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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #78. Mask Your Screen

Whether you built your own screen or purchased one new, adding masks to the top, bottom, and sides will create a true movie-style experience in your home.

Having your screen bordered by a black frame is a must. Not only does it make the picture look better, but also it makes the screen look better when the lights are on. The simplest masking is the fixed variety. All you have to do is build another simple frame, minus the plywood backing this time, sized to fit around the screen you built earlier. Wrap it in a matte black fabric and use some I-brackets to attach it to the screen.

If you're a true-blue movie fanatic, fixed masking just won't cut it; you'll need the variable kind. If you've already read about aspect ratios [Hack #13] , you know that movies come in several ratios; most notably, though, you'll need to deal with 2.35:1, 1.85:1, and 1.33:1 (more colloquially known as 4: 3). If you've got just a plain white screen [Hack #77] hanging on the wall, you're probably going to have leftover space in all of these formats.

Warning

It's actually possible to build a screen specifically for one format, and ensure that movies in that format fill the entire screen matching up to fixed masking. Most people do this. Of course, movies in other formats won't match up to a fixed masking system, and that's hardly acceptable to any real DIYer.

Constant Area Viewing

There are three types of adjustable masking systems: constant width, constant height, and constant ...

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