Q: Are your screens truly 4K Ready?
A : The majority of our screen materials can be used with 4K projectors at the recommended viewing distance of about 3x the screen’s measured height for 1080P resolution. Under these viewing conditions, most of our screen materials will accommodate 4K content satisfactorily. This includes our slightly textured materials. For some video purist who prefer to watch content more up close and personal, we provide smoother surfaced screens that are a bit higher performance. A true 4K projection surface has little to no surface texture but it may not always have a wide viewing angle so that is worth consideration. True 4K surfaces are typically recommended for dark room environments and to resolve higher resolutions.
Q: I am interested in getting a projection screen for my 20x20’ conference room. There is a lot of overhead light but accurate color reproduction is very important to me. I am also considering a UST projector. Is there some general guideline for getting a product that would be happy with?
A : There are a few good options for you to use in your conference room and yes, there is a general guideline to follow that makes selecting the screen a fairly easy task. Remember the acronym. PEG or (Purpose – Environment - Gear). Let’s use PEG to answer your question.
- Purpose – This will be a business environment with a focus on color reproduction. Elite has a selection of matte white or ambient light rejecting materials that are ISF certified. However, even our non ISF materials can help you achieve that superb picture quality as long as the projector is properly calibrated. Depending on preference, either a fixed-frame or retractable screen would be appropriate.
- Environment – If the environment has full control over ambient lighting, a matte white material will work well. Most business environments have overhead lighting (ceiling light) or simply put, making the whole place dark for any reason is just inconvenient. For this matter, an ambient light rejecting screen material is appropriate. Ask about Elite’s variety of ALR (ambient light rejecting) or CRL® (ceiling light rejecting®) material options.
- Gear – Since projection is a 2-piece video display, it is essential that the projector and screen’s performance specs complement one another. The projector and screen should have the same aspect ratio (screen or image shape). If the projector is a standard “long” throw, short throw “ST”, or ultra-short throw “UST”, there is a specific screen material that is best suited for your specific projector.
In the question above, it must reject overhead (ceiling light) while maintaining excellent picture/color performance I a bright room. We have a few screens that can handle this but since you are considering a UST projector, I recommend the Aeon CLR® since it is designed specifically for use with ultra-short throw projectors. If you have a preference for a motorized variety, we are intending to launch a motorized “roll-up” version next year (2019). We also have motorized ALR/CLR® variants for our standard long-throw projectors available now.
Q: What are the main aspects (ie. cost and features) that I should use in comparing the various projection screen brands?
A: Although there are many manufacturers that cover a variety of retail and integrator sales channels, product quality, features and pricing are still the driving critera for increased projection screen sales. The general pricing matrix that most follow is that a good projection screen equates to roughly 1/3 to ½ of the cost of a projector. Comparative features include the screen’s ability to provide clear color reproduction, contrast and a level of brightness that is suitable to the environment in which it will be used. Equally important is the product’s overall flawless quality and reliablility as well as included features such as IR/RF and Ethernet controls along with other accessories.
Q: What size of screen should I get for my room?
A: The best way to do it is to make sure the screen's diagonal size matches the distance to you first row of seating. There is not set standard size for a room, just consider the seating location of you and your guests. Your material should allow everyone to comfortably sit and watch without craning their necks back or shifting their eyes from side to side. Generally, 84" - 106" diagonal sizes are appropriate for your typical residential setup.
Q: Should I get a 1:1, 4:3, 16:9, 16:10 or 2.35:1 format screen?
A: It depends entirely what your intentions are but here are the general format uses to help you out.
- 1:1 format: If you use traditional Slideshow/OHP (Overhead Projector), Document Camera, and commercial projector presentations. These are most commonly used in schools, government facilities, and houses of worship.
- 4:3 NTSC format: PC software, Commercial Presentations (if your projector is SVGA or XGA native resolution), Classroom Training, and Gaming.
- 16:9 HDTV format: Home Theater Movies and Gaming
- 16:10 format: PC software, video games, video editing, presentations from notebooks with WXGA or WUGA native output.
- 2.35:1 Cinemascope format: Strictly Home Theater movies.
