Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #11 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Keep in mind my projector is a 6 and 1/2 year old factor refurbished business projector, not a projector specifically made for HT. I have issues with it, like jaggies with text, and things like that... but if my pj can look this nice with this screen, then I am slobbering over the idea of when I upgrade to a full 1080p HT projector.

I spent six hours in this next round going through various DVDs and taking screen shots. It is a lot more work doing screenies than people think Sometimes I think it's faster and easy to make the screen than backing up its performance.

I honestly think that within the next two years we will be seeing live video screenies instead of still shots. Then people will be able to see the actual performance of the screens. I see so many things that just do not come out on picture the way they look on the screen. I tend to compare my projector to my 36 inch Toshiba (you can tell this was archived and transposed from elsewhere since I now have a 55" 1080p SXRD set), and right now I like the projector better for movies. It is bright and vibrant, but it is more film like, and to me as a movie buff I love that. I have to give the edge to the CRT, the colors are better and much more vivid, but compared to film and my current screen, to me they look over saturated and loud. HT means different things to different people. Some want a HUGE TV... super bright, over saturated... me... I love movies. I do want to see my colors right and the images bright, but I also want them to look like a movie and not a video. Does that make sense and hit home with anyone else?

Who knows though, they are playing with laser projector technology now, and when that comes out we could project an image on a cinder block and it would look good. I don't shun those days though, I look forward to them. Think of the exciting things that we can do when that day comes... as well as the people that have older projectors, DIY keeps getting better and better and is a long cry from the days of bed sheets and window blinds. We've actually reached the performance of mid to high end screen with the advanced options, and the data is showing that the simple methods are far exceeding some of the entry to mid level commercial screens.

Last edited by wbassett; 05-24-07 at 02:41 PM.
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post #12 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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Daylight Ambient Light Performance

Ambient light has always been a problem with front projectors. Room lighting is bad enough to wash out the image on some screens, but sun light is the ultimate screen killer. I am cautious about calling this an 'ambient light' screen since I think that term is thrown around way too much by some people. The companies like Planar, DNP, and HoloVega all spend millions on research and development for their ambient light screens, and they pass that expense on by way of the price we have to pay for those screens. So DIY screens and other screen paints certainly are not true ambient light screens in the sense of a SuperNova, but at a fraction of the cost they perform very respectably. I like to use the term 'ambient light friendly'.

Okay here are some more day shots. I started taking these around 1:30PM. It was winter when I took these and I lose daylight early during the winter and that time of day has the same amount of light in the room that I normally have during the summer around 3:00PM.

The room is very bright right now, and with sunlight not incandescent lighting. This is where most screens really bite the dust, and performance for Gray Screen did take a huge hit with this amount of sun pouring in.

Here is the Warner Brother's logo showing the window next to the screen and how bright it is right when this was taken.


From the adjacent living room showing one window of the bay window to the other side of the screen.


The DVD main menu


The boys on their way to Vegas...


From the hall showing the window again and the amount of room light.


The boys all dressed up and ready to roll.


Same shot but from the adjacent living room.

I ended up getting called for a work problem and had to stop taking screen shots for about an hour. It was probably a little after 3:00PM when I resumed. The room was starting to get dark, more the gray over cast look of early evening. The sun had moved and wasn't lighting the room as brightly as before. The screen started performing much better.

Costner in action.


Costner's 45s

Same shot but from the adjacent living room. These are the windows I have the window film on and they do help, but this will give an idea of the light level. I am thinking about putting some film on the outside of the window too. That should cut the light down so that around noon it will be this level.

I think these shots show full daylight performance (or lack of) very well. Like I said, this isn't an ambient light screen, and I never said it was, but it does perform respectfully for such a simple method. It is definitely watchable with the light levels when I first started, but honestly even after I resumed screen shots, to me I would never watch a movie in that bright of conditions. On weekends during the day, if I watch a movie I normally watch it on the 27" LCD HDTV in the bedroom. With a little light control and using BOC as actual drape liners and not as a screen this would be quite usable during the day for anyone interested in a simple and relatively inexpensive screen application.
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post #13 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Evening Performance Shots

Earlier were some daytime shots, here are some evening shots. These were taken around 4:30-5:00 PM.

Top Gun


Top Gun the VBall game... my wife loves this scene so I figured why not take a few shots for any of the gals out there, they like eye candy too =]


Incase anyone wants to know, this is Rick Rossovich. He's probably wondering what happened to his career too! But at least he's immortalized in a scene I think every women back in '86 saw over and over again...


...and his Vball partner and pilot, a little know actor at the time by the name of Val Kilmer...


