16 FOOT WIDE Movie Screen at home help please

Until now, I have been throwing a 12ft x 9ft image on a blank wall that is approximately the color of the pale yellow that the page you are now reading. The projector is about 20 feet away from the wall. For three or four years, this has been very satisfying to view movies.

My projector is a Sharp XR-20X with brightness of 2300 lumens and 2000:1 contrast ratio. I paid $1,000 for the projector.

Now I want an even bigger picture. So, I went out and bought myself an actual screen. The screen will hang from the ceiling and will roll up when not in use.

I have just purchased a Da-Lite 16ft wide by 12ft high movie screen.

I discovered that in order to get the picture to be 16 feet wide, I had to move the projector back further. Of course when I moved the projector back, it was not bright enough to my satisfaction. On really bright scenes, the picture was fine, but when darker scenes appeared....there was not enough contrast and the whole scene appeared dark.

I looked on the Projector Central website and found that in order to get a projector to throw an image that large with a longer throw distance, I would need a projector with an output of 6,000 lumens. Or, roughly three times the output of my current projector. Those projectors start at $6k to well over $20-30k. Waay out of my league.

I found a company that makes a wide-angle lens adaptor that will allow a shorter throw distance for a larger image. I asked the sales person what effect the adapted lens would have on the image. She told me that it could decrease the light output by 5 to 20 percent. The new lens would give me a 50% larger image from the same throw distance that I have now.

The room is 22ft wide and 70ft long with 22 ft ceilings. The screen will be suspended from the ceiling. The ceiling is concrete. The projector will be on the floor.

Please share your thoughts on all of this please.

Please click on my system page to see the room that the screen will be in. The screen will be against the wall where the window is. I am going to re-configure the whole room in order to accommodate viewing movies.

I am able to make the room pitch black. The window in the picture is the only source of sunlight.

Click here to see the conversion lens I am thinking about getting: CONVERSION LENS

Click here to see the screen that I have MY SCREEN

I will have the screen installed next week.

Click here to see MY ROOM and my system.

My home theater sound is a 5.1 configuration. I just can't imagine any more speakers than I have now in order to go 7.1 or 9.1.

I have tested the 16ft by 12 ft image on a beige painters drop cloth at the end of the room where the window is. I think I may be on to something...it looks promising. Sitting from 20 feet away from the screen, it is like sitting in an IMAX theater.

This room will serve as my living room and my 2 channel listening room. The screen and projector have to be put away when not in use. (well, the screen will roll up)

The big question mark is the conversion lens.

Worse case scenario is that the screen can be rolled down to a 12ft or 9ft height.
you may want to go to a high gain screen . i used a 1.3 gain projector paint system and it looks better than the 120 inch da lite pearlesant i was using.
Addendum to the above: The cost for the conversion lens is $900.
Hate to tell you that you are the lucky victim of the laws of optics - Given the same light source and lens, a bigger image will always be dimmer then a smaller one. (ie measure less lumens on the screen) While it is true that light falls off with distance, that is not what's happening here.

To measure the same brightness on a bigger image you need a bigger lamp and or a faster lens, and or a brighter screen. No way around it. Just like you will need more watts to achieve the same SPL in a bigger room.

The other thing that is going on is that every lens has a range. At x distance it
will project an image x size. Move it further back and the image gets bigger, closer and it gets smaller. This is why zooms are popular. The conversion lens you found is designed for a worst case scenario where there is enough height in the room to get a reasonably sized picture, but not enough depth to back up to throw it with the stock lens.

Also a wideangle adapter will quite probably not be as sharp as what you are used to - optics again - you are likely to notice curvature on the edges as well as the image being brighter in the middle then on the edges.

The right way to do it is to size the projector to provide a given lumen level at a specific image size, then find the right lens that can deliver that image from the desired projection distance. Of course a fast lens (low f stop) will deliver more of the light to the screen - sort of like a more efficient speaker will be louder with the same watts.

The other part of the equation is gain (reflectance) of the screen. The higher the gain, the narrower the viewing angle but the brighter the image for a given lumen output. Think of gain with light as something like gain with a cartridge - certain screens amplify it.

