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Screen Material FAQ's

Screen Material FAQ's

Q1: I'm considering purchasing an Active 3D projector. What benefits are there in choosing the Airbright 3D2 material?

A: In general, the Airbight 3D2 material is beneficial to use with Active 3D projectors to combat the following.

  1. Active 3D projectors lose brightness when 3D mode is activated (approximately 50% of lumens is lost)
  2. More is lost when the active shutter glasses are put on. The dark tint of them block the projector's lighting. It's like trying to watch a movie with sunglasses on. 

The 2.2 gain on the Airbright 3D2 material helps regain brightness levels in 3D mode, and the high gain avaialble on the Airbright 3D2 allows for some ambient light to be on without washing out the projected image as typically experienced on matte white surfaces. 

 The loss of brightness impacts the true home theater experience by producing a dim and bland image.  We recommend using the Airbright 3D2 for this reason.

Q2: Will I sacrifice picture quality using Elite’s AcousticPro4K (4K resolution Acoustically Transparent) screen material?

A: All acoustically transparent materials on the market today are light enough in thickness to allow sound to penetrate it with low-level attenuation (decrease in sound quality) but normally come at the cost of having considerable light loss as well. Elite’s AcousticPro 4K acoustically transparent (AT) material is an exception to this rule.  It has an astonishingly fine (.01mm) micro-perforated texture that allows sound to breathe through the fabric with minimal attenuation. At the same time, it allows the video aspects of the material to perform on the same level as a typical matte-white (non-acoustic) material does. The ultra-fine perforations of the Acoustcpro 4K “AT” material allows it to be used with high resolution (4096x2160 pixel ratio)  projectors. A special reflective compound coats the surface of Elite’s 4K acoustic material to compensate for light penetration by reflecting the brightness of the projected image. All these features come together to form a product with superior acoustic transparency that has just 1% light loss while presenting a neutral color temperature (6500°-7000° Kelvin). This is equivalent and in some cases, even surpassing in video performance to a standard matte white non-acoustic projection screen.

Q3: Will I sacrifice picture quality using Elite’s AcousticPro 1080P2 (Acoustically Transparent) screen material?

A: All acoustically transparent materials on the market today are light enough in thickness to allow sound to penetrate it with low-level attenuation (decrease in sound quality). However, the thin fabric properties in the AT material that allows acoustic transparency to occur  also allows light penetration resulting in light loss which creates a dimmer image.  The (.18mm) perforated texture of the Acoustcpro 1080P2 material is  for use with higher 1080P (1920 x1080 pixel resolution) projectors. A special reflective compound coats the surface of Elite’s 1080P acoustic material to compensate for light penetration by reflecting the brightness of the projected image. All these features come together to create a product with an overall audio attenuation of less than 3% while presenting a neutral color temperature (6500°-7000° Kelvin) in an image that is comparable to a standard matte white non-acoustic projection screen.

Q4: What is the difference between AcousticPro1080 and 1080P2 Material?

A: The AcousticPro1080 material was Elite’s first generation of 1080P (1920x1080 pixel resolution) projection screens with .22mm openings in the weave for acoustic penetration. The AcousticPro 1080P2 material is the next generation with finer (.18mm) openings in its weave for enhanced audio/video performance.

Q5: How far should I place my speakers behind Elite’s AcousticProA1080, AcousticProA1080P2 & the AcousticProA4K (Acoustically Transparent) screen materials?

A: projection screen mounted flush against the wall over a properly installed in-wall speaker will have a sufficient distance by itself. There will generally be about a 1” total distance between the speaker’s dust cap (depending on make/model) and the screen with a 5mm (.2”) spacing between an in-wall speaker’s grill and the AT screen material itself.

Q6: Will I sacrifice picture quality using Elite’s AcousticPro1080P (Acoustically Transparent) screen material ?

A: Elite’s Acousticpro1080P material has .22mm openings in its weave that allows sound to penetrate the material with reduced attenuation when used with standard resolution projectors. The material’s weave design is vastly superior over older perforated-PVC acoustically transparent (AT) materials. The porous weave of any screen maker’s acoustically transparent material allows light to penetrate at the expense of creating an image that is dimmer than a regular (solid) white projection material would be. Elite counters this problem by coating the surface of the weave with a reflective compound that enhances brightness and color balance. This feature maximizes your projector’s ability to maintain its contrast levels while presenting a fairly bright image with neutral color temperature. Together, good picture quality and the reality factor created by a shared video and acoustic origin is possible.

