutely you can do better....in fact for way under $200.00 you can trounce any $200.00 Mfg Screen in existence.


However to do that you'd really need to consider spraying. A good Sprayer (pu'd in the US...) and a Custom made Screen Paint Mix such as RS-MaxxMudd will cost about $120-130.00 USD at most.


If you have an address you'll be staying at while down in the "48", everything that needed ordering could be shipped there to await your arrival.


What do you think.....interested? I realize you've been happy with your "primer Screen", but the qualities inherent in 1080p content as delivered by a PJ of the 8350's ilk demand something better than a "Roll Job".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MississippiMan /forum/post/20797386


A medium Gray in a Satin for the Walls, and a 3x darker Gray in Flat for the ceiling.


Is there an overriding reason concerning this job why you want to Roll only...or could you decide to spray if that delivered you truly exceptional results within you budget?.


Absolutely you can do better....in fact for way under $200.00 you can trounce any $200.00 Mfg Screen in existence.


However to do that you'd really need to consider spraying. A good Sprayer (pu'd in the US...) and a Custom made Screen Paint Mix such as RS-MaxxMudd will cost about $120-130.00 USD at most.


If you have an address you'll be staying at while down in the "48", everything that needed ordering could be shipped there to await your arrival.


What do you think.....interested? I realize you've been happy with your "primer Screen", but the qualities inherent in 1080p content as delivered by a PJ of the 8350's ilk demand something better than a "Roll Job".

Hi ! First of all, thanks for your answer.


I'm interested, I need tough to make the purchase before this friday and the package needs to be to at this adress no later than august 30th (guaranteed) :

1320 State Route 9

Champlain, NY, 12919-5007


I could consider spraying, it's just I have no experience doing so ; in fact the only time I did this is paintaing a car with a spray can to cover rust; and there were considerable "drip" (I guess it's the word). So, if you think it's best to spray; than spray it will ! I guess I could hire some professional painter to do it or have a look at your help section (I know distance from surface and timing of the spraying is critical to avoid drip).


That solution would considerably be better than say rolling the Behr Silverscreen paint ? The spray/paint you suggest (RS-MaxxMudd) would be done directly on my drywall ?



Finally, like said previously, would a manufactured screen (like the Jamestown 100" with 1.2 gain) be preferable to your spraying paint solution ? It's 195$ on their web site. This would require tough that I remove the work I previously did (wood moldings painted in black for frame are actually glued to my wall).


many thanks !


Ben
 

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I posted earlier in the Epson 8350 thread in the display devices forum looking for screen advice for my theater which has some ambient light.


In the interest of exploring an alternative to the DIY approach I also contacted Jamestown screens requesting samples of their screen materials to test. I have not, as yet, heard back from them. Understand that they are a one-man shop and perhaps unable to accommodate my request.


I have decided to pursue some testing of the DIY waters myself and will post updates to this thread and other forums for the benefit of 8350 owners who are looking for screen solutions.
 

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DIY Granddad (w/help)
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Please post any reviews about Jamestown material on the "Screens" forum and not "DIY Screens" On this Forum we do not advocate nor discuss using anything that is specifically made/Mfg to be used for creating projection Screens. We do it all...everything possible via DIY.


Anything else you come up with...by all means!!!!
 

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Step 1--Acquire Substrate



Sintra is one of the few materials available in sizes larger than 4X8 and sign supply stores appear to be the best source for this material. Sign makers themselves are reluctant to sell 'raw' Sintra so supply houses are your best bet (at least up here in God's country).


I was able to walk in off the street and purchase a 4X8 sheet of 3mm Sintra PVC from Pacific Coast Sign Supply in Portland, OR. Color flat white.


Cost was $27. For an additional $5 they cut it up into 2X2 sections. Pacific Coast will special order 5X10 sheets of Sintra for approx $70 for a 3mm sheet and $120 for a 6mm sheet. Lead time is 3 business days.


I found the 3mm thickness to be fairly substantial and am confident that it is adequate for screen-building purposes. Provided you build a properly-braced frame.