Did you buy the glass bead or the matte surface? This will be an important clue as to how bright the image will be - with a glass bead you will find its a whole lot brighter then your wall or your sheet.

So what to do?

Well one thing you could consider is cancelling the screen and paying the restocking fee. Then you can get some special paint - a bright white is good but you can get better stuff - and simply paint your wall. Just Google "screen paint" (Once you determine an optimum size you can put a nice frame around it or dress it up however you like.)

Then put the projector on a ladder and start backing up till you feel that you have reached the optimum compromise between brightness and size. Rehang the projector there.

Keep in mind that as the image gets bigger its also going to look progressively worse as the pixels become more and more apparent. This is a function of resolution. Based on a quick Google search your projector outputs an XGA picture - meaning 1024x768 pixels. Since the viewing distance (where you sit) will remain the same the image will appear progressively coarser as it gets bigger. Will you be sitting 20 feet away per your test? If not, you should sit at the actual viewing distance and see if you can live with the resolution.

The brighter image will be a lot punchier and more dramatic and by keeping the image size under control you will enjoy higher resolution for a more cinematic experience.

Then save your pennies for a better projector - one that can handle progressive scan or maybe even hi-def.

Sorry to be the messenger here - its why home theater guys get the big bux =) So you know, I spent thirty years designing and staging projection in everything from conference rooms to stadiums. this very basic advice is based on hard-earned experience...
Mitch4t: Congrats on the setup for going big, but I would recommend posting this on www.avsforum.com They will definitely be able to provide a ton more information.

Another thing that will help is painting the ceiling flat black from the projector to the screen as this will reduce reflections onto the screen. Since this is a shared room this might not be an option.

If you haven't received the screen, sometimes people will buy a higher gain screen that will reflect more light. Common screens are 1.0~1.3 gain (like your wall would be close to 1.0). I use a Vultec Silverstar which is rated at 4.5-6 gain which is awesome for dim projectors but it has to be a dark room or it picks up any type of surrounding light and reflects it on the screen.

Also if you have less than 200hrs on your LCD projector (DLP's don't typically suffer as much as LCD's), keep in mind that the bulb will get dimmer over time. Another thing to factor in.
I recommend you get a smaller screen and just sit closer.
Your perception will be the same.
....unless you need that much room because a ton of people are there enjoying the view at the same time. If that's the case.....invite ME to the party!!!
i hate to say this but you have a room 22 feet wide by 70 feet long with 22 foot ceilings and you are worried about a 6k projector?? i have checked into those screens they are very expensive, anyways lets get to your problem as i also have a 16 foot wide screen. i have tried different lenses in the past and there is no way you are going to get 50% more light output, maybe on paper but not on your screen! 1. your room must be very very dark try to paint ceiling and walls black or if you donn't want to paint the room use black fabric. 2. use a higher gain screen because of the high price of your type of screen i used the goo system crt white paint it has a 1.8 gain and worked terrific but this is only if you can find a wall to paint on that is perfectly flat.good luck
i can't believe your using a 1k projector with the other gear your using. really, look at used projectors and get a better one.
Ckorody: Well stated..

Another option since you have a 4:3 projector is to us an anamorphic lens which will increase light out put by using the full panel for 16:9 content.

http://www.panamorph.com/ But you might need a scaler or something to create this streched image for the optics to correct.
Orfe and Avrij,

I had to laugh out loud when I read your posts above. I knew I'd get some responses wondering why I seem to be nickel and dime-ing on the home theater after seeing my two-channel equipment.

A little history of my foray into home theater is in order.

Three years ago I worked for a bank doing presentations for large groups using a projector. One night at home I was fiddling around with it and found out that it would work with my dvd player. Also I discovered that if I just threw the picture against the wall that it yielded a pretty nice picture. The largest picture I could get along the long wall was 12 ft by 9ft sitting 20 feet away. Very nice picture....all of my guests were wowed by it. Nice and clear with no problems. I just took the framed pictures off the wall every time I got ready to show a movie, and put the pictures back up when the movie was over. I did this for three years.

I finally decided to get myself a real screen that would roll up out of the way and I would't have to take the picturs off of the wall. Mind you, I was content with the picture I got on the bare wall.

