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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I'm looking for some recommendations on screen material, paint, etc.

I have a Mits HC4000 ceiling-mounted, projecting from 14' away onto a 2.35 BOC screen 54" x 130" or so. I run it in economy mode. Basement is totally light controlled; dark navy fabric covers the screen wall as well as extending out 8' or so on the ceiling and side walls.

I occasionally watch sports or talk shows with some ambient light, but my #1 priority is movies and videogames with all the lights off.

My only complaints with the image are that it is on the dim side (it's a bit better when I zoom in for 16:9 movies, since in that case I'm basically going from a 139" picture to a 106" iirc), and that the blacks aren't so hot.

I was hoping for something that would be a nice upgrade from this screen, an across-the-board improvement to an at least somewhat noticeable degree. But from reading here and at AVS, I'm not sure there really is one. It sounds like I can improve blacks with a grey screen, but then my whites will be even dimmer; or I can bump up the brightness, but then my blacks will get even worse (and I may have hotspotting). I'm hoping to spend under $200.

Is there anything that will be a decent improvement, either in both areas, or at least an improvement in one area with the others staying the same rather than suffering? I don't want to bother with the time and money if the end result will be me sitting there thinking "well, it's better in that one respect, but in that other one, I liked my old $40 screen better", know what I mean?

I was considering the Wilsonart DW ($145 + tax at Lowe's apparently, plus whatever I need to mount it), or possibly painting the wall directly, or even painting the BOC screen.

Thanks for any suggestions.
 

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Hi all. I'm looking for some recommendations on screen material, paint, etc.
Welcome to HTS! :wave:

I have a Mits HC4000 ceiling-mounted, projecting from 14' away onto a 2.35 BOC screen 54" x 130" or so. I run it in economy mode. Basement is totally light controlled; dark navy fabric covers the screen wall as well as extending out 8' or so on the ceiling and side walls.

I occasionally watch sports or talk shows with some ambient light, but my #1 priority is movies and videogames with all the lights off.

My only complaints with the image are that it is on the dim side (it's a bit better when I zoom in for 16:9 movies, since in that case I'm basically going from a 139" picture to a 106" iirc), and that the blacks aren't so hot.

I was hoping for something that would be a nice upgrade from this screen, an across-the-board improvement to an at least somewhat noticeable degree. But from reading here and at AVS, I'm not sure there really is one. It sounds like I can improve blacks with a grey screen, but then my whites will be even dimmer; or I can bump up the brightness, but then my blacks will get even worse (and I may have hotspotting). I'm hoping to spend under $200.

Is there anything that will be a decent improvement, either in both areas, or at least an improvement in one area with the others staying the same rather than suffering? I don't want to bother with the time and money if the end result will be me sitting there thinking "well, it's better in that one respect, but in that other one, I liked my old $40 screen better", know what I mean?
If I'm running the numbers of your HT setup right you are getting ~9 fL of image brightness on the 2.35:1 screen and ~12 fL on the 16:9 screen. As a frame of reference your BOC screen probably has a gray shade of ~N9 with little or no added gain from gloss (it's surface is like a truly flat finish paint).

You could use our Cream&Sugar™ Ultra mix and gain some image brightness while keeping similar blacks to what you have now (this mix is ~N9 like your BOC, but has a peak gain of 1.0), but if you go with a darker gray screen to get blacker blacks you WILL lose some image brightness unless you want to put up with hot spotting or a filmy appearance to the image caused by the translucent, mica heavy mixes promoted at AVS (documented in many of the Silver Fire threads here). When reading at AVS DIY Screens please keep in mind that NONE of their gain figures have been substantiated (other than some tests we did on SF here which they didn't like) and are primarily wishful thinking rather than objective values determined by actual testing to screen industry standards.

I was considering the Wilsonart DW ($145 + tax at Lowe's apparently, plus whatever I need to mount it), or possibly painting the wall directly, or even painting the BOC screen.

Thanks for any suggestions.
You would get a brighter image with DW, but it is a white screen and you would lose black level and contrast in your image, probably even in a dark theater. Some newer sheets of DW that I have seen photos of have also shown some hot spotting.

If you are going to try C&S™ Ultra be sure your screen substrate is fairly smooth, reflectively enhanced mixes show screen texture that flat paints don't. It doesn't need to be "baby bottom" smooth like AVS demands, but it does need to be all the SAME TEXTURE without rough or smooth spots, or surface imperfections like holes or bumps.

