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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I had considered going the DIY route with SF, however, bright spots will drive me nuts and I would love to avoid them if at all possible.

I am considering going the manufactured route as opposed to the DIY route as I worry DIY won't be quite as good as manufactured products that have lots of R&D behind them. I have been looking at Screen Innovations products, however, is it really worth the money?

I am not quite sure about gain or color for my application. It would likely be used with minimal ambient light, however, would also be nice to have some resistance to this if overhead lights were on and dimmed.

I am open to any recommendations and I am a newb when it comes to this stuff.

Here are a few photos of the area that I am working with:

http://postimg.org/gallery/70xafw5k/

It is roughly 15'x15' with 12' ceiling height with some distant ambient lighting. I would mount a screen either where the window is and make it easily removable (or even motorized) or put it where the tv is now.

Thanks for any help you can offer!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Looking at possibly going with an Epson 5030UB. Seems like a great product for the price. The JVC DLA-X35 looks nice too but that is another 1k and I am not sure if it is worth it.
 

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I currently use a Jamestown 134" screen and I love it... It is a DIY only in the fact that you have to assemble it, but my next screen will be a Seymour AT screen. Seymour does sell motorized screens too though. I would def check them out before you buy. I have used Draper in the past and I was happy with it too (back when I had a CRT projector).

I had an Epson for about 5 years and it was an excellent projector. The warranty is excellent as they have a overnight delivery to replace your projector if anything goes wrong. You just have to return your old one in the box they send the replacement in... I think it was even prepaid. :T
 

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I wouldn't go overboard on a screen and a SI screen would be classified as going overboard in my book. Try to match up your projector and screen together so that they're giving you ~16fL of reflected light at the screen. Check the lumens of your pj selections at projectorreviews.com - they have actual measured values. For the screen, if you're going to have the possibility of ambient light, go with a light gray screen such as the Elite Cinegrey material or something like it. Just factor the true gain of the material into your fL calculation. Some manufacturers aren't that accurate measuring gain.
 

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Honestly I wouldn't even put a projector/screen in that room. I see a 80-90" Sharp LED on the wall where the TV is now
Projector and screen would be cheaper and you can go bigger. :T
 

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I know I just see all the crown molding, and cabinets, cutting holes and running wire and I a WAF explosion.

I would turn the room around, if I wanted a projector. i.e. the cabinet that the TV is sitting on now would go up against the wall where the seats are and that would house the electronics and be the stand for the center, and I would drop the screen in front of the cabinet and make an AT. That massive open corner doesn't give you the space to separate the mains to give a good soundstage and they will bleed out that opening.

If the room orientation has to be the same i.e. the screen where the TV is or over the window, I just can't see it
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks all for the input.

my next screen will be a Seymour AT screen. Seymour does sell motorized screens too though. I would def check them out before you buy.
I had an Epson for about 5 years and it was an excellent projector.
I would love a Seymour, however, the motorized models look to be more than I want to spend. I might really go with the Epson, however, I worry it might be too bright for that room.

I wouldn't go overboard on a screen and a SI screen would be classified as going overboard in my book. Try to match up your projector and screen together so that they're giving you ~16fL of reflected light at the screen. Check the lumens of your pj selections at projectorreviews - they have actual measured values. For the screen, if you're going to have the possibility of ambient light, go with a light gray screen such as the Elite Cinegrey material or something like it. Just factor the true gain of the material into your fL calculation. Some manufacturers aren't that accurate measuring gain.
The most I would spend on a SI screen would be $1500. Not sure if you still consider that overboard? What justifies the price difference for an SI versus and Elite or other brand?

The Epson claims 2400, however, the best mode calibration for the Epson was 644 lumens per projectorreviews. It can go all the way up to 1700 or so per the different projector modes.

Is this the correct way to calculate fL?
FL = ( lumens * gain) / screen area in sq ft

Honestly I wouldn't even put a projector/screen in that room. I see a 80-90" Sharp LED on the wall where the TV is now
I know I just see all the crown molding, and cabinets, cutting holes and running wire and I a WAF explosion.

I would turn the room around, if I wanted a projector. i.e. the cabinet that the TV is sitting on now would go up against the wall where the seats are and that would house the electronics and be the stand for the center, and I would drop the screen in front of the cabinet and make an AT. That massive open corner doesn't give you the space to separate the mains to give a good soundstage and they will bleed out that opening.

