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Went 16:9 after all, Elunevision AudioWeave (2.35:1 Electric screen without anamorphic lens?)


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Wow, that would be just too close for me. Before locking in I suggest going to a movie theater during a VERY slow time and trying a few different distances.

To a degree, it depends on the movie.

  • For the old 70 mm classics, they could afford to use a lot of long shots, and more medium shots than we are likely to see today, with few close-ups because of the very high resolution of the 70 mm processes and the use of very large screens in most 70mm theaters. During those times ('50s, '60s, and ''70s -- especially from Around the World in 80 Days [1956] through Star Wars and Close Encounters), most of the film buffs I knew sat closer than one screen width away for 70 mm, and a bit farther than one screen width for 35 mm.. For 2001: A Space Odyssey, many tried, on a second viewing, front row center, where there was still finer grain than, say, in Pillow Talk (35 mm) at about two screen widths away.
  • In a few 70 mm films, such as Ben-Hur, there were a fair number of big close ups (e.g. where Heston says "against you"). One critic called this "The face as landscape." It still worked when sitting close, though, and the rest of the movie was much more involving and immersive than at significantly greater distances.
  • Late in this game, my friends and I, sometimes without consulting, tried moving closer for 35 mm showings, as well. We found that while it was too close for a grainy cheap stock movie, it improved empathy and involvement for many films, old and new, including Citizen Kane, Last Year at Marienbad, and Fantasia.
  • In real life, you turn your head as well as move your eyes. Closer viewing might put you in a more realistic experiential mode while viewing the movie.
  • Today's films tend to have finer grain in 35 mm than they used to in 70. There are exceptions.
  • As has been said, the acid test would still be sitting in various seats at a good local theater and noticing the differences while watching many movies.
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Hi all,



A proposed motorized will drop down in front of a plasma TV (50" on the
picture but will eventually upgrade to 65" as that will fit in the wall
inset). I have 58 1/4 inches clearance between the joists, where the
screen will be ceiling-mounted, and the top of the 35-inch high center
speaker. I will be putting in a suspended ceiling 3 inches below the
joists, and boxing in the screen assembly so it will be partly hidden.
The room has no windows. I will paint the ceiling so it won't be white. I
would like as wide a screen as I can fit and still be comfortable
viewing from 10 feet.



The picture shows two tape outlines: The bigger outline would be 128
inch (118x50) diagonal 2.35:1 and the inner outline would be 106 114-inch
(105x45) diagonal 2.35:1.



The projector will likely be a Panasonic PTAE4000 placed on the back wall, 17 to 18 feet from the screen.



My options are:

  • 128 inch (118x50) diagonal 2.35:1. The panny would project black bars
    above and below the screen when projecting cinemascope, hitting the
    painted ceiling. Is that a problem? It would be near impossible for
    the kids to go into the play room through that door by scooting by the
    screen.
  • 114-inch (105x45) diagonal 2.35:1. Same as before, but this size seems
    perhaps more reasonable 10 feet away, and we could still use that door
    with the screen lowered.
  • Get the 105-wide model in 16:9 format (105x59, 120-in diagonal). Lower
    the screen to the top of the center speaker for 2.35:1 movies leaving
    some white screen on the roller, and project black on the top part of
    the screen, leaving some screen above that with nothing projected on it.
    When watching movies in other format, I get more vertical screen to
    play with. I could even drop the screen completely for 16:9 format
    movies, obscuring the tweeter, but mount a second tweeter lower within
    the center speaker bass bin (switchable between the two).

Recommendations?

dsc_11111cr.jpg

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Get the projector first, stitch some bedsheets together, and try each of your sizes in total darkness (except for the image and the spill over). Expect a darker image on the sheets than you will eventually get on your screen.

Be sure to try a variety of Blu-rays, and DVDs, if you are going to use them.

Include some films with a lot of longshots.

I suspect you will like the impact of your 118" wide option, but there is nothing like trying them all out. Empiricism rules!

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I'd agree with the caveat that a few days or a week may be too short of a test period. Sometimes a new thing seems great for a few days or a week and then the honeymoon is over and flaws come to attention much more easily. Many sound and video related things work this way.

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You guys are killing me! I get $100 off bundling both too...

