Screens // DIY screens

Center Stage XD (acoustically transparent) 

To create the industry's reference Best In Class AT screen material, we tripled the hole density to 1739 holes per square inch, increased the gain to 1.2/1.0, and improved the acoustic transparency by +0.5dB from 2kHz-20kHz.   The finer weave allows you to sit closer to the screen with less visible texture.  When both video AND audio performance are considered, the new Center Stage XD is the best AT screen material available anywhere at any price and is used in several of the leading mastering facilities.  Imagine watching a movie that may have been mastered on the same material as your $300 screen and how much it outperforms screens costing thousands.

Tilted Cuts and Moiré  The Center Stage XD has built in features in the weave to help reduce the chance that the material will moiré when used with a digital projector and having the holes and threads be level, horizontally and vertically.  We use the material in this non-tilted fashion on retractables all the time and have only had a few cases on smaller images of moiré occurring.  If you do a no-tilt cut on a smaller screen, test it first.

With our fixed frame screens, we angle the cut to all but the largest fixed frame screens and have never had a case of moiré.  Ever.  The only reason not to use a tilted cut for your DIY material is savings.  Getting a tilted cut does not mean any weird angles for your screen.  See the illustration to show you what we do.  In fact, if we do this for you, the only way you know something is different is if you look closely at the material you'll notice that the holes and threads aren't level, horizontal and vertical, but are instead sloped an an angle.  You just use the material as it arrives and it's guaranteed to be projector proof.  Typically, having us do the precision cutting for you only costs $35 to $45. 

(NEW!) Center Stage UF (acoustically transparent)

Our latest AT screen material is fully available for DIY screens, now available in a nice wide 84" roll.  We started with the formulation of the thread for color accuracy and then worked with the twists per inch, weave pattern and fabric density to yield a 1.0/0.8 gain material that has no visible pattern or texture while still being acoustically transparent.  The ultra-fine weave allows you to sit inches from the screen if you desire while still having the sound quality Center Stage screens are renowned for.  Tilted cuts are not required.  The UF is also designed to be robust enough to be DIY friendly: no pinking, stitching or edge treatments are required.  Simple staples, splining, or grommets work great, although since it's a stetchier material than the XD, we'd recommend stapling it every 2 to 2.5" instead of the XD's 3 to 4" spacing.

Glacier White

Our solid screen material is the perfect solution for those that have smaller or shorter screens or otherwise aren't interested in an acoustically transparent system.  The new Glacier White 1.3/1.1 non-AT solid screen is a  multi-layer material that was developed keeping the DIY spirit in mind.  The back side is a sturdy reinforced weave, perfect for holding staples or grommets.  The next layer is a black film to completely kill any translucence to the image, assuring that even in front of a white wall there will not be any contrast-killing light contamination like traditional non-reinforced vinyl screens can have.  On top of that is the optical layer with just enough sheen to provide gain and a light embossing to maximize uniformity and viewing angle.  The rolls are 84" high, so all but the largest 16:9 screens can be built.  Of course, no tilt is necessary for this material.

(NEW) Glacier Gray

For applications where you have a nice, bright projector and would like to have a screen that can handle a little ambient light or lighter colored room surfaces, our new Glacier Gray will improve your black levels by 20% compared to a white screen.  The new Glacier Gray 0.8 non-AT solid screen is also a multi-layer material that was developed keeping the DIY spirit in mind.  The back side is a sturdy reinforced weave, perfect for holding staples or grommets.  Behind that reinforced weave is a black coating to completely kill any translucence to the image, assuring that even in front of a white wall there will not be any contrast-killing light contamination like traditional non-reinforced vinyl screens can have.  On top of that is the optical layer with just enough sheen to keep the white levels up and a light embossing to maximize uniformity and viewing angle.  The rolls are 84" high, so all but the largest 16:9 screens can be built.  Of course, no tilt is necessary for this material.

benchmarked
gain
unbenchmarked
gain
AT?
(2k-20kHz)
room
colors
ambient
light
min.
seating
Center Stage XD
1.2
1.0
yes (-1.4dB)
dark
no
10 ft
(NEW) Center Stage UF
1.0
0.8
yes (-2.2dB)
dark
no
6 ft
Glacier White
1.3
1.1
no
dark
no
0
(NEW) Glacier Gray
0.8
no
medium
minimal
0

Options

We have available a limited set of options that follow our standard production processes and materials that we can add to your DIY screen to reduce the Y a bit.

