New Lounge: Screen & lighting considerations


Active Member
I'm waiting on building work to start on a new lounge but when complete it will be approx 8M x 3.5M. After a recent demo I've decided on buying an Optoma HD70 but I can't make my mind up when it comes to a screen. :rolleyes:

The demo was on a 1.1 gain and while the picture was fantastic the room was VERY dark. My wife while keen on the idea of watching films on a large PJ screen has concerns over being immersed in darkness and not being able to see the hand in front of her face. So.......

I just wondered how far I can push the ambient light if I use a higher gain screen. I was thinking along the lines of some kind of low power lamp or lighting towards the rear of the room, ie well behind the PJ and seating, approx 7M from the screen. The ceiling will be white and the walls an off-white colour so I would imagine that won't help the situation.

Could I do things like:

Use a smaller screen to concentrate more light on a smaller area, thereby giving a brighter image than would be the case on a larger screen?

Make sure the lamp/light is low down so no direct light from the bulb will hit the screen?

At the moment I thinking along the lines of a GreyWolf II with a gain of 1.8. I did look at the Beamax website but the screens with gains above 1.1 were all electric as far as I could tell. My plan is to have a ceiling mounted screen somewhere in the region of 70"-92" with the PJ approx 4M from it (sat on a table) and a sofa directly behind. There'll be a dining table at the far end of the room so I've only got approx 5M-6M to play in.

Any comments/advice much appreciated. :)


I use a Sim2 projector which i think may be dimmer than the hd70. However my pj is in a family lounge with a white ceiling with cream wallpaper and a dark carpet and when all the lights are off and the curtains are drawn, the room is dark but the picture is still fantastic and I am using a matt white screen with a gain of 1.1. I know that the picture would probably be even better with dark walls, ceiling etc but am happy with what i have.

Remember that all projector lamps will also lose brightness after a while. If you saw the demo at a dealer showroom, chances are that he/she would be to control the lighting witha dimmer anyway, so try asking for some lights to be turned up and then have a look at the picture.

Have a read also at and click on the link for 'buying tips'. They have a very good article called 'The bigger picture' on how to buy the right screen.

Hope that helps



Standard Member
Hi sweevo. Sorry about this very late reply. My situation regarding lighting conditions was very similar. Neither myself or my wife wanted to sit in a completly dark room. We went for a high-gain screen with downlights behind it. The lights were positioned in such a way that minimised the spill in the direction of the screen, and they are on a dimmer that allows us to control the spill further and reduce the light to a pleasant background level that makes watching the screen very restfull. We still of course have the option to turn them off completly, although we havn't had the need to do that. Some photos in my inclusion in the Members Home Cinema Gallery (it was a while ago but a search within this section should find it - its called 'Up the Wooden Hill' ) give you an idea of the light levels. You can see the downlights are not far behind the screen - about a foot or so.
Hope this helps


Distinguished Member
I have an AE1000, which is not the brightest PJ and I use it with an ND4 filter to further improve the blacks. My 'solution' is to place a single 'tea light' in a ceramic cover on a side table directly in front of where we sit. To stop the orange light shining onto the screen I use a spare DVD case opened out as a shield (a photo would be much easier than trying to explain:rolleyes:). This allows us to see our glasses, nibbles and wine bottle during the film, but doesn't spoil the picture on the screen. It's surprising how much the screen lights up the room anyway.....

My room has light side walls and a white ceiling and only the screen wall is dark brown I find it easy enough to see if I need to get up during the helps that the room door has glass in it and I can leave a single (dim) light on in the kitchen to aid navigation. It just takes a little planing or lateral thinking as putting any light on in the PJ room will reduce the picture quality by some degree. I suppose I'm lucky that the door is set well back from the screen and that helps the screen end of the room to be as dark as possible, while the sofa end is softly lit. Your room layout sounds similar to mine, except where your dining table will be is just a walk way through to the conservatory, giving a space behind the sofa and my PJ sits on a bookcase shelf at the back of the room (like a proper cinema:D).

FWIW I use a 1.8 gain Greywolf II screen, which helps reduce reflections from side walls and ceilings as it 'focuses' reflected light due to the glass bead structure. It also improves blacks due to the grey colour of the screen surface. I can use my PJ during the day by changing the PJ to a brighter setting and removing the ND filter if I want to...but the picture isn't anywhere near as good as that at night with the filter on. If you search the Member's Gallery section under 'KelvinS1965's setup', I'll try to add some pics later of the 'drinks table' as well.:thumbsup:

EDIT: Some pictures added to my Member's Gallery thread showing the drinks table..I set it up to take the pictures and then deceided I might as well watch a film...thanks for that!

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