Home Theater Forum and Systems banner
1 - 20 of 148 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
EDIT: Please see post 123, and then 136-143 to see the progress. Almost done... :D
You can still use this post for background info on room conditions, etc.



Original Post:

Howdy y'all!:bigsmile:

First, let me thank Bill, Todd, and mech for their wealth of information (and their willingness to share it). I've spent a LOT of time reading here and some other forum, and I'm to the point where the rubber hits the road.

I am starting on my 1st home theater, which is being built in an existing room in our basement. I'm looking for help selecting the proper screen for my application. Background:

Room dimensions: 18'5" x 15' x 7'10" ceiling
Seating: Back row (elevated 1 foot): 16'6" Front Row: 10'6"'. Probably either 5 seats in the back and 4 in the front or 4/3.
Screen Location: on one of the 15'walls
Screen size: Thinking 58"-60"tall (haven't decided on 16:9 or 2.37:1 CIH screen), though a CIH screen is ~150" diag (compared to ~120" for 16:9), which seems too BIG for my room
Lighting: Basement room with doors and two small "basement windows" (15"H x 30"W or so)...I can control the light in the room to be dark anytime I want.
Walls: Medium beige
Ceiling: White acoustic-type (rough surface) drop ceiling, with white supports on 2' centers. The white supports are metal (reflective), on 2' centers in both directions, and about 3/4" wide. Painting the drop ceiling is a bad option for me...the ceiling is expensive, was here when I moved in (and I've been unable to locate matching replacement tiles), and matches the rest of the finished basement.
Flooring: Beige carpet

Projector: Panasonic PT-AX100U, on order (SDE should be non-existent and I think brightness will be OK)
DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A2 on order

Use will be for DVDs and DirecTV HD-DVR...very little SD programming. Would love to not have it an absolute necessity to make the room completely dark to use it.

Regarding the screen...will almost definitely be a DIY job.

I'm leaning towards starting with a 5x12 piece of Wilsonart...I can always paint it down the road should I want to try that. My debate is around what color I should use (white or gray, and what shade) in this application, in that I would like the option to not have to make the room pitch back to use it (even though I can make it dark if absolutely necessary). For instance, my wife may want to read a book while I'm watching football this fall.

I better stop rambling now, and start listening. I'm particular interested in the laminate color question that I've posed, but please don't let that limit the content of any advice that you're willing to share with an eager learner that's starting on this journey.

A bit OT: Todd, I posted several days ago in the DIY painting sticky asking for clarification on one step in your instructions (just in case you didn't see it). Thanks!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

If you have light control go with the Designer White. I'm sure Bill will chime in shortly but you're making a big screen and to keep it bright - it needs to be white. Hey! That rhymes! More dancing bananas:

:banana: :dancebanana: :banana:

mech
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

Sending an email to Wilsonart right now about a few things and some follow up inquiries... I'll reply shortly :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

Mr Mech: Yeah, that seems the safe way to go...but I would really like to be able to watch the projector with some ambient light (may even be incandescent, if my wife wants to read a book). Could I do that with a white screen? I'd be willing to take a little more risk if the folks that know a lot about these things (including yourself) say that if I go with some shade of gray that I'd have a good chance at getting the best of both worlds (e.g. better blacks with the lights down without sacrificing color "pop", and a good image with some ambient lighting).

Bill: Thanks! I look forward to hearing back from you with anything you find out. Any chance you want to give a hint as to what you're checking on with WA (in case beginners like me may learn from your thinking process)? Or in this case is it best that we wait until you also have the answers to any questions you're asking?

For all...One thing to think about is that, given the room configuration, I can also have full control over the location/amount of ambient lighting. I could completely black out the windows, and put in cans/sconces/ropes wherever it's best to (1) give the right amount of light to read a book, and (2) try not to destroy the picture with light. I'd love to hear any suggestions on how I accomplish that (in addition to screen choice).

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

First, you left mech out ;)

He has been every bit as instrumental at showing screen tests as what the original testing was worth. Data only goes so far, as do screenies, but when they are combined they are a powerful representation that anyone can feel comfortable with. Some state 'subjective experience', which is fine, but in the end can a person really tell just from a screenie if something meets what they need? Case in point, someone needed a screen that performs well with controlled lighting as well as some ambient lighting. Based on their setup, they need at least a 1.3 gain screen whether it be gray or white. White is easy, but as far as I know there are no known DIY gray screens that are 1.3 in gain. Sure people say there are, but ask for actual tests. Most of the time it's a subjective comparison to another screen material and that really doesn't show what the actual gain is. When it comes down to how many lumens and fL at the screen a person has available to them, sometimes they really need actual specs and not assumed ones.

