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I am another dissapointed Silver Fire user. I raised my concerns of hotspotting and a grainyness and was told it was me. I sanded it down, remixed it, sprayed ligher coats, and got the same result. I am moving on.

After reading through some threads here, it seems the elite cinegray performs about as well as some of these paints and with less hassle. Although, I already have the sintra board in place that I am using with the SilverFire and am willing to give one more shot to roll something over top of the SilverFire. It seems a nuetral gray will work just as well. So, what is the best nuetral gray to help combat some ambient light. I am thinking of going the Sherman Williams brand (the one that dries and flattens out - can't recall the name right now) tinted to either the 6260 unique gray or 6261 swankey gray. That should take out the hot spot and the grainyness.

I originally was going to go Stewart Firehawk (I can get is for cost - long story) but that still will run me about $1500 or so for a 114 or so inch screen. The money is not as much of a concern as is the drop off in brightness from one side to the other, hotspotting and sparklies (although the right and left side further seats will be at about the edge of the frame). Judging from the pictures of in some threads, it seems even within the outside edges, the drop off of brightness is still significant. Therefore, I think that leaves me going the Elite route or SW neutral gray paint route. I only need a quart so I think I will give that paint a try and just roll it on with a 1/4 nap brush and see how it goes (that is unless others have other suggestions of either paint or manufactured screen). Thoughts.
 

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I am another dissapointed Silver Fire user. I raised my concerns of hotspotting and a grainyness and was told it was me. I sanded it down, remixed it, sprayed ligher coats, and got the same result. I am moving on.
Welcome to HTS! :wave:
Sorry your SF screen didn't work out for you (although that is usually the case), but you are far from alone in your viewing displeasure. The ideas behind both SF and it's kin RSMM just don't work. Add to that the fact that there are now so many versions and variations within the SF/RSMM family of mixes that I doubt any two screens ever perform the same. But then you know all this and I'm preaching to the choir. What you may not know is that the way they treated you (it's YOUR fault) is their usual response when THEIR mixes fail to perform as they state they will. I find that reprehensible.

After reading through some threads here, it seems the elite cinegray performs about as well as some of these paints and with less hassle. Although, I already have the sintra board in place that I am using with the SilverFire and am willing to give one more shot to roll something over top of the SilverFire. It seems a nuetral gray will work just as well. So, what is the best nuetral gray to help combat some ambient light. I am thinking of going the Sherman Williams brand (the one that dries and flattens out - can't recall the name right now) tinted to either the 6260 unique gray or 6261 swankey gray. That should take out the hot spot and the grainyness.
The Elite CineGrey screen is a nice one. I know Mech likes his! I'm thinking you will get similar performance by painting your existing Sintra screen with the SW 'Unique Gray' using ProClassic in satin finish. You want PROCLASSIC® WATERBORNE INTERIOR ACRYLIC SATIN B20 SERIES. For some reason SW has 3 different paints under the ProClassic name. :huh:

I'm not sure how dark your SF screen is or your HT particulars, but a N8 gray screen is a good start to begin with and you can go lighter or darker to suite your preferences. I know the 'Unique Gray' is a pretty neutral N8 (at least my sample was). I've never tested the 'Swankey Gray', but going by SW's data on that color it is about an N7.3 gray. A more neutral color about the same shade is Glidden 'Veil', SW stores should be able to tint their paint to that color as well.

All the gain data that they spout for the SF/RSMM mixes is just eye-balling guesswork and wishful thinking. To my knowledge they have never had their mixes objectively tested for color or gain. We did some testing of the SF mixes here following the same industry standard protocols we use for testing commercial screens and our own mixes. Posting the results put us on their "Hit List" forever.

I originally was going to go Stewart Firehawk (I can get is for cost - long story) but that still will run me about $1500 or so for a 114 or so inch screen. The money is not as much of a concern as is the drop off in brightness from one side to the other, hotspotting and sparklies (although the right and left side further seats will be at about the edge of the frame). Judging from the pictures of in some threads, it seems even within the outside edges, the drop off of brightness is still significant. Therefore, I think that leaves me going the Elite route or SW neutral gray paint route. I only need a quart so I think I will give that paint a try and just roll it on with a 1/4 nap brush and see how it goes (that is unless others have other suggestions of either paint or manufactured screen). Thoughts.
People simply aren't told the truth about high gain screens. Whenever a screen has more gain than a Lambertian surface (a really flat paint comes close) of the same color there will ALWAYS be a price to pay for that gain. If the gain increase is minimal the negative artifacts produced by that gain will be minimal as well. As the gain gets higher and higher the negative artifacts increase in number and intensity as well. The most visible artifacts are hot spotting, sparkles, graininess and the narrowing of the viewing cone. The laws of reflective physics are real and can't be broken. Screens such as the Black Diamond and Supernova actually have engineered finishes that act as lenses to manipulate light, but there is still only so much you can do to have a bright image when significant ambient light is present during viewing.

