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I recently got my first projector (Epson 705HD). I originally used my bedroom wall as a screen but I noticed the colors were slightly off. The paint on my walls is an off white color called Frost (Kelly Moore). So I started reading threads here at the Shack and learned how a neutral gray paint can improve contrast and give more accurate colors. I started out with Gray Screen (Sherwin Williams) after reading wbassett's great thread on neutral grays. I liked it but sometimes it felt like the picture was getting attenuated, like looking out on a park on a slightly overcast day. I then tried Soothing White (Sherwin Williams). I painted half my screen area with SW so I could compare it with GS. Overall GS was the winner, but it still seemed a little too dark at times and whites were suffering ever so slightly. Here are some screen shots from my little experiment. SW is on the left, GS on the right. Note, I don't have a white balance on my camera and my screen shots don't do justice to what I see on my wall.
 

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I was all out of GS paint at this point so I decided to just stick with SW. After using it for about a week, I decided it was just too light for me. Not only were my blacks not very good but the light from my projector was reflecting back on the room a lot. And the colors didn't seem as deep. I then went and picked up a quart of Winter Mist (True Value). I knew WM would be a shade somewhere between SW and GS based on wbassett's thread and I particularly liked it's purely neutral profile compared to SW and GS.

SW: R227, G227, B229
WM: R220, G220, B220 (Baby bear's paint is juuust right)
GS: R199, G203, B203

Here are some samples on file cards so you can see the difference in shades.
 

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If anyone here at the Shack would like to analyze these cards, feel free to PM me and I'll send them off to you.

I'm really liking the Winter Mist. The GS was just a tad too dark for me and like Bill said in another thread, it's the type of color you might see on a battleship. Not very appealing for your bedroom wall. The SW on the other hand looked great on my wall. During certain times of the day I would barely notice it was there. Other times, particularly in the morning hours, it had a pleasant violet hue. But like I said above it was too light. Winter Mist is an OTS paint Baby Bear would use. It's just right. I was a bit concerned right after the True Value guy mixed it because it looked quite white in the can. The guy even said it looks like an off white. But when I got home and smeared a little in the bottom corner of my screen area and let it dry for about 30 minutes, it definitely dried dark and was clearly a shade darker than the SW. After firing up the projector, I could tell the black levels would improve just based on the little smudge I made. (The smudge was in the black bar area) I then covered my entire screen area with the WM and now know for certain I have the right paint for my projector, for my tastes. I might take some screen shots at some point if I get access to a decent camera but the picture is basically better than my comparison screen shots above, to my eye at least.

Sherwin Williams Gray Sceen, matte finish: $15.02/quart
Sherwin Williams Soothing White, matte finish: $15.02/quart
True Value Winter Mist, flat finish: $10.99/quart

I got two coats out of each quart. The True Value paint had a noticeably stronger smell while drying but it was gone within a day.

I'll finish with a quote from Bill in the neutral gray thread:

"This is an all around great color and shade that will perform nicely for virtually any projector regardless of the lumen rating. I will have to state a disclaimer, nothing is an absolute and there are some older projectors still out there with lumen ratings of 400.
So for those of you out there that are not sure about a darker gray, this is a color to definitely look at. It is very neutral, in fact the most neutral I have seen so far (pre-testing) and this shade should be no problem with whites even with lower Lumen projectors. Keep in mind, it will take a hit with ambient viewing though... everything has its trade offs."
 

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Good Job Mike! :T I would have thought with your setup that you would have preferred a more darker screen, with the white walls and all. :scratch:

I don't need the samples. But if you really want them tested I can do it in a couple weeks.
 

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Great writeup Mike!

One thing that surprises me though is with 2500 lumens I'd almost expect you to have said you thought GS was too light! How many hours are on your bulb, and the most important question... Calibration? Have you run through a full calibration yet? With the brightness of your projector you shouldn't have any issues with white levels on an N8 gray.

Now that's not an absolute either. Some people are white level people and some people are black level people. And neither of you will be wrong either. Part of this is science and what works and why, part of it is also testing things out and seeing what works because data alone doesn't mean something will be good either just as an 'artists eye' doesn't guarantee anything... And then the last part is personal preference. Don't ever let anyone tell you what you like, they aren't you!

Try some calibration tweaks though, it may surprise you :)
 

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Yea, I'm still getting to know my pj and how to calibrate it. I've been using the thx optimizer on the Incredibles dvd which has been helpful. It's brand new so the bulb is still fresh. One thing to keep in mind is that although my pj is listed as 2500 lumens, eco mode drops it down to 1960 (using 'dynamic' setting). I have to use eco mode because full mode is too loud. (the pj is on a shelf 3' above my bed) I'll also save about 1000 hours this way, and maybe a little on the electric bill too. :bigsmile: I also leave the "variable iris" off because it makes a clicking sound.

On top of eco/full, there are 4 settings: dynamic, game, living room, theater.

Using the 'theater' setting within eco mode drops the pj down to 1280 lumens. I watch only at night and with the lights off. Even though 'theater' is recommended, I find 'living room' mode works the best. I'm not sure how many lumens that is. (All these lumen numbers may actually be 12% lower since I'm going through an hdmi cable. I got this info from a projector central review on my pj)

To be honest, if my wall was perfectly smooth and I didn't have to sand it down, I probably would have experimented with Black Widow. And all that prep work would have been quite a gamble not knowing if BW would work out. I'm also a renter.

Since I'm a little better at calibrating now, GS would probably work fine but in any case, I'm very happy with winter mist not only for the picture I get but also for the aesthetics of the screen within my room. I feel fortunate to have found you guys here at the Shack with all the inventing and researching you've done.

(Thanks Mech for the analysis offer but if you don't need them, it's no big deal. The main thing I'm curious about is the blue/violet hue on the soothing white. Maybe they didn't mix it right. But blue is a little heavy in the specs so maybe that's just the way it is. I'm also a little curious to see if this WM is actually 220 220 220. But I can sleep well at night without any of this information.)
 

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I am going to paint my boc screen, would this be too dard for me? I like the GS one. I have a Optoma ep 732h 1500 lumes and 2000:1 contrast. Nice thread btw....I love real world paints with a reasonable price!!
 
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