If the room orientation has to be the same i.e. the screen where the TV is or over the window, I just can't see it
I have thought about going with a bigger TV on the wall, however, that wall is biased to the right and off center. The way I am leaning now is to do a motorized screen over the window area and remove the shelving to the left of the window. I would move the chairs to look this way and keep the cabinets under the TV where they are (AV components are already inside). As far as the wiring goes I am not afraid to do any of that work as I have attic access. The speakers are already ceiling mounted. I know sound will leak out of that corner and there is nothing that can be done unfortunately.
 

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Well then I will give some points you may or may not know:

Many people use Projector Central's calculator to figure out sizes and screen gain, however you have to understand that they use the projectors Maximum light output for those measurements which I feel is misleading because most will not find the Dynamic setting of their projector will look as nice as the Cinema modes with put out probably 40% less light (or less).

The more zoom you use on a projectors lens the less light will reach the screen.

Using a calculator such as

http://hometheaterhero.com/htcalc.html#top

You can experiment with seating distance, screen size, projector light output and screen gain. For a room like yours with ambient light look for a 20fl luminance
 

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It sounds like you really want a projector setup. Here are a couple more options:

Option 1 (least painful and least commitment required)

Since the AV components are already under the TV and the wiring is already there, why not leave that there and hang the screen on the opposite wall, where the chairs currently are? You could then place left, centre and right speakers around it, use one pair of your current in-ceiling speakers as front height speakers and the other pair as surround speakers. You could mount your projector above the TV, and use soundbar mounts to hang rear speakers from the TV mount (or just put them on top of the AV cabinet). You could possibly even use the existing TV mount to hang your projector (just make some brackets and hang a shelf on it). If you like it then you can fashion something more permanent. The down-sides:

i) No convenient access to your AV equipment with the chairs in front of it. If it bugs you, though, you could move the equipment (or at least what you need regular access to, such as a blu-ray player) up on top of the cabinet.

ii) Light coming from that window at the end of the hallway (and maybe from downstairs, etc). My other suggestion would be to use the wall opposite the other window, as that wall is presently completely empty. I suppose you could hang a rail and curtain to block off that section (between the two pieces of wall art).

iii) Chairs would intrude on the hallway, from the looks of it.







Option 2

Keep the TV where it is and put the screen on the empty wall that you already have. The back cabinet could be used in a similar manner to what I described above. The projector could be wall-mounted or you could find a stand for it and place it on top of the cabinet. The front left speaker could be placed on top of the existing cabinet, and the right one could be on a stand (assuming you're going with bookshelf speakers). This gives you the option of continuing to use the TV as well as better hiding the screen from the light coming from the end of the hallway.





As far as projector and screen, the 5030 would do a great job, especially given the potential light issues, but I'm biased heavily in favour of the 5020/5030. In ECO, THX and Cinema modes the brightness would be fine. My warning would be that you might find it loud when running in 'living room' mode (brightest possible, approximately equivalent to the sun, (j/k)), if you have it on a shelf close to the viewers. Screen-wise, I would try the wall, first (whichever one you decide to use), to see if the brightness is ok despite the window light. My next step would be putting a separator/curtain in to close off the room a bit and decrease the room brightness (if need be, based on your testing with the projector). Lastly, I would decide what to do about the screen (increased gain vs 1.0, manufactured vs DIY) based on all of the above.

I suspect that you won't actually need anything fancy screen-wise. I say 'I would try this, then that, then that' but in reality I would just buy a 5020/5030 and a good quality screen (regular 1.0 gain, nothing fancy) and be done with it...which is exactly what I did for my place...but that would be poor advice.
 

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I don't think the Epson is to bright for the room... I am using a BenQ W1070 in a 12x16 room right now and by the time you dial it in it is good, but don't forget with time it will loose brightness. By going with a brighter projector you have the ability to recalibrate it to get the picture up to spec again.
 

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The most I would spend on a SI screen would be $1500. Not sure if you still consider that overboard? What justifies the price difference for an SI versus and Elite or other brand?
I would say yes, that is overboard. Elite's can be about a third of that price and perform nicely. SI makes specialty screens for situations which you really don't have.

The Epson claims 2400, however, the best mode calibration for the Epson was 644 lumens per projectorreviews. It can go all the way up to 1700 or so per the different projector modes.