Bill: Thanks! I look forward to hearing back from you with anything you find out. Any chance you want to give a hint as to what you're checking on with WA (in case beginners like me may learn from your thinking process)? Or in this case is it best that we wait until you also have the answers to any questions you're asking?
No secrets, I was relaying some testing information to them and asking about some custom shades specifically for Home Theater use. They are starting to see an increase in sales and may be receptive to a run of some special shades in the Munsell ranges.

cynical2 said:
Room dimensions: 18'5" x 15' x 7'10" ceiling
Seating: Back row (elevated 1 foot): 16'6" Front Row: 10'6"'. Probably either 5 seats in the back and 4 in the front or 4/3.
Screen Location: on one of the 15'walls
Screen size: Thinking 58"-60"tall (haven't decided on 16:9 or 2.37:1 CIH screen), though a CIH screen is ~150" diag (compared to ~120" for 16:9), which seems too BIG for my room
Lighting: Basement room with doors and two small "basement windows" (15"H x 30"W or so)...I can control the light in the room to be dark anytime I want.
Walls: Medium beige
Ceiling: White acoustic-type (rough surface) drop ceiling, with white supports on 2' centers. The white supports are metal (reflective), on 2' centers in both directions, and about 3/4" wide. Painting the drop ceiling is a bad option for me...the ceiling is expensive, was here when I moved in (and I've been unable to locate matching replacement tiles), and matches the rest of the finished basement.
Flooring: Beige carpet

Projector: Panasonic PT-AX100U, on order (SDE should be non-existent and I think brightness will be OK)
DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A2 on order
I have an A2 and a Bluray player, and as a replacement to my projector the two that I am looking at are the Mitsubishi HD 1000U and the Panasonic PT-AX100U. Mainly because they are similar to what I have now and I wouldn't have to replace what I already have setup. The Panny is a particularly bright projector and can do very well with ambient lighting. You will be fine with either DW or Fashion Grey. Designer White will actually perform well with that projector and size screen since it has a 1.24 rated gain, but like all white screens, DIY and commercial it will take a hit with a lot of ambient lighting and with Sunlight it will be the worse. Fashion Grey will also perform very well and with your lumen rating you won't have any problems at all maintaining crisp and clean whites. You will need to add a poly coating though to the FG because you have a beginning stage light cannon on your hands. Specular gain is acceptable with lower Lumen projectors, but with the Panny's 2000 Lumen rating you have to knock that specular gain down some, so poly is pretty much a must if you go with Fashion Grey.

I'd say ceiling mount and Designer White sounds like the best fit for you since you can control your lighting. I might take the first two rows of acoustical ceiling tile and change them to a flat or matte black though. You'll be amazed at what a difference that will make. My 1700 lumen projector puts out enough light to bounce off my white ceiling...

This is a test pattern during the day and you can still see what's hitting the ceiling...


And a shot at night with total light control...

The light and colors you see on the wall and ceiling will reflect back on the screen, and a white screen will wash out the fastest. Control that along with your room/ambient lighting and you'll have a spectacular image with Designer White and will even be able to kick the Panny into regular mode during the day and be able to watch a game or other content with some lights on or some indirect sunlight coming in. With a 124" diagonal screen with a 1.24 gain (Designer White) You'll have 16fL of light on the screen which would be a very nice bright and vibrant image. Feed that with the A2 and I think you'll be quite happy!

BTW, the A2 will put out 1080i with SDVDs on the HDMI output (it'll do it on composite too with a 'trick') so I think you'll really like this setup if you decide to go this route.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

First, you left mech out ;)
No I didn't, what do you mean? :whistling:

He has been every bit as instrumental at showing screen tests as what the original testing was worth. Data only goes so far, as does screenies, but when they are combined they are a powerful representation that anyone can feel comfortable with. Some state 'subjective experience', which is fine, but in the end can a person really tell just from a screenie if something meets what they need? Case in point, someone needed a screen that performs well with controlled lighting as well as some ambient lighting. Based on their setup, they need at least a 1.3 gain screen whether it be gray or white. White is easy, but as far as I know there are no known DIY gray screens that are 1.3 in gain. Sure people say there are, but ask for actual tests. Most of the time it's a subjective comparison to another screen material and that really doesn't show what the actual gain is. When it comes down to how many lumens and fL at the screen a person has available to them, sometimes they really need actual specs and not assumed ones.
Yes, I've seen some of that on some other forums...once people ask for hard data, the only reply is with more screenshots (that you have to take with a grain of salt), and a "Trust me, I've put up a billion screens, and the gain is at least 1.5!"

