What is the best height for a screen?

Discussion in 'Projectors, Screens & Video Processors' started by netsukekoi, Jan 11, 2012.

  1. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    I think I have decided to go for a projector - the new Epson 3D HD 6000 model is current favourite.

    Anyway, am planning the layout and positioning of all of the components and assume I need to ceiling mount and lower the projector so it is in line with the screen to avoid the need to use the keystone correction, so am wondering how high my screen should be / where it should be in relation to the viewer.

    Seating will be about 3M / 9' from the screen and am thinking of a 100" 16:9 projection screen.

    Any comments or guidance will be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Tight Git

    Tight Git
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    It's a personal preference of course, but I like my eye level (seated) to be about a third of the screen height down from the top, so news readers etc are looking me straight in the face (or should that be the other way round?).

    As with choosing a screen size, why not first project on to the wall to see what you're comfortable with?

    It seems fashionable to site flat screens over fire places, where you have to look up at them.

    Reckon that would do my neck in!
     
  3. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    Thanks Mr Git, think we are thinking along the same lines.

    I just found this: Vertical Viewing Angle

    It seems to suggest you can have the screen anywhere as long as the viewing angle is in the 10-20 degree range but I was wondering if anyone had anything about where to start and stop this arc.....
     
  4. mathew

    mathew
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    I think you want to not exceed 15 degrees from eyes to top or bottom of screen. Another rule of thumb is eyes 1/3rd to half way up from the bottom. I wouldn't have it 1/3 from top, imo looking down is worse than looking up as long as looking up isn't more than 15 degrees.

    I have had a problem meeting this spec when looking at screens as even with 8' ceilings I need a much higher top border than is the norm to acheive this (Im ceiling mounting so can't lower the casing on the wall). I was going to go with a Beamax m-100 but probably going for a grandview now (65cm top boder plus casing) as have had a bad experience with Beamax. Screenline will make one to order with a large top border (2-3 weeks lead time) and so will Sapphire (8-12 weeks lead time as from china).
     
  5. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    Mathew, Thanks for this - can I ask what your problem was with Beamax?

    Looking at the Epson, it needs to be mounted level with the bottom of the screen or inverted level with the top. As I will ceiling mount - that means the top of my screen needs to be 23cm from the ceiling unless I buy a custom mount rather than the standard Epson one.

    If I do this with a 16:9 100" screen, it means the bottom of the screen will be 44" from the floor whereas my eye level is around 38", so I will be 6" below the screen.

    I don't think this sounds like a good configuration so unless anyone can advise otherwise, I think I need to look for a longer mount or specify a larger screen.

    (Apologies for switching between metric and imperial - I am just naturally bi when it comes to measurements).
     
  6. mathew

    mathew
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    I think the screen is on the limit for 9' viewing distance, see : Viewing Distance Calculator

    My viewing distance is approx 10-11' (I forget..) and to make it a THX spec cinema :) my living room will need a 92" screen and the angles to the edges (left and right) from eyes sat centrally are then perfect on the upper limit according to the above link.

    Allot of ceiling mounts have optional extensions so you can gt the drop you need. By any chance will the PJ be near a wall? My PJ is simiar to yours (needs inverting and mounting in line with top of screen) and I'm going to wall mount it so I don't have a 2' steel bar hanging from the ceiling, not very wife friendly!
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  7. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    OK - my mistake was to guess the seating distance (9') rather than measure it (14') - the space is deceptive / larger than I thought.

    Have measured everything properly now.

    So with a 14' viewing distance, my eye level at say 38" and a standard 23cm drop from ceiling to top of screen to line up with the PJ, I will have a viewing angle of 18 degrees - that's 55inches from eye level to top of screen.

    My wife is in a wheelchair and her eye level is 10" higher than mine, so for her the angle will be 15 degrees exactly which is great.

    However, with a 100" 16:9 at this height, the lower edge of the screen will be 6" above my eye line which is not ideal. If I go to 110" my eye level will be about the bottom of the screen and from a THX perspective, the horizontal angle of view will increase to 30 degrees with this larger screen - so nearer the desired spec.