Q: What would be a good screen for my home theater room if I was planning on using it for regular TV and not just movies?
A: Although the sky's the limit when it comes to getting a home theater projector, there are 3 basic qualities that define the typical mainstream consumer product.
- Price point is at or below $4,000 USD
- Your Projector's Contrast Ratio is higher than 2500:1
- Your Projector has a 16:9 (HDTV) Native Aspect Ratio
Matte White is the most widely used material because of its superior versatility and it is recommended over high gain or contrast gray surfaces. It has a wide diffusion uniformity for maximum visibility and will get satisfactory results with virtually any front projection array. It is recommended over high gain material because high gain concentrates the diffusion into a narrow viewing cone with sharp color enhancement which is great for a dedicated home theater environment but not preferred for a multi-purpose room due to its limited visibility angle. Contrast gray material enhances black level contrast for older DLP and entry level LCD projectors but also does this at the expense of diminished light return which means it should be used only with high output projectors.
Front projection should generally be used in a setting with controlled lighting or no ambient light at all.
- MaxWhite®: Standard matte white textured material
- MaxWhite® FG: Matte white textured material with Fiber Glass backing for enhanced rigidity
- CineWhite®: PVC tension reinforced variant of matte white
- AcousticPro1080: Acoustically sound transparent matte white weaved material
Elite Screens suggests the following Projection Screen types
- Wall / Ceiling / In-Ceiling - (Manual and Electric) *See Manual, Manual SRM, Spectrum, VMAX2, Home2, CineTension2, Evanesce, and Evanesce Tension
- Wall only (For dedicated home theater) - Fixed Frame * See Sable Frame, ezFrame
- Outdoor, Portable Business, or Recreational Presentations (Floor Pull Up or Folding Frame Screens) * See QuickStand, QuickStand Drape, ezCinema, ezCinema Plus, Tripod, Tripod Pro
- Indoor, Electric Floor Rising * See Kestrel, Kestrel Tension
Q: What is the best projection screen option for a ultra/short-throw projector?
A: Ultra/Short-throw projectors require a flat projection surface since the projector’s light is closer to the material. Non-tensioned screen materials may exhibit minor wave or curls which may be more pronounced if using an ultra/short-throw projector.
We recommend using a Fixed Frame Screen or a Tab-Tension screen with PVC such as our CineWhite® flexible material which will provide adequate tension throughout the entire projection surface. Please click here to learn more about the CineWhite® screen material.
Our Aeon CLR®, EDGE FREE® Fixed Frame is recommended for table-top ultra-short throw projectors in an ambient light room environment. Please click here to learn more about the Aeon CLR®.
Q: What screens do short throw projectors work with?
A: Elite's non-tensioned screens are great with standard throw projectors, but just like any non-tensioned projector screen, we don’t recommend using it with an ultra/short throw projector. Non-tensioned screens are not completely flat and while it may have little, if any, perceivable effect with a standard projector’s image, it can distort ultra/short throw imagery. We recommend purchasing Elite's tab-tensioned screens utilizing the CineWhite® or CineWhite® UHD materials or any of Elite's fixed frame screens if an ultra/short throw projector is required.
Q: I have a 16:9 (HDTV) home theater projector but I'd like to have a presentation that has a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) aspect ratio on a 2.35:1 projection screen. Do I need an anamorphic lens for this?
A: For the best possible results, an anamorphic lens is recommended. However, it is possible to get a 2.35:1 screen format as long as you can live with the "black bars" created when a mismatched 16:9 native aspect ratio projecto is set up to fit a wider projection screen format. It is simply a matter of personal preference.
Q: I just got a good deal on a SVGA Projector with a contrast ratio 2500:1. It gets good quality in a 100" image on a white wall so I am planning to get a screen without spending too much. What should I buy?
A: Many people are using SVGA Projectors for videos and gaming with good results. Here are some ideas for selecting your Projection Screen.
- Step 1: Choose a screen that is somewhere between the $100 to $400 price point (excluding size factors). As a rule of thumb, try to keep the cost of your screen to about 30% of your projector's cost for the sake of proportional spending.
