Screen help...DIY noobie! - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #11 of 17 Old 06-22-11, 09:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Richmond, Virginia
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

Thanks for the info. I guess the next step is to compute what paint to use for my DIY screen. I've bought the Bermuda beige and the metallic color from michaels. I have an order for the auto air color as well. I'm just planning for anything right now. I just don't know how I can tell whether to use N8 or N7 or N7.5 or N8.5??? I'm assuming my projector, lights, paint color, carpet, and general room decorations. How do I decide which DIY paint to use?
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post #12 of 17 Old 06-23-11, 03:39 PM
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

RVAtheater wrote: View Post
Thanks for the info. I guess the next step is to compute what paint to use for my DIY screen. I've bought the Bermuda beige and the metallic color from michaels. I have an order for the auto air color as well. I'm just planning for anything right now.
Just a note here; if you are intending on perhaps making a Scorpion™ mix (mixing Black Widow™ and C&S™ together in equal amounts) be SURE that you have the older version of Craft Smart Metallic Silver to make the C&S™ since the new version of that paint (it has a red label - see the old C&S™ thread for details) won't work which is why C&S™ Ultra was developed.

I just don't know how I can tell whether to use N8 or N7 or N7.5 or N8.5??? I'm assuming my projector, lights, paint color, carpet, and general room decorations. How do I decide which DIY paint to use?
This isn't as critical as many people think. Below is a comparison between N7.5 and N8 grays.

Note that there isn't a world of difference between them, in fact it is barely noticeable (although how your monitor displays these can affect this).

The more ambient light that will be on the screen during viewing the darker the screen needs to be to help absorb that ambient light, BUT you must be able to maintain at least 12 fL of projected image brightness as well. A gray screen WILL absorb projected light as well as ambient light so the brighter image you start out with the darker a screen you can use to fight ambient light.

In general, the lighter the walls and ceiling are in the HT the more back-splash you will get from them reflecting the light from the projected image back onto the screen - this is also considered a form of ambient light. Rooms with white walls and ceiling would almost certainly need a gray screen to compensate ever with no other light on in the room and no windows. Also the closer the ceiling and walls are to the edges of the screen area the worse this problem is.

The other reason to use a gray screen is to help increase perceived image contrast from a projector that is lacking in this department (many of current PJ's don't have this problem).

Again in general, for HT's where the projected image is close to the 12 fL level with no, or very minimal, ambient light C&S™ Ultra would be my choice of screen mix. I will however add that both Mech and I are happy with even a Black Widow™ screen at 12 fL, but many people seem to prefer brighter images than we do.

I wish I could give you a hard and fast list of screen N levels to use with such and such lighting situations, but in the end things are simply too subjective to do that. What we usually do when someone is painting a screen is to recommend they calibrate their PJ to, and then use, their primed screen for a while (using a white primer) to see how they like a white or near-white screen. If the image seems to lack contrast, color depth or black level then go darker.

There are basically two camps of PJ users, one camp prefers a bright image even at the cost of grayish blacks; the other camp is the opposite and will give up some image brightness to get the deepest black level they can.

BTW, if you read elsewhere that there are screen mixes that can produce dark gray screens that don't impact white level (image brightness) don't believe them. This is simply against the laws of physics and is much like having your cake and eating it too. It can't be done. A dark gray screen that would have the same white level as a white screen is possible, but it would have a VERY small viewing cone.
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-05-11, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Richmond, Virginia
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

Thanks again for the information. I think I'm going to go with a Black Widow N7.0. I can't find the old bottles of craftsmart at all. They only have the red label versions.

My walls are a very rich Chocolate brown and the ceiling will be the stary sky with blue led rope light as a perimeter. I'm going to try and get some pictures up soon of the room as I'm going to get the carpet installed next week. The carpet is a medium tan color that was pretty nice but not great. I have a 2 yr old son and another baby on the way in February so spending a ton on prestine carpet only to be destroyed wasn't much of an option. I'll live with this carpet for some years and not be worried when it gets destroyed. The upgraded padding will be worth its weight in gold.

My theater room has the right side wall open to the rest of the basement. The rest of the basement is a relatively bright medium green. This will certainly give me issues with the screen but when movies are played it will be completely dark. I can even curtain off the rest of the room if I desire at a later point. I really like the open feel to the room though. Some things didn't turn out as well as I had hoped but all in all it will be pretty nice.

I finally got the kitchen area and back entrance tiled and look to finish the grouting this weekend at the latest. I have some trim to do on the walls yet and of course paint the screen. The wiring is all done but I haven't connected anything up yet until the carpet gets installed. Well except for the projector and the DirecTv link so I can make sure the screen size if correct.

I don't have tremendously nice speakers as of yet but that will come in the future. Right now I have a collection of Klipsche wall mounted speakers and sub that would pretty nicely. I even ran extra wiring for separate speakers in the front of the room when I have sporting events on and we just want to listen to some music. I found that trying to run those in the same system as the DirecTv system and amp wasn't working for me.

