If you are going to put the time, effort, and money into creating a theater space in your home that you will enjoy and love every time you step into it you should do it the right way. The annoyance of have to fix, adjust, or change the settings of the projection unit or surroundings in your theater space when you are already to flop into you seat and enjoy a show with a beer can be negated.
Here are a few tips to setting up your space for the best experience you should have.
The goal here is simple: natural-looking images in ten minutes.
It’s important to change the picture parameters for each source of video (a film will need a different look to broadcastTV, or hi-def sports). If you’re lucky, your projector will have some calibration test patterns built in, or perhaps a set-up wizard.
What it definitely will have is some preset pictures modes such as ‘movie’, ‘cinema’, ‘sports’, ‘game’, ‘vivid’ and ‘user’. While it’s the latter you’ll be tuning-up and saving to, the others can be used as a base.
You might also find THX or ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) presets on your projector, too. These industry standards are focused on giving you ‘what the director intended’, and though they don’t account for your personal preferences or your viewing scenario, they serve as a useful comparison.
This is a balancing act, since black on a projector is merely a lack of light, and brightness the opposite.
You should study and tweak the image in whatever ambient light is likely to be most normal; if you intend to use your projector during the day, leave the curtains open. However, if you can close curtains or blinds – even just a bit – to rid the room of as much ambient light as possible, do so. This will massively improve both black levels and brightness (if your projector screen is reflecting ambient light, there’s not too much any projector can do about it).
Tweaking for colour and tint is best done by prioritising skin tones; it shouldn’t be hard to find a sequence that features close-ups of several regular-looking humans (avoid alien life-forms or over-baked celebrities).
Simply push the colour slider until they look completely normal. This is subjective, but don’t be tempted to over-saturate; there will be a perfectly natural point somewhere between pale and ill-looking, and downright orange. Warm, rosy colours have an instant appeal, but this can grate after a while, so go slightly paler than your eyes initially prefer.
It goes without saying that it’s always best to stick to HDMI connections wherever possible.
Don’t make the mistake of spending big on short-length HDMI cables, since HDMI cables either work or they don’t – think of them like a USB cable.
However, you may require an extra-long HDMI cable to reach from your source to the projector, which will be expensive, and less reliable the longer it is.
When it’s all said and done it does eventually comes down to preference on how you like to enjoy the image you are watching. Some like the brightness while others like the image to be as real as possible while others will find it to take away from the cinematic envelopment. Adjust to your needs and enjoy what you’ve accomplished.