DIY Screens Part 2 – Front Projection
A ways back we talked about creating a DIY rear projection screen. It was a great way to use common products for a rear projection screen surface. We wanted to take a look at some options for making a front projection screen.
Earlier this month we discussed what to look for when purchasing screens. Now, if you can’t buy your own screen, are looking for something truly custom, or just want to have some fun then DIY is a great way to go!
As we mentioned before, one of the biggest keys in making a great projection screen is a solid frame. The more rigid and stable your frame, the tighter your screen surface will be. This will reduce waves, shadows, and imperfections.
Time to head to the local hardware store. There’s two things to remember for your frame. 1. The Support Structure. 2 The Finishings. These are two very different items and require different material.
Consult online tutorials on framing before trying something on your own. Also, remember that any rigging or hanging of items needs to be signed off by licensed professionals. Safety first, right!
Build your frame to follow the aspect ratios you are looking for in your particular setup.
Front projection surfaces require blocking the light from going through the screen. You want something that’s reflective but not necessarily glossy. You just want to make sure the light doesn’t go through or get absorbed by the fabric. Some good options include blackout curtains or blackout cloth (such as a drop cloth type material). I generally try to avoid thinner materials like bed sheets as they’re not light blocking enough.
Now, this isn’t the only way to create a cool DIY screen surface.
PAINT YOUR WALLS
I love working with churches, event planners, and production techs who look for creative options. However, sometimes simply cutting costs is confused with being creative. Just taking a few extra minutes to be intentional will let your space really pop.
What I mean is that if you’re going to paint your walls to create faux screens, take the time to paint them properly and frame your image. You don’t have to make a physical frame, but you do need limits to your screen. Look for natural boundaries, wall intersections, or columns to frame your painted surface. If you can, paint a solid black “frame” to give a boundary for your screen. It’s the small details that make this work.
PROJECT ONTO OBJECTS
We talked about some creative ideas to do a multiscreen without a screen setup a while back. This is a great way to create new screens with some of those materials. Coroplast or foam core is a great alternative surface to project onto and will give you plenty of flexibility when placing your “screens”.
Consider creating unique designs that allow for motions or other imagery on parts and text to be projected solely on a focused location. This will add intentionality to your design.