Any screen will work, however to achieve the greatest visual impact it's
important to darken everything save the 'active' area of the screen as much
as possible. The 'unused' white area of the screen reduces the apparent
contrast level and 'washes out' shadow detail. Masking also allows you to
'mask down' to the actual movie so you can get completely rid of the black
bars present when movies are letterboxed. It may not sound like much but it
makes a huge difference in practice.

As for school pull-down screens, they're invariably not the right aspect
ratio but will work fine. Most are 4:3 (NTSC aspect ratio). If you watch
full-screen DVDs, that'll be fine. Most movies are in 2.35:1 superscope and
thus will only fill a part of the screen. That's where the masking comes in.
Broadcast HD is 1.78:1 and will also leave screen-space unused. 

Frankly, you don't need a masking system to do the job. A few pieces of
matte black cloth you tack up will do the job. The first time you see a
masked projection on a big-screen of a high definition image, you'll be
simply amazed.

-----Original Message-----
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 7:38 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Home Cinema (was DVD Video to iPod)

Hi Jeffrey:

That is indeed a nice projector.

What do you mean about masking? Why does it matter if there's "blank" white
around the projected 

You can actually find plenty of decent pull-down screens at school auctions.
Everything is going to 
digital projection onto whiteboards or TV's on carts. No school I know of
around here runs 16mm 
films anymore.

-- Tom Fine

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jeffrey Kane" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 7:48 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Home Cinema (was DVD Video to iPod)

> If you want an excellent big-screen experience on the cheap and are
> handy, google DIY Screen. The results are not far off what you get with
> purpose made screen material without the cost. The tradeoff is elbow
> Projectors can be had very inexpensively.
> If you want to go rock-bottom, a used Sony VPL-HS51 projector can be had
> under $1k in excellent condition. It's not the newest latest, but
> will do a great job for a first projector. You can get projectors more
> cheaply but almost all are ill-suited to movie/video use.
> To get the full effect, you need masking. HTIQ makes reasonable kits
> starting at $199. It makes a huge difference in the experience. Nothing
> the life out of watching on a big screen like huge expanses of white
> Definitely avoid getting an HD receiver and/or high definition disc
> I've found myself watching PBSHD for far longer than intended simply
> the visual impact was so striking it was difficult to take my eyes away.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Tom Fine
> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 5:44 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DVD video to iPod
> I have a "media room" but no big screen, yet. As I said in the message,
> that's coming when costs go
> lower. Still undecided about a large flat-screen LED or a ceiling-mounted
> projector and a pull-down
> very large screen. I'm not a big-time movie buff but DVD's and a very
> wide/deep variety in the local
> library system have made me much more of a fan.
> -- Tom Fine
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mike Richter" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 11:20 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DVD video to iPod
>> Tom Fine wrote:
>>> This must be a generational thing. I hate (HATE) movie theaters.
> the focus is blurry,
>>> the sound bad and the place full of loud smelly people. So I'll
> the "larger than life"
>>> aspect of the visuals for the comfort of my own home and superb surround
> sound experience. As
>>> large flatscreens get cheaper and cheaper -- and the same case with
> digital projectors -- the day
>>> fast approaches when I'll have it all: a larger-than-life picture plus
> surround plus the comfort
>>> of my own home. Also, going to the movies costs well north of $10 per
> person if you get a medium
>>> nasty greasy popcorn and watered-down soda. And the movies made today
> aren't generally very good,
>>> in my opinion. I still go to an occasional IMAX movie because that truly
> is a super-real
>>> experience.
>>> -- Tom Fine
>> There is another choice: a media room.
>> Before I became ill, I often hosted music gatherings in my otherwise
> modest home. For the purpose,
>> I had a 14x35-foot room built onto the house and installed a projector
> (since upgraded to DLP) and
>> eight-foot screen. I had to give up my Dahlquist speakers since they
> blocked the screen, but the
>> B&W's provided excellent surround to complement the picture.
>> In short, it's a more practical approach to a small theater or studio
> screening room - and since
>> I've been to screenings in the latter (I'm in Los Angeles), I can say
> while my own version is
>> smaller, it's better than some of the 'pro' installations.
>> Since some of my friends are members of the Academy, I have the
> opportunity to see far more
>> 'screeners' than time permits (and despite the protective measures of the
> Academy have copied some
>> for later viewing). More to my taste is bringing opera into my home via
> that room. A friend who
>> visits weekly remarks regularly on the convenience of attending the opera
> while kicking off her
>> shoes and putting her feet up on the table. (I listen from my recliner;
> they make do with the
>> couch.)
>> Mike
>> --
>> [log in to unmask]