Q7: What are the various aspects of projection screen material that are evenly compared between brands and how are these fairly evaluated?

A: The three main criteria of comparison  Color balance/temperature, Brightness and Contrast. The screen’s ability to give neutrally balance is measured by a color temperature meter that seperates the various color intensities which are measured in Kelvins to ensure that a precise color balance or shift is recorded. Brightness is how well the screen reflects a projected image. A light meter is used to measure the intensity of light in 10nm increments. Contrast is the mesured ratio between light and dark levels. It is also measured by a light meter or flash meter that can measure both light and dark levels and then calculate a ratio between the two.

Q8: Is there a minimum distance I need to place the screen in front of the speaker drivers or can I place the screen flush with the wall containing in-wall speakers?

A: With few exceptions, acoustically transparent projection screens are flush-mounted to the wall directly in front of the speakers but never in direct contact with them. The distance between the acoustic screen material and the speaker should be a minimum of about 5mm to several inches. A speaker’s voice coil vibrates in the process of producing sound. If the driver(contains voice coil) is in direct contract with your screen material, your picture will vibrate along with the sound creating poor picture quality.

Q9: Screen Material with minor Horizontal Lines?

A: Upon the first time you lower the screen from its casing, the material may have a series of noticeable horizontal lines on its surface. These are known as memory lines. Memory lines are caused when the pliable projection material is rolled up and stored for the duration between its production and sale. For non-tensioned materials, you may also notice curling along the vertical edges of the screen. This is caused mainly by the material’s multiple layers contracting with a cold room temperature. Please try this easy method in order to reduce the memory lines and side curls.  After installation, leave the screen in the down position for a few days with the room temperature preferably above 75° F and then commence regular (up/down) usage as intended.  This allows the material to relax/stretch out and cure itself to your home environment. After a few days, the lines should diminish and the edge curling will relax so as not to negatively affect the projected image during its many years of its use. 


*Important Note:  At the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommended viewing distance of 3 times the image height of your screen, any line artifacts should no longer be visible.

Q10: What is the difference between Tensioned and Non-Tensioned Screen Material?

A: Tension material provides a flatter screen surface and for better uniformity and even light distribution without waving or curving on the projection surface.  These problems could be caused by temperature variations in multiple layer materials.  Newer non-tensioned materials such as our MaxWhite or MaxWhite FG have greatly reduced occurrences of this flaw to the point of arguably matching its flatness in some cases. Some prefer non-tensioned due to aesthetics but tension still generally has superior flatness.

Q11: What is the advantage of black backing on the screen material?

A: Black Backing is an important feature that prevents light penetration and increases reflectivity for sharper color reproduction.

Q12: What screen material should I get?

A: Screen material selection will depend on various factors such as type of application, environment, and projector.  Please see the screen material selection guide for a better understanding of the materials we offer.

Screen Material Selection Guide 

Q13: How do I clean my Elite Screen projection screen material?

A: All Elite Screens projection materials with the exception of the StarBright™ 7 and the StarBright™ 4 can be cleaned with mild soap and water using a soft terry cloth.  For stain removals try using GooGone.

StarBright™ 7 material is to be cleaned with a very soft cloth and mild soap and water.  Do not rub the viewing surface or permanent damage will occur.

StarbBright™ 4 (WhiteBoardScreen™) is cleaned with the included spray bottle and the high density eraser.  For deep cleaning, we recommend using a low alcohol product and wiping it off with the high density eraser.

Q15: I have a high lumens output projector but my room has ambient light/ light colored walls/ceiling. How will the CineWhite and CineGrey 5D perform? Is the CineGrey 5D a silver or grey screen? How does the screen color affect grayscales?

A: Our CineWhite material is an excellent screen material that is highly recommended when you have either a really high output (+3000 lumens projector) and/or are able to control the light in your media room (i.e. a dedicated home theater).  However, under conditions when a lower output projector, uncontrolled ambient light, or  light colored walls and/or ceiling, the CineGrey 5D has four key features that result in a better overall viewing experience.

1)      The CineGrey 5D material has an ambient light rejecting surface. The material has an angular reflective material that 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.