- Step 2: Choose a 4:3 or 16:9 format screen, depending on how much time you will be involved with TV, gaming or movies that have various formats from 4:3, 16:9, and 2.35:1.
- Step 3: MaxWhite® or CineWhite® is the best choice for you. But you may also consider high contrast gray material to improve your black levels if you are watching presentation with an SVGA projector with a low contrast ratio at about 2000:1 with a high output that exceeds 1500 lumens. Contrast gray is primarily used to improve black levels but the diminished light return should always be considered.
Q: How high should I hang the projector screen?
A: As a rule, it is recommended to ensure that the center of the screen is in alignment with the eye level of those seated in the first row of a graduated Home Theater seating layout. This will provide the best levels of ergonomic stability, and will not negatively affect the vantage point of the following rows as their increased distance from the screen will provide a comfortable viewing position as well.
Q: How big of a difference is 1.0 gain vs. 1.1 gain?
A : The percent of gain difference between 1.0 and 1.1 is 10%. A gain of 10% brightness is gained from the projector's lumens output.
Example : If a projector has 1000 lumens you'd gain 10% if the material gain is 1.1.
1000 x 1.1 = 1100
Q: I have a native 16:9 4K projector and a 2.35:1 cinemascope projection screen; so, do I need an anamorphic lens to view full size 16:9 content on that 2.35 screen?
A : Yes, if you are going for optimal performance and “no” if your projector has lens memory and you cannot reconcile with the cost of the anamorphic lens. Here is the difference for each.
Projecting onto a 2.35:1 screen (lens zooming): On a native 16:9 4K projector, lens memory is a pre-set feature that allows you to letterbox zoom and fit the 2.35:1 screen’s footprint. To many, this looks good enough. The bad news is that you are losing 25% (over 2,000,000) pixels. They are not gone; they just appear black to give the illusion of no longer being there. Because 25% of your pixels are out of the game and your projector is trying to stretch what is left to fill your screen, you lose 1/3 of your resolution and 25-30% of your brightness depending on the settings you choose. It is also worth mentioning that when your projector blacks out 25% of your pixels, it absorbs the light energy which manifests itself as excess heat inside of your projector. Over time, this excess heat will shorten your projector’s operational lifespan. Some projectors have lens memory so you can switch them at the click of a button but should the projector not have this capability, you’d have to perform this manually through your remote.
Projecting onto a 2.35:1 screen (Anamorphic lens): In order to take full advantage of all of the pixels from your projector (maximize brightness and resolution) you will need an anamorphic lens and avoid the extra light from over spilling beyond the limits of your 2.35 screen. In other words, your projector needs an anamorphic lens to maximize your video performance. A memory lens horizontally stretches your image while electronically upscaling your 16:9 projector’s vertical resolution. This means you get the 2.35:1 performance without losing brightness or resolution. Because you are not running black content in letterbox mode for hours on end, this puts less wear and tear on your projector.
Other options, projecting 16:9 content onto a 2.35:1 Screen: You can still project a 16:9 image onto a 2.35 screen but the image will be smaller and you will have empty space on the sides. No anamorphic lens is needed in this case but you would have to manually adjust for both aspect ratios when viewing 16:9 and 2.35:1 content.
Q: Does Elite Screens make custom size screens?
A: Yes, Elite Screens can make custom size screens. Please fill out the form so we may review your request. Custom Size Request Form
Q: How do you decode model #'s?
A: Each Elite Screens' model number starts with the product series name. Follow by case color (if applicable, certain models only available in one color), screen material, screen aspect ratio and product series version. Lastly, extra black drop and its length (if applicable). Here is an example.
VMAX 128 U W X 2 -E20
- 128: 128" Diag.
- U: Black Case (X: White Case)
- W: MaxWhite® Screen Material
- X: 16:10 format (V: 4:3 / H 16:9 / S: 1:1 )
- 2: Version 2
- -E20: Extra Black Drop 20"
Q: What is the Min. and Max. Operating/Storage temperatures for the Elite Projection Screen?