We went to the movies today for the first time in a year, came back and
looked at the tape in the wall and thought that the bigger option
wasn't so big after all. But it is higher on the wall and
will get very close to the ceiling and might get tiring because of that. There's also the question of pixel
resolution to consider... My wife said she didn't want grain.




Maybe I should start with the upgrade to 65" plasma instead of the projector! LOL

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Sometimes I like to watch TV, and use a 19" HD monitor on my desk.

Sometimes I want the theatrical experience I think only a dark room and a front projection system can provide. I can't see firing up a projector to check the weather, and our present home is filled with light, high windows, open ceilings, more windows, short answer is that we have to go with either a panel or a rear projector. I'm thinking a few more small to medium sized LCD panels in various rooms, and 65 to 75 inch rear projector for the livingroom.

If you have the room to support a front projector, I say get one, but its a rapidly changing area of technology, so I suggest getting one with the intention of upgrading in maybe 5 years, and avoiding the highest cost models of the current batch.

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Wow, that would be just too close for me. Before locking in I suggest going to a movie theater during a VERY slow time and trying a few different distances.

Remember this isn't an eye test, its a movie, anytime you are conscious of any screen artifacts, the movie experience is reduced. This includes, wow my screen image is sharp, you really should not be noticing anything except the movie.

Interesting and valid point of view.

So what about 2.35:1 content? Well, I have no windows and no ambient
light and I use a low cost "Cinema Quality Matte White" screen with 1.2
gain along with my Epson 8350. I can't see the black bars at the top and bottom. There is no "distracting" letter-boxing interfering with the experience. The picture just seemlessly blends into space.

That is great to know, thanks. I would project to constant width, but not all movies are 2.35:1 anyway so a higher screen might come in useful. Knowing the white at the top might not be visible at all in my no-window room is great news. Plus, the 16:9 screen is $250 cheaper than the 16:9 of the same width...

FWIW, I sit 12 foot from my 9 foot diagnol (8 foot width) screen.

Another vote for the smaller one... Would a 65-inch plasma 10' away be a massive step down? Seems to me that I want a big difference between the two otherwise just get the plasma?

2.35:1 is not for everyone. I only watch bluray in the HT so for me, 16:9 isn't an option.

But movies are not all 2.35:1... How often do you watch movies in other formats? Do you pay attention to that at the video rental place?

We have 16:9 119" and sit about 10 feet back or about the diag of the screen, away from it. For me this is very comfortable.

Another vote for the smaller one. [;)]

I have a constant width screen setup so we get black bars on top and
bottom. This does not bother us but if it does you then you need to
address that.

Good to know!

Other than that, Congrats on reaching this stage of construction for your HT! I know you will enjoy it for many years to come!

Thanks!

In real life, you turn your head as well as move your eyes. Closer
viewing might put you in a more realistic experiential mode while
viewing the movie.

Yeah, I noticed when I went to the movies yesterday (seated closer than usual because the room was full) that I had to move my head but that it didn't distract me.

If you have the room to support a front projector, I say get one, but
its a rapidly changing area of technology, so I suggest getting one
with the intention of upgrading in maybe 5 years, and avoiding the
highest cost models of the current batch.

I tend to keep my gear past its due-date. [A]

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My wife said she didn't want grain.

If she is talking about photochemical grain in the film itself, she will see it at either screen size in grainy movies, but maybe not in fine grain movies. Good projectionists used to focus on the grain, sometimes using binoculars -- one had them on a tripod. If our circle of film buffs noticed we couldn't see the grain -- and see it sharply -- we would take a trip to the booth, or the candy counter to let the projectionist know there was a focus problem. Almost always the grain would then pop into focus. Grain, Yea! Most of the projectionists were quite open to hearing this, and if it was a booth visit, they sometimes invited us in while they made the correction. One gave us two 70 mm frames of Ben-Hur he had had to remove to make a splice to avoid damaged sprocket holes. I'm still showing them to people 51 years later. No, they are not faded, because they were stored correctly and were not projected very many times. If my guests use a magnifier and hold the two frames to a strong light, they can find grain, and the 70 mm version of B-H was one of the most grainless movies ever (except for one famous shot where they decided to print in).

I still think that trying both sizes over a period of time with many films would be the best way to go. Here are some grainy v.s. not grainy films to try. One disturbing factor is that sometimes digital transfers seem show the grain a bit more than good optical projection in a theater.