2)      The CineGrey 5D contains elements of a silver screen despite its dark appearance. These both work to enhance the contrast ratio and color reproduction in either a well lit or a dark room. With most standard white materials, the image will become washed out when ambient light is present. The ambient light reflecting properties allow the CineGrey 5D to maintain the image quality even under conditions where there is a high amount of light (Click here for a Video review of the CineGrey 5D by AV expert Andrew Robinson). In light controlled rooms, there are still certain reflective surfaces that may interact with the projected image such as the colors of the walls/ceiling. The grey/silver properties of the CineGrey 5D reduce the impact the reflective surfaces, such as light colored walls and ceiling, have on the screen image. Although a white surface is recommended in completely controlled designs, the difference in grayscale between the CineGrey 5D and CineWhite surfaces are so slight that they may not be noticeable to most human eyes.

3)      The CineGrey 5D is a 1.5 gain screen material that improves the image quality when active 3D projectors are used. There is approximately 50% loss of brightness when 3D is activated and there is even more brightness (aka lumens) being lost when the tinted shutter glasses are worn. The 1.5 gain of the CineGrey 5D reflects the image at 1.5 times the original brightness of magnesium carbonate which is the standard industry control for creating a 1.0 gain white projection screen.

4)      The CineGrey 5D is also a polarized material that allows for true 1080P 3D content when using a passive 3D projection system (i.e. dual projectors with an AFlex5D passive 3D video processor). The CineWhite material is not polarized and thus the only 3D content that can be displayed on that surface must be from an Active 3D projector. In general, passive 3D is easier on the eyes as the viewer is able to see the image with both eyes at the same time rather than the left/right split that occurs during Active 3D. 

Q16: Can I use the Insta-RP / Insta-RP2 as both a front and rear projection surface?

A: While one may project images on the front of the surface of the Insta-RP/Insta-RP2…the quality of the reflected image may not perform equally, and therefore reduce the overall fidelity of the picture .

Q17: Will the CineGrey 5D ambient light rejecting screen material cause the “hot spot” effect?

A:  Elite Screens CineGrey 5D is a color neutral smooth surface with sparkling elements to increase screen gain in an ambient light room environment. These special characteristics incorporates a diffusion layer over a highly reflective surface which scatters ambient light while improving picture performance with a brighter image. 

The projector itself, however also plays a big part in creating a hot spot.  Projectors highest brightness levels are focused in the center, and only about 70% to 80% in the corners.  In other words, the uniformity itself is not spread entirely even across the screen, thus creating a brighter spot in the center area.

To combat this, we recommend the following.

  1. Reduce the projector’s light output by choosing an economy mode
  2. Install the projector further away from the screen, minimum of 1.5 x the image width
  3. Go with a lower gain screen

Q18: Why choose an “ALR” screen like CineGrey 5D over CineWhite ?

A: Although matte white materials such as CineWhite are ideal for environments where room lighting can be controlled, the image is easily washed out by ambient light. Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) materials such as the CineGrey 5D  are suitable for environments where there are high levels of indirect (ambient) light. This material trades off on the wide diffusion uniformity of white materials in favor of a brighter (angular reflective) image. Elite’s CineGrey 5D incorporates a diffusion layer over a highly reflective surface which scatters ambient light while improving picture performance with a brighter image. This includes color neutrality with enhanced black levels and improvement over Active 3D presentations.

Andrew Robinson, an industry expert, shared his thoughts with Elite Screens about the performance of the CineGrey 5D ALR material, "…of all the features, the one that gets me and really speaks the most is the fact that the CineGrey 5D material from Elite Screens is the most cost effective ambient light solution on the market today. This is why I use it and this is why I recommend that you check it out for yourself. Because, at the end of the day, we all want performance but we also want incredible value  and these are two things that the CineGrey 5D delivers in spades.” Click here to see video of Andrew Robinson's endorsement of the CineGrey 5D.

Q19: What is the difference between Elite’s MaxWhite and MaxWhite FG screen materials?

A: Elite Screens’ MaxWhite and MaxWhite FG are excellent screen materials for front projection presentations. The materials have a multi-layer weave and textured surface coating that offer perfect diffusion uniformity, color reproduction, and black and white contrast. Both have a 1.1 gain that allows for 180° viewing angles (90° left and right) and are black-backed which avoids light penetration. They are also easy to clean, mildew resistant, and GreenGuard® Gold UL 2818 certified.