Is this the correct way to calculate fL?
FL = ( lumens * gain) / screen area in sq ft
Lumens divided by screen area times the gain of the screen. So for a 100" screen you would get roughly 22fL for a 1.0 gain screen.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
It sounds like you really want a projector setup. Here are a couple more options:

I suspect that you won't actually need anything fancy screen-wise. I say 'I would try this, then that, then that' but in reality I would just buy a 5020/5030 and a good quality screen (regular 1.0 gain, nothing fancy) and be done with it...which is exactly what I did for my place...but that would be poor advice.
Awesome input and thank you for the drawings.

Edit: Moved the chairs around and I will post in another reply.

How do you like your motorized screen?

I think I am going to go with the Epson unless the JVC or Sony for $1k more offer anything that I have to have, which at this point, I can't find anything. The D-ILA might be nice to have but not worth the extra cost IMO.

I don't think the Epson is to bright for the room... I am using a BenQ W1070 in a 12x16 room right now and by the time you dial it in it is good, but don't forget with time it will loose brightness. By going with a brighter projector you have the ability to recalibrate it to get the picture up to spec again.
This is a good point - I guess it is always better to have a brighter projector that can be dialed down as opposed to one that is too low (hard, if not impossible, to increase the brightness past manufacturer max).

I would say yes, that is overboard. Elite's can be about a third of that price and perform nicely. SI makes specialty screens for situations which you really don't have.
Lumens divided by screen area times the gain of the screen. So for a 100" screen you would get roughly 22fL for a 1.0 gain screen.
This is good to know - I was wondering what is so great about SI above the other screens. If I can get just as good or even 95% of the quality of a SI screen from a product that is 50% the cost then why not. The reality is that I am likely going to have to go with a motorized screen due to the setup of the room.

I am debating going with a 0.8 screen to lower the fL. Would this be a stupid move? As mentioned above I could always up the brightness if needed. Are there any huge pro's and con's between grey, white, cinewhite, etc?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well then I will give some points you may or may not know:

Many people use Projector Central's calculator to figure out sizes and screen gain, however you have to understand that they use the projectors Maximum light output for those measurements which I feel is misleading because most will not find the Dynamic setting of their projector will look as nice as the Cinema modes with put out probably 40% less light (or less).

The more zoom you use on a projectors lens the less light will reach the screen.


You can experiment with seating distance, screen size, projector light output and screen gain. For a room like yours with ambient light look for a 20fl luminance
Thanks for this input - I am likely to go with the Epson to give me lots of headroom for light or dark use.

I can't see myself having to use too much zoom. I plan on having the projector about 13-14 feet away from a 100" screen. IIRC the Epson will do 1-2.1x zoom.

The seating distance will be around 11-12 feet away from the screen. I will give the calculator a whirl and see what I come up with.

Is it safe to assume that I do not want to go below 16 fL? Is there an upper limit that I should avoid in dark conditions so I don't blind myself?
 

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The grey screens I believe are to enhance your black levels... I would try and go with a 1.0 gain screen if possible so you can effectively get the light output you want for a longer period of time as the bulb wears out. If it is 2 bright at night dial it in and save the setting so you have a day setting and a night setting.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Alright so I moved the screens around per a few of your suggestions.

Here is the result:

http://postimg.org/gallery/93zaplcw/

I think we will be much happier with this setup as I won't have to do more work and spend more money. This will allow us to use a fixed screen and a much bigger one if we wanted to. I could also potentially do in-wall speakers now. Just have to find a way to fix the big ol' hole where the stairs and hallway are so sound doesn't bleed away.

Still thinking about the screen and gain... Trying to decide how big is too big. It looks like there will be around 12 feet between the viewers eyes and the screen surface. I am thinking 120" will be too large as the viewer will have to turn their heads to keep on following the action.

Edit: After playing around with the calculators I am worried that a 1.0 gain screen may be too bright with this projector as it can put out some lumens.

Also I am curious to see how much contrast will be lost? It looks like I will have to use around 1.81x zoom (max limit of 2.1x) to get a 100" image at a 11 1/2" throw.

Is it worth entertaining a 2.35:1 screen or getting a bigger screen and having the ability to velvet off the unused portions?
 

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Awesome input and thank you for the drawings.

Edit: Moved the chairs around and I will post in another reply.

How do you like your motorized screen?

I think I am going to go with the Epson unless the JVC or Sony for $1k more offer anything that I have to have, which at this point, I can't find anything. The D-ILA might be nice to have but not worth the extra cost IMO.
No worries.

We love the electric screen. Convenient, fuss-free, tidy. My only regret is not going with an acoustically-transparent screen just in case we ever decided to get rid of the TV (which we did within a week) and mount speakers behind the screen. That's a very minor regret.

