What Projector Screen Material Should I Choose?
Projector screen material can have a huge impact on the image quality from your projector. It is essential that the screen be made out of good material as no matter how great your projector might be it will always be limited by the quality of your screen. Since you are reading this article I assume that you are either looking for what type of material to choose in a projector screen you are buying, or you are looking to create your own projector screen so I will cover both cases.
What Projector Screen Material Should I Choose if I Am Buying A Screen?
Typically the material used in commercial projector screens is a type of vinyl. The most common coloring is matte white, although there are grey and pearlescent screens. Matt white is a very good all around color, pearlescent will give the best contrast, and the grey screens will give a lighter look to everything, but will be viewable from more angles. Pearlescent screens give the best contrast.
If the screen is not going to be supported (no tension holding it flat) then you will want to choose a textile backed (supported) screen that is designed for this. Non-backed screens may require tension, and you if you try to use these screens without tension then the picture will look absolutely terrible. A textile backed screen designed for unsupported use will hang flat without tension so that the picture will remain at a good quality.
What Projector Screen Material Should I use If Making My Own Screen?
If you are making your own screen, then you have a few choices for material. The most common choice is to use white seamless paper for photography. This is a good choice, especially if you are in controlled conditions as it is relatively inexpensive and gives good image quality. You will need to have some tension, and this certainly is not for any screen that will be moving around.
The second choice is to use vinyl. Just like the commercial screens you can use supported (textile backed) vinyl, or you can use unsupported vinyl. If you make the choice for unsupported vinyl then it will need to be tensioned. This is a more costly solution than using seamless paper, but it is a good choice.
A third choice is rubberized canvas. The key advantage to rubberized canvas is the durability, and that it can be lightly folded. This material is often used in outdoor screens, and is a good choice for that situation. Another disadvantage is that it may be hard to find rubberized canvas made for projector screens although it is frequently available on eBay.
Two More Tips For Projector Screen Material
Another tip is that if you are buying or creating your own projector screen is to add a black border around the screen made of velvet. The velvet will absorb excess light and make the picture look better. A black border in general will typically have the best contrast.
The final tip is that if the screen is for an HDTV projector is to make sure that the shape of the screen adheres to the 16:9 size ratio of a high definition picture. Otherwise you will have to settle with empty space above and below the picture when watching in HD.
Finding Great Screens And Great Material