Product Review: Page (1) of 2 - 12/22/04 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Buying a Screen? Go for the Goo

Paint a theater screen on the wall or anything else By Charlie White

Screen Goo ReviewDebating which screen to buy for your home theater? Wait. Theres another way, and it doesnt involve a screen at all its nothing more than a couple of jars of paint. But its not just any old paint, its Screen Goo, a product especially formulated for your specific projector and the room in which it sits (or hangs, as it were). Is it as good or better than thousand-dollar screens? To find out, we slathered it on the wall of our theater, and then compared it to one of the brightest and best screens you can buy. What we found out might surprise you. 
When we conceived and built our specially-designed state-of-the-art Midwest Test Facility theater, we agonized over acoustics, materials, seating, lighting, power issues and which screen to use to test the numerous projectors that find their way through our test center. As soon as we were just about ready to spend over $1000 on a high-end screen, we heard about Screen Goo ($169 for a liter each of base coat and top coat), a special type of paint developed by a Canadian company called Goo Systems. According to the company, with just a couple of jars of paint you could create an exceptional screen on any surface. Intrigued with this possibility, I decided to take a look at the Goo Systems Web site. I quickly discovered that not only is Screen Goo significantly less expensive than buying a screen, each jar of it is specifically formulated for the projector that youll be using. Not only that, but Goo Systems asks you how much ambient light there will be in your theater, whether you're using a front-projection or rear-projection system, the size of your screen including its length and diagonal measurements, and even whether you like your projection to look more film-like, or TV-like. What you wind up with is a specially-prescribed paint that results in a painted-on screen thats theoretically as good as its conventional counterparts. 

After I filled in a ?Which Goo? form on the Goo Systems Web site, a few days later I received two liter-sized jars of Screen Goo. One was the topcoat that was called Digital Gray Light, and the other was the base coat, a different formulation called Digital Gray. Then it was time to apply the paint to the wall. On Goo Systems Web site, there are elaborate instructions explaining how to apply these two coats of paint. But as our new Midwest Test Facility theater was being built, I consulted with some old pro painters about various methods of applying paint to walls. When I showed them the Web site of Goo Systems with all its intricate instructions, they laughed. ?All youre doing is painting the wall, said one of the painters. And right he was, because even though Goo Systems recommends using a paint sprayer, we rolled the paint on just like we would with any other paint, and the results were perfect. Dont let all this fancy talk fool you all youre doing is painting a wall. The included instructions are very detailed and complicated, and make it sound like using this product is difficult. The instructions state that Goo is ?a bit trickier than rolling normal latex paint. Not true! It is ridiculously easy. Just use a short-napped roller, and keep your eyes open while applying the Goo. Instructions also state ?for optimal results, Goo should be sprayed. Rolling worked just fine. These ernest instructions take this whole process so seriously, youd think you were mixing explosives or something here. But youre not, for crying out loud. Youre painting a wall. No big deal.

Painting with Screen Goo is just like it is with any paint -- no sprayer necessary.

Anyway, both the base coat and the topcoat are very thin and easy to apply. The name ?Goo implies that this stuff is gooey, but its not its about the consistency of a milk shake on a hot day. If you apply the paint evenly, it will look just right. For our application, we wanted a 4x3 screen to give us maximum versatility when testing various projectors. After hanging our workhorse NEC HT1000 projector from the ceiling, we taped out the exact 4x3 area of its picture. The wall that we used was a smooth drywall surface that had a primer coat already applied to it. Then we applied the paint first two coats of the base coat, and then two coats of the top coat. The base coat is more opaque, while the topcoat appears to be more translucent, with a luminescent quality. Apparently, this is to reflect light better, resulting in clearer, cleaner image quality. When the paint was still wet, it seemed shiny and glossy, but as it dried, it looked like any other flat gray paint. Its supposed to be a ?light-scattering surface, but it looks like any other paint to me.  

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Related Keywords:screen, home theater, paint, Screen Goo, especially formulated, projector, Goo Systems

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