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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most of what I watch these days is 16x9, but I still watch some 4x3 and certainly a fair amount of cinema-scope. I had been planning on getting a 9 foot diagonal 16x9 screen and just living with the bards on other aspect rations. But, now I'm considering going with Stewart's ultimate 4-way masking to make things look better. Two questions:


1) Does anyone have any experience with that? What're the pros/cons?


2) If I do this, should I get a taller (same width) screen to have a bit more for 4:3?


Thanks.
 

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Man, stewart masking is super expensive. If you have the money, then get it. I would go for a 16:9 since the size difference of the three aspects wont be very large. 16:9 as the largest, 4:3 and 21:9 as the smallest. If you go with 4:3 screen, then 4:3 would be super large, 16:9 would be large, and 21:9 be the smallest.


James
 

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I would get a 16:9 screen irrespective of your plan. It's the most common content format going foward and with or without masking, DVDs are tolerable when 2.35:1 and shown on a 16:9 screen.


But that's just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, sounds like good advice. Now, it might be super expensive, but does it work well? Is it reliable? Does anyone have any experience with it? If you do get masking, what shape screen makes sense behind it?
 

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I have a Stewart 2 way, horizontal Electri-mask system and if you can swallow the price tag, it is an indispensible piece of equipment. Instead of the 4 way, I am using curtains on a motorized rod for vertical masking (and decor).


My screen is 16:9 (micro-perf) and I mask in with the drapes for pillar-boxed 4:3 material.


Build quality is exceptional and has been 100% reliable since it was installed 3 mos ago.


I am very pleased with it. Really makes that extra difference on a finished theater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by thebland
I have a Stewart 2 way, horizontal Electri-mask system and if you can swallow the price tag, it is an indispensible piece of equipment. Instead of the 4 way, I am using curtains on a motorized rod for vertical masking (and decor).


My screen is 16:9 (micro-perf) and I mask in with the drapes for pillar-boxed 4:3 material.


Build quality is exceptional and has been 100% reliable since it was installed 3 mos ago.


I am very pleased with it. Really makes that extra difference on a finished theater.
Sorry to ask the obvious, but is the purpose of masking just to see black felt as the barrier instead of projected black bars. Does it really make that much of a difference? I'm not being cynical, just curious.


BTW, how do you like the micro-perf? I'm toying with it. The only thing I'd put behind it is the center channel, w/ the advantage being that dialog comes from directly behind the screen, but I'm not sure I'm willing to give up the 10% in brightness.


Thanks.
 

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It depends on what your priorities are. I watch mostly movies, so I built my own 2.35:1 screen with black frame, then mask (or not) if I'm watching something with different aspect ratio.


To me, 4:3 usually means TV, since I avoid FS DVDs, so I tend to zoom down the image anyway to minimize the defects of VHS/TV-broadcast. (or more often, just view on my TV)


This does mean a bit of fiddling with the projector if you watch a lot of 16:9 or 4:3.


I may end up just building a different 1.85:1 screen, since the current one just hangs on the wall like a picture. I like the finished look of the border around the picture (uniform width all the way around)
 

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The difference is significant with masking.


Brightness loss of 10% is nothing significant with today's projectors. I have my 1000 lumen rated G-150 dimmed 30% because the normal brightness strains the eyes. Besides, a higher gain screen can also ameliorate the slight loss in brightness.


I like masking because when a movie is properly masked, you only see the movie with an abyss of black all around it - just like the real theater. This really helps to draw you in to the film in my opinion.


This not only increases the contrast significantly, but also the black bars that one might see on a 2.35 aspect film shown on a 16:9 screen are an unfortunate reminder that you are at home and not at the movies.

Like I said in my post above, though not necessary, they are a wonderful finishing touch on heavy duty set up.


The micro perf is also nice. For the same reasons, it brings the movie experience home and locks dialogue right where it should be - the actor's mouth. Not above or below his head.


I, too, only placed the center behind the screen and the R and L speakers to the sides and slightly forward the screen.


Hope this helps.


I never liked black bars on my direct view set and with all the money that goes into a home theater, I wasn't going to tolerate them in my new room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by thebland
The difference is significant with masking.


Brightness loss of 10% is nothing significant with today's projectors. I have my 1000 lumen rated G-150 dimmed 30% because the normal brightness strains the eyes. Besides, a higher gain screen can also ameliorate the slight loss in brightness.


I like masking because when a movie is properly masked, you only see the movie with an abyss of black all around it - just like the real theater. This really helps to draw you in to the film in my opinion.


This not only increases the contrast significantly, but also the black bars that one might see on a 2.35 aspect film shown on a 16:9 screen are an unfortunate reminder that you are at home and not at the movies.

Like I said in my post above, though not necessary, they are a wonderful finishing touch on heavy duty set up.


The micro perf is also nice. For the same reasons, it brings the movie experience home and locks dialog right where it should be - the actor's mouth. Not above or below his head.


I, too, only placed the center behind the screen and the R and L speakers to the sides and slightly forward the screen.


Hope this helps.


I never liked black bars on my direct view set and with all the money that goes into a home theater, I wasn't going to tolerate them in my new room.
Thanks (and nice website).


Can I ask what size screen (for 16x9) your using with your G-150 PJ? I'm looking at a 1500 Lumens PJ (Runco 1000ci or 5000ci). The guy at Runco (by email) keeps telling me that a smaller screen will be best (e.g. 80" width). But, when I do the calcs (surface area divided by lumens multiplied by gain) he seems to be off by a factor of 3! I think a 9' diagonal screen (at least) should be possible (the room is dark).


