Anna&Flo: the story to our blog!

Presentation Anna&Flo

We would like to present ourselves to the readers of our blog.

We, Anna (26 years old) and Florian (28 years old), are a german-french couple passionate about home-theater and especially projection at home. We live in Germany.

Anna works in a bank after getting a master in financial mathematics. She speaks German, English and can understand French as well.

Florian is engineer in a big multinational company (not related in any way with home-theater), and speaks French, German and English.

Step 1: The first home-theater

About 6 years ago in 2010, came the idea to get a projector at home for movies and 3D gaming… And 2 years later, after 2 years of reading forums and projector reviews, we made the jump into the world of video-projection at home in our living room with an entry level projector. It was an Optoma HD300x for 1100€ which delivered for us “beginners” a wonderful picture and home-theater experience. We also bought a “cheap” 120 inch fixed frame screen for less than 300€.

Projectiondream.com_OLD-LivingRoom_browwalls

From the beginning, we had understood that the room had a big impact on the contrast performance of the projector and so we had painted the first 1,5m coming from the screen of the ceiling and side walls in a dark brown color. Well, that was a start. 😉

Step 2: The masking system

Soon, we found the black bars not black enough… and decided to create a DIY masking system with magnets. The result was great with the feeling of a better contrast and immersion. We immediately thought it would interest some other home-theater enthousiasts, and created a tutorial on a French and german forum to share with the community: Masking System on Cinetson.org

Projectiondream.com_OLD-Living-Room_masking

 

Step 3: Lots of projectors!

After 1 year, different projectors have followed as we tried to get an even better picture:

  • Acer H9500BD
  • Optoma HD25LV
  • Optoma HD83
  • Benq W7500
  • Sony HW50ES

The Sony HW50ES (Full HD 3D SRXD) was a big step forward in term of image quality AND price (~2500€) but did not stay long, because of a tinnitus like noise that our unit presented (not OK with the projector 30cm from our heads) and a poor 3D performance with flickering and ghosting.

We settled then on the Epson EH-TW9200 (Full HD 3D LCD for ~2500€) which had none of the above mentioned issues and were very happy…until we wanted even more.

Step 4: The technical screens

We thought about getting a new screen with special properties (a technical grey screen with gain) to reject light coming from the sides due to the light reflection on the walls and the ceiling, with the goal of getting better contrast and black out of our projector. And so, for months, we went to see every one of those “magical” screens in full size in different showrooms but also assembled a very big collection of samples from every screen. We created a dedicated topic for it to report to our fellow home-theater friends as we analyzed the following screens:

  • Draper React 2.1
  • DNP Supernova 08-85
  • DNP Supernova 23-23
  • Stewart Firehawk G3 /G4
  • Stewart Greyhawk
  • Deep Space 3D
  • Multipix 4K Grey 1.3
  • Xtrem Screen Daylight 1.4
  • Xtrem Screen Daylight Reference 1.1
  • Xtrem Screen Daylight 0.9

Comparison of technical screens on Cinetson.org

Here 2 picture of Anna holding a DNP Supernova 23-23 (left picture) and a DNP Supernova 08-85 sample (right picture):

DNP Supernova 08-85 vs 23-23

The conclusion we came to after investigating these many technical grey screens was the following: we were not ready to live with the compromises that this kind of screen brings almost always with it:

– sparkles/shimmering / screen structure visible

– hot spot /limited choice for the seating position to be in the right spot

– white often duller

– colorimetry often off

– price

Step 5: Room optimization & Black curtains

However, we still wanted to optimize the contrast of our projector in our living room.

So, this time, we thought the room itself could use an upgrade. And we wanted to create a REVERSIBLE dedicated room in our living room.

We searched French, German, English forums to get ideas to improve the contrast we had in our living room and decided on the solution we would adopt.

Our solution: curtains made of the blackest velvet on the side walls AND the ceiling starting from the screen and going 3m towards the spectator. The result was spectacular, the contrast was multiplied and the immersion became total with just the picture floating in front of us (combined with the masking system). We also made a tutorial on the French forum to share it with others: Tutorial reversible optimized room on Cinetson.org

Projectiondream.com_OLD-Living-Room_with_curtains

Step 6: A new room

A few month later, we moved to another region of Germany.

Projectiondream.com

We used this chance to get a bigger flat with a nice guest room of 3.85*3.85m (15m²) that we would also use as our home-theater room. We needed to-reinstall the curtains system we built in the previous apartment and it went without problems. We also decided to cover the back wall with stage molton to minimize even more light reflections back to the screen and the front wall around the screen for more immersion. We also covered the floor with the blackest carpet we found (after looking at many samples) to optimize contrast and immersion.

Step 7: A new screen

After weeks of work, as the time came to turn on the projector Epson EH-TW9200, we had the bad surprise to notice that even with maximal zoom, we could not fill out the 265cm width of our screen… Also, looking closely at so many technical screens made us aware of the imperfection of our own white screen which showed some structure.

And so began the search for a new fixed frame screen with a material without any structure and color neutral. The reference is well known by home-theater enthusiasts: the Stewart Snomatt 100. A very nice screen, perfectly structureless even from looking up close and supposedly lambertian.

After looking at many screens, we settled for the Elunevision 4K 100 Reference with 252cm screen width. It does not reach the perfection of the stewart snomatt 100, but comes up very close to that for many times less the price.