2X2 sections of Sintra awaiting their painted destiny:
 

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Step 2--Select Paint Mix


I have some minor ambient light issues (documented previously) which naturally steer me to mixes appropriate for those conditions.


My research in this and other forums indicates that the Black Widow and Silver Fire mixes appear to be the most popular DIY options to address ambient lighting.


I understand that there is a great deal of discussion, some of it acrimonious, around the relative merits of each mix supported by significant volumes of empirical data, photographic evidence, and both subjective and objective analyses. None of it, in my opinion, is conclusive either way. Ultimately what matters is what works best for me--with my equipment, preferred viewing conditions and material, and admittedly subjective and personal interpretation of what constitutes a quality image. If experience has taught me anything it is that everyone's eyes are different and the satisfaction of those instruments alone is, to me, the holy grail.


My approach to problem-solving is to start with the simplest candidate solution and to add complexity only if it is unavoidable. Hence, my first tests will be with the Black Widow mix as it contains the fewest ingredients and claims the simplest application process. If Black Widow does not prove to be satisfactory for my situation, I will move on into further testing phases.
 

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Step 3--Priming


I have decided to apply a single coat of primer to the test sections.


I selected Kilz2 as it is popular, widely available and already in my garage.


I also purchased a 1/4" nap roller cover (non-foam) as directed. The tight nap is supposed to leave a smoother finish.


I then rolled on one coat of primer on each board. The primed boards are shown in their entirety and in close up. There is still more texture on the Sintra than I was expecting; I welcome your opinions on the quality of the finish.



 

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If Rolling to achieve a truly smooth surface, you should use a non-shedding Foam Finish Roller, and the paint should be thinned a bit...even a Primer, so that it will spread easier and have a better work time. Kilz-2 is a very thick primer...so it really needs thinning. It's not the best choice anyway, so using something that is preferred would have given you better results as well. (Zissels Bulls Eye is a better choice by far...it's thinner by nature and spreads more evenly...in fact it doesn't even need thinning.)


No matter what paint solution is used, few ever advocate using a Roller anymore if truly excellent results are desired. Such a method doesn't bode well for giving any painted screen example a decent shot of excelling. One Toller mark effectively ruins the entire Screen surface's presentation. Just one. Only proper use of "Smooth Surface Foam Roller" ever approaches the finish achieved with proper spraying.


Overall the texture shown doesn't look all that bad...but a reference as to how "macro" the shot was taken is needed to really judge. What i see would probably pass muster if a Flat paint was used, with little metallic content involved, and viewed from at least 2'-3' away. And perhaps the most important thing to relate....what you can achieve on a little 2' x 2' sample is in no way indicative as to what that finish will be looking like across a really large surface area.
 

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This is another close up of the Sintra surface primed with one coat of Kilz 2 using a 1/4" nap roller. No other treatments have been applied at this point.
 

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Step 4--Mix paints (Part 1)


Other threads have documented the importance of faithfully following directions, processes, and ingredients prescribed in the 'official' version of each screen coating recommendation.


A DIYer's ability to adhere to these strictures is limited by his access to supplies, tools, working environment, and of course his skillset. Be assured that I represent the majority of you in that I do have limitations in those areas. I am not a professional tradesman nor an HT specialist nor in any way connected with the business ecosystem of home theater or consumer electronics.


I will do my best to follow the prescribed recommendations and will document my methods. As a true DIYer, I am sure that I will not get it 100% bang-on every time so forgive me. But if being 100% bang-on is a requirement for any particular screen treatment then it doesn't qualify as DIY-friendly.


The first phase of testing will compare the BW mix to my existing screen (Draper Clarion), Kilz2 primer, and Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Enamel--a paint recommended by projectorcentral.com.


Photographs are taken with Sony DSC HX1 camera on the fully automatic setting and in natural lighting conditions when possible. I will make a point of documenting any deviations from that standard.