Fine Grain Films

Most, but not all, of:

Ben-Hur (the BD won't be out until this fall, but you could use it as a DVD example)

Practically any 70 mm film, or modern movie shot on film in those scenes outside in the bright light, where they didn't need fast and grainy film

Most VistaVision films, including the newly restored The Ten Commandments, one of the best restorations ever made. It's on BD

El Cid

Disney's Sleeping Beauty BD version

Moderate Grain Films:

CItizen Kane, believe it or not. THe BD is due soon

Grainy films:

Cassavetes's Faces

The opening shots in the jungle, near the rail tracks in Bridge on the River Kwai

Disney's Mary Poppins in most of the special effects shots

Pillow Talk, if you can stand renting it

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Your room looks great. Watching a movie on a screen like the ones you are considering is such a step up from watching on a television screen, even a large one. There's just no substitute to the BIG screen for getting that theatrical feeling! Good luck on the project.

In addition to the Panny you may want to take a look at the Epson 8350. This projector has a stunning image and sells for about $700 less than the Panny. Here's an article where it was named 2010 projector of the year as well as a shootout with the Panny model you are looking at (Projector Central did the shootout). To boil it all down, the Epson was rated in all aspects about the same as the Panny although it does not have a couple of the features such as the powered zoom, etc. The comparison is a few pages back. I've seen this projector a number of times and have always been impressed.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/epson_home_cinema_8350_projector_review.htm

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I have a 120" screen and I only sit about 11 feet away and have no problems....pic looks great and I can't see the pixels....even from 5 feet away I can't see the pixels! lol. I'm also in the minority......I have a 16:9 screen and love it bc I also watch a lot of HD tv on it AND I game a lot too on PS3 and Xbox and even Wii.....so the 16:9 is great. And I also stream a lot too so Netflix and Hulu HD are all 16:9 as well.....I like the 2.35 format but I actually prefer the 16:9 Blu Rays such as Avatar etc....nonetheless I am the same way as the others.....when it is pitch black in my room I get engrossed in the movie...and I never notice the black bars.....but I'm not as picky or sensitive as some folks tho. On TVs the bars are so noticable but on projectors not so much...especially with a really good screen. Not sure if its the size or something else.

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Do the actual aspect ratios you end up with various projectors actually match the real aspect ratios of the films? I think Robert A. Harris said the usual 70mm ratio of 2.2:1 ends up about 2.23:1 on BD. Do the 2.39:1 ARs of the later 35mm Panivision films show up as 2.39:1 or the older 2.35:1 when projected in home theaters? What is the AR of the widest configuration of Super 35? I'm trying to decide on whether to get a 2.35:1 or a 2.39 (2.40) projection screen. It would be a pity to get a 2.39 and have empty space at the top and bottom with classic 'scope films --- or to get a 2.35 and have 2.39s hang over on the sides, unless the black border on the screen absorbs enough light to render the hang-over invisible.

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They seem to match it pretty closely but I could be wrong since I only have a 16:9 film....but I can say that the 16:9 does not match up to my screen perfectly. I have really tiny gaps at the top and bottom so I just enlarged the pic a tiny bit.....as far as absorbing enough light to render the overhang invisible....the black borders on retractable screens are not good at absorbing light. It does absorb some light but you can tell you have overhang....once i got my fixed screen which has a black velvet border it was 100% better. Velvet does an amazing job at absorbing overhang and you will not be able to tell! Hope I helped!

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They seem to match it pretty closely but I could be wrong since I only have a 16:9 film....but I can say that the 16:9 does not match up to my screen perfectly. I have really tiny gaps at the top and bottom so I just enlarged the pic a tiny bit.....as far as absorbing enough light to render the overhang invisible....the black borders on retractable screens are not good at absorbing light. It does absorb some light but you can tell you have overhang....once i got my fixed screen which has a black velvet border it was 100% better. Velvet does an amazing job at absorbing overhang and you will not be able to tell! Hope I helped!

Do the tiny gaps top and bottom occur only with films that have the most common aspect ratio of 1.85:1, instead of the 1.78:1 of a 16:9 screen? I never could understand why they standardized at 16:9, since at the time nothing was 16:9 (some images are now 16:9, especially TV shows). I'm even cynical enough to think they used the 16:9 terminology so that people wouldn't know that it was 1.78:1 (narrower in aspect ratio than almost any contemporary cinema image) without doing the math, and that compared to theatrical images, what was being advertized as "widescreen HDTV" was actually narrower in aspect ratio than any new film one would see in the theater.