Painting BOC can be a problem if not done right. If you decide to do this you might PM Highside here (I think he may still be on AVS as well) and ask advice, he has done 3 BOC screens of his own so far and is happy to help others do theirs. :T
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the response, even if it's not the "sure, this here will do everything you want!" I was hoping for :p

It sounds like even if I shelled out the big bucks for something like a Studiotek 130, I would be in the same boat? Increased brightness, but noticeably worse blacks?
 

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Thanks for the response, even if it's not the "sure, this here will do everything you want!" I was hoping for :p
The simple truth is that the behavior of light is well known and can be accurately predicted. Tell you what though, if you are still looking for the answer you were hoping for head on over to AVS DIY Screens and you will probably get it. :heehee:

It sounds like even if I shelled out the big bucks for something like a Studiotek 130, I would be in the same boat? Increased brightness, but noticeably worse blacks?
As I recall, the StudioTek 130 and DW are extremely close in performance as screens, but they are white screens and even the light from a single candle (if it's close to the screen) can make a visible difference in image contrast. The reason is that PJ's can't project black and have to depend on the screen itself to not reflect light. A white screen will work fine as long as there is NO other light in the room other than the PJ. the PJ itself has good black levels and the room surfaces are dark enough so that light from the screen doesn't reflect back on to the screen. Gray screens absorb some of the light that hits them (ambient as well as projected) thus helping preserve black levels, but your projected image must be bright enough to compensate for that absorption. When you start adding reflective agents or gloss to a paint to increase it's gain as a screen it doesn't take much to become too much and a number of visual problems can result (lose of viewing angle, color shifting of the image, hot spotting, shimmering of the image in bright scenes and graininess just to mention a few).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks again.

To sum up my options here, let's say price were no object, what screen or screen paint or screen material would, in your opinion, give me the best picture with my scenario? From paint to material to mfg screen.
 

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Thanks again.
No problem, glad to help where we can.

To sum up my options here, let's say price were no object, what screen or screen paint or screen material would, in your opinion, give me the best picture with my scenario? From paint to material to mfg screen.
A comment first - your viewing dissatisfaction stems from the fact that your projected image is too dim for your tastes. The best way to deal with that is to physically make the image brighter. If using the brighter modes of your PJ or going to Full Lamp are out of the question then the only other real choice is decreasing screen size or getting another brighter PJ. Using a "high gain" screen could work, but they usually introduce other viewing artifacts as mentioned in my previous posts in this thread. Despite what you may read on other forums ALL front projection screens MUST adhere to the physical laws of reflection. You only have so many lumens of light hitting the screen, if one area of the screen has it's apparent brightness increased then other areas of the screen must have their apparent brightness decreased - it is a "zero sum" game.

Now to answer your question if price was no object (wow, wouldn't that be nice!:daydream:).

Paint: Honestly, I think our Cream&Sugar™ Ultra mix would work well for you. It has the benefit of being able to be darkened in shade to the users tastes by adding some N6 neutral gray paint to the mix (see our Elektra™ mix for details). For your initial use I would recommend just the C&S™ Ultra.

Materials: By this I assume your mean things like WilsonArt 'Designer White' laminate and such. I have no experience with this type of material, but these too must obey the laws of reflection. If the surface has too much gloss it will hot spot and all of the laminates I know of get their gain from gloss.

Manufactured Screen: I have limited experience in this area as well, Mech is the go-to guy for this. He has done an amazing amount of testing, and a large number of reviews, on commercial screens and if price was no object the winner for your situation would be a DNP Supernova. This screen can't break the laws of physics either, but it sure seems to bend them to the users advantage. The best part is that it has little or no artifacting which can't be said of screens such as the Black Diamond (although to be fair Mech hasn't reviewed the 3rd generation of those screens so maybe their issues with hot spotting and color shifing have been corrected). I should also point out that the Supernova and Black Diamond screens have optically engineered coatings that CAN'T be achieved or mimicked by a painted finish - any painted finish; no matter what is stated at AVS.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Is something like the Studiotek 130 considered high gain at 1.3? A friend I housesit for has one and I've noticed no issues with brightness dropoff from any angle. Or is that too low a gain for that to typically be a noticeable issue?

I'll check out the Cream & Sugar threads, thanks.
 

