???'s about BW screen for my new Epson Home Cinema 720 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 5 Old 01-30-09, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Frisco, Texas
Posts: 50
???'s about BW screen for my new Epson Home Cinema 720

Although I have been following the Black Widow PFG forum for close to a year, I just registered to post today. My room is finally together and the projector's on it's way.

I would like to thank the guys that have invested so much of their time in bringing us this inexpensive high quality solution for our families to enjoy.

I just bought a new Epson Home Cinema 720 and will be painting the Black Widow screen on a piece of 5 foot x 10 foot 1/4" MDF. My room has no windows and dark colored flat finish paint on the walls. I was going to cut the MDF to size, according to a THX viewing distance calculator I found online. Prime it with 2 coats of Kilz2, filling any imperfections between coats. Then roll (short nap, high quality roller) 2 coats of the BW mixture on it while laying flat on the floor.

I would like some input on the following:

1. Is 4(Valspar) to 1(4101) the correct mixture for my situation?
2. How much drying time between coats of the BW mixture?
3. The THX calculator says recommended size @ 13' seating distance is 116" diagonal. Does that seem reasonable, why or why not?
4. What do your recommend (material and source) for a black border or frame around the screen, and how wide should it be?

I would appreciate any other pointers that might help me produce a higher quality screen.

I will be projecting from about 15' with a ceiling mount and seated about 13' from the screen.

Thanks for your input,

j.burtt is offline  
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post #2 of 5 Old 01-30-09, 04:58 AM
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Re: ???'s about BW screen for my new Epson Home Cinema 720

Hi James!

Welcome to the Shack!

Thanks for the 'Thank You'. I'm sure the other guys will chirp in here, and even though I did not help develop Black Widow (other than as a beta tester), it's aways nice when someone appreciates the time, money and work that goes into developing and testing screen mixes.

Yep, the 4:1 mix of Valspar Ultra Premium Enamel tinted PPG Bermuda Beige and Auto Air Aluminum fine 4101 is the correct one.

As for drying time between coats, that can vary with conditions so I can't give you a solid time frame. I can only say to make sure the previous coat is dry before rolling on the next one. If the coat isn't dry it is possible for the second coat to actually lift part of the first coat off the screen as it is being rolled on - and then it's a real mess. Believe me, you don't want that to happen. I'm not a roller, so the other guys can give you better tips.

In many, perhaps most, cases, room size determines the size of screen we use. If you have the freedom to truly choose your screen size that is very cool. What aspect ratio screen are you making?

I don't know how much experience you have with projectors and such, but I have found that I actually prefer a smaller screen than I can physically have in my room, others think there is no such thing as a screen that is too large. Be sure to do some testing of image size (perhaps just on a bare wall) so you get a feeling of what size screen you really want.

You will also have to get border advice from the other guys as well. So far I have used my PJ mainly for screen mix testing and don't have it in a real home theater. Yeah, I'm crazy.

In case you haven't found it yet, PJ central has a really nice calculator that will let you play with different settings and positions of your screen and PJ. The one for your PJ can be found here.
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post #3 of 5 Old 01-30-09, 09:22 AM
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Re: ???'s about BW screen for my new Epson Home Cinema 720

Another hearty welcome to the Shack James!

First... and a lot of people may also want to know this, where on earth did you get an oversized sheet of 1/4" MDF??! Any oversized substrate is one of the hardest things to find.

Harp and mech answered most of your questions and I concur with their replies. I've seen the Epson 720 in action and it is an incredible projector. In fact I was down to the model you got or the Panny Ax200u, and I ended up going with the Panny. The Epson though is a killer projector at a killer price.

You definitely have lumens to spare which is on your side. Your room sounds like a dedicated setup, so you don't have to deal with ambient sunlight, which is a screen killer. My next question is what are your viewing habits and what will you be using the projector for? Will it be for movies and TV/Sports or just movies? The reason I ask is people that solely watch movies tend to have their rooms darkened like a movie theater, whereas when people watch sports and television they tend to have some room lighting on for a more casual and comfortable atmosphere that's conducive to conversations and interaction while the game is on.

If you say just movies, I may be inclined to recommend Cream&Sugar for your screen. If you are person that loves deep dark inky blacks that look like a black hole like me, then even with a dedicated layout and no lighting issues Black Widow would serve you well.

The Epson 720 I saw was projecting onto a light gray screen in the N9 shade and the picture looked phenomenal, but being an inky black person, I did notice the blacks weren't as dark as in my setup. Honestly though, if you weren't looking for it, nobody would have even noticed so it wasn't as bad as I may have made it sound. With lights on the 720 can still produce a great image on the lighter screen, but you will notice the image start to wash out, this is where BW really is amazing. So my question right now is what will your viewing habits be like?

Border material? The best is probably Triple Velvet, but it is also more expensive. The purpose of the border is for several reasons.

First it gives our eyes a black reference. This doesn't physically change the image at all, but it frames it so our eyes are more focused on the image and also our eyes see a black reference so it tricks us into thinking blacks are darker on the screen, which in turn causes us to perceive the contrast is better.

Next is it absorbs any projector light that may spill onto the border. This is where Triple Velvet really proves its worth. It is a virtual black hole when it comes to reflecting any light. If your image is perfectly framed though and doesn't spill onto the border at all, then it is mainly for aesthetics. Only you will be able to decide if you have spill or not and if so how bad does it bother you. If it does, then go with a good quality velvet to wrap your border with. If not and you want to save a bit of money, I used Black Suede to wrap my border. It does a fair job at absorbing spill, but doesn't do as well as velvet. The difference though is the price. I picked up my Black Suede at Walmart for $2.50 a yard, which is a considerable savings over going with velvet. If you can swing velvet in your budget, whether you have spill or not, go with the velvet because it has a more expensive look to it- but honestly... if you are sitting 13' back, you'll never notice the difference between it or the Black Suede. That is if you don't have any over spill issues I should add.

As far as size, whatever is comfortable to watch without causing eye fatigue is fine. There are formulas and guidelines to the screen size vs room size and sitting area, but in the end it comes down to a personal preference. If you find yourself moving your head to take in the action from one side of the screen to the other, then it is too big. Or if your eyes are constantly moving back and forth like you're watching a tennis match... too big. But a screen can also be too big even if you don't have either of those problems. If you find that you are having eye strain or headaches after watching just one movie, the screen may be too big. If you're not moving your head or eyes though, I wouldn't change the size just yet, try lowering the brightness some and it probably will resolve the eye fatigue problem.

It is always the first impulse to go as big as possible, but remember... you don't want to feel like you're sitting in the first row of a movie theater either!

Lastly... don't forget to calibrate!

"Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

"If all else fails, spin the cat."- Grzboken
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post #4 of 5 Old 01-30-09, 03:24 PM
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Re: ???'s about BW screen for my new Epson Home Cinema 720

3. The golden rule has always been 1.5 times the screen width.
Does this rule apply to all aspects or just 16:9?

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post #5 of 5 Old 01-30-09, 04:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Frisco, Texas
Posts: 50
Re: ???'s about BW screen for my new Epson Home Cinema 720

The THX calculator I used shows a 36 degree viewing angle, which all of these formulas work out to within a foot of each other.

Thanks for all your time,

j.burtt is offline  


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