No secrets, I was relaying some testing information to them and asking about some custom shades specifically for Home Theater use. They are starting to see an increase in sales and may be receptive to a run of some special shades in the Munsell ranges.
Now, THAT WOULD BE AWESOME! Can you have one made for me at the shade you think will be best and get is shipped to Ohio in two weeks?:bigsmile:

I have an A2 and a Bluray player, and as a replacement to my projector the two that I am looking at are the Mitsubishi HD 1000U and the Panasonic PT-AX100U. Mainly because they are similar to what I have now and I wouldn't have to replace what I already have setup. The Panny is a particularly bright projector and can do very well with ambient lighting. You will be fine with either DW or Fashion Grey. Designer White will actually perform well with that projector and size screen since it has a 1.24 rated gain, but like all white screens, DIY and commercial it will take a hit with a lot of ambient lighting and with Sunlight it will be the worse. Fashion Grey will also perform very well and with your lumen rating you won't have any problems at all maintaining crisp and clean whites. You will need to add a poly coating though to the FG because you have a beginning stage light cannon on your hands. Specular gain is acceptable with lower Lumen projectors, but with the Panny's 2000 Lumen rating you have to knock that specular gain down some, so poly is pretty much a must if you go with Fashion Grey.
I've read the sticky, and still trying to wrap my arms around the meaning of specular gain. Perhaps I should reread to get a better understanding...

I'd say ceiling mount and Designer White sounds like the best fit for you since you can control your lighting. I might take the first two rows of acoustical ceiling tile and change them to a flat or matte black though. You'll be amazed at what a difference that will make. My 1700 lumen projector puts out enough light to bounce off my white ceiling...

This is a test pattern during the day and you can still see what's hitting the ceiling...<snip>
Wow, definitely noticeable. I will look into black tiles for the front 3 rows (6 feet).


BTW, the A2 will put out 1080i with SDVDs on the HDMI output (it'll do it on composite too with a 'trick') so I think you'll really like this setup if you decide to go this route.
Awesome...is the "trick" documented?


Does your reco change for a CIH screen that is even wider? Also, do you have any experience with using WA for curved screens? Seems like it would be a great substrate for that purpose...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

White is easy, but as far as I know there are no known DIY gray screens that are 1.3 in gain. Sure people say there are, but ask for actual tests. Most of the time it's a subjective comparison to another screen material and that really doesn't show what the actual gain is.

Hi guys. There is a measured DIY gray screen that has a gain greater than 1.3. It was my creation, CGIII. It was measured to have a gain of 1.8, a half gain of 30 degrees and an RGB balance of 224/214/217.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

Hi guys. There is a measured DIY gray screen that has a gain greater than 1.3. It was my creation, CGIII. It was measured to have a gain of 1.8, a half gain of 30 degrees and an RGB balance of 224/214/217.
You know Ben that formula was so trampled and trodden elsewhere, why don't you do a new write up here? About the only thing I can remember is you used powders. What do you say? :bigsmile:

:dancebanana:

mech
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
14,914 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

Hi guys. There is a measured DIY gray screen that has a gain greater than 1.3. It was my creation, CGIII. It was measured to have a gain of 1.8, a half gain of 30 degrees and an RGB balance of 224/214/217.
Sorry benven... guess I never saw the gain info on that. Who and how were the gain tests done if you don't mind sharing :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
Re: Best Laminate screen for me

Hi mech, I can certainly do a write up. Really not much to it. I believe CGIII was the first DIY mix to publically publish any gain, cone or RGB data on AVS. That was all thanks to prof on AVS. That is in answer to your question Bill! And no apologies necessary. There was a thread on AVS but.....well you know the ending.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, all my ideas have been turned on their head after receiving my projector yesterday (Panny ax100u). I set it up, through in "Men in Black", brought the family down (wife and 2 kids) for an hour or so of playing with image size, modes, etc.

This was projected on a Dulux brand yellowish/tan paint color in eggshell.

The bottom line was that the (strong) consensus was that they wanted it BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER...to the point that the selected image size exceeds the limitations of a WA laminate (which was my original plan).

