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DIY rear projection screen

#1 User is offline   whitehousejamie 

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 10:06 AM

Hi Everyone,

I am putting together a show for a family function where I want to display video / photos.

Instead of hiring a couple of screens as an experiment I am considering fabricating a pair of rear projection screens, in the style of a conference flat with thin white fabric.

Has anyone done this in the past and did it work well? Would appreciate any tips as to whether a suitable fabric is available for this, and any other thoughts / suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Jamie
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#2 User is offline   grumpy 2 

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 10:37 AM

I have used plain shower curtain before.

A concurrent post has been automatically merged from this point on.

http://www.homebase.co.uk/webapp/wcs/store...room%7C14046955

You would have to check that it is opaque enough. Try a tourch to see how much light will go through before purchase.

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The just stretch it over a wooden frame
Stroud College in Gloucestershire

#3 User is offline   kitlane 

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 12:22 PM

Whilst you can't expect 'professional' results, all sorts of translucent fabric will work pretty well. You could try cotton sheeting (easy to test if you have a sheet on your bed!). Muslin works. I once got really good results with a very thin plastic foam like packaging material. I've used large sheets of drafting / tracing paper taped together (so an actor could burst through the screen each night).

You may not get a very wide viewing angle and a hotspot may be an issue but you can get pretty good results with all sorts of cheap materials.

#4 User is offline   Alec 

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 02:32 PM

 kitlane, on 18 Nov 2009, 12:22 PM, said:

Whilst you can't expect 'professional' results, all sorts of translucent fabric will work pretty well. You could try cotton sheeting (easy to test if you have a sheet on your bed!). Muslin works. I once got really good results with a very thin plastic foam like packaging material. I've used large sheets of drafting / tracing paper taped together (so an actor could burst through the screen each night).

You may not get a very wide viewing angle and a hotspot may be an issue but you can get pretty good results with all sorts of cheap materials.


A church I know has used a rear projection screen made from an old bedsheet for years. No problem at all with brightness (from a 5,000 lumen Sanyo PLC-XF31). Could be even better with proper material, perhaps, but does a perfectly acceptable job even in the middle of summer.

#5 User is offline   sleepytom 

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 07:29 PM

please remember to flame proof anything which is not sourced from a professional screen supplier. If your venue is public then this is a legal requirement.

#6 User is offline   michael 

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 08:10 PM

Hi, for a recent show of Rent I did the lighting for we did this.
We made a wooden frame and strectched an old bed sheet over it as tightly as we could and just set the projector up behind the screen.
It did work well but we had to make sure there wasnt to many stage lights on it so it made the image easier to see.
Hope that helps and yours works well.

Michael :rolleyes:

This post has been edited by michael: 19 November 2009 - 08:12 PM


#7 User is offline   sleepytom 

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:20 PM

and if you insist on using a bed sheet can you not at least use a NEW bedsheet? I mean there is low budget and then there is just being tight! ASDA will sell you 2 kingsize white sheets for 9

Pikey VJs tell me that the Ikea shower curtains work well for rear projection too...

call me an elitist but personally I like fastfold screens!

This post has been edited by sleepytom: 19 November 2009 - 11:21 PM


#8 User is online   david.elsbury 

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Posted 19 November 2009 - 11:56 PM

Quote

call me an elitist but personally I like fastfold screens!

You're an elitist. (you did ask...)

Liking Fastfold screens is all well and good but if the budget doesn't stretch to them, your likes or dislikes would be less than useful...
David Elsbury
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#9 User is offline   themadhippy 

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 12:04 AM

Quote

and if you insist on using a bed sheet can you not at least use a NEW bedsheet?

so the Tracey Emin sheets aint no good then?
There are lies,damned lies and election manifestos

#10 User is offline   sleepytom 

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 12:28 AM

Fastfold rental is not really expensive though is it?

