: Should I get a better screen or a better projector?
2010-08-04, 03:38 PM
One of the problems I have with cloth based screens stretched over a frame is that the stuff is limited in size and outrageously expensive. In addition, there's a sweet spot effect something like the old rear projection TVs because of the reflective nature of the surface.
When I had to choose I put the money into a projector.
2010-08-04, 03:42 PM
Okay, we'll settle this once and for all, like adults, Mr Poopypants. ;)
How much would a 144 inch screen cost about? I am sure a real screen beats a painted wall anytime but at the time, it was cheaper for me to get the paint instead of the fabric. My theater is in a windowless environment so I guess the gain doesn't need to be all that high or am I completely off the track?
I appreciate advice from people in the know. I guess that's why we have DHC !!
2010-08-04, 04:38 PM
the [screen] is limited in size and outrageously expensive
Actually, you can have screens custom made any size you want. There is no limit. Don't let a retailer tell you they only come in certain sizes. In terms of expense...that I can't speak for you. If you have a $1400 projector and are looking at a fixed contoured frame with fabric at about $2000, then yes, compared to the projector you have it is priced higher (I don't think expensive if the correct word because it's a loaded word that can mean many things by the user).
If you put the $8000 JVC on the same screen, the price of the screen is the same and it is priced less. What's no different between the two scenarios is that the screen is serving the same function for the two projectors. It's not being biased in any way. It will treat both projectors with the same respect.
there's a sweet spot effect something like the old rear projection TVs because of the reflective nature of the surface
Yes, if you choose a silver/gray based finish from manufacturers, the Firehawk being the most popular...these screens aren't designed for accurate images. They are designed for compromised rooms where projected pictures need to compete with ambient light. They are not designed for dark room environments. If you want a screen at doesn't alter any light you will need to seek a 1.0 gain screen such as the Stewart StudioTek 100 or the Da-Lite Da-Mat or JKP Affinity 0.9. Be aware that 1.0 screens need to have dark surroundings as light reflected off of the wall will harm image quality. That's why it's best to do the likes of a StudioTek 130 or a CinemaVision (not high contrast version).
How much would a 144 inch screen cost about?
Danster...I'd like to help you out here...but there are several questions I need to ask you before I start talking...and then there will be several things you will need to take into consideration as you aim to get good video...
...it's regarding the rules for good video. The more knowledge you are armed with, the better decision you can make for yourself.
What I know: you have a dark room. What colour are your walls and ceiling?
144 inches: is your prime viewing distance 20 feet from the screen?
Sanyo PLV-Z4: this is listed in your sig. Is this your projector or do you plan on changing this?
I'll leave you thinking about these points regarding getting a good picture from a front projection setup. In no particular order:
1. maximum light output from projector after calibration
2. screen surface selection
3. resolution of projector/source material
4. minimum/maximum viewing distances from the screen
5. calibration and room environment
All of the above need to be taken into account during system design and all will affect the performance of the other. Front projection is a very intertwined system and I think almost every setup out there has taken few, if any at all, of these points into consideration during the design stage.
I see you are online at the moment. I'm going to cut the grass right now. I'll be back in three hours to check your response so we can continue this.
2010-08-04, 07:50 PM
My walls are dark velvet burgundy from floor to ceiling. They are no sheen at all to keep light reflection at minimum. We are seated at exactly 16 feet 5 inches away from the screen.
We have 3 levels so the first row is seated at around 10 feet, and the third row at 20 or so. The sweet spot is the middle row.
I have the PLV-Z4 but am waiting to see what will happen to SANYO projectors now that PANASONIC bought them outright this past week. I was hoping to get a full HD projector instead of 720p and of course, what 3D they would be coming out with.
As for budget, of course we always want better for cheaper but anything well balanced will be okay.
To the original poster: I don't wish to hijack your thread but maybe my questions might help other like you. ;)
2010-08-08, 04:57 PM
Sorry about the delay...life got in the way :eek: (this post has been sitting on my desktop for a few days now)
...a few things to consider...
Good news knowing you are considering upgrading the projector. The screens size you are considering with the projector you currently have is not a good combo. At 16ft at 720p and 144", pixels are too big and there isn't enough picture information. 1080p is necessary. Plus the picture will be too dim and dull.
So...you are thinking of the Panasonic.
Great projector, but has relatively low light output just as others do in that price point... the screen size you choose will have a consequence on the image quality you get. Not necessary with resolution...more on that...but with contrast ratio...aka dynamic range... and this is a big priority in video...most people get this wrong with projector set ups. they aim for big screens and small projectors...get a big image...with small wow factor.
So you'll need to think about what you want your moving pictures to look like. Do you want big and immersive image that's duller? Or do you want a smaller image that has great contrast and bigger wow factor?
If you want both...you'll need a projector with greater light output (eg. JVC). We need images with usable light output...sure projectors can put more "white" on the screen giving you the impression of a brighter image...at the expense of maybe 30% of details beging completely clipped (disappeared)...after calibration will restore the correct reference white level...and the final fL value will be lower than the skewed and unrealistic manufacter's spec...A JVC can deliver more light on bigger screen sizes without losing picture detail.