We ended up at 72"H x 128"W (147" diag) image. Way bigger than I thought would be comfortably viewable for our room, but I sat where the front row will be (only about 126" from the screen) and rather enjoyed it. Didn't find myself searching for the action on the image...just a wonderful immersive experience.

The biggest drawback that I noticed is that, projected on my wall, the edges of letters, etc is somewhat soft. Reminded me of this post by tiddler. This is something that I didn't notice during viewing of the movie, but as I viewed the text on the projector menu screens, the text didn't seem as sharp as it could be.

So, I'd love to hear suggestions for a paint that would:
1. Sharpen the picture a bit.
2. Brighten the image a bit while maintaining a reasonable viewing cone. The worst seat in the house will be 1/2 screen width off axis while being 1 screen width away from the screen. So, I'm willing to sacrifice viewing cone at the edges for an improved image in the location of the spectators.
3. Not an absolute requirement, but definitely would prefer something that's "rollable"...and preferable a formulation that is relatively robust to application expertise. In other words, something that I don't have to possess tiddler's skill to have it turn out well. I'm not a horrible painter, and will do the best I can...but, I'm no tiddler either.
4. Something that will do well with low-moderate ambient light...wife may want to read a book in the same room, at the same time, that I'm using the projector.

Suggestions?

For the record, I may elect to simply start with the standard KilzII basecoat and watch it for a while before further painting. However, I'd like to hear what you feel would be the absolute best I could do given the conditions outlined above.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
For the record, I may elect to simply start with the standard KilzII basecoat and watch it for a while before further painting. However, I'd like to hear what you feel would be the absolute best I could do given the conditions outlined above.
That is my personal recommendation. That will give you a baseline. Make sure to calibrate the projector, that is critical. If you don't have a calibration disc such as Digital Video Essentials, all THX certified DVDs have a THX optimizer included. That will get you on the target and in the black.

Smokey can answer any other calibration questions and give you recommendations for anything that may be better than DVE.

If you're satisfied with the blacks on the Kilz2 reference screen, you're basically done. Roll on a good white like UPW, frame it and your done. Later on if you want you can always add a poly coating if you think it needs it.

If you're not satisfied with the blacks, then your gray shopping. That projector can go to a Munsell N8 shade very easily and even darker than that, but N8 would be the darkest since you do have light control. An N8.5 shade may be ideal for you, but that's something you'll know when you get things fully calibrated and a baseline done.

I specifically did not mention any particular grays, just the Munsell ratings. There are many good gray options available. Once you figure out which shade you want to go with you can pick a method that matches that Munsell rating.

If you need help determining what grays are the various Munsell matches Todd can assist you with the EasyFlex and I can point out some other OTS ones. First though get your baseline done and get familiar with your projector and all the various modes. You might be unhappy with white and then find a mode where everything clicks in and looks really good. It will also help if you decide on going gray, you'll be comfortable with your projector settings and know which ones do what.

Oh, when you get it calibrated and have your baseline done, write down what the settings are.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That is my personal recommendation. That will give you a baseline. Make sure to calibrate the projector, that is critical. If you don't have a calibration disc such as Digital Video Essentials, all THX certified DVDs have a THX optimizer included. That will get you on the target and in the black.

Smokey can answer any other calibration questions and give you recommendations for anything that may be better than DVE.

If you're satisfied with the blacks on the Kilz2 reference screen, you're basically done. Roll on a good white like UPW, frame it and your done. Later on if you want you can always add a poly coating if you think it needs it.

If you're not satisfied with the blacks, then your gray shopping. That projector can go to a Munsell N8 shade very easily and even darker than that, but N8 would be the darkest since you do have light control. An N8.5 shade may be ideal for you, but that's something you'll know when you get things fully calibrated and a baseline done.

I specifically did not mention any particular grays, just the Munsell ratings. There are many good gray options available. Once you figure out which shade you want to go with you can pick a method that matches that Munsell rating.

If you need help determining what grays are the various Munsell matches Todd can assist you with the EasyFlex and I can point out some other OTS ones. First though get your baseline done and get familiar with your projector and all the various modes. You might be unhappy with white and then find a mode where everything clicks in and looks really good. It will also help if you decide on going gray, you'll be comfortable with your projector settings and know which ones do what.

Oh, when you get it calibrated and have your baseline done, write down what the settings are.
Thanks, Bill. What about the image softness on text? Do you have any experience with the Pearl topcoats? In the thread I linked Todd showed that the pearl helped with that (not that I understand why it helped, but apparently it did). Is that something you would recommend, or do you see that potentially introducing other problems given my setup?