So you have only the center behind the screen? That seemed strange to me, but I guess I don't have a good reason. I'm going to think about that one hard.


Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by thebland
The difference is significant with masking.


Brightness loss of 10% is nothing significant with today's projectors. I have my 1000 lumen rated G-150 dimmed 30% because the normal brightness strains the eyes. Besides, a higher gain screen can also ameliorate the slight loss in brightness.


I like masking because when a movie is properly masked, you only see the movie with an abyss of black all around it - just like the real theater. This really helps to draw you in to the film in my opinion.


This not only increases the contrast significantly, but also the black bars that one might see on a 2.35 aspect film shown on a 16:9 screen are an unfortunate reminder that you are at home and not at the movies.

Like I said in my post above, though not necessary, they are a wonderful finishing touch on heavy duty set up.


The micro perf is also nice. For the same reasons, it brings the movie experience home and locks dialog right where it should be - the actor's mouth. Not above or below his head.


I, too, only placed the center behind the screen and the R and L speakers to the sides and slightly forward the screen.


Hope this helps.


I never liked black bars on my direct view set and with all the money that goes into a home theater, I wasn't going to tolerate them in my new room.


Sorry, also, where do you keep the sub or subs? Can they go behind the screen, or does it cause vibrations?


Sorry for all the questions.
 

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Quote:
Sorry to ask the obvious, but is the purpose of masking just to see black felt as the barrier instead of projected black bars. Does it really make that much of a difference? I'm not being cynical, just curious.
Aside from getting rid of the black bars, the important job that masking does is to help with perceived contrast levels. The image will improve having it contrasted against a black area instead of the black bars you usually get. When people ask me about masking I usually reply that if you never had masking you wont know what your are missing, but once you have had masking you can never go back
 

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So far my experience has been different than many others. My M20 D-ILA is only 500:1 CR and I'm using a 116" wide Hi-Power in my living room. I tried masking with black felt and it really made my blacks look like gray in comparison. When I am showing a 2.35:1 movie on my 16:9 screen without masking, the area outside the image is the black level from the projector, i.e gray. It kind of feels like an optical illusion, since it looks pretty much the same as if the screen were just that color and other than technically knowing that the projector is the one causing the grey bars, there is nothing to tip my eyes off to this. With this setup my blacks don't look bad. Maybe it is that fact that this is in an off-white walled room, the high gain white screen, or something else, but just wanted to share that my short experiment told me that I didn't like the dark masking with this setup.


--Darin
 

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Grating,


I have three subs behind the screen. The screen wall is ~ 3 ft. from the rear wall and is acoustically transparent.


Regarding Darin's comments, I find the masking indispensible for perceived contrast. Granted my walls are dark gray / black and I am using a gray screen.


To the eye, the increase in picture contrast and depth is significant. Blacks do improve in my set up. With the gray bars present, they are very apparent against the ultra black screen wall - giving a stepped look to the front of the room (black screen wall, gray bars, picture)....


Like a movie house, I prefer a masked screen.
 

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1) Does anyone have any experience with that? What're the pros/cons?

I BUILT MY OWN AUTOMATED MASKING SYSTEM. THE IMPROVEMENT WAS HUGE. YOU CAN SEE WITH & WITHOUT PICS AT MY LINK.


2) If I do this, should I get a taller (same width) screen to have a bit more for 4:3?

GOING WITH 16:9 MAKES SENSE FOR FUTURE PROOFING also though I WOULD GO WITH THE NATIVE ASPECT OF THE PROJECTOR YOU PLAN TO USE.
 

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I have a 135-inch diagonal 16x9 Ultimate 4Way Stewart screen and I consider it one of the best investments in my H/T. The screen has worked flawlessly for almost 2 years now. You really have to experience the difference that masking makes, in the overall movie enjoyment, to understand why it is so necessary. I would highly recommend the 4Way but if that is over budget there are many DIY masking systems that have been discussed here at AVS.


Earl
 

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I use a very simply and inexpensive masking system that works well. Black Foamcore, an extremely lightweight but durable substance cut into 4" wide strips. The two vertical strips are attached to the wall with Velcro. They don't move. I attached strips of black Velcro to those strips and thus can move the horizontal Foamcore up and down depending on whether I'm watching 16:9 or 4:3 movies. Simple and cost less than $50 Canadian. Foamcore is available from most sign making stores.

Masking does make a difference and is well worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by fr8flyr
I have a 135-inch diagonal 16x9 Ultimate 4Way Stewart screen and I consider it one of the best investments in my H/T. The screen has worked flawlessly for almost 2 years now. You really have to experience the difference that masking makes, in the overall movie enjoyment, to understand why it is so necessary. I would highly recommend the 4Way but if that is over budget there are many DIY masking systems that have been discussed here at AVS.


Earl
I understand the need to mask the horizontal top/bottom bars (e.g., on 2.35:1). However, I'm not sure I need 4-way as I don't think I need to ever mask the vertical side bars. I usually watch 4:3 on a stretch mode that fills 16x9. Am I thinking of this right? Is there any reason to go 4-way I'm forgetting?


Thanks, this is very helpful.
 

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Four way is an extra 3-4 large......


That should help your thinking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by thebland
Four way is an extra 3-4 large......


That should help your thinking.
Uh, it might if I knew what you meant... Sorry, a little dense here.
 

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If you only watch 4:3 in stretch mode then you don’t need the 4Way. I can’t stand the stretch mode and watch all 4:3 in normal mode so the masking on the sides is important for my viewing. What Jeff meant is the 4Way is about 3 or 4 thousand more than the screen with just vertical masking.


Earl
 
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