Top Gun Graduation... I will get around to some comparison shots with other material, but I saw these and wanted to put them up. White is definitely white which is still amazing me seeing this is a darker gray.


From the hall...


Off center from the adjacent living room...
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post #14 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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The reason I took so many was so I can try to show a wide variety of material. I'm trying to show light scenes as well as dark scenes along with scenes with a lot of color.

The Columbia logo shot I put up earlier still makes me smile. For a business projector I was very pleased with its performance. The logo really is that deep and rich in its colors.

Here's a couple from Star Wars, a James Bond flick (from the opening scene in Tomorrow Never Dies, the best Bond opening teaser ever), and one from Into the Blue.
I started getting tired so I only grabbed a few shots even though there are so many good ones to choose from. Star Wars and Into the Blue are definitely full of eye candy and colorful scenes. My brother suggested some Bond ones so I threw in TND.


Star Wars Revenge of the Sith:
The star cruiser is dark on the screen too, but I can make out much more detail than what is picked up by the camera.




One from Into the Blue


Same scene but off center and from the adjacent living room.


The name is Bond, James Bond... Like I said, these are from the best opening sequence of any Bond flick to date.

Brosnan as Bond and getting ready to take out the weapons bazaar.


Bond doing what Bond does best, well maybe second best...


England's Top Gun...
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post #15 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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The benefits of neutrals and a well balanced screen are very important factors. The more accurate the screen is at reproducing the image being projected the easier it is all around.

As we have seen and has been demonstrated and proven in other threads (and I also have seen first hand) there are benefits to the classic 'V' curve that the commercial screens have. Green pushes the hardest of the three color components. I would say that projectors can be calibrated and adjusted for a rather large divergence from a perfectly neutral screen but we certainly aren't wrong for starting with something that reflects color as accurately as possible. If anything I would go with a slight green deficiency, but keep in mind-- when we say a certain screen or color is deficient one color, it is not just that color alone. The whole screen's color spectrum is shifted somewhat. For the most part it's not that much, but it does have an overall impact on the image.

The same thing applies when we change the temperature setting on the projector from warm to cool. Warm is adding red to the overall image, cool adds blue. It's the same thing with a deficiency or push. Green is the worse because we may be able to adjust the color setting, but unlike red and blue, there is no overall 'temperature' control for green.

Here are the examples again of what the various color pushes can look like. From left to right are: The correct image, a Red Push, a Green Push, and last what a Blue Push looks like. These are pretty extreme, but they get the point across nicely.


I have never felt that the screen should be where the image gets adjusted. The only exception would be for extreme videophiles that want to perfectly mate a screen to their particular projector to get the absolute best image conceivably possible-- for that specific projector/screen combination... I'm sure most have heard people mention diminishing gains, doing tweaks at this extreme level is eeking out 1%, maybe even less. Most people probably won't notice, or want to go to this level of work... but for some it is well worth it to them. This isn't as easy as it sounds though. You would have to have measurements of your exact projector output levels, and then very precise measurements as far as screen construction.

This is very different than the tweaks people are doing in the advanced mixes for making a well balanced screen color that works well across a wide range of projectors, and I don't want it to sound like that is what I was talking about. I see the previous statement like the audiophiles that put drop mikes throughout the room and take sound pressure readings, use signal generators, and other high end tweaks.
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post #16 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Lumens

Here is a good lumen guide. As with anything, it is just a guide and different setups and projectors may have slightly different capabilities.


In the past there were few actual Home Theater projectors, at least in the price range that the common person could afford, so many people went with used, refurbished, or less expensive presentation projectors. They do tend to be brighter, but don't go solely on the lumen ratings. They were made and used for data presentations such as Power Point and other typical conference room software. When used for video the lumen output does drop, but they are still bright units (most of them).

Like my conversation with the projector manufacturers mentioned in an earlier post, we have to keep a few things in mind when looking at charts and things like this, like what was the reference being used? In this case it was again a unity gain white screen rating. Based on that, there is room for some improvements with a screen that is more ambient light friendly, but the chart is still a good guide line.

I plan on reworking the chart and adding shade recommendations based on the lumen levels and screen sizes.

To make things even more confusing, some manufacturers are now listing lumen ratings based on optimized video output, while other manufacturers are still listing total (not video optimized) light output. So there could be two projectors rated at 1000 lumens and one is actually much brighter than the other. I think this may have been mentioned before by someone else, but it is something to note and ask when buying a projector.
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post #17 of 179 Old 05-24-07, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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I will be doing some screen testing with Winter Mountain soon as well as some other grays.