Or...you could use a dimmer projector on a screen that has a gain greater than 1.3...but I don't recommend it if your goal is image accuracy. High gain screens have a bright spot in the center...poor off axis viewing...poor white and colour uniformity from edge to edge. Go with a 1.0 gain screen...I highly recommend the room being black as any light scatter will significantly reduce perceived dynamic range. These screens are great because everyone sees the same picture no matter where they are sitting...colour and white field uniformity are reference... Screens are designed with a purpose for the viewing environment...something that can't be done with paint.
Panasonic with a 1.3 gain screen...at 144"...in COLOUR 1 mode...will give you maybe 9-10fL. This is much too dim for acceptable video. On a painted wall it would be even worse. As you start putting hours on the bulb, the picture gets dimmer and dimmer. We want to be at a minimum of 14fL...preferably anything 16fL and above. Just to give you an idea...calibrated plasma's are typically adjusted for reference white at 35-40fL.
Shrink the screen to 120" and you'll get about 13fL. The JVC will give you about 18fL as long as it's not put at its maximum throw.
Why do I keep suggesting 120"? Your main seating distance is good for a 120" screen. You might be a bit too close at 144" for 1080p resolution projector and sources. You can find many seating distance calculators online where you can plug in your screen size and it will give you seating recommendations...people have done the math for you based on certain formulas (THX/SMPTE)...just plug in your numbers.
As you know, dark rooms are better. Minimize light reflecting off the wall by keeping them dark. The darker the ceiling, the better as well. Keep it dark around the projector...minimize the earliest reflections especially if it's over you head.
Hope this helps. If you have any other questions...just ask. :)
2010-08-08, 06:25 PM
Agreed. Ith the Panasonic projector, the max you should go is about 96" 21:9 in order to get 15 ft/L and that's on a real screen (not painted wall). Also in every design of mine, the theatre always have black ceiling and front wall.
As I always say, people who are happy with Screen Go don't know what they're missing. It's akin to buying a supercar but trying to save money by using 87 octane gas and use non-synthetic oil to save money. Or like buying a $2000 camera but refuses to buy any lens beyond $500.
2010-08-08, 06:28 PM
I guess eco mode is out too?
Mike, since this is all about costs and where to invest, how about giving us some ball park figures for screens as described?
2010-08-08, 06:38 PM
For 105" and up, eco mode is out.
I barely hit 16 ft/L in eco mode at 96" using 1.0 gain screen ina totally dark room.
2010-08-08, 07:27 PM
Thanks for the info mike. Right now, like I mentionned, everything is in aa holding pattern. I'm waiting to see who will come up with a descent 3D projector and what type of setup I will need. There sure is a lot of stuff to take in consideration in your posts. :o
2010-08-08, 07:31 PM
It is possible to get a quality screen and not break the bank. The screen material can be purchased by the sq foot ... from the major companies. If you are handy with some tools and paint and black fabric ... you can build your own screen with the real material for usually 25% to 33% the cost of the real screen/frame.
I did that with my screen ... use a Dalite 1.3 screen and put it all together for under $500. Dealer cost for the same thing with frame was $1400 ...
2010-08-08, 09:04 PM
The only upcoming 3D projector is 720p only and you will need at least a 1.4 gain screen (according to the manufacturer) to run 3D movies (and still using frame sequential system).
2010-08-09, 11:52 AM
screen material can be purchased by the sq foot
Yup...Stewart...Da-Lite... basically choose the screen surface material you want...order it by the square foot...build a frame, line it with fabric...add tension to the screen...add some hooks...you can do it yourself...or you can pay more by having the company put it together for you. Be creative and get a good picture at the same time.
2010-08-09, 08:41 PM
Okay I'll be stupid here. When you say order the fabric from the manufacturer, you mean the ones you are mentionning about (Stewart and Da-Light)? I give them a call and tell them I need enough material for my 144 inch screen and voila, the next morning I'm ready to frame the whole thing? That I like...
2010-08-09, 08:44 PM
I don't know about Da-Light but I ordered a 180" 21:9 material to Stewart about 6 months ago and it arrived in Indonesia within a month (air shipped, obviously)
2010-08-09, 09:33 PM
My local dealer did the ordering of the material for me. He was the one that suggested it to me in the first place.
I ordered 106" worth for my 102" screen ... make sure you go largered than what you need. need space for the stapling ...
To the original poster: I don't wish to hijack your thread but maybe my questions might help other like you. ;)
Absolutely! :) This is really getting interesting. I haven't pulled the trigger yet as I decided to use the cash I had on a down payment for a new car but I will get a a PJ setup eventually so this is all good information.
2010-08-23, 11:13 AM
Excellent then. I'll have to try and get in contact with one of the manufacturer people have mentionned and see how much my setup would hurt, I mean cost me.