If you want to paint and are concerned about the wall (which it sounds like you'll be fine) you can always use liner paper and a skim coat of mud to ensure everything is perfectly flat. Then just apply whatever painted screen method you desire!cynical2 said:- When is a screen "flat enough"? I can't think of a good way to make a nice, perfectly flat screen that isn't either expensive or extremely time consuming. Is painting the wall or attaching laminate directly to the wall "good enough" or do you really notice imperfections in the image caused by non-flat walls? My basement walls are drywall and have what I would consider a "typical" amount of deviation from perfectly flat. I have not measured the deviation from flat...not sure how to do so (I guess I could pull a string that's offset from the wall taut and then measure distance between the string and wall?)...but I've looked down a lot of walls in the process of building 2 homes, and the screen wall looks about "normal".
If you haven't read "Working with Rough Walls... A Screen from Nothing', check it out. I know that's not the way you sound like you are going with, but it should ease your mind some knowing if I could turn that wall into a screen, you'll be fine!
- Is "black velvet" really the best masking material? If one is to go onto a popular auction site and search for "BLACK CRUSHED VELVET YARDAGE", they could find an inexpensive "black velvet", but it looks to me like it might be reflective (though of course I can't be sure). Is this the type of velvet that should be used, or is there some other type?
Black Velvet is the premiere choice, but not the only one.
Triple Velvet is one popular choice. Right now I am using Black Suede for my temp test screen and it worked very well. It's around $2.50 a yard too and I am pleased with it. I will get some more information on other choices for you, but in the mean time you can check http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/26069-post6.html for some of the options.
- Has the "best" flat black paint (I assume closest to RGB 0, 0, 0) been identified for painting the wall near the screen? I'm thinking of painting the wall flat black within 4-6 feet of the screen, but I'm not sure what brand/color is best. I picked up some sample paint chips today at HD and the blackest black that I saw was Glidden "Dark Secret." For what it's worth, it says "00NN 05/000" on the paint chip, which means absolutely nothing to me. Has anyone looked at the neutrality of black paints (would a non-neutral paint surrounding the screen even effect color...or is what the viewer sees based only on the screen itself???).
Unfortunately there is no true black paint available. The closest I have seen is Benjamin Moore's INT RM 12 Black and that comes in at 46 46 46, which is pretty dark. There is a way to deaden it even more and as crazy as this sounds, it really works.... The problem with paint, even flat paint is it reflects light to some degree, even flat black. There is a way to deaden flat black even more (only from a regular can though, this won’t work with spray cans). Add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch per oz. of warm water. Then 4 tablespoons of the cornstarch slurry per 2 oz. of Flat Black paint. Believe it or not this will deaden the flat black down a lot. Here is a link to Tiddler's actual test of this-http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/38866-post69.html
And yes you are right in thinking that it's important to deaden the walls and ceiling around the screen. Here is just an idea of how much light bounce can come off a screen:
Don't mind the slight blur, I wasn't using my tripod for that shot.
Designer White is a very bright and vivid screen. I have a 1700 Lumen projector and when I had my DW screen up it literally lit up the room from the light reflecting off my white walls and ceiling. If you control that scatter light you will have an amazing screen image with the Panny AX100U.
- Is the color of the room paint (away from the screen) overly important? Seems that the vast majority of folks pick a burgundy...does burgundy have some advantage over other dark colors (browns, blues, greys, etc)? Or is the point simply to have something dark and flat, and the rest is purely aesthetic preference?
Most theaters are a Burgundy color, and that's why I think a lot of people go with that color. Plus it is a rich looking color. I am debating on that or a nice slate gray myself. Painting a Home Theater room is almost the opposite of room painting 101- most people go with light colors to liven things up and 'open' the room up with a normal room. What we want for a theater room is a color that doesn't have a lot of sheen (for that scatter reflections) and isn't a color that jumps out and says 'Look at me!' Ideally when the lights go down you shouldn't see the walls, or at least be drawn to them. Now keep in mind that with lights on it could have some affect on your color perception. Just as we use the black border as our black reference, if you were to say paint your room a bright blue or yellow, your eyes would see that as well as the screen even if it's in your peripheral vision. Go with something pleasing yet doesn't draw your attention to it. Plus darker colored walls make the screen look even brighter.
- Is there any advantage in covering all of the walls in "velvet curtains"? Or is it just as well with paint?
You can make a nice 'floating screen' that way, like this one...
I think it lends itself nicely to dedicated theater rooms, but it could look out of place in a multifunction family room.
Check eBay, but not the electronics section or under fabrics, look at the Camera's and Photo section under Screens. There are usually a lot of good deals on Draper and Da-Lite road kits and the velvet curtain systems. Some people have picked up some very nice velvet curtains for dirt cheap.
FWIW, I'm leaning towards a WA laminate screen (paired with Panny AX100U) at this point, likely Designer White (that's the reco from the experts in this forum...whom I completely respect). That being said, I have to admit that I am second-guessing myself a bit based on reading "elsewhere" that grey screens are better than white screens in 97%+ of applications (including rooms with full light control). As I mentioned in my original thread asking about laminate choices, I can control light in the room...but I'd like to have a good picture in moderate ambient light as well (as my wife likes to read, and may want to do so while I'm watching something on the big screen that she's not interested in). I'm worried that the first time that she turns the lights on for reading, my white screen is going to wash out...which will cause me to hang my head in sadness. So confusing...
Mech actually has some direct comparisons of Designer White and Fashion Grey with complete light control as well as full lights on. Designer White has a nice gain to it and surprisingly it handles a medium amount of light well... don't expect magic though, but it doesn't totally wash out with some lights on low. Plus with the AX100U you can always kick it up into high mode if the lights are on. DW isn't an ambient screen so just keep in mind that although it is 'watchable' it won't look anywhere near as nice as with controlled lighting.
I was playing with my projector yesterday while I was watching the Chronicle's of Riddick on HD DVD on my 1080p SXRD set. In broad daylight and when I set my gamma settings and brought my contrast and brightness settings up it was actually quite watchable, but still nothing like the SXRD... that thing is a story onto itself though!