Black Widow


While this is billed as an easy formula to make up and apply extensive testing has revealed that the end result is sensitive to the base materials used--specifically, the use of Valspar Ultra Premium white enamel tinted to match PPG bermuda beige. Other white paints frequently do not perform as well in the final analysis.


I happen to have relatively easy access to Lowe's for whom Valspar is effectively a store brand. Those who do not will want to research alternative white bases that have proven to be an effective substitute in the BW formula. I asked for a quart of Valspar Ultra Premium White (VUPE) tinted to PPG bermuda beige. The lady working at the paint counter was able to immediately access the shade on her POS system and confirmed with me that it was accurate. The cost was around $11 and that's all there was to it. Your mileage may vary, however, as I have heard of other Lowe's stores that were not nearly so accomodating.

Attachment 222205


Detailed information on the added tint:

Attachment 222207


I can confirm that here was a distinctly pinkish hue to the base paint which is accurately depicted in the photograph:

Attachment 222206


I purchased Auto Air Aluminum (Fine), the other component of the BW formula, from Pacific Coast Sign Supply--which was the source of the Sintra board. They happen to carry a wide selection of speciality paints in addition to substrates. It is possible that sign supply houses in general might be a valuable source of supplies for the DIY screen builder.


The 4oz. bottle cost about $7.

Attachment 222176




 

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Step 4--Mix paints (Part 2)


As I am only painting 2X2 panels I will mix up a 1/2 batch of BW. That is to say 1/2 a quart of Valspar white base tinted to Bermuda Beige along with 4 oz. of aluminum paint in a 4:1 ratio.


Measuring 1/2 quarts can be tricky:

Attachment 222225


Adding in the 4 oz. of aluminum is considerably easier when you have a 4 oz. container to start with:

Attachment 222223


My trusty paint mixing apparatus--a $3 stirrer from Lowe's:

Attachment 222227


After 10 minutes of Li-Ion-powered stirring the Black Widow is ready. It looks, erm, gray:

Attachment 222224

Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex


I also purchased a quart of Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex in base white per the projectorcentral.com recommendation. It is pricey stuff at $21/quart but SW had a holiday weekend sale on that brought the price down to $14. The lady pulled it off the shelf, I declined her offer to tint it in any way and then she took it away to give it a shake.


Nothing more needs to be done to this to make it ready--it's plain old white paint.

Attachment 222226




 

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Step 5--Painting


Again, I used the 1/4" nap roller to apply the finishes to the 2X2 panels. Both the Black Widow and the Sherwin Williams rolled on smoothly. I found the SW paint to be slightly thicker than the BW mix but that was in no way an impediment to applying it.


I applied two coats of each mix over the Kilz 2 primed panels.


The Black Widow is, indeed, a gray screen:

Attachment 222277


After a couple of days of curing, this is what BW looks like close up:

Attachment 222276


The thicker SW paint seems to have cured to a different, more broadly textured finish:

Attachment 222278


 

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Step 6--Room setup


The room I am using is a dedicated home theater with approximate dimensions of 18'L X 14'W. All pictures have been taken with the flash disabled which may explain their less than optimal quality.


There is a large window in the back of the room with a powered shade that can be lowered for virtual blackout conditions.


The rear part of the room has a 10 foot-high charcoal tray ceiling with dimmable recessed lighting. The walls are a dark matte mauve color.

Attachment 222974


This is a view to the screen from the rear of the room. The Epson 8350 projector is currently attached to a Sanus mount which is temporarily rigged on a drop-down gantry(?) installed by the last homeowner.


The projector is approximately 10 feet away from the screen. You'll notice that the ceiling steps down to a height of 8.5 feet towards the front of the room at the screen end. I suppose this was necessary at the time the room was built due to construction or other design constraints.


The door at the front of the room and shielded recessed lighting which means that artificial ambient light can be reasonably well controlled.