Also, please don't buy into the hype that a screen's gain MUST be 1.0 or greater to get a good projected image. It just ain't so.

Before you repaint your SF screen I recommend you scuff sand it to roughen the surface to give the new paint something to hold onto (unless you reprime it). The polyurethane used in SF doesn't like paint sticking to it (or anything else either).

If you would like a more specific shade recommendation for your screen please tell us your HT particulars.

What PJ you are using?
What size screen you have or want?
How far is the PJ mounted from the screen?
HT room surface colors (light, med, dark)?
About how much ambient light is present during viewing?
 

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Harpmaker, you are from central PA per your signature. Cool, so am I. I just went in to take this offline and send you a PM but I am a dope today and can't seem to find where to create a message.

My room has dark walls, dark carpet, tan ceiling, recessed lights above seating area (about 14 feet from screen), tray light and I can black out the windows. Problem is, behind seating area, I have a pool table and a bar. I also like to watch with some lights on (even movies on occasion) and we watch a lot of hockey (my boys are total hockey nuts). So, while I can make it black if I want, I would say 50% of the time we watch, we want some light on.

The projector is currently a Sanyo Z4 or Z5 (can't remember which). I plan to upgrade (been looking at the Epson 5010). The lens is about 14 feet from the screen.
 

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Sorry to hear about your trouble. It really is a bummer that they are allowed to do what they do at avs. But there is a lot of knowledge about screen building there. It's too bad that Roland (MMan) and Pete (pb_maxx) are allowed to push a downright awful screen paint on to the unsuspecting. It's borderline criminal in my mind. I'd like to say we don't get too many folks like you but unfortunately, we do. And it's always the same - 'it's your fault'. Don't worry about any of that as we're here to help you out. It's not your fault. It's theirs. I recently checked out the diy screen forum there looking for some old info. I don't think there is one shot of a screen made with one of their mixes that doesn't hot spot. Seeing some of the people there getting sucked into all of that makes me cringe. They really have no idea how their screen should look!

Anyways, enough of that! Welcome to the Shack! :wave: There are a lot of recovering silver fire, rs_max mud or whatever it's called users here.
 

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Harpmaker, you are from central PA per your signature. Cool, so am I. I just went in to take this offline and send you a PM but I am a dope today and can't seem to find where to create a message.
To post links, pictures, pm, etc. you need 5 posts. You can pad some posts here. It can take an hour or more afterwards for your privileges to take effect. :T
 

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mechman, what are your thoughts about whether it is worth painting with a neutral gray or buying a screen. I noted some of the comparisons you did and your cinegray seems to do a decent job (not as good as the firehawk) but it doesn't have such a roll off. I am not sure it does much better though than just painting with the SW unique gray though. Thoughts?
 

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Harpmaker, you are from central PA per your signature. Cool, so am I. I just went in to take this offline and send you a PM but I am a dope today and can't seem to find where to create a message.
After you get 5 posts under your belt you should be able to PM and post links, Mech provided the link to our padding forum here that was set up just for that purpose.

Feel free to PM us if you want or need to, but unlike a certain other DIY Screen forum we both know of, we like to keep things public when feasible so others can benefit from the discussion.

My room has dark walls, dark carpet, tan ceiling, recessed lights above seating area (about 14 feet from screen), tray light and I can black out the windows. Problem is, behind seating area, I have a pool table and a bar. I also like to watch with some lights on (even movies on occasion) and we watch a lot of hockey (my boys are total hockey nuts). So, while I can make it black if I want, I would say 50% of the time we watch, we want some light on.

The projector is currently a Sanyo Z4 or Z5 (can't remember which). I plan to upgrade (been looking at the Epson 5010). The lens is about 14 feet from the screen.
How large is your Sintra screen? At a 14' mounting point, and assuming the PJ is a Z4, it could be anywhere between 139" (9 fc) and 70" (21 fc). Unless you are using a screen at or close to the largest possible, I think I would still recommend the N8 OTS gray.

mechman, what are your thoughts about whether it is worth painting with a neutral gray or buying a screen. I noted some of the comparisons you did and your cinegray seems to do a decent job (not as good as the firehawk) but it doesn't have such a roll off. I am not sure it does much better though than just painting with the SW unique gray though. Thoughts?
I don't mean to answer for Mech, and he can correct me on this if I'm wrong, but I believe the main difference between an Elite CineGrey screen and an N8 painted screen using a paint with a bit of gloss (but still not hot spotting) is in ease and speed of producing the screen. The Elite screens go together easily and there is no traveling around getting paint, painting equipment, prep work before painting, the work of painting or cleanup after painting. You are basically trading the higher cost of a commercial screen against the labor of a DIY screen.
 

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You have the sintra and it's all set up, you might as well paint it. :T

If this is a Z4 or Z5 and you're using a 114" screen, you're really at the edge of the cut off for lumens from the pj. If the room is dark enough, I'd just go with something lighter until you get a brighter pj.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It is 114" (great guess). It is bright enough (or maybe after many years of trying different things) I am just used to a dull image.

