Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone!


I need (and I bet others would love) a mobile and cheap acoustically transparent (AT) screen. When I lived in an apartment, I painted the screen on the wall with Kilz primer (fabbbulouuuuuuuus.) I was so impressed with the Kilz that I stopped painting. :)

I have moved back home and am changing careers. There is no place to put a screen in this house (which isn't my house anyway), so now I'm looking for something mobile to throw up in front of the entertainment system in the living room. It needs to be AT, and cheap. Does such a thing exist?

Here's what I'm thinking: There are probably bedsheets out there that are better than other sheets. Higher thread count probably means better picture, but less acoustic transparency. I'm wondering if anyone has found a good compromise (or other material) for a situation like mine?

How does a white sheet with a black backing work? Has anyone been concentrating on finding the perfect bed sheet? lol I've learned that if you do not wash the sheet, it has a kind of shine to it, and that you can stretch the sheet tight and spray a little water on it to get wrinkles out. This is all I've learned (I'm not sure how effective these things are).

Anyway, I'm not looking for perfection in either picture or sound, but I do want to find the best practical thing I can.

Thanks!
 

·
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
3,772 Posts
Hello everyone!


I need (and I bet others would love) a mobile and cheap acoustically transparent (AT) screen. When I lived in an apartment, I painted the screen on the wall with Kilz primer (fabbbulouuuuuuuus.) I was so impressed with the Kilz that I stopped painting. :)

I have moved back home and am changing careers. There is no place to put a screen in this house (which isn't my house anyway), so now I'm looking for something mobile to throw up in front of the entertainment system in the living room. It needs to be AT, and cheap. Does such a thing exist?

Here's what I'm thinking: There are probably bedsheets out there that are better than other sheets. Higher thread count probably means better picture, but less acoustic transparency. I'm wondering if anyone has found a good compromise (or other material) for a situation like mine?

How does a white sheet with a black backing work? Has anyone been concentrating on finding the perfect bed sheet? lol I've learned that if you do not wash the sheet, it has a kind of shine to it, and that you can stretch the sheet tight and spray a little water on it to get wrinkles out. This is all I've learned (I'm not sure how effective these things are).

Anyway, I'm not looking for perfection in either picture or sound, but I do want to find the best practical thing I can.

Thanks!
What size screen are you thinking about?

One of the best DIY AT screen materials is Matte White Milliskin Spandex with a black sheet of the same material behind it to help prevent bleed-through and stop any lights or reflections from coming back through the screen to mess with the projected image. You only want to stretch the Spandex enough to make the screen surface taut; there are a number of ways to do this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Excellent. I was researching spandex tonight. I'd like to build myself a frame that will allow a 120" screen size or less (typical TV dimensions, 16:9 I think). I was thinking a frame made of PVC? I don't really care about borders, but if a border is easy... why not? :bigsmile: But if it isn't easy, no prob! I really like the idea of spandex, if that's the best option. So I would just purchase the Matte White Milliskin, and also the Matte Black Milliskin, and put them back to back? And the black sheet absorbs back spill? That makes sense. I wonder what would be the best way to attach the fabric to the screen frame?

Thank you for your help, Harpmaker!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I'm also noticing some spandex builds combing white and silver. I'm not sure what the rationale is for this. I'm still looking, but I'm curious what you guys think about this. It seems to me that you would want black because you ideally would not want any light to "come back" through your screen from the back. Kinda scratching my head about the silver/gray layer behind the white layer. Partial reflection, partial absorption? I'll keep reading...
Thanks for your research guys! :clap:
 

·
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
3,772 Posts
Excellent. I was researching spandex tonight. I'd like to build myself a frame that will allow a 120" screen size or less (typical TV dimensions, 16:9 I think). I was thinking a frame made of PVC? I don't really care about borders, but if a border is easy... why not? :bigsmile: But if it isn't easy, no prob! I really like the idea of spandex, if that's the best option. So I would just purchase the Matte White Milliskin, and also the Matte Black Milliskin, and put them back to back? And the black sheet absorbs back spill? That makes sense. I wonder what would be the best way to attach the fabric to the screen frame?

Thank you for your help, Harpmaker!
The best DIY AT screen solution would be to use the screen material from Seymour, but it is much more expensive than Spandex.

I'm going to get some Screen Tight strips from Home Depot or Lowe's to experiment with since this material has been used to successfully make Spandex screens. It does need to be screwed to a wooden frame though and is not free-standing.


