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Creating a 'cave'. Is is worth it...

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by cyberheater, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. cyberheater

    cyberheater
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    I see a lot of our american friends in the Avsforums have created 'caves'. Really dark/black rooms. They say it makes a big difference to the contrast levels achieved by the home cinema setup.

    Has anyone else had experience of this. I would like some feedback before I attempt the six month slog to convince the wife how wonderful the new experience would be...
     
  2. phillfyspoon

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    I know I would do it if I had the spare room it would look great just seeing the screen and not the cream walls next to it lol. I would of thought you could get the very best out of the projector in a completly black room. If you can do it, go for it. Put some in ceiling dimmer lights in they look great create a real effect.
     
  3. Rattus

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    This may have been rasied before, but an alternative to making a cave as you mention is to add some subtle lighting either side of the screen, but with no spill onto it.

    This has the effect, if done well, of making the screen blacks appear darker. That's the approach I intend to try in our room, should be interesting to see if we can do it tastefully.

    Martyn
     
  4. DVDcake

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    I think I read somewhere recently that a backlight behind the screen can increase the percieved contrast as long as the source is hidden completely.
     
  5. Mr.D

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    Backlighting is not applicable to projection only direct view .
     
  6. popeckia

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    on what do you base that statement? A light source behind the screen most definitely has the effect of making blacks appear deeper. Nobody is claiming that they actually are blacker, and in anything but a perfectly light controlled room they would of course be slightly LESS black, but the perception remains.

    It is rather irrelevant what the source of the picture is, CRT TV, digital projector, plasma... the effect is the same regardless
     
  7. Mr.D

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    I'm basing that on the fact I sit in front of a calibrated monitor all day which does have very carefully set-up backlighting for colour correcting film.

    And then I go into a 35mm screening theatre to look at the stuff I've just filmed out and we want the room as dark as possible apart fromt he screen whilst the projector is on.
     
  8. Smurfin

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    Don't be so sure, Jeff on the forums has - I believe - a backlit Stewart screen.
     
  9. Mr.D

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    I'm sure.
     
  10. GaryG

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    I have converted my garage for use as a cinema, the ceiling and half the walls are painted matt black, the lower half of the walls are carpeted with black carpet. In short it's like the 'black hole of Calcutta', my wife will not go near it! Oh, and to answer your original question, yes it improves contrast, however, if I were to do it again I would go for some Teracotta coloured carpet to break up the black, it's a bit too oppressive.

    EDIT:

    Just realised which forum we're in. The black room doesn't work well with DLP projectors, it highlights their limitations with blacks. I used to have an NEC 150 DLP in the room, was hoping to replace my CRT with something a little smaller, but it wasn't successful. I also tried the grey screen idea but would suggest that for a panel projector the 'back light' idea is probably best, it also reduces the effect of 'rainbows', I used to get a cracking headache from the 'rainbow' effect.
     
  11. popeckia

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    That's all very nice but changes absolutely nothing with regards the reasons why people might elect to have backlighting in a home cinema front projection setup.

    Digital projectors, particularly LCD, have notoriously poor black levels. It's a distraction when viewing them, but back lighting gives a very clear perception to the viewer that the projector is indeed producing a very solid black as opposed to the murky grey that it actually produces.

    Whether or not you "want the room as dark as possible" is really not the issue
     
  12. theritz

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    I assume you mean "bias lighting" - have read about percieved benefit of this, and understand the principle, but find fuilly masking the screen wall did the trick for me - white screen in a sea of light absorbing black made a huge difference to the visual impact. Have a dedicated room, but wouldnot like a "cave" - all black. Cieling is still white, walls dark matt blue, hence no reflected light on screen from walls. Will probably go for a dark blue or black ceiling in planed update of room after Christmas, but I feel the "all black" effect is over the top.

    BTW, chacking out he HT builders form over an extended period, I reckon far more avsérs favout dark or neutral coloured decors for dedicated room HCs.

    My 2c.....

    Sean G.
     
  13. gandley

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    its one of those things if u think it makes it better than go with it.
    personaly reducing wall reflection worked wonders tried a bit of backlighting but didnt notice much difference so abandoned the idea.
     
