For comfortable viewing of films in a home cinema, you need to choose the optimal screen size at the stage of its arrangement. The correct format will allow you to immerse yourself in the plot of the tape as much as possible. In order to make a choice, it is enough to use just three simple rules and one small life hack, which we will talk about in this article.
The evolution of screen formats in the film industry
The concept of the correct screen format in the cinema has gradually evolved along with the development of the industry. For a long time, the aspect ratio of the screen of 1.33: 1 was considered the gold standard, and they tried to place the audience at a distance of one and a half to three screen heights. That is, in a cinema with a screen height of 3 meters, the farthest rows were located at a distance of 12 meters.
In the 60-70s, new technologies appeared, films were shot in wider formats. Accordingly, larger screens were required to demonstrate them. At this time, a new standard for its aspect ratio appeared - 1.85: 1. Interestingly, cinemas were often not rebuilt - their owners simply made the screens wider, leaving the same height. The constant height rule has also been adopted by modern standards for multi-format home cinema.
In multiplexes, which are located in shopping centers, distributors, due to limited space, try to place as large screens as possible. In doing so, they disregard the constant height rule and install screens with a 1.85: 1 format. This can interfere with the full transfer of the picture when showing blockbusters shot for the 2.40: 1 standard - the image is cropped a little at the top and bottom. This problem occurs even in those rooms where the popular IMAX technology is used, despite the claims of distributors that the pictures are specially reformatted for it.
Three main parameters when choosing a screen for a cinema
The first thing that needs to be determined when ordering a screen for a cinema is what it will most often be used for. If you plan to watch sports events, TV channels, clips or series, or play video games, it is better to choose a 1.78: 1 screen. It is in this format that most of this content is made. If you want to watch modern blockbusters, then, as we mentioned above, you should get a 2.40: 1 screen.
The second point is the geometry of the room. You need to consider which wall you hang the screen on and what size this parameter allows you to choose. You cannot place a screen on any of the four walls of the hall, at least doors and windows will physically interfere with this.
The third parameter is personal preference. You need to think about where you usually prefer to sit in the cinema. If you like seats in the first or second row, then you need to look for a screen with the maximum size. If you prefer to watch movies from afar, then you need to check the standards of the organizations that provide guidelines for viewing angles of movies.
The oldest historically established academic standard suggests a horizontal angle of 43 to 62 degrees. Founded by the creator of Star Wars, THX suggests sticking to an angle of 36 to 55 degrees. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommends an angle of 33 to 62 degrees. 20th Century Studios suggests using a 45-degree field of view. On average, all recommendations revolve around the numbers from 45 to 55 degrees - they can be taken as the golden mean. The vertical viewing angle must be at least 30 degrees per screen.
Keep in mind that if you want to make several rows in a camera home theater, the viewing angle will change faster depending on the location than in a conventional cinema. Because of this, you will have to choose the main row and focus on it, choosing the optimal screen size. All other places in relation to him will already be compromise.
Life hack when choosing a screen
There is one interesting life hack that will help you choose the ideal screen size - you need to place an armchair in the place where the sound engineer would sit when mixing a movie track. Most studios put this specialist at a distance equal to the width of the screen.
Thus, if the height of the screen is 5 meters, then the row should be delivered at the same distance. In this position, the viewing angles on both axes are approximately 53 degrees, which fits into all available recommendations. As a bonus in this position, you will receive not only the best picture, but also the best sound.