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Old 09-11-2012, 04:18 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,576,054 times
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The summer before my father died unexpectedly in 2006, he had a novel idea for summer nights. We had recently had a "duck pond" (turned out to be a muddy water hole) excavated that previous summer, and my mother and father would often go there on their ATVs (my dad was a big man) and relax. My father wanted to put some kind of screen or wall there, outdoors, perhaps across the duck pond, and project movies onto it from a DVD player with a front projector.

Would this be realistic on summer nights? (It gets down to -30 in the winter here, so the projector would surely have to be a temporary / mobile operation).
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:40 AM
 
Location: Giethoorn, Netherlands
629 posts, read 1,033,616 times
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The trickiest part is getting power out to where you need it, and also the sound system. The easiest way for the sound would be some sort of boombox/karaoke machine. For the screen, they have those tripod ones, pretty decent. Then there is that inflatable floating one for swimming pools - more expensive, but maybe you could fill the pond

And projector definitely should be an LCD with a wicked lens shift for versatility of table mounting just about anywhere
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,825 posts, read 13,961,605 times
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Yea. Power is really your only concern.
Haul a generator out there.

Screens start at around $300. You could probably make your own with some light grey sheets.
The EasyGo Screen Outdoor Projection Screen- The EasyGo screen can be taken anywhere for a movie or business event. Simple to set-up and take - Computers & Electronics - Electronics Accessories - Portable Audio Devices

(Grey-ish is the best color for projected movies).
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:03 AM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,663,341 times
Reputation: 6782
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Yea. Power is really your only concern.
Haul a generator out there.

Screens start at around $300. You could probably make your own with some light grey sheets.
The EasyGo Screen Outdoor Projection Screen- The EasyGo screen can be taken anywhere for a movie or business event. Simple to set-up and take - Computers & Electronics - Electronics Accessories - Portable Audio Devices

(Grey-ish is the best color for projected movies).
That is the most over generalized and incorrect statement I've seen for a long time. There are numerous factors that need to be taken into account when choosing a screen. There is no best overall color.

Some people think they can slap any screen (or even wall paint) up with any projector and it will work well. It doesn't. They're only kidding themselves as to how well that setup is performing compared to one that was properly matched and assembled.

Last edited by vmaxnc; 09-11-2012 at 10:12 AM..
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Old 09-11-2012, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,540 posts, read 55,453,855 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
That is the most over generalized and incorrect statement I've seen for a long time. There are numerous factors that need to be taken into account when choosing a screen. There is no best overall color.

Some people think they can slap any screen (or even wall paint) up with any projector and it will work well. It doesn't. They're only kidding themselves as to how well that setup is performing compared to one that was properly matched and assembled.
Oh for Pete's sake.

First - would the idea work? Yes. It is done all the time. Look up "guerrilla drive-ins". If there is a real issue, it is generator noise.

Second, all the above nonsense about screens is exactly that, nonsense. There is very little unique about the light function on standard movie screens. Having made and purchased many, having cleaned and/or painted my share, and having been directly involved in exhibition for about 40 years (hardtop AND drive-in), and having discussed screen function with the Kodak liaisons to the industry, I speak with some authority.

Grey is not a "color" that works well, other than reducing light levels. If you see a grey looking screen, chances are it is actually aluminized so that it can increase the light levels on-axis coming back to the audience and be used for polarized 3D projection.

Yes, wall paint IS used for screens. A white paint with a high titanium dioxide pigment is exactly what is used on most drive-in screens. It is, of course, exterior grade. (They used to have a high lead content to help keep them clean and white.) There have been a few theatres I have worked or supervised where the interior screen was wall paint. Every person who saw the initial run of Star Wars in Vermont (as well as many other films) saw it on a screen that was wall paint. There were ZERO complaints.