I wish I would have run a satellite link for my Sirius and possibly even speakers to the patio outside. There was just so much to do I missed a couple of items. The in ceiling speakers in the main basement room as pretty cool. Thanks to Monoprice!! I have another amp system under the stairs and send those directly to the ceiling speakers in two separate A/B runs. I haven't hooked up the Cat6e wiring that I ran all over the basement from the theater, to under the stairs, to the kitchen. Just about everywhere.

I hope to someday have the money to upgrade my switches so I can go wireless but it wasn't in the cards right now. I'm pretty sure by the time I have the money they will have some new stuff anyway. All the networking, wiring, and cabling in the riser alone cost a ton plus fitting it all in there and getting it locked down and connected was a chore.

Again I hope to have some images up soon. Thanks again!
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-05-11, 09:19 PM
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

Tight budgets among other things require us to cut corners. It's a part of the reality of life.

You sound like your position is somewhat similar to mine. I didn't have the money to spend on everything my heart desired so I had to settle for a lot of things that I would have done differently if I had the money. Better speakers, better furniture, star field ceiling, etc are all on my wish list.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-08-11, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Richmond, Virginia
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

Here are some pics of my theater. Also, below are the dimensions of the room and seating.

My carpet is being installed next wednesday so this is a good time to show some updated pics. Its a pretty standard mid-tan/brown color. Nothing too dark and nothing too light. We have a 2 yr old boy and another baby coming in February 2012 so putting in super high dollar carpet wasn't really an option. It will get destroyed for sure.

The area on the ceiling not painted is where the 16' x 8' stary sky will be placed.

My Espon Powerlite Cinema 6100 is 13' 9" from the screen.
I'm creating a 140" screen size and painting it N7 which I think is equivalent to a screen gain of 1.0.
My first row of seats (2 seats) is 10' from the screen.
My back row of seats (4 seats) is 16'2" from the screen.

According to the comps from projector central I will have 15fl brightness. Max room lighting 5%. Screen gain 1.0.

I'm wondering if 10' is too close for a 140" screen. I had found a calculator somewhere on this site that had 10' as the low end

of acceptable viewing distance. I was just curious what others had found.

Also, given the pictures if anyone thinks I should go with a different paint scenario from the Scorpion N7.
Attached Thumbnails
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Screen help...DIY noobie!-looking-into-theater.jpg  

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post #16 of 17 Old 07-08-11, 10:23 AM
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

The two setup calculators we have listed in our Sticky are THX Home Theater Display Setup and Carlton Bale's Home Theater Calculator. The first link isn't really a calculator, but a setup guide. The second link is an Excel spreadsheet program that is quite extensive. The first link recommends dividing the diagonal width of your screen by 0.84 to get the recommended viewing distance in inches. In your case that would be 140"/0.84=166.7" which works out to 13 feet 11 inches so your 10 foot viewing distance is closer than this, but that doesn't mean it's too close (I haven't really found a minimum viewing distance THX recommendation). Bale's spreadsheet does give a minimum viewing distance based on Field-Of-view which for your screen size is 7.3 feet. It really comes down to personal preference though.

The darkest screen mix we have is Black Widow™ which is N7.5. It has a measured gain of 0.9 (actually it's something like 0.88 or 0.89, but we round it off). I believe Black Widow™ would work great for your application.

Your HT layout looks good. The only potential source of significant bounce-back is the front column of the room-separator. Since this is painted white and appears quite close to the screen it may reflect enough light from the screen back onto the screen to be discernable, or it might seem to glow a bit when light from the screen reflects off it and be a distraction. Also, if the top of your screen is as close to that soffit as it appears you might have to tame reflections off that as well. If that is the case I would recommend a black fabric rather than black paint. Black velvet is the material normally used, but less expensive cloth such as black fleece can work as well.
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-08-11, 08:27 PM
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Re: Screen help...DIY noobie!

RVAtheater wrote: View Post
To add more information about the research that I've started. One company that I've received information back from was "Proscreens". I got two different samples:
1. 100" - 170" Matte White Material
2. 100" - 140" High Contrast Grey

From what they sent me #2 offers:
"This material is good for rooms where you do not have total control over the natural light or when you are using a HD projector. The grey surface offers excellent resolution while enhancing the blacks of HD, LCD, and DLP projected images, even as whites and lighter colors are maintained. The lower gain of 0.8 allows use with even the brightes projectors. This is a 100% fiberglass material with a PVC coating. This material has a black backing also offering 100% light blocking capabilities".

With my room having light control issues I'm pretty much guaranteed to need a grey screen. Now the whole "gain" and other options I'm not sure of just yet.

Does anyone have a company that I can get samples back from for AT screens? I'm assuming that I can do a DIY AT screen but I guess thats a question for the DIY forum.

Anyway just wanted to post what I had found and looking forward to hearing from folks on my questions regarding my screen. This board is awesome but its LOADED with stuff and its easy to get lost and forget what is going on.
Yes the question of the screen size is a personal matter . What I did solve this problem is to go with the 16:9 screen and use the PT-AE4000 panasonic projector with it's zoom lens feature.kunta.
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