I think you'll be happy with that room orientation. Is there a reason the (presumably screen) markings are off-centre with respect to the in-ceiling speakers (or is it a camera trick)?

Something that might help people with their suggestions is a little bit more about your goals for the theatre and your usage (eg. movies, audio w/o video, concerts, gaming, etc). Are you looking for the best setup possible, or just something that will give you a great experience for a good price, not needing the audio/video to be perfect/exceptional? Do you have any constraints as far as layout, components, etc (eg. must not have speakers on the floor, must not mess with the walls, etc)? I say this because there are a million ways to do this, and you'll get just as many opinions & suggestions thrown at you.

For example, a really nice way to set up the audio if your bias is heavily in favour of movies rather than music, is to mount your LCR speakers behind an acoustically-transparent screen. This makes the experience more realistic, with dialogue seeming to be coming right out of the screen, right out of characters' mouths, rather than from the bottom and sides of the screen. Obviously this is not essential, but it's a nice touch.

Similarly, if you have a 9.1-capable AV receiver then you can take advantage of the in-ceiling speakers that you already have installed, using the pair closest to the screen as front height speakers (assuming they have directable tweeters). The advantage of this is that it makes the soundfield even more 3-dimensional (kind of a funny/odd thought) when you have ambient effects coming from above (wind, rain and other weather, explosions, birds, airplanes/helicopters, etc). Again, it's not needed but it's very nice and you're already set up for it.

Doing these things might mean that there's less funding available for other aspects of your build, though, so that's why I suggest thinking about what you *really* want for your theatre experience vs what you're willing to skimp/give a bit on, and making a prioritized list, not only for yourself, but for others trying to help you with your build.

Keep in mind that the less you commit to one way (or more flexible you make your system) the more easily you can upgrade or side-grade (yes, I really said that) in the future (and the more potential up-/side-grade paths will be available to you). For example, based on what you have said, I would suggest going to an AV store and listening to a bunch of in-wall speakers and free-standing or bookshelf speakers then deciding if you really want in-walls before you commit and make holes in the walls. Keep in mind that there is just as wide a range of quality for in-wall speakers as there is for free-standing ones.

Just some random advice, most of it unsolicited :D
 

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If you are going to go with a fixed screen... Check out the Jamestown screens. I am using one now and they are not expensive plus the are nice screens. If you go that route buy it on their eBay store as I heard they ship out pretty fast through eBay vs their website or calling them. This is their eBay store... Strange they have nothing listed right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks again for the input.

I put the markings up to get a general idea, however, they are off center with the speakers as I plan on centering the screen with the two middle movie chairs. Unfortunately the speakers were setup when we had the other orientation so they are off center at this point. I might try to move them around, however, I really don't want to patch ceiling sheet rock if I don't have to. Also the corner where that right speaker is, is an external corner in the attic with a steep pitch roof which equals very little space to work with in the attic.

I essentially want to get a pretty good setup with what I have to work with. Mostly movies and games. I like the idea of a 9.1 setup, however, I only have a 7.1 Denon receiver for that room right now.

I would love to do some in wall speakers for the LCR, however, that wall is an exterior wall and a lot of electrical wiring from the fuse box passes through to the attic (garage and fuse box are below). I think I will be relegated to doing floor speakers if I want to add left and right speakers. I am already going to use the black center under the screen.

Priorities (in order) at this point are:
Projector
Screen
Sound improvements (if necessary)

I am pretty set on the Epson 5030ub unless someone strongly suggests looking at another brand/model.

As for the screen I am still pretty unsure which way I am going to go as there seem to be endless choices. Not sure if 4k compatible screens are just a marketing ploy or if texture and/or material mater if and when I go to a 4k projector.

If you have any other suggestions please feel free to let me know.

Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If you are going to go with a fixed screen... Check out the Jamestown screens. I am using one now and they are not expensive plus the are nice screens. If you go that route buy it on their eBay store as I heard they ship out pretty fast through eBay vs their website or calling them. This is their eBay store... Strange they have nothing listed right now.
Thank you for the suggestion. I have looked at them and I worry that 1.3 gain will be too much and 0.8 might be enough. I don't see a 1.0 gain offering from them. The price looks great for their screens. how is the build on the screen? It is DIY when you get it, correct? How many tension points does it have (if you remember)? Also how easy is it to mount?

Elite screens were also recommended. I am going to take a closer look at them too.

I might get the projector in the room first before I buy a screen to see how big I want to go on the wall before I commit fully to a size.
 
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