So what is unique about movie screens and why do they cost a lot? Any hung screen that is more than about ten feet wide has to be seamed from rolls of vinyl and the seams have to be PERFECT not to show up in the picture. The stretching of the huge screens, as much as 40' wide, is an art, and the screen has to be strong AND even enough to not have loose pockets. The vinyl also has to be perforated for high frequency sound to pass through, as speakers are typically located behind the screen. (The real reason that painted screens aren't more common.) In fact, sound systems have to be tuned within the auditorium, and screen characteristics is a factor in that. The original THX was primarily a way of letting customers know the sound system of the theatre they would be going to was decent, rather than some antiquated underpowered system.

There are specialized screens, but there is rarely a pressing need for them. At one point, a company floated the concept of a "containment" screen for drive-ins, where the light of the image would only stay within the drive-in. This was to prevent complaints from neighbors and allow R-rated films to be shown without breaking ordinances. It was too expensive, but it was a gorgeous aluminized lenticular vinyl on a canvas backing. I still have a couple of sample sheets, as it worked great with 3D, which I fool around with a lot.

Pearlescent and beaded finishes were generally only used in the consumer market when 8mm light levels were minimal. Lenticulars can be good or bad, depending on a lot of factors too complex for this thread.

Light levels are a key issue. In general, those huge drive-in screens only had about 3 to 5 lumens in reflectivity of the arc lamp. Many days midsummer, we had to delay the start of films because backlighting from clouds and the sunset would wash out the image. (This is also why drive-ins usually started with a couple of cartoons or a short, so people wouldn't complain about missing the beginning of the picture.)

For a home outdoor theatre, the cheapest screen is probably the most historically accurate one - a stretched white sheet cut to the proper shape, withe the outside edges painted black. A really nice one could be made from a 4' x 8' sheet of tileboard painted with a FLAT exterior white paint. If the "screen" is placed so the viewer sees it surrounded by sky, there is even no need for masking. Just paint the 2 x 4s supporting it with flat black paint.

If you try to fool with aluminum paint for a 3D screen, be prepared for headaches. It is incredibly tricky to apply evenly enough for showing a decent picture.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,825 posts, read 13,961,605 times
Reputation: 8060
Thanks Harry.
I think.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
That is the most over generalized and incorrect statement I've seen for a long time. There are numerous factors that need to be taken into account when choosing a screen. There is no best overall color.
Take it easy.

Quote:
Some people think they can slap any screen (or even wall paint) up with any projector and it will work well. It doesn't. They're only kidding themselves as to how well that setup is performing compared to one that was properly matched and assembled.
Hey. Just going but what I was told, and what I did. AV Forum I looked at suggested a lighter grey to help blacks look blacker. Sherwin Williams sold a "Theater Grey" that is a very light grey.

And? It looks great.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:52 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,663,341 times
Reputation: 6782
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Oh for Pete's sake.

First - would the idea work? Yes. It is done all the time. Look up "guerrilla drive-ins". If there is a real issue, it is generator noise. I can drive screws with a hammer, but will that produce the best possible outcome? No. I'm not saying every situation needs to be optimized to suit a purpose, but lets not start with the view that "if it works, it's good".

Second, all the above nonsense about screens is exactly that, nonsense. There is very little unique about the light function on standard movie screens. Having made and purchased many, having cleaned and/or painted my share, and having been directly involved in exhibition for about 40 years (hardtop AND drive-in), and having discussed screen function with the Kodak liaisons to the industry, I speak with some authority. We're not speaking of only theater screens in a tightly controlled environment. As for experience, I designed home theatres for 20+ years.

Grey is not a "color" that works well, other than reducing light levels. If you see a grey looking screen, chances are it is actually aluminized so that it can increase the light levels on-axis coming back to the audience and be used for polarized 3D projection.

