Whether you plan on making a projector screen yourself, or you’re simply going to purchase one, it’s important to have some information on the best projector screen material so you know what you’re looking for. You want to make an informed decision when it comes to outfitting your home cinema with a screen.
If you’re going to buy a projector screen, you need to know what color you’re looking for. You might think that projector screens only come in white, but they also come in slightly grey hues. The grey helps balance the colors because sometimes projectors don’t provide the crispest blacks when projected on a white screen. This was a problem a few years ago, but as technology advances, and quality improves, it’s becoming less of a factor. Projector screen material itself varies, but essentially what you’re looking for is something that won’t let light in through the back. Most screens you can buy will fulfill this requirement. Just don’t go too cheap here, or you might find yourself watching a faded picture due to the light bleeding through.
If you’re looking for some diy projector screen material, hit your local fabric store. Just like with the pre-made screens, you’re going to want a matte fabric that doesn’t let light through. They actually make blackout materials in several colors, including white. These fabrics will be white on one side, and the other side will have a coating that blocks all light. Some companies also make specific material for projector screens, but this is your most expensive option. You might as well just buy a projector screen for around the same amount it would cost to buy this special material. This option should only be pursued if a custom projector screen of professional quality is necessary.
You’re going to want to mount your material to a sturdy frame to prevent sagging. The frame should provide sufficient support for your screen material, and be strong enough that you can pull the material tight without the frame bowing or bending.
Blackout fabric is not the least expensive fabric out there either, so it you want cheap projector screen material, you could always simply buy a white sheet, or similar matte fabric, and tack it straight to the wall. The wall will not only provide a sturdy support, obviously, but it will help block backlight. You may still want to build a frame for this type of screen as well. You want to use the frame to hold the projector screen against the wall, support the screen all the way around, and aid in completely blocking out backlight. Painting the frame black will really make the projected colors pop.
Another type of “material” you can use for a projector screen is paint. You don’t want to use just any paint though, you’re going to have to go with a professional paint formulated specifically for the purpose of projection. Screen Goo is the best available these days; it’s easy to use, provides a great projection surface, and can be painted on any flat surface.
Whether you buy a screen, build one using blackout material or a sheet, or paint one yourself, make sure it’s the right size and hue for the best viewing experience.