Maximising Viewing Area wrt Aspect Ratio and Screen Size

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Tony Poole, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. Tony Poole

    Tony Poole
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    Hi all - I'm completely new to this forum so bear with me... I've owned an NEC HT1000 projector for 11 years and it finally gave up the ghost. We've enjoyed watching movies using a projector for so long that I instantly replaced it with a newer model. I went for the Epson TW8100 which is a great projector but I have a question about our viewing area (screen).
    We didn't swap the old Draper Baronet 4:3 (100 inch diag) screen and we're trying to maximise the use of the screen area when watching films. Now I know that the native ratio of the LCD panel in the projector is 1920x1080 so we've already restriced our viewing area on the screen to 80 x 44 inches but when watching 2:35 : 1 films we're reduced down to 80 x 34 inches.
    We were used to a film filling the screen and to go from 80 x 60 to 80 x 34 is a bit of a shock. Now most of you will say 'that's the way it is' and I should have bought a 4:3 projector or I should go and buy a different screen but surely there's a way of increasing our viewable image or is this really where I just have to adjust to the new way of watching movies?
     
  2. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    I wouldn't say " that's the way it is " personally - I would say that's the the tech we use pushes us or how our homes compromise things, but I would say that you should buy a new screen.

    Scope movies should be the widest and most immersive, and if possible, your room would have an 11.75 foot wide 2.35 screen that is the same height as your current 4:3 screen. If you do that, you would have converted your existing set up in exactly the same way as movie theatres (who could) did back in the 50s when scope was rolled out. The spec said that the screen should be twice the width of the current 4:3 screen, and you'll be kinda doing that - assuming your room is wide enough and you can place your new projector so that it can zoom for both 2.35 and 16:9 (I'm guessing an anamorphic lens isn't in your buy list at the moment). If you want a 2.35 set up to maximise all formats it'll have to have a zoom range of more than 1.33:1.

    If the width isn't doable - what is your room size, and can you move your seating closer if necessary? Is it a dedicated room?

    Cheapest option to remove the shock factor of going vertically smaller, would be to move your seats closer so that the 16:9 height appears visually the same as it did when you watched 4:3 from where your seats are now. Did you watch a lot of 4:3 or zoom everything to fill the height?

    I used to have an NEC HT1000 and used it in 16:9 mode on a 16:9 screen in a dedicated room. Scope was shown incorrectly letterboxed within the 16:9 image, but 4:3 was fine as it had black side bars, so was the correct size. I always found 2.35 movies too small so moved on to a 2.35 screen with my next pj.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  3. Pecker

    Pecker
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    The bottom line is, 'scope is always going to look a bit 'lost' in the middle of a 4:3 screen.

    I'm not intending to be rude here, but our American cousins have a saying - sh*t or get off the pot. I think what I mean is, you're either going to have to get used to only filling half your screen, or you're going to have to buy a new screen.

    You could always zoom to crop the picture, but that has its own obvious limitations, problems, etc.

    A new screen needn't cost the earth. You can build your own, and even new ones can be had quite cheaply.

    Good luck.

    Steve W
     
  4. Tony Poole

    Tony Poole
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    Thanks for the replies fellas - it would seem like the only option is a new screen. The room is 12 foot wide and we sit 15 - 16 foot from the screen. The projector has plenty of movement in terms of zoom so squeezing a wider screen in isn't going to be an issue - just a question of which one now as I utilise the 12v trigger function on the projector. We've always been happy with the draper but then we've only ever had one screen so I've nothing to compare it to. Screens are another mine field in terms of material, gain, colour etc so I guess it's time to start reading other threads about screens. Thanks again.
     
  5. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Decent size room, gives you lots of options.

    Having moved from a 4:3 screen you have three options - a 1.78:1 (16:9) ratio, a 2.40:1 ratio, or an in-between 2.00:1/2.05:1 ratio. I went for the latter - you can see the results in the link in my sig.

    There are pros and cons to each, so enjoy yourself researching.

    Steve W
     
  6. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    I would experiment by projecting onto the wall and see what ratios etc work best for you. Judging by your seating distance, whatever you do, I would try and keep your screen height the same as your current screen (60ins), otherwise you may get the feeling of having gone backwards because nothing will be as tall as before - unless you can move your seats closer. Unless it's a dedicated room, that's probably not an option.

    I think experimentation is key before you buy a new screen, and it might be a good idea to make sure the pj you get has the zoom and lens shift capability to try out out all aspect ratios.

    Gary
     
  7. Pecker

    Pecker
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    Gary's spot on.

    If you can project on to the wall and try out different ideas, that's the best bet.

    From what I can tell your new projector has plenty of zoom and lens shift, so you shouldn't have too many problems.

    Steve W
     
  8. AidenL

    AidenL
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    Im running a 104" 16:9 screen and sitting 14 feet away with a 1080 projector - what would be recommended seating distance for that screen and a 120"?

    Is there a set of guidelines anywhere?
     
  9. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    THX suggest 2.4 x the screen height to 3.68 x SH with good HD material, and closer being more more immersive. 3.68 is where they recommend the back row of one of their certified theatres should be. In your case, around 10 feet back from a 104" diagonal 16:9 screen puts you where THX suggest is their optimal seating ratio.

    if you had a 120" diag screen (I asume that's what you're asking - I missed it the first time I read your post), 14 feet seating distance would put you at around 2.8 x SH, so more immersive and within the guidelines. A much better viewing experience IMHO. :)

    SMPTE recommend between 2 to 4 x SH, as do CEDIA, using at a 3 x SH as start point, but it's down to personal preference at the end of the day. Some people sit as close as 2xSH and see pixels only on bright scenes, so that would suggest that (with DLP in this case) 2XSH is probably the limit unless you prefer the immersion over the image quality.

    You're sitting at around 3.3xSH which puts you nearer the back row of a commercial theatre set up. Have you tried experimenting with seating distances to see what works best for you?

    If you can go bigger/wider, have you considered a 2.35 screen? If your pj has a zoom ratio greater than 1.33 and lens shift, you could get a 2.35 screen and zoom scope movies larger to fill the screen. That way 2.35 movies are seen as designed - same height and wider than 16:9. You may still want to experiment with screen sizes on the wall to see what works best for you before buying a screen.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2014

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