Attachment 222976


The screen itself is a Draper Clarion with an 80"X60" viewable area (which yields a 100" diagonal 4:3 image). As the Epson 8350 is a 16:9 native unit, the maximum image size I can squeeze onto this screen is a 92" diagonal (only 54" tall). When viewing 2.35:1 content the size of viewable image shrinks even further. Not a great state of affairs--I reckon I can get a 100+" wide screen to fit in comfortably above the wire mold which is effectively the bottom border for any screen in this room.

Attachment 222977


This is a closeup of the screen fabric. It is silver-gray with a noticeable sheen. These pictures and the ones that follow were taken during the brightest part of the day when incident light from the Western exposure window reaches its farthest penetration. You can see the almost mirror-like reflection of the Wii bar mounted on the bottom frame.

Attachment 222978


So these, in a nutshell, are the viewing conditions. The window directly opposite the screen is the most acute source of incident light. At this point, the reflections severely compromise the bottom portion of the image. The top being adjacent to the charcoal ceiling (or for some other lighting-related reason) does not seem to wash out in the ambient light as badly.


My project, then, is to find the best screen material which will allow me to watch sporting events and other content with the window shade wide open (which provides enough day-time ambient light to use the space for socializing).



 

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Step 7--Ambient Light

Part 1

Lighting Conditions: Daytime with room window fully opened as shown in previous post. Relatively 'bright' conditions as also shown. You might not want to read a newspaper in here but you'd hold a comfortable conversation (i.e. be able to clearly see the other person's face) or easily negotiate food and drinks and furniture without a problem. Which is by way of saying a living room experience.

Projector Settings: Epson 8350 factory defaults. 6500K color temperature. 'Living room' mode (brightest). I experimented with other modes but under these conditions, 'Living Room' gave the best image.

Set up: 2X2 primed and painted Sintra panels placed directly in front of Draper Clarion (DC) screen in the same plane. Black Widow (BW) on viewer's left and Sherwin Williams (SW) White Interior Trim Enamel on viewer's right. The backdrop is the Clarion silver gray material.

Method notes: Testing done with a selection of Blu-ray disks and SD NFL Football broadcasting. Test instruments were a few sets of eyes--friends, family, and yours truly.

Findings:
  • Both panels showed substantially less 'reflections' of the ambient light than the DC backdrop.
  • Both panels were an improvement in contrast and black levels to the DC backdrop .
  • The BW has the best black levels.
  • The SW has better whites than the BW but not as good as the DC backdrop.
  • Colors on both painted panels were more muted than the DC--the SW colors generally are more vibrant than the BW, however.
  • Dark scene performance is a toss-up between the SW and BW; SW is superior in bright scenes.
  • The BW was almost never preferred in any scenario for overall image quality. SW was frequently the favorite with some nods going to the DC for its bright 'pop'.
  • I felt that the BW's black levels and contrast ratio did not compensate for the 'overcast' nature of the image. For want of a better term I'll call it a tinted window effect.

Photographs


It's been established elsewhere that reviewing photographs is a poor way to truly evaluate the quality of a projected image. The abysmal quality of my own flash-suppressed offerings can only serve to confirm that finding. I include them here only to show you that I did, indeed, perform the tests. How you blokes get the stunning photos of your HT setups is a bit of a mystery to me. Suffice it to say that the images produced by this projector are, indeed, superb when viewed in person.

Remember: BW on the left; SW on the right.


The two panels in ambient light: there is noticeably reduced reflection compared with the DC backdrop. Which is to say it was noticeable to me, in real life. You probably can't tell from this rather dim picture.
Attachment 222996


The BW is the black level champion and, to my eyes, looks the best on this dark menu scene. Not a performance that was frequently replicated.
Attachment 222990


The hair in this shot is the tell, the BW just looked far too dim overall.
Attachment 222997


I like the flames and smoke better on the SW side again.
Attachment 222998


This is a toss-up of a close-up.
Attachment 222999


I thought Sucker Punch lent itself well to this test. I like dark, noir-y movies with a lot of explosive action scenes and the BW showed well here. Can't say I'd watch this movie in the daytime with the shades rolled up but I did it here, for science(?).