A: Operating Temperature: +32°F to +113°F ( 0°C to +45°C)
Storage Temperature: -14°F to +158°F ( -10°C to +70°C).
Q: How do I clean my Elite Screen projection screen material?
A: All Elite Screens projection materials with the exception of the StarBright™ 7 and the StarBright™ 4 can be cleaned with mild soap and water using a soft terry cloth. For stain removals, stronger cleaning agent may be used. Please use with caution as strong cleaning agents may remove the coating screen material and cause permanent damage.
StarBright™ 7 material is to be cleand with a very soft cloth and mild soap and water. Do not rub the viewing surface or permanent damage will occur.
StarbBright™ 4 (WhiteBoardScreen™) is cleaned with the included spray bottle and the high density eraser. For deep cleaning, we recommend using a low alcohol product and wiping it off with the high density eraser.
Q: What preventative maintenance does Elite Screens recommend for electric screens?
A: Elite strongly recommends using either a standard surge protector or a power conditioner on all electric projection screens.
Q: Will I void my warranty if I cut the power cord cable to hardwire my electric screen?
A: No, Elite Screens understand the need to hardwire your electric screen and therefore will not void your warranty.
Q: Can I increase the Top Black Border on my screen?
A: No, your screen’s Top Black border has been set to deploy to its full extent. Attempting to increase will damage the motor and void your warranty with Elite Screens.
Q: What are the amps/watts of your Electric Screens?
A:The ratings on our electric screens vary from series based on the motor they utilize.
Please Click Here for 110v motor specifications.
Please Click Here for 220v motor specifications.
Q: I notice that the materials on non-tensioned projection screens may curl at the sides while tensioned materials seem to flatter. What causes this curling?
A: Curling is commonly caused when a non-tensioned screen is in a room temperature below 65°F, but will maintain a relative state of flatness between 65-85°F (18.33°C-29.44°C). Curling does not distort the image, but for those interested in reducing side curls, Elite offers “FG” or a fiberglass-backed material that greatly reduces curling.
Q: The synchronized motors seem to be really slow. Why would someone prefer a synchronized motor over a faster Tubular motor?
A: The reasons why a customer would prefer the slower synchronized motor over the tubular is as follows:
The synchronized motors are silent. Many consumers prefer that all of their home theater gear operate silently.The synchronized motor consumes considerably less power per operation than a tubular motor making it more of a green-conscious product.Because the synchronized motor is produced at a lower cost than the tubular motor, we can forward the savings on to the consumer by providing a more aggressive price point.Because of its slow speed, the synchronized motor generates less heat allowing it to enjoy a long operational lifespan.Lastly, the synchronized motor has a drop speed that is roughly equal to a projector’s power cycle.
Q: Are Elite’s electric screens compatible with Harmony remotes?
A: Most of Elite’s electric screen products are compatible with Harmony remotes and are in their database. The only electric screens series that are not compatible with Harmony remotes are the Starling and Starling Tab-Tension Series (Versions 1 and 2).
New Elite Screens series may not appear in the Harmony database, but you can simply select the VMAX2 series as the IR codes are identical for all series.
Click here to visit the Harmony website for further assistance with programming your remote with our electric screens.
Q: How would I synchronize the up/down function of my electric screen with my projectors power cycle?
A: To ensure that your projector can support a trigger application, please be sure to:
- Reviewing your projectors user manual.
- Contact the manufacturer of your projector.
If you do find that your projector supports a trigger application, connect the Elite Electric Screen Trigger Adapter cable from your Screen to your projector's trigger port (Please consult a professional installer for further details on wiring and installation). Since Elite Screens only provides the screen 5-12 volt RJ-45 adaptor, you will need to contact your projectors manufacturer for the trigger adaptor of the projector. Most projector manufacturer trigger ports use a mini jack plug and adaptor that may be obtained at most local electronics stores. Please consult with your dealer or projector manufacturer for further details concerning this trigger adaptor and installation.
Q: Are Elite Screens electric products supported to work with control systems such as AMX, Crestron and Logitech?