When ordering the screen, I was going to get a 12ft by 9ft model. But when I checked the prices, I found out by going to a 16ft by 9ft model, the price made more sense. That would eliminate the inevitable selling of the original screen to upgrade to larger one later. I don't care who you are, everyone always upgrades.

Well of course if the screen is now larger, maybe I'll see how big of a picture my projector will throw cleanly. Well I found out soon enough that at 12ft by 9ft, the picture was very good. At 16ft by 12ft, the picture left a lot to be desired.

Until now, my primary focus has been on two-channel, and I listen to music waaay more than I watch movies. However, I decided to pick the brains of all of you to see what I could squeeze out of what I already have. The $1,000 projector does a good job and I'm not unhappy with it for a 12ft by 9ft image against a wall....and that will improve after the screen is installed. I bought the projector last month only after I quit my job and had to return the other projector to my old employer. The new projector I bought, is a newer version of the old one that I had with twice the light output of the old one.

Forget buying a smaller screen, the 16ft by 12ft one arrived yesterday. The crate was 18 feet long, weighed 175 lbs and it took four guys to bring it upstairs to my place. The freight elevator would only take a 12 foot long item. No way am I about to try and take that monster downstairs again....besides it is a manual roll up screen, I can adjust it to any height that I want to, I can make the screen smaller just by rolling it up.

Anyway, as you can see, I am very new to the high end of video. It took me five years to get where I am in audio. A lot of trial and error. I'm in no hurry to spend wads of cash on video right now. I can live with a 12ft by 9ft image for now.

I don't own a high definition television. My satellite dishs doen't brodcast hi-def either.

I imagine over the next couple of years I will have some professionals here in LA come out and maybe demo a suitable projector for a 16ft by 12ft image. If I'm going take the plunge and spend $6k on the low end for a suitable projector, you'd better believe that I want to see it first. If I can spend $10k for a preamp and $9k for a cd player, I'd probably spend $10k on a projector too if it really kicks ass on a 240 inch diagonal screen and I decide to spend more time watching movies.

Ckorody.....your discourse was very informative and sobering. Thank you....I appreciate your input.

So, it seems like I won't be buying that add-on lens, it seemed suspect anyway. I posted here to see if anyone had used one before and what results did they get.

I guess the $1,000 projector is kind of like having my first 40 watt Sansui model 771 reciever in 1975...man, I was sure it couldn't get any better and I was happy. I'm sure as I venture out into the higher end of video, I will surely er, um, ah...see the light.
Hey - thanx for the back story - enjoy the picture, the screen should make a nice difference - is your ceiling rated to hang it??? LOL

The rules in video are the same as audio - usually more is more. That unit you got is nice for the money - wait a year or two and you can get one that will do 1080p with an HDMI input, another quantum leap

BTW if you have not yet plugged your projector into a power conditioner, I highly recommend you do so immediately - the difference is much much greater then anything you will experience in audio - even a basic Monster or the new APC stuff is all you need.

The interesting thing I have observed is that despite the very small bandwidth of audio, it is much more difficult to fool the ear. It turns out to be much, much easier to trick the eye. That said, some attention has to be paid to engineering issues to get the most out of monitors and projectors.

The diiference will come in image quality (frining, noise, richer blacks, better color) rather then brightness but its low hanging fruit...
Ckorody......the ceiling is concrete, the installer will actually have to drill into the concrete and bolt it to the ceiling....it will be suspended by thick chains or thick wire cable and will hold securely. However, Southern Calif is earthquake country....I don't like the thought of something that heavy coming down in the event of a tremor. I've lived through a few of them here, so that is still a remote possibility.

The glass beaded fabric was not available in the screen that I bought. I have to chuckle again, in audio, you can just about re-sell everything that you buy on the used market. Ha ha, it will be interesting to see if I can unload a 16ft by 12ft screen in a couple of years.
Ckorody: I have to agree that I put my PS Audio Powerplant on my Projector and was amazed as the difference a regenerator made with blacklevel and detail. Noise completely disappeared. I am now going to upgrade to one of the newer Regenerators that has more current capacity for my video system only, since I don't have room in my rack for the PS Audio Powerplant and the PS Audio Power Director 3.5.