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My Home Theater - 9ft Torus with 500-Watt Light

Old 11-14-05, 11:00 PM
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My Home Theater - 9ft Torus with 500-Watt Light

Here's my (unfinished) home theater. The screen is about 9ft diagonal (16:9). Since I've nearly completed something I have the urge to show it off a little.

I made the screen myself. It's a super high gain silver Torus (horizontally/vertically curved) screen. It's hard to tell, but the center of the screen is about 7" deep (deepest point on of the screen). To show the ambient light abilities compared to a white screen (check out the white piece attached.) I dared to take a screenshot with a 500-watt worklight pointed right at the screen from the side. If you looked at this light straight on for more than a second or two you'd probably go blind. Most people wouldn't take a screenshot with a 40-watt light on 15ft from the screen and there's a good reason why.

Underworld:



Also, you may have noticed that I took a screenshot of a dark film instead of a super bright animated film. While this isn't the ideal way to watch a film it shows that the screen can withstand for more light than any white screen on the planet. Not only that, but it's brighter than nearly any white screen out there too. The high gain of the screen allows it to compete better in ambient light (plus it has good light rejection), but it's the darker greyish color of the screen that helps it keep good contrast.

It's REALLY impressive when there is only one 60-watt light shaded on the side of the screen (which is also on in the screenshot above). This leaves you with a readable environtment from a seated position, but a dimmer area on the side where the screen is. In this case the screen can provide RPTV like results. In some cases (with a CRT pj or high DLP) it can achieve beyond cinema like results (I thought that Underworld with a light shaded on one side looked considerably better than the last film I saw in theaters, "Doom").

I'm not using a super bright digital projector eitiher. Infact, I am using a CRT projector. Which are known to be dimmer than digitals (however, they have much higher contrast ratios). Usually even a night light is too much light for a CRT pj. . With one light shaded on the side of the screen only, playing Underworld on my pj looked much better than my X1 DLP does in pitch black darkness on a 1.3 gain white screen. It still appeared to have several times the contrast, color quality and much better blacks in a readable environtment.

I'm thinking this screen would be excellent for someone with a bright high contrast digital like the 4805. The screen makes colors pop like never before giving it a 3D like quality. The curve of the screen also helps with the look of more "depth". Contrast is improved dramatically in the presence of ambient light. Performance in rooms with white walls is better too.

BTW, here's a screenshot of it in the dark compared to a 1.3-1.5 gain piece of white material. Notice how dark the bright white material looks in comparison. That's what it actually looks like to the eyes. Amazing, because if this silver torus wasn't there it would like nice in the dark.



Forgive the quality of the screenshot. I am using a digital camcorder and the lower the light the worse it performs. It captures no where near the image quality on the screen. The camcorder is optimal when there's two or three 500-watt lights on.

If anyone else wants to show off their home theater post some pics please.

CRT Projector that rivals (and beats all in some categories) many digitals costing $20,000+: $700
9' Torus Screen that beats or rivals many screens costing a grand or two: $160
My Own Awesome Home Theater for $860........Priceless (sorry, I couldn't resist).



Any comments are welcomed.
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Old 11-20-05, 02:49 PM
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what equipment are you using?
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Old 11-25-05, 03:22 AM
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High Definition CRT front projector. Model: ECP 4500+ ($700).

Video Cables: VGA to 5 BNC
Audio Cables: Simple red/white composite

9' diagonal curved Silver PVC screen. 4.6" Deep horizontally and 2.75" deep vertically. About 7" deep at the center. The total cost of the screen is about $160. That includes the jigsaw, screen material, screws and everything I used to make it.

Sound System:

Cheapo $50 surround sound system that I originally bought as a joke (thought I'd end up returning it), but it actually sounded damn good for the price. Then again, I'm a videophile, not an audiophile.

I'm using a computer to play the DVDs. Here are the specs.

Athlon XP3000+
2 Hard drives: 1 60GB 7200RPM drive and 1 30GB 7200RPM drive
512mb PC3200 DDR memory
Built in graphics card that goes upto 128mb (plan to upgrade it soon though)
Sound Blaster audigy sound card w/firewire port

Software:
PowerDVD, Power Cinema, Zoom Player Pro and FFDShow (used for achieving near HD like sharpness with DVDs and scaling).
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Old 12-02-05, 11:25 AM
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What is silver torus and how do you obtain it? Thanks.
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Old 12-02-05, 12:06 PM
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I'd like more details on how you build this screen, too. I'm in the process of looking for a screen now and would like to try out your idea to see how it performs for me. I've got an LCD projector which produces 2500 ANSI lumens w/ a contrast ratio of 700:1. I like the idea of a DIY screen, but this may be a blinding combination .

Last edited by awmurray; 12-02-05 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 12-08-05, 02:59 AM
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you can get anything you need for screens etc at markertek.com they even have glass beaded paint to turn a wall into a glass bead screen but looks like a normal wall under normal light kinda cool stuff.

the picture on that screen looks great, now um can we have some full body shots of the girl from underworld "HOT"
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Old 12-14-05, 01:22 AM
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I've been searching everywhere for instructions on how the build one of these Torus screens but I can t get any help.. How do you build a torus screen. I need one 86" x 116". Thanx
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Old 03-18-08, 07:39 AM
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Hey Slayer, you setup looks awesome. Questions: It seems like you have a compound curve, both horizontally and vertically (parabolic concave), which, for a high gain screen, is almost essential as it nearly eliminates hot-spots, a big problem with hi-G screen, especially silver screens. But how do you do it? How did you get the double curve?

When Torus first came on the scene, they were making their compound screens for commercial movie theatres. The way they got the compound curve was to put the screen in a kind of box frame and that had a vacuum pump attached to it which created a constant suction at the back of the screen, pulling the entire screen surface toward the back of the frame, curving it like a bowl. It never caught in on in movie theatres because the suction thing was just to complicated and required constant maintenance. I didn't know they went into the consumer A/V market.

I have an Advent VideoBeam which has a concave, compound curve screen, but that is high-gain, 3M silver material applied to a hard concave fiberglass substructure that is itself concave (at 4:3, of course). It worked beautifully -- the picture was awesome bright. Believe me the VideoBeam (CRT-based front projection) has served me well since 1977, allowing me to have a Home Theatre before anyone ever heard of the term or even the idea. At that time I was feeding this projector with a Sony U-Matic video deck -- the only video source at the time and buying tapes from people in the industry that had access to movies from the fledgling HBO guys. There were no other sources of movies.

But alas, the Beam has to be retired if I want to display hi-def. Replacing the Beam with a DLP projector, I will need a new 16:9 screen. I can't figure out how I am going to get that concave curve. I might just have to settle for a simple curve in just the horizontal axis as that may be the best I can do easily enough. Do you have a compound curve in your screen, or did I misread that? I realize this is an old post, but if you could give me any tricks that you might have used, it would be a big help.

Thanks

PS, because of the limited space of the room, I am going to also need a perforated screen because the speakers need to live behind it. With the VideoBeam 4:3 screen, the speaker arrays just fit on either side of it. Going with 16:9, that extra width (keeping the same height, of course), will cover the speakers, so perf it has to be. And if you tell me you got the compound curve with the old Torus suction method, that pretty much eliminates a perf screen!
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