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Is something like the Studiotek 130 considered high gain at 1.3? A friend I housesit for has one and I've noticed no issues with brightness dropoff from any angle. Or is that too low a gain for that to typically be a noticeable issue?
No, a white screen, like the StudioTek 130, with a gain of 1.3 isn't considered a "high gain" screen since the same screen without the coating has a gain of 1.0 screen, there simply isn't that much difference between the coated and uncoated screens. I have never heard of the StudioTek 130 hot spotting. The StudioTek 150 is another matter, it hot spots for some, but not for others. Much of that is determined by how the home theater is designed and how sensitive one is to detecting hot spotting.

I'll check out the Cream & Sugar threads, thanks.
The original Cream&Sugar™ thread is kept here mostly as a historical document. The silver paint used to make it was changed by the seller so this mix is no longer recommended since the new silver paint doesn't provide the same results (the mix is no longer color neutral and is a darker gray).

Cream&Sugar™ Ultra is the replacement for the original C&S™.

C&S™ Ultra can be rolled, but you should use the same care and technique as if you were rolling an eggshell or satin finish paint to prevent roller marks because it is a reflectively enhanced mix.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
If I'm running the numbers of your HT setup right you are getting ~9 fL of image brightness on the 2.35:1 screen and ~12 fL on the 16:9 screen.
Just noticed this. I did the Projector Central calc and it said 8 fL for a ceiling mounted projector at my screen size, but that would be on a 1.0 gain screen, while my BOC is usually said to be in the .8 range. Also, I assume their calculator is based on Normal lamp modes, while mine is running in Low Lamp mode, while also running in Cinema mode and being properly calibrated. With my i1 LT I got a reading of 4 fL, for whatever that's worth.

How would one of those basic white paints do for me? Either the one in PJC's article, or one of the ones here found to be a bit superior (Valspar iirc, probably since it's more available and cheaper; or the Glidden if I want to spend more and order). An advantage with something I can pick up at Home Depot is I can do do some test panels first and not be out loads of money. I might do that anyway, there are so many alternatives out there, it gets a little hard to figure out what will look best to me in my room.

edit: This calculator says I'm getting 5 fL at best at my current settings and lamp life, which basically confirms my i1 reading.
 

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Just noticed this. I did the Projector Central calc and it said 8 fL for a ceiling mounted projector at my screen size, but that would be on a 1.0 gain screen, while my BOC is usually said to be in the .8 range. Also, I assume their calculator is based on Normal lamp modes, while mine is running in Low Lamp mode, while also running in Cinema mode and being properly calibrated. With my i1 LT I got a reading of 4 fL, for whatever that's worth.

edit: This calculator says I'm getting 5 fL at best at my current settings and lamp life, which basically confirms my i1 reading.
I used the lumen data from the projectorcentral review of the HC4000. They got a reading of 442 lumens out of their test PJ in Cinema mode using low lamp. I then manually calculated the fL by dividing 442 by the screen size in square feet. Values obtained this way assume a screen gain of 1.0 and a new lamp so that needs to be taken into account. By far the best way to find the actual amount of light hitting your screen is to use a light meter (a camera light meter won't do, it's not sensitive enough).

To my knowledge, the gain of a BOC screen has never been determined by actual testing (hey Mech! We need to do this ;)).

Are you measuring the light striking the screen (i1's light sensor pointing toward PJ) or the light being reflected from your screen (sensor pointing toward screen)?

How would one of those basic white paints do for me? Either the one in PJC's article, or one of the ones here found to be a bit superior (Valspar iirc, probably since it's more available and cheaper; or the Glidden if I want to spend more and order). An advantage with something I can pick up at Home Depot is I can do do some test panels first and not be out loads of money. I might do that anyway, there are so many alternatives out there, it gets a little hard to figure out what will look best to me in my room.
The "ultra white" paints will make a white screen of ~N9.7. In a totally dark HT such a screen would give your a brighter image than BOC, but you will probably notice a lightening of blacks as well.

The SW ProClassic B20 series paint in satin finish is not quite as bright at N 9.5, but you would have to see a N9.7 and a N9.5 side-by-side to tell the difference. The ProClassic is designed to flow well after rolling to give the smoothest rollable finish.

The "ultra whites" from Valspar and Behr don't hide or level as well as the SW ProClassic. The Valspar Ultra Premium paint in eggshell can be used as a screen without hot spotting, the satin can't. I believe the same goes for Behr paints, but I don't remember specifically testing Behr eggshell.