More pictures follow.




 

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Pretty much the expected results. Of course the results will heavily favor the Draper as far as the brightness of the whites and colors, while the darkness of the BW will always allow the Black levels within it to trump any white screen.


But I know the purpose of your testing is to determine if all that crushing of the whites is necessary when employing a Gray surface.


Bluntly stated...it is not. (...let the naysayers chew on that a bit...)


While no screen can "create" additional light, a properly designed screen can indeed widen the perceived range of contrast by both deepening the Black levels through attenuation while at the same time "maintaining" and/or redirecting the lighter elements of an image through the "proper" use of a reflective element within and at the surface of the screen. Also, to a lessor degree, via the collection and re-integration of absorbed projected light, that itself is attenuated.


The ill effects caused by "speckling and sparkling" that many "reflective particle oriented screens" exhibit is exactly the reason why you and others take umbrage with such. It's always been some degree of an issue, but know this; it also has been an issue that has been steadily picked at by PB-Maxxx & I and to the extent of comparing our results of achieving deeper Black levels, improving ambient light rejection, increasing Gain and reducing "artifacts" to a minimum, we absolutely have the best solution.

(Chomp away, but don't chip a tooth....)


As to if all of that is acceptable to the end user is a determination made by each individual. But by far the majority of those who have made a SF screen, especially the newer versions, no one seems to be complaining much if at all about artifacts.


And BTW, for the folks elsewhere who deem our continual upgrades to SF mixes amount to being testimonial for them needed constant tweaking....get some sense into your heads. What starts out being a great DIY Screen application can always be improved upon if one but applies the skills and knowledge that brought forth the application in the first place. (...we have never once rested long on our laurels...)


But any such application HAS to be worthy and capable of such tweaking. Any application that is so limited in scope and use that it must be GROSSLY altered or bastardized by adding enough other dissimilar elements that it effectively becomes something else, something that deviates away from the original intended performance...well, it failed from the get-go at being "special" as far as I and others like me are concerned.
 

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Step 7--Ambient Light

Part 2


While it appears that some have anticipated the results that I've achieved so far I can say that I did not. For the many others like me here are a few more shots to illustrate the differences:

Remember BW is on viewer's left, SW on viewer's right.



This is the BW tinted window effect illustrated

Attachment 223068


The colors pop a bit more on the SW panel

Attachment 223065


Nice contrast on both panels here, BW's strength

Attachment 223066


Tougher to distinguish the SW from the DC backdrop here. Impressive performance from the SW--the whites are actually better than the high-gain DC

Attachment 223067


There is no question that both panels/treatments handle ambient light better than the DC backdrop. But at a cost.



 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumisr /forum/post/20971470




There is no question that both panels/treatments handle ambient light better than the DC backdrop. But at a cost.



There is a cost, but I don't think you're quite getting it. To deal with ambient light, a screen must reject some level of light. At least to do it well. Both ambient light and projected light are rejected. Projector calibration then adjusts for the loss of projected light. Assuming the projector has available lumens, contrast is adjusted upwards to get into the 12ftl to 16ftl range. Other adjustments are then made to calibrate the picture. Just sticking a gray panel in front of a PJ calibrated for a white screen proves nothing. If you stuck a panel of the DP material in front of a BW screen with the PJ properly calibrated, the white panel would look washed out in comparison.


Of course, if you don't have the available lumens to get a gray screen up to a comfortable viewing level, a lighter screen will look better but give up ambient performance. The DIY formulas like SF will help mitigate the loss, but won't show their full potential unless the PJ is calibrated to the screen.


A better comparison would be two full screens under identical conditions with proper calibrated PJ settings for both. Assuming enough available lumens, the gray screen should equal the white under bat cave conditions and thoroughly trounce the white under ambient light conditions.


The high gain manufactured screen has a cost associated with it as well. Your screen shots show pretty significant hot spotting.