A: Our IR remote controls have been evaluated and entered in to the databases of some control system companies including AMX and Crestron. Please contact the manufacturer of your control system to inquire about the ability to for the system to function with our Electric screen products.
Q: I am interested in obtaining a dual aspect ratio motorized screen but I would like to install the screen in-ceiling. Does Elite offer any screens that are capable of this?
A: Elite’s VMAX Tab-Tension Dual screen series is a motorized screen that accommodates both 16:9 HDTV and 2.35:1 Cinemascope aspect ratio images. To create a concealed in-ceiling installation, we offer a universal trim kit that is compatible with the VMAX Tab-Tension Dual Series. Check out which models are compatible by clicking here.
Q: Which side is the power cord on when I face the screen?
A: Power cord for all the wall-mounted electric screens we produce will be on either left or right side depending on the series.
Q: What is the power cable length of all Elite Electric Screens?
A: Please see this chart.
Note: These measurements are accurate for USA only, other countries may be equipped with different lengths for each model.
|Model Sizes||Length of Power Cord|
|Spectrum||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)|
|Spectrum Tension||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)|
|Spectrum2||All Size||125.9" (3.2 M)|
|VMAX2||150" below||70.8" (1.8M)|
|150" above (150")||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Home2||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|CineTension2||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Saker||150" below||70.8" (1.8M)|
|150" above (150")||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Saker Tab-Tension||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)|
|Saker Plus||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)+ with extra control box|
|Evanesce B||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)+ with extra control box|
|Evanesce Tension B||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)+ with extra control box|
|Evanesce||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)+ with extra control box|
|Evanesce Tension||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)+ with extra control box|
|Evanesce Plus||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)+ with extra control box|
|VMAX Dual®||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)|
|VMAX Tab-Tension Dual||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Starling||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Starling 2||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Starling Tab-Tension||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Starling Tab-Tension 2||All Other Sizes||98.4" (2.5M)|
|92" in CineGrey 5D||70.8" (1.8M)|
|Kestrel||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Kestrel Tab-Tension||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
|Kestrel Stage||All Size||70.8" (1.8M)|
|Kestrel Home||All Size||98.4" (2.5M)|
Q: Where can I find the wired RJ-45 5/12 volt trigger adaptor pin-layout?
A: The adaptor can easily be made by using a CAT-5 networking cable and a RJ-45 networking connector. See image below and please note that the RJ-45 is exclusively designed to be compatible with only a projector’s trigger output. Any other type of device’s trigger output that you choose to utilize with our product is to your own discretion and is not covered under warranty should there be any malfunction. Please contact Elite Screen’s technical support department for further information.
Circuit board layout of CineTension2, Home2, VMAX2, Spectrum, Kestrel series screens
Q: Why does my electric screen no longer function?
A: There are a few possible things you could check:
- Make sure your wall plug has power and that the screen is properly plugged in.
- If the screen works well with the wall switch but not with the remote controls, ensure that fresh alkaline batteries are installed in the remote controls.
- Check your screen’s internal fuse. (Please call our Tech Support for location of fuse before tampering with the screen.)
- Our Home2, CineTension2, Kestrel, Raptor and VMAX Plus 3/4 screens feature a tubular motor equipped with a Thermal Relay. This feature will automatically shut off the screen should your motor become too hot, thus preventing overheating of the motor. To correct this, simply leave the screen alone for 20-30 minutes and try again.
Q: I am interested in improving image performance (brightness, color, contrast, etc.) for projected images in a church sanctuary with high levels of ambient light. A salesperson recommended using a brighter 4700 lumen projector. Would this offer more noticeable improvement than using elite cinegray 5d screen material?
A: A brighter projector (higher lumens) will help with image brightness but it does not help with color contrast or black levels. Since the projected image performance is important here, a contrast-enhancing material such as CineGrey 5D® is essential. White materials will reflect all of the light in the room; the projected light, indoor lighting, and sunlight through windows and doorways, everything. Because of this, the ambient lighting will still spoil image performance even with a bright projector. Ambient light rejecting (ALR) screens such as CineGrey 5D® filter out indirect light allowing your projected image to be what your audience will see instead of the extra glare. In addition to that, the screen’s filter layers enhance black levels and color contrast. This means that shadows, textures and slight variations in color shading in the projected image can be easily seen. Without an ALR material, such detail and clarity will not be visible. As you can see from the photos below, a bright projector does not enhance contrast.