The Glidden Professional paint is good stuff, but it is expensive and usually quite hard to find.

All in all, experimenting yourself to find the type of screen you like is time well invested.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Are you measuring the light striking the screen (i1's light sensor pointing toward PJ) or the light being reflected from your screen (sensor pointing toward screen)?
I was getting it from the screen on a 100% white pattern.

The "ultra whites" from Valspar and Behr don't hide or level as well as the SW ProClassic.
Sorry, what does this mean?

All in all, experimenting yourself to find the type of screen you like is time well invested.
Yeah, definitely sounds like it. I'll at least need to paint some decent sized samples to see if a grey or white looks better to me at the bare minimum.

Thanks for all the help and info.
 

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I was getting it from the screen on a 100% white pattern.
Then at least part of the difference in brightness between my calculations made from data at PC and your screen reading with a meter is due to the gain difference between your BOC and a 1.0 screen (a 1.0 gain screen will reflect all the light that strikes it - light in = light out. BTW, you can't reliable measure screen gain by this method, but they would be better then pure guesses. You could take the value of the light hitting the screen (sensor at screen, but pointing toward the PJ) and then take the value of the reflected light with the sensor as close to the screen as possible and calculate the difference. This would only give a "ballpark" gain figure since truly accurate gain testing requires a 1° spot meter.

Sorry, what does this mean?
Both Valspar and Behr paints call their pure white latex paints "Ultra White". Compared to Sherwin-Williams ProClassic B20 series the Valspar and Behr paints don't "hide" the color of the previous paint layer if repainting; it may take 2 or 3 coats to equal the hiding power of a single coat of ProClassic. ProClassic is also designed specifically to flow to a smooth finish after rolling. The Valspar and Behr paints flow too, just not as well.

All gain that comes from a paint not containing any reflective elements (like aluminum or mica) will come from surface gloss alone.

Yeah, definitely sounds like it. I'll at least need to paint some decent sized samples to see if a grey or white looks better to me at the bare minimum.
I personally have found that 1x4 foot test panels are all I need to judge the performance of a mix. I make mine from inexpensive tempered hardboard from Lowe's or Home Depot (they will cut a large 4x8 foot panel into 1x4 foot panels for free). I prime the panels with a white primer (I haven't found a "bad" brand of primer yet and have used about half a dozen types) and then when that is dry (I try to wait 24 hours) I spray or roll on my test mix.

Thanks for all the help and info.
No worries! Glad to try and help out. :T
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The SW ProClassic B20 series paint in satin finish is not quite as bright at N 9.5, but you would have to see a N9.7 and a N9.5 side-by-side to tell the difference. The ProClassic is designed to flow well after rolling to give the smoothest rollable finish.

The "ultra whites" from Valspar and Behr don't hide or level as well as the SW ProClassic. The Valspar Ultra Premium paint in eggshell can be used as a screen without hot spotting, the satin can't. I believe the same goes for Behr paints, but I don't remember specifically testing Behr eggshell.
One last question (for now ;) ) -- when you say the satin can't be used as a screen without hot spotting, do you mean just for the Valspar? I.e., is the SW ProClassic B20 satin going to hotspot?
 

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One last question (for now ;) ) -- when you say the satin can't be used as a screen without hot spotting, do you mean just for the Valspar? I.e., is the SW ProClassic B20 satin going to hotspot?
The only satin finish paints that I know of that will work as a front projection screen are the Sherwin-Williams paints(Duration and ProClassic B20), and even these will hot spot if the color is much darker that N8. I know that satin finish in Valspar (sold at Lowe's), Behr and Glidden Premium (sold at Home Depot) WILL hot spot. There is no standard nomenclature for paint finishes between brands except for FLAT finish. One brands eggshell may have the same gloss as another brands satin. Each brand has to be tested on it's own.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Ok, hope you're ready for another round of questions :p

In your SILVER clone thread you compared several paints, including the Sherwin ProClassic from the ProjectorCentral article and C&S Ultra.

I took your pics into Photoshop and checked out various values using the eyedropped tool and looking at the Brightness (in HSB) and Lightness (in L*a*b). In the pic comparing the four panels side by side with a full greyscale pattern, C&S Ultra has both slightly brighter/lighter whites AND slightly darker blacks than the SW (I used the lowest and highest greyscale steps that didn't clip the camera), which would seem to be the ideal situation, right?