If you run a 2.35 film, do you get 2.35, or a little less? I can't tell on any of our TV sets because of overscan, or whatever it's called.

I'm looking at a Seymor retractable screen with black velvet borders ... I think they advertize it as being the only one.

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No the gaps occur on everything. HD programming, Hd gaming etc....but as I said they are less than 1/2" on the top and bottom. I do not have overscan enabled tho and as I said it could be that 16:9 isn't perfect on the projector bc with projectors you can shift the image up or down so I think the black bars are basically the "extra" pixels for shifting the screen. It looks like it is perfect without a screen but when I projected it onto the screen I had those really small gaps on the top and bottom unless I zoomed it out a little and overshot the screen......when I run 2.35 I get 2.35 but as I said the bars on the top and bottom are bigger but I don't notice them. You can def tell that you're watching a "wider" picture but at that size it still looks great. Of course it would look better with a native 2.35 screen and a lens bc you're not wasting pixels to show the black bars but I don't watch enough movies on it yet and I do too much other stuff which has the 16:9 ratio.....

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  • 2 months later...

I'm back! I let this drop for a while, but watching two movies over the weekend made methat my 50" is fine for TV, but the black bars on 2.35:1 content make the screen too small (not high enough). I had written

(Also posted on AVS...)

Hi all,



A proposed motorized will drop down in front of a plasma TV (50" on the
picture but will eventually upgrade to 65" as that will fit in the wall
inset). I have 58 1/4 inches clearance between the joists, where the
screen will be ceiling-mounted, and the top of the 35-inch high center
speaker. I will be putting in a suspended ceiling 3 inches below the
joists, and boxing in the screen assembly so it will be partly hidden.
The room has no windows. I will paint the ceiling so it won't be white. I
would like as wide a screen as I can fit and still be comfortable
viewing from 10 feet.



The picture shows two tape outlines: The bigger outline would be 128
inch (118x50) diagonal 2.35:1 and the inner outline would be 106-inch
(105x45) diagonal 2.35:1.



The projector will likely be a Panasonic PTAE4000 placed on the back wall, 17 to 18 feet from the screen.



My options are:

  • 128 inch (118x50) diagonal 2.35:1. The panny would project black bars
    above and below the screen when projecting cinemascope, hitting the
    painted ceiling. Is that a problem? It would be near impossible for
    the kids to go into the play room through that door by scooting by the
    screen.
  • 114-inch (105x45) diagonal 2.35:1. Same as before, but this size seems
    perhaps more reasonable 10 feet away, and we could still use that door
    with the screen lowered.
  • Get the 105-wide model in 16:9 format (105x59, 120-in diagonal). Lower
    the screen to the top of the center speaker for 2.35:1 movies leaving
    some white screen on the roller, and project black on the top part of
    the screen, leaving some screen above that with nothing projected on it.
    When watching movies in other format, I get more vertical screen to
    play with. I could even drop the screen completely for 16:9 format
    movies, obscuring the tweeter, but mount a second tweeter lower within
    the center speaker bass bin (switchable between the two).

It's all about angles... THX theater recommendations says that the minimum screen angle (back row) should be 36 degrees and maximum (front row) 53 degrees. I have 58.5" clearance between the top of my La Scala and the ceiling joists where I can hang an electric screen. The largest 16:9 screen that I can fit that clears the tweeter (barely) is:

106 diagonal 16:9 (92"x52")
Provides 100-inch diagonal 2.35:1 screen (92x39)
Viewing angle of 42.1 degrees

Not too bad. The screen is $1250 and since I would use a fixed setup on the projector (no zoom change), I could get by with an Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 8350 projector ($1200, as recommended on this very thread; Thanks!)

The extreme I can go is:

135 inch diagonal 16:9 (118x66)
Provides 128 inch diagonal 2.35:1 (118x50)
Viewing angle of 52.2 degrees (close to THX maximum!)

