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Carada Screen Material Review

Opened for discussion.

Carada is an Alabama based screen manufacturer probably known more for their frame manufacturing than there screen prowess. They feature two lines of aluminum frames - The Criterion and The Precision. The Criterion having a beveled edge. Irregardless, I received no sample of either of these frames so I cannot comment upon their quality. I did, however, receive three 9.25"X12.25" samples of their screen fabrics.

All Carada projection screen surfaces are flexible, unsupported PVC fabrics. They are flame retardant, mildew resistant, and washable with soap and water. Each fabric has an ultra-fine surface embossing that will give you sharp images and accurate colors without color shifting.

Classic Cinema White Screen Material

Our Classic Cinema White screen material provides an exceptionally wide angle of view, helping to maintain a consistent image from different seating areas. It has a gain of 1.0, and is most suitable for dedicated theaters with good ambient light control.

Brilliant White

Our Brilliant White screen material has a gain of 1.4 for that extra bit of punch, with a minimal decrease in viewing angle. It is also a thicker, more opaque gauge of vinyl than our Classic Cinema White. With its higher gain, it is a good option for dimmer projectors, or in environments with some ambient light such as boardrooms or churches.

High Contrast Grey

Our High Contrast Grey screen material has a gain of 0.8, and can improve your images contrast by lowering the black levels. This material is a good option for digital projectors with less than spectacular contrast ratios.
The Environment

The first shots are of the viewing environment. On the left we have medium ambient light, and then on the right no ambient light.


All shots were taken at night and there was no light filtering through the shades as seen in the above photos

Next I'll discuss white/gray balancing. Not much because we do have the thread here which goes into more detail as to how I accomplished white/gray balancing. I used a Whibal card and then loaded the RAW shots into Adobe Bridge where I then used this reference shot to white/gray balance all the shots:




The camera is a Olympus E-500 with a 14-45mm lens. ISO was set at 100. Aperture and shutter speed were set to auto. If anyone should happen to want the metadata for any particular shot(s) just let me know. The camera is resting upon a tripod and all shots are taken utilizing the remote in my left hand.

The Projector is a Mitsubishi HC3000U. It boasts a 4000:1 contrast ratio and a brightness of 1000 lumens ANSI. I however run it in eco mode. I'd guess it's around 6-700 lumens in that mode, but don't quote me on that. It has not been professionally calibrated. It has only been calibrated with my eyes using both the AVIA and the DVE disks.

The DVD player is the Oppo OPDV971H. It has the latest firmware. The Satellite receiver is a DirecTV HR20. Both of these are connected to a Monoprice 5X1 HDMI switch that feeds the signal to the projector.

I should probably also mention that the background screen is a Wilsonart Fashion Grey laminate and the samples are taped to a piece of Designer White laminate. The tape is black cloth hockey tape.

One thing that I'm going to add - sort of a disclaimer - it's extremely difficult to characterize a screens attributes with a small piece of it. What I'm saying is there won't be much of a review here. Just pictures and discussion following.

mech
 

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Re: Carada Screens

Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure - DiscoveryHD via DirecTV

In all pictures, High Contrast Gray is top left, Brilliant White bottom left, and Classic Cinema on the right.




 

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Re: Carada Screens

Off-Axis shots

In all pictures, High Contrast Gray is top left, Brilliant White bottom left, and Classic Cinema on the right.



Off axis viewing is definitely not a factor.
 

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Re: Carada Screens

Pricing

Pricing can be obtained directly from Carada - they do sell directly to consumers.

But to give you an idea:

100" Precision Frame in 16:9 format - $581.87
100" Criterion Frame in 16:9 format - $697.24

Shipping varies anywhere from around $40 to almost $77 in the US depending upon the screen size and format. It's about double that rate for Canada. And for you folks Down Under, I'd bet quadruple or more.

That would come with your choice of the three screen materials. Overall, if you have total light control, going with the Brilliant White screen at these prices, you can't go wrong. If you don't want to build your screen, this is a very viable option. The High Contrast Gray would suit this category of individual as well - as long as they have ambient light issues that is. The Classic Cinema? I see no reason to order this when you get a bit more punch using the Brilliant White.

mech
 

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Re: Carada Screens

Final Comments

Carada screens have been the budget screens since they came out. It's been opined that there probably the best of the budget screens. Of this, I'd have to agree. If you're looking for a simple inexpensive way to get a screen on your wall the will perform from the 'get go'. Then Carada is it. At the prices above for a Brilliant White screen you cannot go wrong. As for the High Contrast Gray, it seemed a bit dull and drab to me but that is a small sample and it's hard to tell. But if you look at the shots showing the same color in both the Brilliant White and The High Contrast Gray you'll get my drift. And if you look at the shots with medium ambient light, the Brilliant White does well enough for it's price to keep you happy. As for the Classic Cinema, if the screen costs the same for any of the three materials (they do), I see no reason to pass on the Brilliant White for either the Classic Cinema or the High Contrast Gray.

In summary, I heartedly recommend the Brilliant White Carada screen for those of you on the 'budget'.

mech
 

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Re: Carada Screens

My comments (regarding night time viewing only):

1) First, very nice work, mech!
2) Brilliant White = Designer White
3) Fashion Grey = High Contrast Grey
4) Classic Cinema = somewhere in between...

Sure does make the case for an inexpensive WA vs a much pricier Carada screen, in my non-videophile, Joe-sixpack opinion.

Would be interesting to see if the WA screens fare as well with ambient light...
 

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Re: Carada Screens

The high contrast grey looks darker to me than the fashion grey...a little too dark to my eyes. Nice shots mech, especially with those little slices of fabric they give you - looking forward to some subjective comments!
 

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Re: Carada Screens

Yeah... excellent work for what you have to work with. Not trying to put a negative spin on the review, but as you suggested in the beginning, it's hard to do much with no bigger samples than they are providing you. Seems like a company the caliber of Carada would ante up. :huh:
 

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Re: Carada Screens

Brilliant White is a tad bit whiter than DW. And the High Contrast Gray is darker than FG. The Cinema White is a bit muddier than DW.

Comments will come tomorrow but right now, I'm unimpressed with all of them but the Brilliant White. They are probably the cheapest screen manufacturer out there and their frames appear to be high end...

mech
 

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Re: Carada Screens

Yeah... excellent work for what you have to work with. Not trying to put a negative spin on the review, but as you suggested in the beginning, it's hard to do much with no bigger samples than they are providing you. Seems like a company the caliber of Carada would ante up. :huh:
I know what you mean Sonnie, I've seen people try to use dinky little 2"x3" samples of things and then make conclusive statements and I just don't think you can evaluate something that small. I'd say that 24x24 is probably the smallest I'd even want to try.
 

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Even with the small samples, the Brilliant White gets my vote. Actually, my own preference, out of all of the samples, is the DW. There is still something about a white screen that really is pleasing to my eyes. I just can't watch hockey on a low gain gray screen. Ice is white, not gray!! Yes, I know, balcks are gray and not black on a white screen. But I am more of a white freak. Sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Believe it or not Ben, I thought the Brilliant White was a tad bit better than the DW. :eek: I recall when doing the gray balancing it was a whiter white by the numbers anyways.

:dancebanana:

mech
 
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