We also had to recreate a new masking system since we had sold the old screen with our first masking system. We took some new pictures, and a tutorial will be coming soon.

Projectiondream.com-new-masking

Step 8: Want to calibrate!

Having such a nice screen called for a calibrated projector… and we had read in reviews that the Epson EH-TW9200 was not that good for out of the box colors and grayscale. And so we thought to pay for a professional calibrator. But after reading a lot about calibration, we decided to invest in a colorimeter i1 display 3 pro and a spectrophotometer i1 pro 2 combined to the software Chromapure to do it ourselves.

And so, we learned to calibrate the Epson EH-TW9200 and were very happy with the natural looking picture we got for a result.

We also thought that now that we had such measurement tools, it would be nice to create a review of our own projector. Doing that, we were thinking that we would like to share it with as many home-theater enthusiasts as possible.

Step 9: Epson EH-LS10000 Workshop

Thursday 26 March 2015: a decisive day. We went to a workshop with Ekki Schmitt (Cine4home) for the presentation of the new Epson EH-LS10000.

We tried to document and photograph the whole review process going on and posted a report on the Epson EH-LS10000 on cinetson.org in french, but also on hifi-forum.de in german.

Link to the french report on the Epson EH-LS10000 on Cinetson.org

Link to the german report of the Epson EH-LS10000 on Hifi-forum.de

Here from left to right on the last picture we took that day:

Gunnar Witting (Heimkino Boutique), Epson EH-LS10000, Ekki Schmitt (Cine4Home) and Damir Haupert (Key Account Manager Home Cinema for Epson):

Epson EH-LS10000 Cine4home Workshop

After that, we were thinking that it would be fun to do our own reviews as well.

Final Step: Creation of the blog

And so, we created our Blog “Projectiondream.com” to share the review of the Epson EH-TW9200 and hoping for others to follow.

Since contrast on screen was from the begining one of the main topic we focused on, we also decided to create some innovative contrast patterns to try to represent the projector performance for different kinds of picture brightness.

Contrastpictures

Also since our optimized room is reversible, we though that it would be interesting to always do a comparison between the contrast you get when the curtains are opened (Typical living room) and with the curtains closed: our optimized room. We also added a third ideal contrast curve measured at the Lens.

Contrast_Curve_ADL_Epson_EH-TW9200

Projectiondream.com Room

Conclusion

Now here we are with a few reviews already behind us and a lot to come. 🙂

And we are very glad to share the rest of our story with you guys!

Anna&Flo

Bonus picture: a couple of tourists in Germany! 😉

Projectiondream.com-Anna-Flo

17 Comments

  1. Nice story. Wasnt’ thinking of reading the whole story because i really wasn’t interested and ended up with reading the whole thing.
    I really like your optimized room, because it’s still a living room and not some of these black caverns without flair.

    • Thank you, glad you liked it and read till the end! 🙂

      What kind of room do you have yourself? Like our optimized room?

      Cheers,
      Anna&Flo

      • unfortunately it’s still an unoptimized room with bright walls.
        I’ll move this year to a new location, so i’m looking forward to get something like your room. Maybe not that much of an optimization but hopefully some darker painted walls or/and dark curtains. Maybe a Draper React 2.1/3.0 screen.

        • Hi Daglax,

          you will gain so much in picture quality and immersion when you will optimize your room!

          A masking system is also something excellent to increase the perceived contrast.
          Draper React and other technical screen are expensive and have often downsides:
          – shimmering
          – hot spot
          – color drift
          Avoid them if you can.

          Regards,
          Anna&Flo

  2. Such a cool article.

    I’m a huge fan of your reviews – and your methodology.

    Keep it up, guys. We can tell you’re passionate from your reviews: this article simply proves it further!

    • Hi Markham!

      It was fun to write this article, very different from the others and we took much pleasure in writing it.
      So we are very glad you liked it! 😉

      It’s so cool to have a fan! 🙂
      We will continue!

      Take care,
      Anna&Flo

  3. vos tests sont superbes.
    Restez fidèles à vos ressentis et merci de ne pas être asservis par les Xtrem’s fans qui agacent tout le petit monde du H.C

    • Bonjour René,

      merci beaucoup pour ce commentaire super sympa! Ça fait très plaisir! 🙂

      On va continuer sur notre voie et on ne laissera asservir par personne! 🙂

      Au plaisir,
      Anna&Flo

  4. Wow, I just found your site. I hope to move to a projector based home theater system in the next 12-24 months. I’ve settled on a 7.2 system (Anthem/ Paradigm Reference) which is not complete. my next purchase will be a projector and fixed screen.

    • Hi Gerald,
      thanks for writing here.
      Did you find the projector of your dream on our blog?

      Do not forget to get your room like a Batcave (the best is with the triple black velvet).
      If you can’t buy a technical screen like “DNP Supernova, or Draper React 3.0 or a cheaper Elitescreen 5D).

      The room and/or the screen makes for 70% of your picture. 😉

      Cheers
      Anna&Flo

  5. Your method of measuring contrast ratio is by far the most informative and representative of real world use. Excellent!
    I look forward to future reviews.

  6. Many many compliments…you are doing imho one of the best jobs in reviewing products for home cinema … and your patterns to evaluate real contrast in environment are something which we felt needed for a lot of time (not more useless speeches about ON-OFF C.R. .. b.s.)

    please don’t stop! go on!

    very well done! 🙂

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