What is a Movie Screen?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A movie screen is a large projection screen which has been designed for the purpose of showing movies. These screens come in a range of sizes, with a shape which is designed to accommodate the 16:9 aspect ration commonly used for movie filming. Depending on the style of a movie screen, it may be a permanent or temporary installation, with some movie screens being designed specifically for mobility so that they can be rented out to customers as needed.

The purpose of a movie screen is to provide a surface to project a film upon. Movie screens are designed to provide a reflective base so that the image will show up clearly and crisply when it is projected. They are typically white or gray, so that they do not interfere with the colors of the film, and the reflectivity of the screen may be adjusted for special environments.


Vinyl is the material of choice for modern movie screens, and the vinyl is typically perforated so that speakers can be mounted behind the screen. In the case of a fixed screen, the movie screen is firmly mounted in place. Pull-down or electric screens can be retracted when not in use, either by hand or with a motor. Inflatable movie screens have inflatable frameworks which are designed to be erected on location, and deflated to pack the movie screen down for transport. Inflatable screens are ideal for outdoor film festivals and movie screen rentals, since they are easy to transport and set up.

When installing or setting up a movie screen, there are some important considerations involved. The distance between the screen and the projector is important, as are factors like light pollution and seating arrangements. The screen's surface may also need to be warped slightly to create the best visual image.

With a basic flat movie screen, when an image is projected, light hits the center of the screen first, taking longer to reach the sides. Sometimes, this is not a problem, but for especially large screens and theaters, some patrons may see a visual distortion. To correct this, some theaters use horizontal curve movie screens which form a wide C-shape, allowing the light to hit the middle and the sides of the screen at the same time. Sophisticated theaters use a torex screen, which is like a giant bowl, ensuring that light hits every point on the screen at the same moment and eliminating distortion.


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Post 3

I love it when a movie theater frames the movie screen with curtains. There is something so elegant about it and it makes seeing the movie feel like an event.

It's a pretty old fashioned tradition though and not one that seems to be around much anymore. None of the megaplexes in my area have curtains.

Post 2

My neighborhood has a summer movie series and they use a blow up movie screen to show movies in a big parking lot.

Its a lot of fun and they pick great movies to show. Before I went this summer I had never seen an inflatable movie screen but it is a really clever idea.

There is a draw back though. One night it was incredibly windy. Even though they tether the movie screen at all the corners it was blowing around and rippling pretty bad. It made it hard to watch the movie. Besides that one might though it's always been great.

Post 1

If you have a projector just about anything can be a movie screen. Let me tell you guys about one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of.

When I was in high school my friends and I got an idea for a pirate drive in movie theater. It worked like this. One of my buddies had a digital projector that you could hook up to a dvd player. Together we built a pirate radio transmitter. We told all of our friends to gather on a certain level of a very large parking garage that we knew would be empty and vacant all night.

We projected the movie against a large concrete wall and then

broadcast the sound over everyones car radios on a frequency that we had figured out was clear. It was just like a drive in movie but it was with all your friends and you could watch anything you wanted. It was lots of fun. I've always wanted to do something like that again but it's hard to find the time.

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