Also, do you think I will fare ok with some ambient light and a white screen (assuming you do based on this reco and your previous reco of WA DW, but want to be sure)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
How far back is the projector mounted?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
How far back is the projector mounted?
Bill...Right now, it's sitting on a bookcase about 17' back. Don't know where it's permanent home will be. Likely ceiling mounted, likely with an extension. But, not sure of the distance. To maximize brightness (aperture fully open), I could move up to about a 15' throw. Would this help, or hurt with clarity? FWIW, fully open is how projectorreviews.com recommends running the projector, and how they ran it for their review.

Also, here is their input (with their emphasis, not mine) on screen selection for this projector, if it helps drive a paint selection (more data can't hurt, at least):
Art Feierman at projectorreviews.com said:
PT-AX100U Projector Screen Recommendations

Finally, an easy projector to talk about screens with. First, it looks great on all three screens I viewed it on, the Carada Brilliant White (106"), where it was blindingly bright in its brightest modes (Dynamic, Vivid Cinema, and Normal). I also used it with the Elite HC gray ezFrame. It worked very well there too, in fact I used the Elite for most of the image shots this time (just out of convenience).

Lastly, I spent hours watching movies, football and HDTV on my 128" Firehawk, an truly excellent, but expensive high contrast light gray surface. The Firehawk was an exceptional match. The projector had the lumens even in Cinema 1 mode to fill the Firehawk with the room darkened for movie watching. The aspects of the Firehawk matched well, the Panasoniic's black levels as noted are very good, but its also very bright. The properties of the Firehawk lowered the black levels, provided a rich viewing experience, and as noted, still was sufficiently bright. (The Elite is a similar screen, but a bit lower "high contrast" and less gain, so not as bright, but less than half the price for the same sized screen).

So, in summary: Sports fans, who need the brightest image around, a white surface with gain, like the Carada Brilliant White, would be an excellent choice. A super wide viewing angle, a virtually non-existant "hot spot", and a blinding image on the screen. Movie watchers can appreciate such a screen as well, especially if you can't fully darken the room.

For purists, a surface like the Firehawk (some gain, some high contrast, but lowers black levels) is ideal. It will also reject a fair amount of side lighting (that isn't too far back). The only downside is the Firehawk (and similar screen's) narrower viewing cone - they say 28 degrees either side of center.
Thanks again for the help,
Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
As far as the text, first I'd get it going on a white reference screen and run through a calibration and check the various modes. Your text should look clean though on a matte white 1.0 screen.

For that size screen you'll have around 12fL of light at the screen based on a 1.0 gain. I haven't personally used the pearl topcoats so Tiddler would be best to answer that. UPW with Poly is up around the same gain as DW, which is a plus and would bring your foot lamberts upto around 14fL which would be just about ideal. With a gray it will be a little dimmer, but probably no worse than what you are seeing now.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks, Bill. I don't consider myself a "purist" or "videophile", so I'm not sure that the author a projectorreviews was talking to me when he mentioned the grey screen. I just want it to be as "watchable" as possible, both when it's dark and under low-moderate ambient light conditions. I assume that a couple of up-lighting sconces on the side walls, perhaps the same distance from the screen as the projector, would be the best way to provide enough ambient light to read from without effecting the screen too much?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,243 Posts
Here is a CIE plot with some of the tested and known grays.


That should give you a few color ideas to play with after your baseline calibration that are very inexpensive. Remember if you decide on a gray, you will need to recalibrate to it once you get it up.

I also color matched the HoloVega sample, but I don't have any plot-able data on that one yet.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
560 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Here is a CIE plot with some of the tested and known grays.


That should give you a few color ideas to play with after your baseline calibration that are very inexpensive. Remember if you decide on a gray, you will need to recalibrate to it once you get it up.

I also color matched the HoloVega sample, but I don't have any plot-able data on that one yet.
Thanks, Bill. To make sure that I understand this plot...all "neutral" colors would sit on top of the 6500K point, 7500K is cool, and 5000K is warm. Correct?

Can you describe this plot in layman's terms (including what the numbers on the axes mean)? And how does green figure in? Blue is on the left of the graph, and red on the right. Is green coming out of the screen, and what we're seeing is a cutting plane through a 3D surface at a constant level of green? Sorry if I'm way off base...just trying to understand the plot.
 
1 - 20 of 148 Posts
Top