However, the difference is pretty tiny -- it's like 1% in Brightness and just 1 in Lightness, and not actually visible to the eye at all, even when cutting out the C&S panel and sliding it right over next to the SW. Do you see more of a difference in person? Because otherwise it doesn't seem worth it to go to the trouble of mixing paints for a difference I can't possibly imagine would be visible in anything other than a side-by-side A/B comparison (and possibly not even then). Is it just the improvement in ambient light performance?

I got the same results with your pic comparing two versions of C&S Ultra with SW and SW Colors-to-go. Tiny bit brighter on the C&S. No greyscale comparison in that thread though to compare blacks.

And last question, if I send you a piece of blackout cloth, could I prevail upon you to take a pic of a greyscale on that alongside SW and C&S Ultra?
 

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Ok, hope you're ready for another round of questions :p
No problem. ;)

In your SILVER clone thread you compared several paints, including the Sherwin ProClassic from the ProjectorCentral article and C&S Ultra.

I took your pics into Photoshop and checked out various values using the eyedropped tool and looking at the Brightness (in HSB) and Lightness (in L*a*b). In the pic comparing the four panels side by side with a full greyscale pattern, C&S Ultra has both slightly brighter/lighter whites AND slightly darker blacks than the SW (I used the lowest and highest greyscale steps that didn't clip the camera), which would seem to be the ideal situation, right?
Right. C&S™ Ultra is a darker paint than SW 'Extra White' so it has slightly better contrast and black levels, but at the same time the reflective elements and gloss level make it have white levels on par or exceeding 'Extra White', and all without hot spotting. BTW. it's my PJ that is clipping not my camera (the Viewsonic PJ503D is that bad!).

However, the difference is pretty tiny -- it's like 1% in Brightness and just 1 in Lightness, and not actually visible to the eye at all, even when cutting out the C&S panel and sliding it right over next to the SW. Do you see more of a difference in person? Because otherwise it doesn't seem worth it to go to the trouble of mixing paints for a difference I can't possibly imagine would be visible in anything other than a side-by-side A/B comparison (and possibly not even then). Is it just the improvement in ambient light performance?
You have got to be careful using a color picker tool since they usually only measure one pixel (or a very small group of pixels) and pixelation and quantization of the image can come into play and generate inaccurate results. But you are right, the differences are minimal and while they were visible to me (a bit more so than in the photos IIRC) some people wouldn't consider those differences important. Personally, I think there is little sense in having screen shades less than whole N values apart because while the difference between a N7.5 and an N8 screen is visible it's far from a night and day difference. Some folks would even say that there isn't all that much difference between whole N value jumps either. For others the devil is in the details. :huh:

I got the same results with your pic comparing two versions of C&S Ultra with SW and SW Colors-to-go. Tiny bit brighter on the C&S. No greyscale comparison in that thread though to compare blacks.

And last question, if I send you a piece of blackout cloth, could I prevail upon you to take a pic of a greyscale on that alongside SW and C&S Ultra?
Rather than going to the expense of sending a 1 x 4 foot section of BOC why don't you just send me about a 1" square swatch of it. It may be the same BOC that I already have from Jo Anns. Or if you want to throw caution to the wind send the 1 x 4 foot BOC section and I'll compare it to my C&S™ Ultra and SW ProClassic 'Extra White' panels. :T
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'd be happy to send a panel of a good size to compare to those others. It is from Joann's in fact, I believe it's "budget blackout".
 

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I'd be happy to send a panel of a good size to compare to those others. It is from Joann's in fact, I believe it's "budget blackout".
I believe that is what mine is called, but BOC was not meant to be seen so I don't know how standardized they keep the color., there could be considerable color differences (for screen usage) from batch to batch. PM me for my address.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Last question for tonight, would 1qt of Valspar plus the 16oz of Liquitex be enough for my screen? 2.35, 124" wide or thereabouts, I think that's about 47 sq ft.

Thanks again for all the info.

PM sent
 

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Last question for tonight, would 1qt of Valspar plus the 16oz of Liquitex be enough for my screen? 2.35, 124" wide or thereabouts, I think that's about 47 sq ft.

Thanks again for all the info.

PM sent
Yes. That mix would add up to 48 fl. oz. even without the water needed to thin it for rolling or spraying.

As a general rule-of-thumb I like to have 1 fl. oz. of paint or screen mix for every square foot of screen area, but many folks haven't needed that much to do two rolled coats (~ equal to 4 or 5 sprayed coats).
 
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