The key difference between the MaxWhite and MaxWhite FG is that the MaxWhite FG has a fiber glass backing. This is beneficial as the embedded fiber glass improves rigidity which results in a more stiff material. Thus, the MaxWhite FG provides the flattest possible surface a non-tensioned screen can offer. Additionally, the fiber glass backing eliminates any side curling non-tensioned materials are susceptible to, especially under cold temperatures. Lastly, the MaxWhite FG is also flame retardant and complies with NFPA 701 Standards.

Q20: What is the difference between Elite’s MaxWhite FG and SpectraWhite FG? Why is fiberglass backing important?

A:  Elite’s MaxWhite FG and Spectra White FG are very comparable as they both are self-supporting matte white front projection screen surfaces with fiberglass backing. Having a fiberglass backing is beneficial as the embedded fiber glass improves rigidity which results in a more stiff material. Thus, the fiberglass backing provides the flattest possible surface a non-tensioned screen can offer. Additionally, the fiber glass backing eliminates any side curling non-tensioned materials are susceptible to, especially under cold temperatures.


Both the MaxWhite FG and SpectraWhite FG will provide an excellent quality image in light controlled environments. The main difference between the materials is that the MaxWhite FG utilizes a more neutral white material for better white levels. Both the Spectra White FG and MaxWhite FG have viewing angles of 180° (90° left and right). The wide diffusion uniformity on both the materials maintain luminance levels throughout the entire surface.


The MaxWhite FG is also offered on many more of or products, whereas the SpectraWhite FG is solely available on the Starling and Starling Tension.


The Spectra White FG material is also slightly thicker than the MaxWhite FG.

Q21: What is the difference between Elite’s CineGrey 3D and CineGrey 5D?

A:  For a complete side-by-side comparison, please Click Here

Q22: I have a short throw/ultra-short throw projector, will this projector work with the ambient light rejecting CineGrey 3D/5D materials?

A:  The ambient light rejecting properties of the CineGrey 3D and 5D make the materials incompatible with short throw and ultra-short throw projects. The recommended minimum projector throw distance for these materials is 1.5 times the viewing image width. There are two main reasons behind this:

  1.  The CineGrey 3D and 5D are high gain and angular reflective screen materials. These types of materials require proper projector and screen alignment as hot-spotting may occur if not set up correctly.
  2.  Due to the CineGrey 3D/5D materials being angular reflective, the angle of incidence from short-throw and ultra short-throw will be too close to the material and the viewer will not experience the optimal projector/screen performance. The material will treat the projector’s light as ambient light and thus it will reject it.

Q23: Which Elite Screens materials are compatible with Active and/or Passive 3D technology?

A:  Active 3D- All of Elite Screens’ materials are compatible with active 3D projectors.  The system utilized by Active 3D projector setups does result in an overall loss in brightness however. When 3D mode is activated on a projector, up to 50% of the lumen output is lost. The image brightness is further diminished as the viewer is required to use dark tint glasses.  If the majority of viewing will be done in Active 3D, Elite Screens recommends a higher gain screen materials such as, CineGrey 3D ® and CineGrey 5D, to help offset lumen loss.


The following is a list of all Active 3D compatible Elite Screens materials:


 AirBright 3D2  AcousticPro UHD  AcousticPro A1080P3  AcousticPro A1080P2
 CineGrey  CineGrey 3D®  CineGrey 5D  CineWhite
 DynaWhite  DynaBrite  MaxWhite B  MaxWhite
 MaxWhite FiberGlass (FG)  VersaWhite  PowerGain  SilkWhite
SpectraWhite FiberGlass (FG) StarBright ™4 StarBright CLR™ WraithVeil


Passive 3D- In addition to being compatible with Active 3D, Elite Screens’ CineGrey 3D ® and  CineGrey 5D materials are also Passive 3D compatible.  The benefits of Passive 3D polarized silver projection screens are that they increase the brightness of projected 3D images while allowing them to maximize retention of polarization levels. Lastly, its diffusion layer enhances contrast. Although passive 3D imaging can arguably be performed on other projection materials, the polarized silver materials optimize overall 3D performance with the best results.


The following is a list of all Passive 3D compatible Elite Screens materials:


 CineGrey 3D® CineGrey 5D 
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