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So, after soaking up all of the information that everyone here has on DIY screens, I decided to have a go. I'm using a Dell 5100MP Data Projector, so I had to keep in mind that no matter what kind of screen I have, it's still not going to look as good as that Epson Theatre 720p/1080p projector that I saw in the dedicated room at the LSS using the custom Stewart screen. :hissyfit:
But all in all, it's turned out WAAAAAYYY better than I could have imangined. Especially since the bulb in the projector was not the expected 200 Hrs, but rather 2003 Hrs. total. So today UPS dropped off a new bulb, I can hardly wait to see if there will be any difference between old and new.
Anyhow, on to the guts of the screen. I used a white unity screen (2 coats Kilz2) to do a baseline calibration with Avia. I was really surprised that for a low contrast 2000:1 projector, the blacks seemed nice and inky, and whites came thru very nicely. Of course, if I were to put it beside a 720p projector made for home theatre, I'd probably be disappointed, but since I'm not, I was really happy. Everything I put into the projector is in it's native resolution, and all input is only 420p for DVD/Wii/and 420i for cable. So it does well with this level of resolution, I don't think it would do as well with 720p material, I'd probably get some artifacts on the screen.
My screen was super simple, from the Kilz2 primer screen my next step was to mix up 1 quart of Behr "Silverscreen" with 6 Oz of silver flake from CraftSmart "metallic silver", the stuff that Harpmaker used to make his "Cream and Sugar" screen with. He was right when he said that there is no rainbow reflection to this stuff. It glints nice and white when looked at from the side.
Anyhow, I mixed this up and painted two coats on top of the Kilz2. It worked really well, my blacks are now BLACK, and the whites aren't quite popping, but they're nice and clean. When using the Wii or DVD, the picture is absolutely incredible for 420p. The cable is more muted though, 420i seems to be a bit dark, so I may have to use full power instead of "eco" mode when watching cable. But hey, for $700 for projector/bulb/screen, I can't complain. My next step might be to try and mix CraftSmart with plain old Behr UW and see what happens....:bigsmile:
 

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Welcome to the Shack elton!

Did you recalibrate once you got the new screen up? If not go through and recalibrate and you might be surprised at how the whites look after you calibrate to the darker screen.
 

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Hi Wbasset,

Nope, I didn't do the second calibration yet, and you're probably spot on, when I do it, the whites will undoubtly come out better.
It's funny how gray the screen can be, and yet still throw out a nice range of color. My screen is probably the color of the gray surrounding the quick reply window on Home Theater Shack,but with a very faint luminousity. It really helps the colors pop off the screen. I thought the white unity screen would do better by a HUGE margin, and yet it doesn't really make any difference at all. The one thing I'll be doing tonight after I get the new bulb in is to run a complete calibration once more. I still have to put some sort of black border around the screen as well, once that's done, I think I'll have a really nice screen for next to nothing...
 

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Oh, just to add, the room is completely light controlled in our basement, the only drawback is that it doubles as my daughter's playroom. The wife has the walls PUMPKIN orange. So there is a bit of ambient from the walls when we have the sconces on, but it is not really to much of an issue. I'll post some screen pics tonight for everyone to see.
 

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My next step might be to try and mix CraftSmart with plain old Behr UW and see what happens....:bigsmile:
Back in February of this year I did it that way and It works great! See this post for more info. I went to my local Home Depot and picked up a 946ml can of Behr Ultra Pure White Flat finish (#1050) and 458ml bottle of Metallic silver (#743) that is located in the crafting area of the paint display. And it still to this day looks fantastic:T no hot spotting and very uniform color. Blacks also look very good.
 

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Hi Wbasset,

Nope, I didn't do the second calibration yet, and you're probably spot on, when I do it, the whites will undoubtly come out better.
It's funny how gray the screen can be, and yet still throw out a nice range of color. My screen is probably the color of the gray surrounding the quick reply window on Home Theater Shack,but with a very faint luminousity. It really helps the colors pop off the screen. I thought the white unity screen would do better by a HUGE margin, and yet it doesn't really make any difference at all. The one thing I'll be doing tonight after I get the new bulb in is to run a complete calibration once more. I still have to put some sort of black border around the screen as well, once that's done, I think I'll have a really nice screen for next to nothing...
Just an interesting note: The gray around the quick reply box is 203 203 209, so it' basically an N8 shade of gray you are talking about.

The benefit of getting a base line calibration to a unity gain white screen is you can see the projector at factory specs and that way you will know without a doubt if you improved the image or not. If you had jumped straight to a gray screen without doing your comparison, you'd never know for sure and for some people and projectors, the white screen might look better.

Definitely get a black border up, even with white screen it makes a huge difference. Actually I'll say it is more important with a white screen. It not only frames the image which gives us focus and perspective, it also provides a black reference for our eyes. That tends to fool us into 'seeing' darker grays as black. Conversely, if you put a white reference up with a gray screen, what you swore was white will now look grayish compared to a white reference. Remove the white reference, and now we think we are seeing white again so is white (within reason of course, if the screen is too dark for the projector nothing will help trick is into thinking whites are snow white).

Do you have much image spill? If you don't have any at all, check into using black suede instead of black velvet, that's what I used. It cost a whopping $2.50 yard at Walmart and it looks great. It won't absorb light like Velvet does, but if you don't have any spill to worry about in the first place... it's worth a look and will save some more bucks for you.
 

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Hey guys,

Uploaded a few photo's of some screen shots tonight. This is still with the 2003 hr. bulb. You'll see a light gray line across the screen in one shot, this IS NOT on the screen, it's a very small scratch on the lens of the camera which seems to really show up on any white/grey background picture. I get the same thing if I shoot a dark cloud outside, or a white wall inside, you get this light bar across a small part of the picture.
This picture of the screen is shot in PITCH BLACK room. As you can see, the orange walls of the playroom really throw the light from the flash around extremely well, but the screen has absolutely no hot spotting, and no apparent glare. All the light you see in the picture is from the camera flash, right in dead center front of the screen. The whole room is lit up from it.
I've included a shot of the cable screen, the one with the menu on it. Standard Rogers cable TV box 420i resolution. Not to bad for a data projector.
I then put in a number of Wii photos. I'm using the 480p component cable. Definite improvement in sharpness and color.
It's not 720p or 1080p, but for 700 smackers all in, it's a decent setup for gaming and watching the game with friends.

 
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