The full height of this larger screen is 72 to 73 inches and blocks the La scala mid-driver. Therefore, it would never be used this way but would be a cheaper alternative to 2.35:1 version of the same width screen (a custom size). I would simply leave the excess white screen on the roller. I would lower the screen to the La Scala top and project 2.35:1 right up to the edge of the screen-mount, 1 inch below the suspended ceiling. I would project the black bars onto the ceiling a bit, so that might be a con. For 16:9 content, I would need to zoom the projector in to occupy the 50" height, leaving bars on the sides. I'd need a more expensive projector with different automatic lens shift and zoom setting (Panasonic PT-AE7000, $1900). The screen is $1800.

Therefore, HDTV format content would be projected at about the same size on both screens. Widescreen content would be much bigger on the larger screen. The attached picture shows the two sizes.

Pros and cons of the bigger screen:

Pro:

  • 64% bigger area than the 106-inch on 2.35:1 content!!

Cons:

  • I would never unroll the whole screen (but only I know that, really).
  • The image would always be very close to the ceiling (does it matter when it's dark?)
  • The 118-inch wide projected image for 2.35:1 is a stretch for the projector (so the image contrast won't be as good).
  • At the edge of being too big.
  • the bottom bar of the screen is 137 inches and would block the door to the kid's room completely. They would have to push against the screen to get by it if it were lowered (The 106" screen blocks half the door, so they might be able to scoot by).
  • $1450 more expensive after taxes.

post-15702-13819665167792_thumb.jpg

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Pros and cons of the bigger screen:

Pro:

  • 64% bigger area than the 106-inch on 2.35:1 content!!

Cons:

  • I would never unroll the whole screen (but only I know that, really).
  • The image would always be very close to the ceiling (does it matter when it's dark?)
  • The 118-inch wide projected image for 2.35:1 is a stretch for the projector (so the image contrast won't be as good).
  • At the edge of being too big.
  • the bottom bar of the screen is 137 inches and would block the door to the kid's room completely. They would have to push against the screen to get by it if it were lowered (The 106" screen blocks half the door, so they might be able to scoot by).
  • $1450 more expensive after taxes.

Although I can't speak for being "to big" given my screen is smaller than the your smaller option (a 2.35:1 at about 104") ... but I can say I don't regret using the lens shift and having the image skimming the ceiling as this is what I did in order to maximize the size with my lower ceilings.

Two idiosyncrasies though:

  • I should have used flat black paint for the ceiling. Even though I used a very low sheen black, I can see that sheen because of the projector, although I wouldn't call it distracting. Next time it's going to be flat.
  • I don't know if this is true for blu-ray (or others) but my DVD player's onscreen operational status symbols (like pause, play, etc) as well as subtitles are projected onto those black bars because it assumes you have a 16:9 screen. So when I'm zoomed in at 2.35 they will project either onto the ceiling or the centre channel / sub rack.

Neither are deal breakers for me...

It's unfortunate for that door placement though. Let us know what you decide on...
ROb

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Hi Rob,

Actually the smaller 106" yiels 100" diagonal on 2.35;1, so smaller than your 104". How far back do you sit?

Good point about the menus and stuff. I'll have the same issue. And great advice about the ceiling. I am not sure of the color, it might be a dark brown, but I'll make sure it's flat. Thanks!

As for the door, well on the plus side I get to inset my La Scala in that space. [Y]

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It's all about angles... THX theater recommendations says that the minimum screen angle (back row) should be 36 degrees and maximum (front row) 53 degrees.

I've been taking a little detachable customized viewfinder into movie theaters for decades to measure relative image size (height and width). In many theaters, especially those originally designed or re-worked for 70 mm, the width of the image can be MUCH greater than the 53 degrees that THX recommends as a maximum for the front row . 60 degrees would be about what you would get from the 17th or 18th row of the Coronet in San Francisco, with the original Todd-A0 installation. We sat in the 9th row for a showing of Around the World in 80 Days (1956 version, in 70 mm Todd-AO); the image was about 90 degrees wide, and looked great!

The reason I like common height is that it allows 2.35:1 (and other true wisescreen aspect ratios) to be of much greater area than standard format (1.85:1 or 1.78:1), the way they were meant to be. If the director/cinematographer selects 2.35, they are intending us to see a bigger, not a smaller, image. A letterbox style 2.35, with black bars, on a 1.78 screen reduces impact and immersion, IMO. When I lived In the S.F. Bay area there was only one common width theater (the Berkeley) -- all the rest were common height, except for a few Art Houses, and even one of those had a great, silver, 2.35:1 screen, and used common height (The Cinema Guild on Shattuck and Haste).

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