I'm also noticing some spandex builds combing white and silver. I'm not sure what the rationale is for this. I'm still looking, but I'm curious what you guys think about this. It seems to me that you would want black because you ideally would not want any light to "come back" through your screen from the back. Kinda scratching my head about the silver/gray layer behind the white layer. Partial reflection, partial absorption? I'll keep reading...
Thanks for your research guys!
Congratulations, your "nonsense meter" seems to be working fine! :heehee: You are correct in your thinking, you do NOT want any light that passes through your screens surface layer to be reflected back toward you since the reflected light coming from anywhere but the screen surface will do nothing but soften the image and lower contrast levels even if it does make the screen image appear brighter. The only reason I can see for recommending white/gray or gray/white Spandex screens is to keep in harmony with that forums rationale for thinking that a translucent screen paint is desirable when it really isn't. The height of that folly is recommending painting a mirror with thin translucent layers of paint (which they call Light Fusion). It simply doesn't pass scientific scrutiny.

It should also be mentioned that "silver" Spandex is NOT metallic in luster, but rather a matte gray color if purchased in a matte finish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I would love to have one of those Seymour screens, and I plan on doing one in the future in a more permanent installation for sure! The spandex is just something for on the road. :) I would be a nervous wreck trying to transport Seymour material. lol I need something expendable.

So! lol The silver mirror paint people strike again eh? Nice! I had a feeling... I've heard that's how the holodeck on the starship Enterprise works. Okay, I'll stop.

Thanks for that video! That looks like it will do the trick nicely! I have just ordered the Matte White Milliskin and Matte Black Milliskin from Spandex World, and am about to construct a PVC frame. My mom is going to sew a long loop on each of the 4 edges that runs the length of those edges, so that the screen can be put up like a tent. My only two concerns at this point are the PVC frame sagging in the middle, and also the spandex losing it's tautness over time. Do you have any advice or concerns about what I'm doing? This may be asking too much, but do you think you could guestimate what percentage larger a properly "taut" screen would be compared to the relaxed fabric? For example, would you think 10% larger dimensions? I'm going to experiment when I get it, but I'm just curious about your opinion on the milliskin.

Much appreciated!
 

·
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
3,772 Posts
I would love to have one of those Seymour screens, and I plan on doing one in the future in a more permanent installation for sure! The spandex is just something for on the road. :) I would be a nervous wreck trying to transport Seymour material. lol I need something expendable.

So! lol The silver mirror paint people strike again eh? Nice! I had a feeling... I've heard that's how the holodeck on the starship Enterprise works. Okay, I'll stop.

Thanks for that video! That looks like it will do the trick nicely! I have just ordered the Matte White Milliskin and Matte Black Milliskin from Spandex World, and am about to construct a PVC frame. My mom is going to sew a long loop on each of the 4 edges that runs the length of those edges, so that the screen can be put up like a tent. My only two concerns at this point are the PVC frame sagging in the middle, and also the spandex losing it's tautness over time. Do you have any advice or concerns about what I'm doing? This may be asking too much, but do you think you could guestimate what percentage larger a properly "taut" screen would be compared to the relaxed fabric? For example, would you think 10% larger dimensions? I'm going to experiment when I get it, but I'm just curious about your opinion on the milliskin.

Much appreciated!
I can't quite visualize what your PVC frame will look like. Are you going to use PVC pipe? At this point I also assume that the frame will be able to be taken apart for easy transportation. Be sure to carefully roll your Spandex screen so that no creases or wrinkles get into it. If the PVC wants to sag under the pressure of the screen then you would have to figure out a way to provide extra bracing. I'll be thinking about that too.

I have only handled ~3" square samples of the Spandex so I really can't say how much a full size screen would stretch before becoming taut. I would give a very rough guess at between 10 and 20 percent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Well, I browsed the PVC pipe isle at Lowe's last night and decided on 2" pvc pipe. I have a friend with some tools that will help me cut the right lengths. The frame will be a 120" 16:9 diagonal, very simple PVC construction. There won't be any bracing along the back because I'm wanting minimal acoustic interference. However, at this time, I am only planning on putting the center channel behind the screen (I don't actually have a center speaker yet). I'm kind of a mess aren't I? :blink: So, I WILL have these things in the future. lol

The bracing issue is what has me puzzled. I'm not even sure it WILL sag to any major degree. I'm just wondering if there is a better way than PVC, to do this. Or, is there a better way to construct the frame from PVC than the simplistic way I have in mind (basically, just a simple rectangle with two legs to hold it up).

I wonder if the "schedule" of PVC makes a difference as to it's "bowing rigidity". When I get this thing done, and if it works well, I will post a step-by-step with pictures as I will be excited as all get out. lol Back to class!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Well, with my mom's help (she's awesome), and some PVC help from a buddy of mine, I now have a PVC pipe projector screen! I didn't take any pictures, but I will eventually. Here's my recipe:

2" schedule 40 PVC pipe from Lowe's. I bought:
10ft poles x 4.
90 degree elbow joints x 2.
"T" joints x 4.
A $12 hacksaw.
Matte White Milliskin and Matte Black Milliskin Spandex (3 yards each, from Spandex World)

I measured out a 120" 16:9 screen, and with a buddy's help, made the cuts. The screen is basically a simple rectangle with 2 simple legs. Basically, just picture the simplest screen you can make, and that's probably it.