In essence, you're comparing apples and oranges. A high gain white screen against a low gain gray screen. Both have different applications.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sumisr /forum/post/20971470

Step 7--Ambient Light

Part 2


While it appears that some have anticipated the results that I've achieved so far I can say that I did not. For the many others like me here are a few more shots to illustrate the differences:


There is no question that both panels/treatments handle ambient light better than the DC backdrop. But at a cost.

Without going through each shot, I can summarize things pretty much.


While to a disconnected or unlearned party it may seem to be ignoring the obvious, in the PJ/Screen world, it's well known that any direct comparison that utilizes a white screen substrate to make a direct comparison against a Gray screen substrate with result in a skewered look at "only" the parts of an image that have enough intensity and saturation to drive well against, indirect but coherent natural or incandescent light. It's a given that on any "reflective" surface that any bright white or brilliant color will show up...but as your own photos show...they are lacking in dynamics.


Place a Gray sample over the white and Colors are gonna deepen in shade. That same effects will almost usually crush whites. Not every time though.


A screen that can give the Perception of being able to "Maintain" bright whites and colors to the best possible degree, while also providing what amounts to select attenuation to the darkest elements of an image comes as close as anything that can be considered to increasing contrast.


Some Mfg Screen lay claim to having up to 900x increase in contrast. (Black Diamond) A pricey route to take....$3500+ and up. Way up. But in most respects it does what is claimed....give a very dynamic image with very acceptable blacks in "normal" ambient light. But it also has "Speckles & Sparklies" to many observers / users, and hence...the Dirty window effect when one is focusing on the brightest areas of the image...especially when panning across such areas occurs.


Just exactly like your samples show.


But there is the real Mfg Ambient Light Screen King...the DNP Supernova. It's the best at doing what is being considered here. It's is the "only" Gray Screen to receive a ISF Certification.

...it's really just that good. Priced under the BD screens in every size, as well as offering up to 188" diagonal, it's performance represents the pinnacle to be climbed by any DIY'er who aspires to create what is to many as "The Perfect Screen".


....and yet....it still will NOT show better whites under any lighting conditions than will a ....another Mfg White screen surface.


It's "almost" pointless to base your opinion on any simply derived DIY Gray Screen white levels, as seen compared against a White surface. I say "almost" because if a DIY Screen is really getting things done, then the result is a marked improvement over the accepted Status Quo.


1. The objectives we AVS DIY'ers are working on...and have achieved for the most part, is to greatly minimize the loss of dynamics in white & bright content. "Depth" of Color is not an issue...deepening Blacks is really the easiest chore.


2. Reducing the "shimmery" "sparkly" or "Dirty window" effect is the second most important task. The very things that make number 1 possible can make having to deal with number 2 necessary. It will never go away....not if you get within 1' or less ...although some people would have to leave the room to not see such issues owning to having abnormally sharp vision.**

** Which bears mentioning this; It seems the only people who ever complain loudly about the small degree of artifact'ing metallic Screens posses are either those few Sharp Eyed individuals (...to be forgiven) or those few who are continually using it as a blanket Indictment against the use of metallics, as opposed to not using such.....at all.


Well, we have the answers here already....but np requests have been made.


Below is a Bright White Surface with a large (3' x 5") Silver Fire sample that is of the 4.0 Gray finish


I'm posting several shots....sumisr, please comment on what you see.


Top Images are in natural ambient. Bottom images in high direct Incandesent










PJ was a Epson 8700. Unpainted Sintra surface is 110" diagonal

PJ was set at 14' throw.


Should be obvious which surface looks best. But just as obvious is the realization that all was proven was that a High performance Gray screen will smoke a high performance White Screen if the criteria to be judges is who has the best overall image under ALL lighting conditions.


That's under "ALL" lighting, High or Non-existent. Once again, comparing most Gray Screens to White Screens made specifically for dark environs is a terrible waste of time...the end results being predictable 99% of the time.


But there is that 1% exception out there.


sumisr, as I see it your biggest issue is the "Dirty Window" effect. Do you want to solve it?
 
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