    But it looks so large - and I'll have to go for an audio transparent fabric or have the speakers very close to the walls.....

    Decisions, decisions....
     
  8. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    OK - have decided to go with the 110 inch 16:9 screen and to position the base 36" above the floor. This will give me a screen that starts fractionally below eye level and an 18.5 degree vertical viewing angle which I can live with. It does mean I need a longer drop mount for the projector but that will not be a problem (only an extra 6"). Now all I have to do is decide whether to try and make a screen or buy one and either way, which spec to go for.

    Thanks for the help in getting this far.
     
  9. reubenahmed

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    My screen is only a ft above the ground. It's over 6ft tall and 14.5 ft wide. I'm comfortable with it, when reclining your feet will barely cover the bottom portion from 12-13ft away.
     
  10. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    Sounds good - my problem is that with a ceiling mounted projector that needs to be exactly level with the top of the screen, I end up with quite a high screen or a very long pole with a projector on it.....
     
  11. reubenahmed

    reubenahmed
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    What's wrong with the pole, many people do that.

    A high screen in a tall room can also lend itself to raised seating.
     
  12. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    Agree - but it is all to do with aesthetics. A projector nearer the ceiling is less obtrusive, further away from inquisitive fingers and less noisy.

    Conversely, a screen too high will be uncomfortable.

    Raised seating is out for me as I need a clear flat floor for wheelchair access in the room (apart from being a viewing room it is also where the lift for the wheelchair comes up).

    So in my case, a 110" 16:9 starting 36" above the floor is the best compromise and places the PJ 43cm below an 8.5ft ceiling. (Apologies for the mixed measures)
     
  13. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    I wouldn't necessarily use the info from the viewing distance calculator unless you like sitting in the back row.

    THXs recommended 36 degree viewing angle is for the back row of a THX certified theatre for a scope ratio screen (2.39:1). It's not where they suggest you sit. With good quality full HD they suggest you sit at around 2.4 x the screen height (divide the 16:9 screen diagonal measurement by 0.84) if you want an immersive cinematic viewing experience.

    HDTV Set Up « THX.com

    THX Certified Cinema Screen Placement « THX.com

    As someone else has mentioned, try experimenting by projecting onto a wall to see what works best for you. The guidelines from the likes of THX, SMPTE, Fox etc are only recommendations and don't work for everybody, but IMHO it's good to know what distances work with 1080 material if you want to replicate at home the same viewing angles you are subjected to in a real cinema. You don't want to sit further back than you have to, which will make the screen appear visually smaller than necessary.

    In commercial theatres, the usual range of seating is between 2 to 4 times the screen height ( 3 x SH +- 1 SH), so anywhere within that range should be fine. Screen size is almost irrelevant without seating distance consideration. 3 x SH is a good start, especially if you intend to watch DVD material and haven't a means to check image brightness which can make SD material look worse than has to.

    Gary
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2012
  14. netsukekoi

    netsukekoi
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    Gary, Thanks for that - useful input. I can't compare with a real cinema as I always get to sit in the wheelchair row (or leave my wife there and sit somewhere else which, whilst tempting, is something I am sure I'd regret).

    So with the room I am building, I have a screen which is 4'6" high and I am just over 13 foot away - so about 3x SH, so sounds like I am starting in the right place - though I am not going to have a chance to change anything as the screen material is already on order and the seating position is not really that flexible (see other threads on the build for explanation on that) - but thanks, it gives me some confidence in my current plans.
     
  15. Peter Parker

    Peter Parker
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    Hi Netsukeoi,

    Sounds like you're on the right track :)

    I always mention commercial theatres because with 1080 projectors and good quality source material we're producing images of similar (and sometimes better) quality than film, so the industrial specs and where you might sit in one can be used at home.

    Your screen height might be a little high unless you recline slightly in your chair, as looking up for extended periods is more fatiguing than looking down (as others mention, eye height around a third to half of the way up the screen is a good rule of thumb). The max recommended vertical viewing angle is 35 degrees, so 18 should be fine.

    Gary.
     

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