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Screen colour: Grey or White

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by Frankeh, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. Frankeh

    Frankeh
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    I have the option to choose between a grey or white screen.. what are the advantages of both?

    can someone advice me which color: white or grey would suit me the best?

    * 80% of the time I'll be playing games: XBOX, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360 soon
    * I can close my curtains and none light from outside will get through + I have dark walls (= dark red)

    It's a matter of: do you want your image to be bright (choose white) or to be a bit darker (choose grey)

    since my room is in good conditions to project dark black's the obvious choise would be a white screen? no?
     
  2. MikeK

    MikeK
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    since my room is in good conditions to project dark black's the obvious choise would be a white screen? no?

    Perhaps, but it really depends on a few things - how much light does your PJ output, how big is your screen, how bright you like the image.


    All PJs leak a certain amount of light - that is, when "projecting" black, the screen is never truly black, it's dark grey. A grey screen can make this dark grey appear to be darker than it would look on a white screen. The flip side is that it will make whites (and any other colour) not quite as bright. Now because we don't see in a linear fashion, we are usually a bit more sensitive to the change in black level than we are to the change in the white level, and hence we get a perceived increase in contrast. The contrast ratio doesn't actually change, but it does appear to.
    You can of course go too far, especially if you don't really have enopugh light output to start with though!

    An easy way to check which you like best is to get an old piece of board and paint one half matt white and the other matt grey (Icestorm 5 or 6 is the usual suspect - a 250ml tester is available at B&Q for £1.99), and then see which you like best.
    As ever, personal preference probably plays as much a part in this as all the figures - so it's really suck it and see. What I meant by going too far, is that if you have a PJ which is already a tad dimm on a white screen, then switching to grey would not be a good idea - whilst lower black levels are nice, it's not the only thing which makes up a decent image!
     
  3. Frankeh

    Frankeh
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    Thanks for your long response Mike,I really appreciate it!

    I have the Sanyo Z3

    brightness --> 2000:1
    800 ANSI lumen
    my screen is 85" diagonal
     
  4. Frankeh

    Frankeh
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    so going by those specs.. ?
     
  5. Kramer

    Kramer
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    I'd go with white :) . You could use filters on the Z3 as an alternative etc.

    :smoke:
     
  6. MikeK

    MikeK
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    TBH, I'd go along with Kramer's advice really - with your PJ and screen size, probably best to stick with white.
    Light grey might just be OK too, but at the screen size, personally I don't think your PJ will output enough light to make this viable.
    However personal preference does come into this as well!

    When calibrated for best video, the Z3 puts out around 300-400 lumens (probably closer to 300 though, I suspect), which on a 21 sq ft screen means around 14-18 fL brightness on screen (ignoring any ambient light issues - but your light control seems OK) This is pretty much in the right ball park.
    Switching to a 0.8 gain grey screen would mean around 11-15 fL on screen.

    Playing safe and using the 300 lumen output figures means 14fL on screen with a white 1.0 gain screen, and 11fL on screen with a 0.8 gain grey screen.
    In this case, personally I'd definitely go with white.

    However, if you have the cash (they are a bit more expensive), there are positive gain grey screens too (Stewart for one, but not cheap) - sort of best of both worlds so to speak.
    Using a 1.3 gain grey screen would give you 18fL on screen along with slightly darker blacks at the same time - the downside is that the viewing angle is narrower (as it is with all positive gain screens), but it shouldn't be too bad.
     
  7. Frankeh

    Frankeh
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    I just went to a projector shop where I watched gladiator on a grey screen.. (gain 1.0) and I was asking what I should pick best going by the fact I can block any light coming from outside, having a Sanyo Z3 (contrast 2000:1, 800 ANSI lumen and a screen that isn't big: 85" diagonal) he told me I should go with the grey one.. since the sanyo creates a nice amount of contrast (2000:1) and since the fact I don't have a big screen (85" diagonal)

    he said, how smaller your screen how better your blacks.. how more powerful your colours will be (since your light comes in a smaller amount of space because of the small screen) and since I already have a big contrast PJ (2000:1) I should go with grey

    He putted a little white paper on the screen so I could see the difference.. I didn't directly see a big difference because the sheet of paper was too small...

    PS: when will my colours look more natural? On a white screen or on a grey screen? He said grey is the most neutral colour so the colours should look more natural on a grey screen.

    do you guys agree with him? Because I just read the comment of you guys, MikeK and Kramer.. I ordered it, I can still call and ask for a white screen.. so that's not the problem.
     
  8. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Frankeh

    As I posted earlier,

    "As ever, personal preference probably plays as much a part in this as all the figures"

    The fact that the grey screen you've ordered has a 1.0 gain (usually they are negative gain (in other words, gains less than 1.0, eg 0.8)) should mean that you don't lose any brightness compared to typical matt white screens (which are usually 1.0 gain too).
    It should work well!

    As to colour, as long as the grey is a neutral grey, then it shouldn't affect the colours - what a typical grey screen might do is tone down their brightness or vibrancy
    compared to a white screen (due to typically lower gain), which in some situations may make them seem a bit muted in comparison.
     
  9. Frankeh

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    My brand is Beamax, when you check their site www.beamax.com (choose english on the top of the window) and you go to my type of screen (A series, dedicated screens) you have 2 kinds of screens.. "matt white = gain 1.2" and "High Contrast = gain 1"

    High Contrast means grey right? So going by that.. ? Grey was a good choice?
     
  10. MikeK

    MikeK
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    Not 100% sure on Beamax (your dealer will confirm) but it would appear that the High Contrast 1.0 gain screen is grey!

    You'll only be able to tell for sure if it was a "good" choice once you've seen it - but I'd be surprised if it wasn't fine (assuming everything else is all functioning as per spec)
     
  11. Frankeh

    Frankeh
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    someone, not from this board, said the following

    grey beamax screen : 1.0 gain
    white beamax screen: 1.2 gain

    so is he right that in a very dark room you won't see any difference in color/dark quality because the grey screen has a gain of 1.0 (most are 0.8 etc)

    just tell me what I should choose best, white or grey going by the following specs:

    800 ANSI lumen
    85" diagonal
    1.0 gain for a grey screen, 1.2 gain for a white screen
    2000:1 contrast

    since I'm a projector noob.. just say white or grey, so I can call that shop. :)

    It's more important for me how the colors look instead of the blacks...

    I'm sorry for being such a newbie in this, just tell me what to choose because obviously I can't choose on my own :p
     
  12. MikeK

    MikeK
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    You must make up your own mind - I can't do this for you. What I can do is set out the pros and cons of each as I see them - then you must decide (or seek alternative opinions) - it's your money and it's you who will be watching it!

    Bottom line is that the grey will be a bit dimmer than the white, but with slightly darker blacks, while the white screen will be a tad brighter than the grey, but with slightly lighter blacks. Take your choice - I suspect both will be perfectly watchable, and I wouldn't expect a massive amount of difference between them, but in the end it comes down to personal preference.

    Me? I'd probably go for the 1.0 gain grey screen. :)
     
  13. Frankeh

    Frankeh
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    I made a decision, since I'll mostly be playing games which have flashy colours most of the time instead of dark ones (like movies) I choose to go with the white screen... + I can block every light coming from outside and I have dark red walls so I'll have automatically good blacks.. with or without a grey screen.
     
  14. Theta

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    I recently got some icestorm 6 which i painted over the pure white paint i tried at first, have to say its much better as colours and blacks stand out nicer.

    Only thing i need to improve is the smoothness of the pain, anyone got any good tips?
     

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