I washed the PVC just like you hand wash dishes, and I did not glue any pieces together (they hold themselves).

I ordered 3 yards each of matte white milliskin and the matte black milliskin. My mom sewed the 2 sheets into a sort of "pillowcase" that just slips down snuggly over the frame. The bottom of the sheets aren't attached to anything, but they don't look bad at all considering this is a portable "fun" screen. The fabric fits snuggly, but not too snug (don't want to dim the picture too much).

Some observations and opinions:

1. I am really impressed!

2. Some people say spandex looks "dull". They may mean "not sharp" as in compared to a hard surface.
If you want a super super super razor sharp image, then you will probably have to go with a painted screen
like on Sintra or something like that. Cloth screens will give you more of a cloth image in comparison, but I
do not for a second think that the spandex looks "dull". If by dull they mean not "white", then yes, it is
slightly darker (but I wanted this anyway). Gray is good for some! I suggest reading up on it.


3. You don't really have to stretch the spandex very far at all. All of the wrinkles that were in the screen slowly disappeared over a time period of about 2 or 3 hours. So, I would advise one to try not to stretch the Spandex very far at all and allow it to work it's own wrinkles out if possible.

4. The black sheet and white sheet are separated by about 3 inches of air. No negative effects that I can tell!

5. Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower pair behind the screen, and they still sound spectacular. They sound just slightly more quiet overall. Love that volume control button. ;)

6. I own $400 worth of calibration toys so I can color correct for the spandex not being perfectly neutral. I have not done this yet, and I was amazed how good the picture looked without calibration. You could probably just put your projector in it's best "movie mode" and then eyeball it from there.

7. This PVC screen may look slightly "ghetto" to some, but keep in mind that I did this to have a portable screen that I can put up or take down on the fly. So there is no fancy black border or anything around it.
I'm not a fan of black borders anyway (fyi). So, this screen is perfect for me. I'm not against black borders, but I like to let people know that not everyone likes them so they don't feel like they MUST have one.


Who would I suggest this for? Anyone who wants to have a screen they can just throw up in front of their existing sound system, enjoy it, and then take it back down. :bigsmile: This was just what I needed.


If anyone has any questions, fire away! Thanks!
 

·
Moderator Emeritus
Joined
·
3,772 Posts
Glad this project turned out to your liking! :T Looking forward to seeing some photos of the build. :yes:

The ~3 inch space between the white and black Spandex should not have any negative optical problems. I don't know about audio though. As I said, I'm not into audio so there could be some audio distortion caused by the sound bouncing around between the two sheets, but I'm guessing only a true audiophile with "golden ears" could detect it. It would be interesting if someone with the required measuring equipment tested this scenario.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Absolutely. We were too busy watching movies to notice imperfections in sound. :) We only have a 2 channel system with a single subwoofer, but it sounded awesome to my ears. Both speakers were behind the screen, and the sub was hidden behind a plant over in the corner. No re-shuffling of speakers or sound equipment necessary. The projector sat on a small box in the floor, and a single HDMI cable was run beneath the screen to the AVR. Once we were finished, I simply put everything away and gave my parents their living room back. lol

I am tickled to death to have the ability to do this for this cheap. :D The screen, poles, and fittings are now tucked away beneath my bed. Easy peazy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Absolutely. We were too busy watching movies to notice imperfections in sound. :) We only have a 2 channel system with a single subwoofer, but it sounded awesome to my ears. Both speakers were behind the screen, and the sub was hidden behind a plant over in the corner. No re-shuffling of speakers or sound equipment necessary. The projector sat on a small box in the floor, and a single HDMI cable was run beneath the screen to the AVR. Once we were finished, I simply put everything away and gave my parents their living room back. lol

I am tickled to death to have the ability to do this for this cheap. :D The screen, poles, and fittings are now tucked away beneath my bed. Easy peazy.
If you don't mind me asking, how much did it end up costing you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
SeanMc, sorry it took me so long to reply. I've been on a little vacation. :)

The total cost was around $130 or $140 I think. I think I paid $70 including shipping for the Spandex, and about $60 or $70 in all for PVC including a $10 saw to cut it with. We probably could have spent a little less than we did, but I think it was worth it. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
SeanMc, sorry it took me so long to reply. I've been on a little vacation. :)

The total cost was around $130 or $140 I think. I think I paid $70 including shipping for the Spandex, and about $60 or $70 in all for PVC including a $10 saw to cut it with. We probably could have spent a little less than we did, but I think it was worth it. :)
Thanks for the reply! No need to apologize!
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top