Q: Will the CineGrey 5D® ambient light rejecting screen material cause the “hot spot” effect?
A: Elite Screens CineGrey 5D® is a color neutral smooth surface with sparkling elements to increase screen gain in an ambient light room environment. These special characteristics incorporates a diffusion layer over a highly reflective surface which scatters ambient light while improving picture performance with a brighter image.
The projector itself, however also plays a big part in creating a hot spot. Projectors highest brightness levels are focused in the center, and only about 70% to 80% in the corners. In other words, the uniformity itself is not spread entirely even across the screen, thus creating a brighter spot in the center area.
To combat this, we recommend the following.
Reduce the projector’s light output by choosing an economy mode
Install the projector further away from the screen, minimum of 1.5 x the image width
Go with a lower gain screen
Q: Why choose an “ALR” screen like CineGrey 5D® over CineWhite®?
A: Although matte white materials such as CineWhite® are ideal for environments where room lighting can be controlled, the image is easily washed out by ambient light. Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) materials such as the CineGrey 5D® are suitable for environments where there are high levels of indirect (ambient) light. This material trades off on the wide diffusion uniformity of white materials in favor of a brighter (angular reflective) image. Elite’s CineGrey 5D® incorporates a diffusion layer over a highly reflective surface which scatters ambient light while improving picture performance with a brighter image. This includes color neutrality with enhanced black levels and improvement over Active 3D presentations.
Andrew Robinson, an industry expert, shared his thoughts with Elite Screens about the performance of the CineGrey 5D® ALR material, "…of all the features, the one that gets me and really speaks the most is the fact that the CineGrey 5D® material from Elite Screens is the most cost effective ambient light solution on the market today. This is why I use it and this is why I recommend that you check it out for yourself. Because, at the end of the day, we all want performance but we also want incredible value and these are two things that the CineGrey 5D® delivers in spades.” Click here to see video of Andrew Robinson's endorsement of the CineGrey 5D®.
Q: I have an Ambient Light Rejecting screen but it does not seem to work. There are windows behind my projector and the picture is washed out; what can be done?
*Disclaimer: As great as ambient light rejecting screen technologies are, there are still certain laws of physics that define what should and should not be done with a specialty material such as this.
Main Answer: Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) projector screens are specially formatted to reject the majority of off-axis lighting from the top, bottom, and side angles.
However if a strong light source is hitting the ALR material at roughly the same angle as the projector does, it will wash out the image.
There is an easy solution. I strongly recommend light blocking curtains or blackout shades to shield your room and to rely on the interior lighting that ALR screens work with.
Q: Why can't we use ambient light or ceiling light rejecting (ALR/CLR/CLR2) screens with ultra-short throw/short throw (UST/ST) projectors?
A: Ambient light rejecting is a generic term for a variety of materials that prevents projected content from being washed out by incident room lighting from either natural or manmade sources. Each of these materials incorporate some sort of reflective microstructures that allows for projected light to create a superb image while off-axis light is either absorbed or reflected away from the viewers field of vision.
ALR screen materials are typically made for standard “long-throw” projectors. As long as the projector and material are aligned in accordance with SMPTE standards, you will get optimal picture brightness, color-contrast, and black level dynamic range while off-axis light is essentially rejected. We have created videos and articles on proper video and seating alignment to achieve the proverbial “sweet spot” for picture performance. Because Short-throw and UST projectors spread out their light signal over a comparatively short distance, much of the light is off-axis and will therefore be rejected by the material.
Materials like our Starbright CLR® are specifically designed for UST projectors. Their reflective microstructures are aligned to reflect the upward spread light signal from UST projectors into a viewer’s field of vision. At the same time, the “CLR®” rejects other forms of off-axis light such as regular room lighting, window light, ceiling light or even the direct signal from a standard throw projector.