Yes, wall paint IS used for screens. A white paint with a high titanium dioxide pigment is exactly what is used on most drive-in screens. It is, of course, exterior grade. (They used to have a high lead content to help keep them clean and white.) There have been a few theatres I have worked or supervised where the interior screen was wall paint. Every person who saw the initial run of Star Wars in Vermont (as well as many other films) saw it on a screen that was wall paint. There were ZERO complaints. Who would complain after watching Star Wars for the first time? Again, was this the best possible surface? Maybe not. Home theater paint is a compromise, not only due to the irregular paint but due to the irregular surface of the wall beneath. Look at any painted wall. Is it smooth? Absolutely not. Light is reflecting off of it in all sorts of unwanted directions. If paint were as good as a screen, there would be no need for fixed screens. Obviously that isn't the case.

So what is unique about movie screens and why do they cost a lot? Any hung screen that is more than about ten feet wide has to be seamed from rolls of vinyl and the seams have to be PERFECT not to show up in the picture. The stretching of the huge screens, as much as 40' wide, is an art, and the screen has to be strong AND even enough to not have loose pockets. The vinyl also has to be perforated for high frequency sound to pass through, as speakers are typically located behind the screen. (The real reason that painted screens aren't more common.) In fact, sound systems have to be tuned within the auditorium, and screen characteristics is a factor in that. The original THX was primarily a way of letting customers know the sound system of the theatre they would be going to was decent, rather than some antiquated underpowered system. In home theaters, the speakers are far more often outside of the screen. It's a different application, and more like the topic of this thread. All sound systems should be tuned for room acoustics, but people seldom consider the effects the room has on the sound.

There are specialized screens, but there is rarely a pressing need for them. At one point, a company floated the concept of a "containment" screen for drive-ins, where the light of the image would only stay within the drive-in. This was to prevent complaints from neighbors and allow R-rated films to be shown without breaking ordinances. It was too expensive, but it was a gorgeous aluminized lenticular vinyl on a canvas backing. I still have a couple of sample sheets, as it worked great with 3D, which I fool around with a lot.

Pearlescent and beaded finishes were generally only used in the consumer market when 8mm light levels were minimal. Lenticulars can be good or bad, depending on a lot of factors too complex for this thread.

Light levels are a key issue. In general, those huge drive-in screens only had about 3 to 5 lumens in reflectivity of the arc lamp. Many days midsummer, we had to delay the start of films because backlighting from clouds and the sunset would wash out the image. (This is also why drive-ins usually started with a couple of cartoons or a short, so people wouldn't complain about missing the beginning of the picture.)

For a home outdoor theatre, the cheapest screen is probably the most historically accurate one - a stretched white sheet cut to the proper shape, withe the outside edges painted black. A really nice one could be made from a 4' x 8' sheet of tileboard painted with a FLAT exterior white paint. If the "screen" is placed so the viewer sees it surrounded by sky, there is even no need for masking. Just paint the 2 x 4s supporting it with flat black paint. There are 10,000 shades of white recognized by the human eye. Which ones are you suggesting to use with this unknown projector?

If you try to fool with aluminum paint for a 3D screen, be prepared for headaches. It is incredibly tricky to apply evenly enough for showing a decent picture.
My point was, and still is, that there are screen designs for particular uses, for solid reasons. Suggesting otherwise ignores 200 years of screen technology, and disagrees with every reputable screen manufacturer. Choosing a screen based on "Looks great", "works fine", "No complaints", and other random phrases that really give no idea of actual performance is not a good method of maximizing the experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Thanks Harry.
I think.



Take it easy.



Hey. Just going but what I was told, and what I did. AV Forum I looked at suggested a lighter grey to help blacks look blacker. Sherwin Williams sold a "Theater Grey" that is a very light grey.

And? It looks great.
"Looks great" is hardly a glowing endorsement of a random paint choice. What are you comparing it to? With all due respect, given what you said you own (non-HD projector on a random grey wall, that you think looks great) I hardly think you're qualified to give a proper evaluation.

I am taking it easy. I'm just pointing out that the Sherwin Williams guy isn't the best source of projection info. AV forum is helpful, but did whomever suggested a paint color go into all the questions and details necessary to make the best choice? Or did that person assume that you were not interested in getting the best solution, given the info you provided?

