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Projector Screen or Projector Paint

There are certain instances where there is only one contender for the application.

For example, if you are doing rear projection on a glass sheet and your image and height is over 1.5M (the roll width) you cannot use material of a roll without introducing a seam. Likewise if there are curves on the glass or acrylic you will need rear projection paint.

With front projection some home cinema users have their cinema set up with their screen in front of a window, in some circumstances a bay window. There is only one option- a retracting (pull down or electric) screen.

If you have a standard flat wall in a room there will be an installation choice of:-

  1.  Pull down screen

  2.  Electric screen

  3.  Electric screen with tabs

  4.  Fixed screen

  5.  Painted screen

Lets go through the advantages and disadvantages of the above.

1) Pull downs are mainly budget screens and susceptible to damage firstly from the courier as these screens are often shipped in cardboard packing. The delivery driver will do their best. Then secondly the ratchet pull down will be pulled excessively or at an angle and there will come a day that they will not self retract.

Another issue is the quality of the painted vinyl which will curl inwards from the sides and ripple across the surface. Manufacturers try to get round this by using a weighted bar along the bottom of the screen.

2) Electric screens tend to arrive to the user without being bent, as the packaging is better and the cases are a much better quality, but they are bulky and heavy. The best place for them is on the ceiling, though your joists for some reason always run the long way, and getting the electric cable to them without using conduit is always a trick. They are unsightly in a multi user room. They still suffer from curling in on the sides.

3) To get rid of the curling we have good quality electric screens with tabs running down each side of the screen pulling the sides of the screen outwards with a cord. This works on the basis of 'if you cannot fix it, feature it' but sometimes the tabs get caught with all the dropping and retracting the screen, but basically they are expensive and tabs do not look good - although they are the best solution for a retracting screen.

4) The fixed screen from a quality manufacturer is a good solution for a cinema screen. The main disadvantage is its use for a non dedicated room. The screen is always there, a big framed oblong nothing on the wall. Fine for a dedicated cinema room.

Except if we want to be picky, we have a 16:9 fixed screen, it is expecting to show a 16:9 content but we now live with many directors special aspect ratios. So we end up having our image flush up to the left and the right of the fixed frame, but leaving the projectors over spill of native light above and below the image before it hits the frame. There are screens with a masks to remedy this issue, at a price.

5) A painted screen needs to have a flat wall, not a problem for most people but may need checking if you have an Ultra Short Throw projector. Easy to apply by spray gun, if you are a sprayer. For those used to DIY its a case of getting the rollers out, but this might not be for everyone.

The benefits are that you are only restricted by your wall size. You can zoom your image in or out to change your image size. The wall looks good when you turn the projector off - no oblong frame on the wall. The manufacturer of paint does not constrain your viewing pleasure to several fixed sizes. All the different aspect ratios are catered for. If you want a commercial sized screen there are significant advantages in cost and reliability. Those big electric roller screens cost a fortune to ship from Poland and Italy with a metal roller which has got to be capable of with-standing the dreaded   sag overtime in the middle of the roller. There is also no lead time with paint - if you want a large screen, buy another pot.

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