Screens // Masking
Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.
Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Fixed Masking Panels
The optional Premier fixed frame masking panels provide a perfect changing of your screen's aspect ratio without the moving parts, cost and compromises that motorized masking systems have. We start with custom extrusions for the panels, and then finish them in two configurations optimal to your installation. No longer will you have to suffer those gray bars and the angst that results when you discover that movie you're about to watch does not match the aspect ratio of your frame. The 0.6" thin panels don't create shadow lines and perfectly contact with the screen itself. They are built to your specification, and are easily inserted inside the frame using dozens of powerful Neodymium magnets. They can also be retrofitted into any existing Center Stage Premier frame at any time if you're up for installing the mating magnets on the back lip of the frame.
Above is a 16:9 image on a 2.35 screen with some ambient light. At left is without masks, at right is with Millibel AT masking panels with 1.5" interior edge velvet.
Fidelio® Velvet If you don't have your speakers behind where the masking panels will be, then we recommend nothing short of the darkest, most perfectly-matched material, the same true Fidelio velvet that we use on the frames. Nothing else comes close to its 99.7% light absorption.
Millibel™ A.T. If you do have your speakers behind where the masking panels will be, then we recommend the most acoustically transparent mask available anywhere. With the Millibel panels, we use the same material as our black backing which attenuates on average only 0.3dB (300 millibels), and then trim it out in matching velvet (99.6% light absorption) to mask the image overscan, maintain a sharply framed image and perfectly match your frame. In a dark room, the panels look completely black, because the leading-edge velvet is what's doing the difficult job. The rest of the panel just needs to reduce the ambient light reflectivity of the screen to a black appearance. If your ambient light is so high that you can see the shades of black in the panel, then you're setting your projector's contrast back 10 years.
Constant Height (CH)
Constant height screens are often called "scope" screens because they start out ultra-wide. When watching 16:9 ratio content, you will have pillar-boxes on the sides, where there is white screen but no content. The CH masking panels will block those gray areas and reformat your screen for 16:9.
While commonly 2.35, we just as easily do 2.37 (for those using an anamorphic lens) or 2.4 (the widest of the "scope" formats) and build the side panels to convert your screen to 16:9 (1.78) HDTV ratio. Just specify what your original screen's aspect and image width are - its model number - and we'll figure out the rest. Our CH panels now use all-magnet attachment to the frame.
If your L/R speakers are behind the screen, for Millibel acoustics planning the extruded frame is 1.2" wide on the outer side, 1.6" wide on the top and bottom edges, and the standard velvet on the inside edge is 3.5". Available on request is a narrower, 1.5" wide velvet inside border.
Constant Width (CW)
Constant width screens are the more common 16:9 (1.78) HDTV screens that match the aspect ratio of nearly all home theater projectors. When watching an epic "scope" ratio film, you will have letter-boxes on the top and bottom, where your projector is shining its version of dark. The CW masking panels will block those gray areas and reformat your screen to 2.40 ratio as standard.
All CW panels come in a set of four, all magnetically attached to the frame. Nothing is slicker or easier than magnets. If you're not sure about getting the panels at first, for $75 you can have us pre-install the frame magnets so that you can opt for the panels later. If you do choose to get them, we'll credit what you've paid in magnets (there are a lot of them) toward the panel purchase. The frame is 1.2" wide, being double wide in the middle. Millibel AT panels feature a 1.5" wide leading-edge velvet strip as standard, and appear totally black in a darkened room.
Above is a 16:9 Center Stage XD screen with Millibel CW panels and standard 1.5" velvet leading edge.
Constant Area (CA)
These screens start out as a natively-unusable 2.07 compromise, but allow for the same area to be displayed for 16:9/1.78-1.85 content and for the scope family of 2.35 to 2.40. Through the use of both our fixed CW and CH panels, you can easily configure your screen for a balanced, maximized immersion for all modern aspect ratios. Never again feel cheated when that film you've been waiting to see doesn't fit the screen configuration you went with. Configure a 4-way constant area system and you'll be set for life.
Our curved frame option features a 40' radius, which is perfect for fixing the pincushion, or bow-tie shaped distortion from anamorphic lenses that stretch a 16:9 ratio projector to 2.37. Using an anamorphic lens will improve your resolution by 33%, your light output by up to 20%, and immersion by three mojos. The curvature is shallow enough, however, for those that use the simpler zoom method and want the dramatically increased sense of immersion that only a curved screen can offer. For that IMAX® feel, opt for a custom curved 16:9 screen. While less acoustically transparent screen materials from other companies tout their curved frames ability to allow you to angle your L/R speakers inward, our Center Stage XD material is far more acoustically transparent and you can angle your speakers however you want behind the screen with immeasurable difference. Also, our 160 degree viewing angle material doesn't need curvature to improve its gain or uniformity. With the Center Stage XD, you would have a truly reference quality image. Our fixed masking panels will easily convert the curved screens to 16:9 ratio with magnetized ease. Curved 16:9 and 2.07 constant area screens are also available upon request.
Above is a 150 in. wide, curved frame Center Stage XD 2.37 screen, optional Millibel CH panels with 3.5 in. wide interior velvet.
While we welcome unique challenges, here are some common options:
- Fidelio non-AT. The blackest material on Earth, minus that little square inch of carbon nanotube stuff that some Poindexter made a few years ago.
- Millibel AT. Only 0.3dB attenuation, and the 2-tone look goes away when you turn the lights off. For the 16:9 -> 2.4 screens with top/bottom masks, we do a 1.5" inside edge of 99.6% absorbing velvet. For the 2.35 -> 16:9 screens with side masks, we can either do a 1.5" inside edge for smaller screens or larger speakers, or a 3.5" inside edge if you prefer.
- Curved panels. If you order a curved 16:9 or 2.07 constant area screen, we'll want to curve those top/bottom masks for a perfect fit.
- Constant area. If you start with a 2.07 screen, a set of both top/bottom and side masks gives you the freedom to mask to whatever the director's choice was.
- Retractable screen panels. In order to roll nicely, these will always need to be all-Millibel AT.
Here is the installation document: Fixed Frame Masking Panels.pdf (Rev. 2/13, 83k)
(NEW!) Electric retractable screen masking
Our new option for the motorized electric screens adds a secondary masking layer on a front roller. Imagine this: some projectors such as the Panasonics have two trigger outputs and can auto detect 16:9 versus scope ratios. They can send two unique trigger outputs and the electric masking screen's dual rollers can automatically adjust to the content being displayed. Smoove.
Available in either constant height with motorized
Millibel A.T. side panels dropping down, or constant width with the Millibel
panel across the top. The case thickness doubles and must be an
on-ceiling mounting. Plan on about a 90 - 130 pound product and a
at least a three-person installation.