From here on out the thread is open for questions and comments. Neutral grays certainly are not the only and definitive solution, but they do work extremely well. I actually conferred with some color scientists and college professors that teach color and light theory at some major universities, and I am taking college courses in color/light theory myself... so I would like to think what was presented is a well rounded and very valid option to at least take into consideration.

Without any further adieu, any questions?
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post #18 of 179 Old 06-15-07, 05:26 PM
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my experiences w/ GTI N8 and Glidden Gripper

wbassett mentioned GTI N8 and I guess I'm the only person who has tried this, so I thought I'd document this.

Files I've included:
Cin1* - Cinema 1 Dark mode on the Panny AX100
Cin2* - Cinema 2 Dark mode on the AX100
DVE* - calibrated w/ lights off using DVD Essentials (I thought it was too red and preferred the Cinema2 preset)
Glidden* - can't remember which projector mode this was, but the background was Glidden Gripper primer...washed out and unusable during the day...the GTI N8 is still usable w/ the AX100 in daylight dynamic mode

Glidden Gripper is also slightly reflective, so it showed *every* defect on my imperfect 200yr old horsehair plaster wall. GTI N8 is flat and hid everything. This is very important for those of you who are wondering why you don't use satin paint for a projector screen...don't unless your wall is perfectly flat...
Attached Thumbnails
Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti8dve_1.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti8dve_2.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti8dve_3.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti8cin2_1.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti8cin2_2.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti8cin1_3.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gti_n8_comparison2.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gliddengripper_1.jpg  

Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions-gliddengripper_2.jpg  

post #19 of 179 Old 06-15-07, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Nice shots and people say simple grays crush and muddy whites.

You said it was still unusable during the day, can you throw some shots with ambient light up and maybe a daytime shot when you have time?

What I found is lumens are essential for viewing with sunlight. Your projector is better and more powerful than mine, so I know you can get images as bright as I have shown. What I had to do though was use different gamma modes for daytime viewing and night time viewing. That's not all that bad though since my projector stores those settings. All I have to do is hit a button depending on when I am watching.

Silver Screen looks kind of close, but I was never able to get true whites with it. That has to do with the color shifting and when the screen shade goes darker it affects colors harder. Hence the reason for the research in neutrals. I'm not trying to bash SS, just let people know it does produce a color shift to some extent. Some projectors can compensate for most of it but there will still be some there. Some people (like me) just could not get past reds leaning towards purple. A D65 neutral or close to neutral gray will be the easiest screen to calibrate any projector to that is for certain. Also the 'V' curve will be the most accomodating for out of the box performance, but don't sell it short, a 'V' screen based on and rooted to D65 is a very good screen too.

As far as Silver Screen, even Behr acknowledges its blue lineage. Silver Screen is considered a neutral blue-gray hue. People can and will debate whether it is the ultimate find, but in the end it does go blue, even the company agrees with that.

Thankfully you didn't spend the $80 on a gallon of GTI (price plus shipping). I was really surprised at the CIE L*ab values that GTI sent me for the N8 paint. It wasn't as neutral as I thought it would be. It was close, but it didn't nail the D65 target dead center. Winter Mountain was within the D65 circle though.

Kenyee pointed a few things out elsewhere about this paint too that I didn't see him mention and I'll take the liberty of bringing them up and since he is the GTI expert now he can elaborate on them.

First this isn't a regular latex paint. It has an absolutely awful smell to it and shouldn't be painted without ventilation. It is also the flattest finish of anything out there and Kenya said it hides imperfections unbelievable well... probably why this is used by professionals in the photo and video industry. Amazingly, he only needed a pint to paint his screen, so it sounds like it covers extremely well, is that a fair statement Kenyee?
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post #20 of 179 Old 06-15-07, 09:20 PM
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Re: Neutral Grays and Simple Off the Shelf Solutions

Actually, Glidden Gripper was unusable during the day
GTI N8 is actually very usable during the day. I'll try to get some pics of it. It's enough for sports, but if you're watching a dark movie like the Matrix, I don't think it does that well either (but doubt any screen would in ambient light).
The Panny AX100 has 3 presets for dark and 3 presets for light conditions.

Yes, the GTI N8 covers well. It can actually be thinned a bit because I thought it was a bit too thick. A pint covered a 98" screen area w/ no problems. And I was dumb enough to do it in the winter (luckily it was a warmish winter in Boston so I could open the windows a crack)...the stuff reeeeeeked. The apartment stunk for over a day :-P

Overall though, I'm still happy with it. I really wonder if Panasonic tested using it because Cinema2 matches with it so well...
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