  14. Bristol Pete

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    my 12 foot long cinema room could be classed as cave like.

    Its decorated in a very deep purple, which crown paints describe as 'emporer'.

    All of the walls and the ceiling + coving painted in this colour and I have a black carpet with a lovely black leather sofa. The AV racks are finished in a dark kinda grey colour with smoked glass doors and matching DVD racks.

    The purple really offsets the chrome legs, my mission speaker stands and the other assorted bits and bobs.

    I do have the rear window totally blacked out as we simply stapled black out material around the frame...when you turn out the light without the PJ on, you cannot see your hand in front of your face !!!

    I do have a website but I have not yet managed to borrow a digi cam to finish the site. Will post when complete.

    Cap:)

    best of all, I have a hand painted picture of Bruce Lee in a black frame which my wife bought me as a lovely surprise.
     
  15. cyberheater

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    Captain: Do you think that your cave significantly improves on the contrast level of the image...
     
  16. Bristol Pete

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    In a word yes.

    The great thing about the afore mentioned 'emporer' colour is that it is lovely and dark but not oppressive and with the screen juxtapose against the colour, the wall with the screen may as well be black as that is how it appears with the PJ on.

    Website should appear soon.....

    Cap:)
     
  17. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    OK,

    If you have a device that has limited black level ability then making the room really dark just makes the thing more obviously poor in this regard.

    Bias lighting small field of iew monitors is a good idea.

    I have fitted lighting behind projection screens in many installtions but this is for dramatic effect on entering the cinema....not while viewing the thing! Especially with a CRT PJ.....

    If you have fixed pixel device then artificially raising the "noise" or light level within the viewing environment (ie by having wall ewash lights at sides out of direct view) whilst having rest of room dark non reflective colours, will create a much greater perceived contrast.

    So BLACK for CRT, dark non reflective colours with some ambient light for other current technolgies in my book.

    Gordon
     
  18. cyberheater

    cyberheater
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    Gordon: Sounds like good advice. We have used some miniture lights (they look a bit like christmas tree lights) along one wall but not too near the screen for a bit of ambient and it seem to merge the ambient light level with the lowest light level attainable on screen for my LCD setup. Now I know why.

    Also makes it a bit more wife friendly.
     
  19. richard plumb

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    so is that ambient light near or behind the screen (but not washing onto it)?

    Or ambient light beside or behind the viewing position?

    I can try the latter, but the former would require more work.

    Assume you need to recalibrate afterwards?
     
  20. Godfather

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    This is news to me. I always thought the darker the better and that black is best for all situations. I'll hold off painting my walls and try some ambient lighting.
     
  21. popeckia

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    I think the key with digital projection with bias lighting is to ensure it doesn't cast any light onto the screen. Hence the preference for putting lights behind the screen.

    It's my personal view, that an ideal setup for digital projection is the screen, slightly in front of a relatively light coloured wall, and a light source between the two. (Obviously this requires a totally opaque screen material so that light doesn't shine *through* it).

    All other walls should be as close to black as possible to avoid any reflected light from your light source to bounce back onto the screen washing it out.

    Assuming a "perfect" black is obtained on all other walls there will be asolutely no reduction in actual contrast level, however the light source will give a much higher perceived black due to the way the eye reacts to more light coming in.
     
  22. Godfather

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    I was going to get a black out blind to totally block out the window behind my screen - now I don't think I'll bother!
     
  23. gandley

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    daylight is a bit different to ambient light, if u do this the screen best cover the whole window or it will wash the pic out.

    as was said behind screen lighting just gives the OH theres the screen effect and makes no dicernable quality to pic.

    ive found slight rear of room lighting to be most effective as it cuts down on the screens glow in very bright scencs reducing eye squint (er strain...thanks jeff)

    but each to there own
     
  24. Jeff

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    I like my screen backlit even though its a CRT, firstly it stop the kids screaming when the screen goes blank for a second. ;) Secondly I think it helps the presentation, it makes it look like a giant plasma (but with good PQ ;)), Thirdly it reduces eye strain.
     

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