  • Grommets  We can install grommets for you, so that you can build our trampoline-style dynamic tension system and still tell others you made the screen.  We space them average 6" apart, with their centers 5/8" from the edge of the material.  At typical screen uses 45 to 65, depending on size.  Price is $3 each.
  • O-Rings  While the grommets allow you to use lacing cord or springs, some people like to get that one step closer to our fixed frame goodness by using our o-rings.  $0.59 each
  • Fidelio velvet  We sell the highest quality, blackets velvet available anywhere, not just for our fixed frame screens and panels, but for staple jockeys everywhere.  It's 48" width easily accommodates four frame pieces and typical masking panel sizes.
  • Baritone velvet  A great alternative for wall covering, our new 60" wide Baritone velvet is nearly as black as Fidelio, at a lower cost.
  • Premium speaker grill material  The blackest, most acoustically transparent material available anywhere, made for us in 65 inch wide rolls.

Guides, other resources

download

Here is a (hopefully) helpful guide on building your own fixed frame XD screen.  It's not rocket surgery and nearly anyone can get a top-performing fixed frame screen for much, much less than currently available manufactured options.  DIYFixedFrame.pdf (Rev. 5/08, 848k)  If you are interested in a higher-end version, Bob Gallo offers this DIY guide using maple for the frame and the splining method.  We'd not recommend doing this for the Glacier White non-AT material; it's too thick for splining.  DIYFixedFrameGallo.pdf (Rev 2/09, 398k)

Sides

Both sides of the Center Stage XD screen material measure the same, however we inspect the inside surface of the roll to ensure that there are no blemishes.  That's also the side we prefer due to our use in retractable screens (it's a bit more moiré resistant when used without a tilted angle).  However, some folks prefer the slightly different weave pattern on the outside surface.  Feel free to use that side if you prefer, or if you blemish the other side.

The Center Stage UF has a side woven for an exceptionally smooth and untextured image.  Use that.  The other side looks very striped.  Don't use that.

The Glacier White and Gray non-AT screen's back side is black, so it's very obvious which side to use.

Viewing angles  Here is a recommended viewing angle calculator: Viewing Distance Calculator

Cheap velvet  We developed the Baritone velvet to offer nearly the performance of the Fidelio but at a lower cost.  If you need another notch down in quality and price, here is a recommended source for economy black velvet: Black Plush Triple Velvet

AT?
(2k-20kHz)
light
absorbance
Seymour AV premium speaker grill
extremely
dark
Millibel black backing
extremely (-0.3dB)
85.4%
GoM-701 black
meh (-3dB)
97.0%
Fidelio Velvet
no
99.7%
Seymour AV Baritone velvet
no
99.5%
Sy Triple Velvet
no
99.3%

Retrofit into your current frame 

In case you already have a metal frame that you're happy with and just want to upgrade it with the Center Stage XD screen material, check out this thread.  The Glacier White non-AT is a bit too thick to be stuffing into a splining strip.  It's best stapled or with grommets installed.

Curved screens 

There is no acoustical or brightness benefit to building a curved screen with Center Stage XD screen material.  The only benefits are elimination of pincushion or bowtie distortion from your anamorphic lens and the general coolness of the screen look.  The Glaicer White 1.3 non-AT material can get a gain boost of around 10% by curving it.  Since our material has such a wide viewing angle, we recommend a minimum of a 40 foot radius.

Here's a good build thread on a curved screen.  The only thing we'd add is that you don't need 50 clamps - you can just use the concave part from the MDF that you cut the convex from and a few clamps.  If you do have 50 clamps, you're a stud.  If you don't have any clamps, try cutting the curved frame sections from a couple 2x6s.

Acoustics 

About half of what you're hearing is the room itself, so best practice would dictate that a healthy chunk of your audio budget go to acoustically treating your room.  While vertically aligning your front speakers on the same horizontal plane, spacing them from reflection points, and losing the coffee table are free, an investment in room absorption panels, Green Glue and other sound isolation products pays off generously.  Your exploding robots will sound better, and others nearby will no doubt appreciate hearing less sound leakage.

Go to IsoStore to buy Green Glue Compound, GenieClips, soundproof doors and other supplies.  visit now