Mitsubishi HC9000D - Projector Screens
The best screen for the HC9000D for 2D, isn't going to be the best screen for watching 3D on the HC9000D.
7/20/2011 - Art Feierman
HC9000D Projector Screen Recommendations
Once again, when dealing with an ultra high contrast projector, such as this Mitsubishi HC9000D, as a 2D projector, life is pretty simple. With very good best mode brightness, you shouldn't need a high gain screen, and you shouldn't need a high contrast gray screen to lower overall black levels to make letterboxes and blacks in general - blacker.
What you do need, is to match the screen to the room and its lighting and ambient issues. That same HC grey screen that you don't need for blacks, for example, might still be a good choice, theoretically, if you have light coming in from the sides, be it a not completely blacked out window, or even lighting from sconces on your side walls.
There's a catch, though, and that's because the HC9000D is also a capable 3D projector. Now, remember, while 3D accomplished with passive glasses (polarized), does require a special 3D screen, that's not technically the case with 3D done by alternate eye viewing - active shutter glasses.
So, where does that leave you, if you want 3D as well as 2D?
The big issue becomes brightness, of course. Showing a 100" 3D image with my Studiotek 130 (gain 1.3), I find to be rather dim. Now I've got a "real" 3D screen underneath, but with this type of 3D, it really just behaves as a very high gain regular (white) screen). That really helps the 3D cause, but I'm not at all happy with the 3D screen, nor most very high gain screens (1.8 gain and higher), because of the hot spotting and roll-off to the corners. Of course a 1.6 or 2.0 gain screen won't normally be as bad as a 2.5 gain screen, at things like evenness of illumination.
It's a tough call. My solution was to go two different screens - and I'm still not as bright as I'd like to be for 3D at 100" diagonal, even with that higher gain screen.
Of course, if you are going smaller than 100" diagonal, say only 92" or 88" or 82" each step down will get you more brightness as well.
My recommendation, budget allowing, is to get a good fixed wall 2D screen, to match your room, etc.
Then, for that occasional 3D, at least for now, consider a relatively inexpensive manual (or motorized - if budget allows) very high gain screen, for the 3D viewing. Something in that 2.0 gain or higher, will provide a lot of the extra brightness that is otherwise missing, when you need it for 3D. One low cost example, I'll mention, because I'm a bit familiar with it, and it's low cost: Optoma's Graywolf screen. Online prices put most typical sized screens from just under $200, to mid-$300s. Of course the Graywolf is only 1.8 gain, so you could go higher gain for more 3D brightness, especially if using a 2 screen setup.
For the 2D, you've a wide range of screens. Myself, I've been watching 2D on the HC9000D on my Stewart Studiotek 130, a very neutral 1.3 gain (modest gain) screen.
I'm running an anamorphic shape at 124" diagonal (gives me just under 100" diagonal, with 16:9 content). I've got enough brightness on 2D to easily do a 2.35:1 movie at the full 124" diagonal. To have that same sized Cinemascope movie on a 16:9 screen, the 16:9 screen would have to be about 131 inch diagonal.
Note the two images below. This is not a scientific test, but it gives you some idea towards brightness loss.
The first image - a 3D image captured by the camera - essentially, showing the brightness than each eye receives without the glasses (basically the brightness of 2D).
The second image shows what one eye sees, in 3D. This image was taken by positioning one lens of the the active shutter 3D glasses in front of the camera lens.
This isn't perfect, the frame of the glasses is blocking some light from the camera lens, but, it seems that most of the light is getting through. The other aspect is that you are seeing what just one eye sees, so you only are looking at half the brightness of what your two eyes see.
That said the difference in brightness between the two images is drastic. Even falsely doubling the brightness of the second image, still leaves it far dimmer than no glasses at all. I could have done that with the camera, but instead, I decided to take the first image (no glasses) and use it again as the 3rd image, but only after reducing its brightness by 50%. End result, the difference between images 2 and 3 should be a reasonable demonstration of the difference in brightness between 2D and 3D.
Note, that each eye of the glasses is only open about 50% of the time. But our exposures are much slower than the frame rate (encompass many off/on cycles), so you are seeing average brightness.
As one of the reviewers known for being particularly big on blackest blacks, I had to ask myself this question:
Would I be happier in my setup with something like a Firehawk G3 (my last screen) with a "relative gain" of 1.3 (but not as bright as the Studiotek? It would lower brightness somewhat, but that's not a problem, lumens to spare (except for, sports, and of course 3D), in exchange for blacker blacks, in content and letterbox. My conclusion: I'll stick with the Studiotek!
Why? Because the Firehawk G3, as much as I loved it, as a trade-off to rejecting side ambient light rather well, tends to roll off on the corners and sides. The Studiotek, by comparison, has no noticeable roll-off at all. That's a plus, plus, more native brightness, and I have full lighting control. In my theater, and most dark theaters - a screen like my Studiotek 130 (or lower cost, generally similar screens - like the Carada Brilliant White, Da-lite's Da-mat, etc.), is the way to go. If your room has side lighting, then the HC gray screens may be the way to go. With those, that's even more reason to have a 2nd screen for 3D viewing.
Kapish? Understood? Got it?
One last thought - dark walls especially around the screen, and dark ceiling and floor if you can manage it, really are the tickets to success for 2D and 3D viewing. I'm sure I'd be having a lot more brightness issues with the HC9000D and the Sony and JVC 3D projectors (when viewing 3D), if I was using them in my old place with the large, high, rust colored walls, and light-medium gray ceiling and light carpeting.
Put another way, the only 3D image I've put up, that was reasonably bright on my 100" higher gain 3D screen), has been the Optoma GT720 - a cute little $699 basic 3D capable projector (no Blu-ray 3D support without outboard option). That projector though measures more than 2100 lumens at its brightest - double to triple the brightness of these. The combination of the Optoma's brightness and the screen, made 3D really bright enough for self and friends, for the first time, without anyone crying "too dim."