Is the paint you used intended to be used as a screen, or for the walls in a home theater? I'm pretty sure it is the latter.

Not trying to start a war here, but I spent too much time in my career dispelling myths and half truths. Suggesting a "grey-ish" screen is the best for all uses is simply wrong.


OP-Yes this can be done. For power...long extension cord? Hard to say without knowing how far away the pond is from AC. Maybe an inverter used in a vehicle would work. Hang a screen, run an audio cable from the DVD player to any audio system, park a couple speakers or a boombox by the screen, and you're good to go. Certainly there are better options, but that's for another discussion.

Last edited by vmaxnc; 09-11-2012 at 04:05 PM..
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,540 posts, read 55,453,855 times
Reputation: 32261
vmaxnc, I'm not interested in a war either. My experience comes from direct talks with John Ptylak (deceased), Terry Smith, -both of Kodak, and compilers of the "Projectionist Notes" magazines, "Big" Al Wiggenton (deceased, and THE major screen man in the U.S. during his lifetime), and a number of other professionals.

"I can drive screws with a hammer, but will that produce the best possible outcome? No. I'm not saying every situation needs to be optimized to suit a purpose, but lets not start with the view that "if it works, it's good"."

I understand what you are trying to say, that some techniques are not optimal. I agree with that. I have also seen Home Theatre people tout one hyper-expensive speaker wire on totally bogus claims of superiority. Having helped my dad build studios, and having a pretty fair understanding of electronics - enough to build my own amps out of parts and the basics of schematics - and so forth, I'm not snowed by such claims.

We're not speaking of only theater screens in a tightly controlled environment. As for experience, I designed home theatres for 20+ years.

Then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Who would complain after watching Star Wars for the first time? Again, was this the best possible surface? Maybe not. Home theater paint is a compromise, not only due to the irregular paint but due to the irregular surface of the wall beneath. Look at any painted wall. Is it smooth? Absolutely not. Light is reflecting off of it in all sorts of unwanted directions. If paint were as good as a screen, there would be no need for fixed screens. Obviously that isn't the case.

Note also that one of my low cost solutions was painted tileboard - which does NOT have the same irregular surface as many painted walls, but is in fact TOO flat, creating reflections and other issues, thus needing to be overcoated with a flatter surface. As for "unwanted directions", we both know that in a home theatre or auditorium, the reflections that then can bounce again off the ceiling, walls, or bouffant hairdoos of Waters fans can serve to reduce the contrast range or create visual distractions. The "perfect" reflecting surface is a mirror, which has to be degraded to a semi-reflective surface to even be used as a screen.

In home theaters, the speakers are far more often outside of the screen. It's a different application, and more like the topic of this thread. All sound systems should be tuned for room acoustics, but people seldom consider the effects the room has on the sound.

We are in total agreement on this.

There are 10,000 shades of white recognized by the human eye. Which ones are you suggesting to use with this unknown projector?

Hyperbole. You and I both know it. First of all, "shade" denotes the percentage of black pigmentation, titanium dioxide is THE standard white in art, and all you need to do is go through any oil painter's paint set to check that out.

My point was, and still is, that there are screen designs for particular uses, for solid reasons. Suggesting otherwise ignores 200 years of screen technology, and disagrees with every reputable screen manufacturer. Choosing a screen based on "Looks great", "works fine", "No complaints", and other random phrases that really give no idea of actual performance is not a good method of maximizing the experience.


Screen technology as such is much more like 100 years old, not 200, and didn't even become much more than paint formulations and fabric choices until soon after the introduction of sound.

Where we are really having a difference of opinion though (and both extremes have their points) is the difference between acceptable, and bring out the bank account, money is no object excellence.

Having managed drive-ins, and been projectionist at them, I know that having a simple outdoor presentation is not rocket science, that the difference between a $300 screen and a painted tileboard screen is so minimal to be ludicrous, and one would be far more likely to "maximize the experience" by spending it on another beer and some good popcorn.

