REVIEW: Elite Screens ezFrame CineGrey5D
Several projection screen manufacturers tout the ability to reject ambient light, but very few are successful. Paul Skelton looks at a new ALR screen from Elite to see if it can find a place in the sun.
Projection screens often get overlooked in custom installations, with many people believing there is very little difference between those available to market. But, if all screens are the same, why are there so many different colours and materials to choose from?
The simple fact is projection screens matter. And there are some interesting technologies being built-in to today’s screens that make some brands stand above their competitors.
Take Elite Screens’ CineGrey5D projection screen, which features ambient light rejecting technology and a gain of 1.5.
What it is
The CineGrey5D is an angular reflective front projection material designed to reject ambient light while maintaining picture quality. In addition to dark rooms, the CineGrey5D is designed for rooms that have little or no control over incidental light. This means that it’s an ideal fit for family rooms as well as lecture halls, boardrooms, sports bars, training facilities and other business environments.
The angular reflective material incorporates a diffusion layer over a highly reflective surface. This causes direct light from the projector to reflect squarely into the viewer’s field of vision while the outer contrast layer enhances image quality while absorbing indirect ambient light.
The material is compatible with high resolution 4K projectors. It also maintains polarity for theatre-grade 3D when the occasion calls for it.
The screen increases projector brightness by 1.5 times, which is good for low lumen output projectors.
Let me start by saying that setting up a projection screen, particularly this one, isn’t a difficult process. But it is time consuming and frustrating, so get your apprentice to do it, if you have one.
Building the frame is easy – it’s just a matter of sliding pieces together then tightening a few screws.
Inserting the tension rods? Even easier – just slide the rod in place.
But, attaching the screen material to the frame? I’m surprised my neighbours didn’t call the cops.
Let me clarify: this is not a problem that is exclusive to Elite Screens. Many manufacturers use plastic clips to hold the screen in place, which makes me wonder if this is an industry-wide prank, designed to see how long it takes for integrators to crack.
Plastic clips are now the bane of my existence.
Despite the written instructions, the diagrammatic interpretations and the photos, I’m still confused by how these clips worked. Even now, I’m not sure if I did it right. Not all went in properly and all sat at different angles, which played havoc with my OCD…
But, the screen is now taught. And it looks nice hanging on my wall, mounted using a novel ‘slide’ system that works a treat and holds the screen securely in place (as long as you find a stud to mount it to – if you can’t, wall plugs are included).
I tried the screen in both a darkened room as well as one with open curtains. This is ambient light reflecting material, so theoretically a little bit of sunlight shouldn’t be a problem, right?
In the dark room (or as dark as a living room at day can be), the screen was amazingly good. The projector I’m using really isn’t good thanks to its age, but the image quality was far better on this screen than I had experienced before.
But it was in the light room with open curtains where this screen really shone. The image was clear and sharp, and the screen didn’t at all seem fazed by glare. And it retained its viewing angle despite the light.
Unfortunately, the quality of the screen really highlighted the problems of my old projector! (Not that I’m soliciting, but if someone would like to send me a new projector, I wouldn’t say no…)
If anything, my old projector may have done the screen a disservice, but the fact that it seemingly improved the projected image says a lot about the CineGrey5D material.
I’m typically quite sceptical when people claim to have ‘ambient light rejecting’ material, because I’ve never really been impressed by what I’ve seen.
Is this the best projection screen I’ve ever seen? No.
But, is it the best for what is an entry level price point? Quite possibly.