Q: How about using any “ALR” (Cinegrey®3D/5D or Starbright CLR, etc.) by Elite with a ceiling-installed UST/ST projector?
A: Ceiling mounted UST projectors will not even work with a Starbright CLR® material because the material is specifically orientated to reject “ceiling light” or any type of lighting from above. This means that the screen will reject any overhead light, even from a compatible projector. Theoretically, you could invert the Starbright CLR® material to match with an inverted UST projector but the alignment will still not likely align properly with the human eye to deliver the ideal “sweet-spot” picture performance.
Q: Why is a curved projection screen better than a flat one? I like the way it looks but what about performance?
A: Despite its good looks, a curved projection screen plays a valuable role in today’s home theaters. Residential cinemas are more commonly featuring the same wide “Cinemascope” screen format as one would watch when actually at a movie theater. This wider format looks great but also creates problems that a curve screen design eliminates. The curve serves two purposes. First, it has an aesthetic appeal that draws in the viewer by enhancing a sense of immersion while enhancing resolution and brightness. The curved screen, together with the anamorphic accessories will increase brightness and enhance resolution by up to 30%. It does this by eliminating the black margins that can appear on the projection surface of flat cinemascope screens. Second, it eliminates a visual artifact known as “pincushion effect” which is encountered when scalers and anamorphic lenses are used to create a 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) format. Pincushion effect is when the top and bottom center of a projected image appear to droop inward creating an hourglass-shaped picture. This happens because the light travels noticeably further to the edges of the screen than it does to the center (The further the throw distance, the larger the image), creating unsightly black margins on the screen itself. The curve design ensures that light travels the same distance to reach any point of the screen thus creating a properly proportioned image.
Here is a quick video on Pin cushion and curved projection screen.
The curve screens are for enhancing the performance of Cinemascope projection.
- (2.35:1) Curved screens work with the anamorphic lenses and scalers to eliminate 33% of “pixel waste” on the black bars.
- Curved screens properly format the anamorphic image with optimal contrast (effects of the black framework perfectly framing the image)
- Curved screens only real claim to enhance 3D is that their curvature helps eliminate hot-spotting on higher gain (3D) materials
- Curve screens also eliminate the pincushion effect
The “immersion” factor on a curved 16:9 screen is mostly a myth.
- Immersion comes from the wide-angle (Cinemascope) presentations where your peripheral vision is picking up movement from the sides of the screen while you are focused on the center picture.
- 16:9 format is popular for TV sets because your eyes can easily take in the whole image without extra stuff happening off to the sides.
- This is why theaters are 2.35-2.40 and TVs are still 16:9.
Q: Do you need to have a special projector made specifically for a "curved" screen? Is the focus compromised on the edges or the center?
A: Curved screens do not require a special HD (high-definition) projector or lens. Actually, the curve screen is made to enhance the performance of projectors shooting in either a widescreen or cinemascope format. A curved screen’s design primarily improves image depth and perception while increasing brightness uniformity. It also creates a heightened sense of immersion for an improved cinematic experience. When you have a projector with a wide aspect ratio, the light travels a longer distance from the projection lens to the sides of the screen than it does from the lens to the center. This causes the image to distort into an “hourglass on its side”-shape. The curve ensures that the light travels an equal distance to all points of the screen so that the image is proportional. The curve also enhances the viewer’s sense of immersion just like in a large movie theater.
Q: How is a curved screen not out of focus at the edges, unlike the flat cinemascope projection screens?
A: Although the edges of a curved screen are (physically) further from the wall than the center of the projection screen is, it does not impact the actual focus of the picture for this reason. When a screen is flat and it is being illuminated by a single center-point light source (aka 1-projector) the light is actually travelling a longer distance to reach the edges of the screen as opposed to the screen’s center. This uneven “throw distance” can actually create distortion that manifests itself in the form of an “hourglass-shaped” image. If a projection screen is properly curved, the light hitting the edges is actually traveling an equal distance to the light rays that hit the center of the screen. If anything, a curved screen provides enhanced clarity on the edges. This is why curved screens and geometric correction features on projectors are a must for many of today’s video aficionados.