Every project has cost vs. results equations. I'm not going to drink champagne out of a Dixie cup if I can help it. I'm also not going to bring out the lead crystal flutes for Ripple.
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:57 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 20,663,341 times
Reputation: 6782
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
vmaxnc, I'm not interested in a war either. My experience comes from direct talks with John Ptylak (deceased), Terry Smith, -both of Kodak, and compilers of the "Projectionist Notes" magazines, "Big" Al Wiggenton (deceased, and THE major screen man in the U.S. during his lifetime), and a number of other professionals.

"I can drive screws with a hammer, but will that produce the best possible outcome? No. I'm not saying every situation needs to be optimized to suit a purpose, but lets not start with the view that "if it works, it's good"."

I understand what you are trying to say, that some techniques are not optimal. I agree with that. I have also seen Home Theatre people tout one hyper-expensive speaker wire on totally bogus claims of superiority. Having helped my dad build studios, and having a pretty fair understanding of electronics - enough to build my own amps out of parts and the basics of schematics - and so forth, I'm not snowed by such claims.

We're not speaking of only theater screens in a tightly controlled environment. As for experience, I designed home theatres for 20+ years.

Then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Who would complain after watching Star Wars for the first time? Again, was this the best possible surface? Maybe not. Home theater paint is a compromise, not only due to the irregular paint but due to the irregular surface of the wall beneath. Look at any painted wall. Is it smooth? Absolutely not. Light is reflecting off of it in all sorts of unwanted directions. If paint were as good as a screen, there would be no need for fixed screens. Obviously that isn't the case.

Note also that one of my low cost solutions was painted tileboard - which does NOT have the same irregular surface as many painted walls, but is in fact TOO flat, creating reflections and other issues, thus needing to be overcoated with a flatter surface. As for "unwanted directions", we both know that in a home theatre or auditorium, the reflections that then can bounce again off the ceiling, walls, or bouffant hairdoos of Waters fans can serve to reduce the contrast range or create visual distractions. The "perfect" reflecting surface is a mirror, which has to be degraded to a semi-reflective surface to even be used as a screen.

In home theaters, the speakers are far more often outside of the screen. It's a different application, and more like the topic of this thread. All sound systems should be tuned for room acoustics, but people seldom consider the effects the room has on the sound.

We are in total agreement on this.

There are 10,000 shades of white recognized by the human eye. Which ones are you suggesting to use with this unknown projector?

Hyperbole. You and I both know it. First of all, "shade" denotes the percentage of black pigmentation, titanium dioxide is THE standard white in art, and all you need to do is go through any oil painter's paint set to check that out.

My point was, and still is, that there are screen designs for particular uses, for solid reasons. Suggesting otherwise ignores 200 years of screen technology, and disagrees with every reputable screen manufacturer. Choosing a screen based on "Looks great", "works fine", "No complaints", and other random phrases that really give no idea of actual performance is not a good method of maximizing the experience.


Screen technology as such is much more like 100 years old, not 200, and didn't even become much more than paint formulations and fabric choices until soon after the introduction of sound.

Where we are really having a difference of opinion though (and both extremes have their points) is the difference between acceptable, and bring out the bank account, money is no object excellence.

Having managed drive-ins, and been projectionist at them, I know that having a simple outdoor presentation is not rocket science, that the difference between a $300 screen and a painted tileboard screen is so minimal to be ludicrous, and one would be far more likely to "maximize the experience" by spending it on another beer and some good popcorn.

Every project has cost vs. results equations. I'm not going to drink champagne out of a Dixie cup if I can help it. I'm also not going to bring out the lead crystal flutes for Ripple.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Texas
43,982 posts, read 53,822,603 times
Reputation: 72185
This is hilarious. What an argument.

One of the most successful 'outdoor movie' venues/parties I ever saw was a freakin' sheet strung up on the side of a house. Keg of beer, lawn chairs, voila! People were there every week.
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