HomeNewsWhat is screen masking and how does it make a difference to your home cinema?
What is screen masking and how does it make a difference to your home cinema?
26th January 2023
For film buffs, a home cinema installation at their property is the ultimate expression of their love of the big screen. Not only is a home cinema your own private space to watch the movies you enjoy, it can also give you the commercial experience, with premium audio and visual quality – and without the crunch of other people’s popcorn or the distracting light from somebody using their phone mid-movie.
Achieving the ideal home cinema experience requires careful planning and installation. You’ll need to consider the equipment you choose, the seating, the lighting and the décor. But for those who want the full, immersive experience, projector screen masking is also a consideration.
What is screen masking?
A screen masking system expands or shrinks the borders of your projector screen so that the film you’re watching fills its dimensions exactly. The majority of mainstream movies are released in one of two aspect ratios: 1.85:1 (also known as ‘flat’) or 2.35:1 (also known as ‘scope’). Screen masking ensures that both these aspect ratios can be displayed without any of the image being lost and without unused areas of the projector screen being visible.
Essentially it prevents that ‘letterbox’ effect, where a scope film is projected onto a flat ratio screen, creating black borders at the top and bottom of the picture.
Why does screen masking matter?
“So what if there’s a letterbox effect?” you might ask. Well, for those who are into their films – which is almost anyone who wants to have a home cinema installed – the black borders can be hugely distracting. Rather than providing an immersive experience, they detract from the picture in a noticeable way. The appearance is flatter, and the illusion of depth is less convincing, meaning there’s an unnecessary barrier between you as the viewer and the world of the film.
Ultimately, a 2D movie should feel as immersive as a 3D one, and if you’re going to the expense of a surround sound system, custom lighting and seating, and a projector, it makes sense to ensure your experience is of the quality you expect.
Of course, you may also want to watch your favourite TV series in your home cinema. With television becoming more and more cinematic in its style, it can be viewed to the best effect on your projector screen. But again, the aspect ratio differs, typically being 16:9. This is where screen masking comes in handy, as it covers the borders of the picture so as not to distract from the action.
Home cinema installers in Kent
If you’re based in Kent or London, and you’re looking into home cinema installer, get in touch with New Wave AV today. Our experts can create your perfect space, down to the last detail, so that you can watch movies in comfort, with the very best picture and sound quality. Contact us to arrange a demonstration at our specially designed showroom.
Article by Kevin Whysall
I started my Audio Visual and Technology career back in 1992 working in the commercial and leisure sector across Europe. Then back in 2003 I founded New Wave AV and we are now a leading Smart Home, Home Cinema and Lighting Control company in the Southeast of England.