The quality difference for rear projection is astounding and unless you have free access to timber and a carpenter then the cost of home made bed sheet screens is surprisingly high given how shonkey the end result is. You can forget transporting them too (unless you have a free lorry to move them in) I have fastfolds which are over 10 years old and still going strong and looking good.

Investing in a decent screen will do more to make your image look good than anything else. Scrimping on the screen doesn't make any sense to me, its like going out to buy a hi-fi and spending all your money on the amp then plugging in some knackered old speakers you got from a car boot and expecting it to sound good.

I'd be very surprised if you can make anything approaching a neat sturdy bedsheet based screen for less than 100 if you include the cost of wood for the frame, legs and fireproofing. That's assuming the carpenter will work for nothing. At which point renting a fastfold is not significantly more expensive (unless we are talking about a long run of shows, in which case stick 50p on the ticket price and you'll have the budget to buy a fastfold!)

Churches and community organisations might find it harder to get the money together I suppose, but really if they are buying an AV system why hasn't the cost of a good screen been included from the outset? It is bad advice to say "oh well a bed sheet will do". Include the cost of a good screen in the original budget and allow the fundrasing people to get on with it. After all the longevity of a good screen means it will still be in use after 2 or 3 replacement projectors have been brought.

A concurrent post has been automatically merged from this point on.

 themadhippy, on 20 Nov 2009, 12:04 AM, said:

so the Tracey Emin sheets aint no good then?
I think it costs a bit more than a fastfold? I dunno I'm no art expert so I could be wrong. I'd be happy to swap it for a fastfold screen though if you happen to get hold of it! (I want a signed certificate of authenticity though - I'm not accepting any old sheet here!!)

This post has been edited by sleepytom: 20 November 2009 - 12:37 AM


#11 User is online   david.elsbury 

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 12:33 AM

Who said anything about churches? Community organisations? Buying an AV system?

The OP reads as such (just in case you may have skimmed over it before you replied...) :

Quote

I am putting together a show for a family function where I want to display video / photos.


:blink:

This post has been edited by david.elsbury: 20 November 2009 - 12:34 AM

David Elsbury
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Auckland, New Zealand
"Technician like ninja... live in shadow... move in silence"

#12 User is offline   sleepytom 

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 02:07 AM

who said post #10 has to solely relate to post #1 and nothing else?

anyway from post #1

Quote

Instead of hiring a couple of screens as an experiment I am considering fabricating a pair of rear projection screens, in the style of a conference flat with thin white fabric.

Has anyone done this in the past and did it work well?

So the question isn't really budget related, but is a question about how well alternative fabrics work as screens? The answer to that is that for rear projection a proper screen surface makes a really big difference to the quality of image, without a proper rear projection screen your image will suffer from hotspot and a poor viewing angle. If you need to make custom screens then it is best to use a proper rear projection screen surface from someone like rosco. Failing that the next best thing is banner grade PVC designed for printed rear illuminated adverts (like you get on bus stops) this stuff is quite good at avoiding hotspots and can be obtained in seamless widths of upto 4 meters, its fairly expensive though unless you know a friendly print shop who will sell you offcuts. Its also prone to tearing if you not careful with you attachment method.
If you can't get banner pvc then shower curtains are better than bed sheets, if you must use bed sheets then new are better than old, if you must use old then washed is better than not, if your working somewhere with UV light then washing with ecover or pure soap is better than using Daz or Persil which contain UV reactive chemicals which makes the sheets glow under UV light, further spoiling an already less than ideal image.

For front projection (if I'm allowed to mention it even though the OP didn't ask?!) then regular muslin painted with "Screen Goo" is really quite effective. Screen Goo is expensive but it really makes a big differnece to the brightness and quality of image you get.

#13 User is offline   Bobbsy 

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Posted 20 November 2009 - 03:52 AM

+1 for Rosco rear projection screen, available in various shades of black, grey and white.

The usual suspects will sell it to you by the metre. From a memory of about 10 years ago, 3 metres x 2 metres width was about 35.

Bob
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