Do you guys recommend rolling it or spraying it? I really don't want to spray again (that is much more prep work and really a pain in my opinion for such a small area) but if it is going to give me a better image because it will be smoother, I will. However, my understanding of the SW is that it flattens out quite well.
 

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It is 114" (great guess). It is bright enough (or maybe after many years of trying different things) I am just used to a dull image.
Whether an image is bright enough of not is a very subjective thing. I personally would sacrifice a bit of image brightness to gain darker blacks and greater image contrast.

Do you guys recommend rolling it or spraying it? I really don't want to spray again (that is much more prep work and really a pain in my opinion for such a small area) but if it is going to give me a better image because it will be smoother, I will. However, my understanding of the SW is that it flattens out quite well.
As you can tell from my avatar here I much prefer spraying over rolling, but the simple fact of the matter is that you can get a very good screen with either method. With our screen mixes and OTS paints it comes down to user preference and which method you are most skilled at - apply the paint in the manner you know best. The SF/RSMM mixes really do need to be sprayed to get the best results because of all the mica in the mixes, and of course all that blasted poly. :doh:
 

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Thanks guys. I think I will give that SW a try. I will sand it down and hopefully it gets rid of that grainyness and hot spot.
 

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Thanks guys. I think I will give that SW a try. I will sand it down and hopefully it gets rid of that grainyness and hot spot.
I think that's just about guaranteed. ;)

The SF mixes average out at around 55% mica-based paint and between 27% to 31% polyurethane with
only about 13% opaque white paint to control the refraction caused by the mica; it just isn't enough.

Let us know how you make out with the SW paint. :T
 

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If you don't have the equipment handy, I would definitely try rolling. I have done both and can get just as good a finish with a little care. ( and I do mean very little).

I've said this adnausium in other thread to other folks, but if you do have a Z4/Z5 PJ you might want to try Cream and Sugar. It gives just a smidge of gray. I have an old Panny 900 and the C&S works great.

Just a thought....
 

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So, here is what I am thinking. After reading about the BW, I am intrigued. So my options are the BW (which is easy enough), the Sherman Williams tinted to the neutral gray, or just by the Elite Cinegray and be done with it. Problem with the Elite is I can only find it in 106" or 120". The bottom end is to small and the top is just a bit to large (right now I am projecting 117" and I just don't know if going any bigger would limit the viewing experience -- 120" would put it right at 1.5 viewing distance, make it easier to see possible grain in the image, etc.). I can't find anywhere that you can pay the fee for the larger screen but have it cut a bit smaller.

Any other screen manufacturers that make a good gray screen that doesn't have the limited viewing issues as the Firehawk.

Any other thoughts on the difference if at all for the BW, SW, or Elite to make one more worth than the other. Mech, I know you have the Elite and test all kinds of other stuff but you haven't switched yet so I wonder if you just haven't really found anything that is that much better to make it worth the switch.
 

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Mech, I know you have the Elite and test all kinds of other stuff but you haven't switched yet so I wonder if you just haven't really found anything that is that much better to make it worth the switch.
The thing is, I don't notice it. And that's how a screen is supposed to be. So I have had very little incentive to change. My BW™ screen was the same way. The only thing I really miss and that I intend to fix some day is the back lighting. I liked the look of the back lighting on my BW™ screen.
 

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The thing is, I don't notice it. And that's how a screen is supposed to be. So I have had very little incentive to change. My BW™ screen was the same way. The only thing I really miss and that I intend to fix some day is the back lighting. I liked the look of the back lighting on my BW™ screen.
Mech, why did you switch from the BW to the Elite if you did not notice the Elite?

Also, in your testing, how annoying do you think the Firehawk roll off would be if your outsite seats are basically at the edge of the screen. I keep going back to the Firehawk because it is one of those, I always wanted one and not sure I will ever be happy until I have one, situations. However, I don't know if I will be happy with it either and there is just no where to view these things (which really stinks).
 

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I got a really good deal on an Elite and despite my skills at finish work, the Elite looked a bit better than my diy screen.

I haven't really ever gotten around to looking at my Stewart samples. But I have some free time this week and I'll look at the Firehawk again and get some pictures. From what I recall, the Firehawk does hotspot. To me that would be a deal breaker. I'll check it out this week though.
 

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Mech, I agree. If the Firehawk hotspots, it would be a dealbreaker. Thank you for your willingness to take the time to take some shots and look into it. I'll wait to here back.
 

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hey guys, coming over from AVS. and glad I found this thread.

was planning on replacing my current WA-DW with a painted SF screen but this is making me think twice.

i've really liked the WA-DW screen, it's my first screen so i don't have much experience in this area. however I am getting a new pj (epson 8100) and wanting to go bigger.

so, should i stick with WA-DW?

thanks, and sorry OP - didn't mean to threadcap.
 
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