performance home theater screens have become a viable option for those looking
for the ultimate cinematic experience in their media room. Screen Innovations
has introduced their new high-performance Visage model, specifically designed
to minimize the effects of ambient light entering into the room. This reference
screen design offers both high performance and good looks for those consumers
unwilling to compromise their picture quality. The velvet covered frame is designed
to absorb any light including the overscan coming directly from the projector.
The frame is available in several velvet colors and hardwoods to match virtually
any decor. However, we found the standard back velvet surface worked best for
us. The Visage has a screen gain of 2.0 and is offered in seamless sizes
up to 120" diagonal in 16:9 aspect ratios or 100" diagonal in 4:3 aspect
ratios. Our 100", 16:9 review screen had an active area of 87" x 49".
The frame takes up another 3.5-inches per side making the total screen size a
whopping 94" x 56". The Visage construction is top notch and
the screen comes well packed in a wooden crate.
foam secures the corners and sides of the screen to prevent damage from rough
carriers. The construction of the Visage is impressive with excellent structural
integrity. Unlike conventional frames, the Visage does not use snaps or
Velcro to hold the screen material in place, but instead leverages from a "T-Line"
tensioning mechanism that provides virtually perfect uniformity and no sagging
across the entire surface. Additional padding is placed in front and back of the
middle of the screen to prevent any movement if shock is encountered during shipping.
The center of the screen is most vulnerable to high surface impact, so the additional
padding helps prevent movement. Even handles are mounted on the ends of the large
The Visage comes with a clever mounting system that includes a bracket
that attaches to the wall. The bracket is several feet wide and has predrilled
holes where large screws fasten to the wall studs for a secure hold. A simple
level ensures the screen will sit level once attached. The long mounting bracket
has a protruding lip that runs the entire horizontal length, which evenly distributes
the weight of the screen when mounted. This is a really great design and it would
be nice if other manufactures followed suit. The screen itself is a bit heavy
and bulky (especially our 100" version) and will most likely require two
people to lift it onto the wall bracket. We mounted the screen so that the top
aligned perfectly with our Optoma H77 projector. The 2.0 surface gain provided
a nice complement to our H77.
Optoma H77 DLP projector was used during the review of the screen and provided
us with our reference images. Using our Sencore VP300 video signal generator along
with the GretagMacbeth ColorOne spectroradiometer and ColorFacts software, we
found the Visage was extremely color neutral. The reflected image showed
virtually no color shifting from the source of the H77 projector. This is a very
important attribute of any high quality screen. Any color shifting can alter the
picture quality and may not be completely correctable through calibration. All
measurements were made with no ambient light entering the room since this in itself
can change the color readings. As you can see from the CIE chart, the primary
colors are very close to ideal and virtually the same as the original
primaries measured from the Optoma H77 projector.
Projection systems with conventional screens most often look washed out with the
slightest bit of ambient light entering the room. The challenge is to maintain
good picture contrast even when some ambient light is present. Screen Innovation's
Visage achieves this goal and produces an excellent picture in this type
of environment. Even when compared to our reference Stewart FireHawk, the Visage
was noticeably brighter due to the 2.0 screen gain. In cases where we had some
ambient light in the room, the Visage had a great picture. When the room was completely
dark, we did notice some subtle screen reflection known as hot spotting,
but it was fairly minimal. This is where the Visage started to lose its
advantage. So the bottom line is to determine the environment in which you plan
to use your screen. There are many good choices out there and the performance
of these new screens are amazing.
The Visage is most certainly a high technology screen that works very well
in rooms with some ambient light. This may not be a good fit for everyone, especially
given its high price (~$4k). It does however, produce a superb high contrast picture
when compared to the performance of the vast majority of other screens out on
the market, especially when
controlling ambient light becomes difficult.
If you have 100 percent lighting control in the room where you can easily make
it very dark, then the Visage may not be your best choice. For the rest of us
who have to deal with some real-world ambient light in the room, Screen Innovation's
Visage performs incredibly well.