This picture is a view of the front of the screen, with the camera positioned at approximately where a viewer would be sitting. This picture was taken at night, without any light other than the flash on the camera. It provides a pretty good representation of how the whole system appears.
Note that the mask is reflecting some of the flash. This would be problematic for a front projection system, but isn't really an issue with this one. With front projection, the mask needs to "catch" any light scattered outside the screen. With rear projection, the only purpose of the mask is to provide a buffer around the screen to produce a visual illusion that enhances contrast to the human eye. This mask accomplishes this purpose just fine.
This is the same picture, but without the flash of the camera, and with the lights on the ceiling fan light kit turned on. The fan light kit includes four 60 watt incandescent bulbs. As you can see, the picture is still quite watchable, with very little "wash-out".
Here is the same picture again, but this time without any lights or flash. This would represent the best case scenario. However, at least with the image captured by the digital camera on these settings, it doesn't do it justice. This picture makes it appear that the colors are over saturated, and that just isn't what it really looks like.
This picture is a view of the front of the screen, with the camera positioned at approximately eye level for someone sitting on the sofa watching the screen. However, the camera is closer than a viewer would be, so the angle is distorted. This picture, along with the next few, were taken in the middle of the afternoon on an overcast day. Therefore, it is neither best case nor worst case, but a typical case.
One thing to note is that when looking at this picture, it appears that there is significant hotspotting, where the image is significantly brighter in the middle of the picture and dimmer around the edges. I must say however, that this seems to be an artifact of digital picture and the camera, because I can promise you that, to my eye, there is no significant hotspotting. It also seems to show the colors washed out, which isn't the way it actually looks. All I can say is that the image in real life looks much better than this picture captures.
Before we go further, here is a copy of the actual image that is being used for by the HTPC to generate the screen images. IT IS NOT A PICTURE OF THE ACTUAL SYSTEM, but the original source. I place it here as a reference piece, so you are free to judge whatever visual factors you like (color depth, brightness, contrast, whatever). The picture is one I took witht the same camera on Tintamarre Island just off of Saint Martin in the French West Indies.
This picture, along with the next one, attempts to illustrate how much the brightness gain diminishes as the viewer angle increases. This picture is taken at about a 30 degree angle off center (all else equal with the first picture).
This picture is taken at approximately a 60 degree angle off center.
Here is a picture with an image from one of my favorite TV shows on the screen - the BBC hit show "Top Gear". This show is broadcast in a letterbox format, and the purpose of this picture is to give you some idea of how my 4:3 aspect ratio screen displays material broadcast in a letterbox format.
This picture shows the back of the screen - in the laundry room. It is intended to show that the image isn't particularly bright, implying that most of the light is getting through to the front of the screen, and not getting bounced back in the laundry room.
Here is the identical picture, but this time with the light on in the laundry room. When this picture was taken, I hadn't finished trimming in the screen on the laundry room side, but it can give you some idea of the construction of and installation of the screen.
This picture is kinda for grins and giggles - a picture from the front of the screen, but with the laundry room light on. Now, this isn't the way you would ever watch TV or a movie, but it does illustrate how much (or how little) additional light in the laundry room washes out the image.
This picture is from inside the laundry room, looking back toward the projector through the hole in the wall to the garage.
Here is a picture of the electronics in the laundry room. The HTPC is the tower on the bottom. The PC above it is not functional, and is simply acting as a shelf for the receiver and the cable box. Notice that I still have some "aesthetics" work to do here.
This picture shows the actual projector hanging from the wall and ceiling in the garage. This, too, could use some "aesthetic" work, but hey, its the garage, so it isn't a high priority.
This image is not clickable
Here is another fun picture (and the only "retouched" picture on this page). This is a mockup of what I imagined the end result would be, before any work had started. As you can tell, I originally planned to use a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. The source picture was taken before we moved into the house, so I had to digitally remove the previous owner's furniture from the picture (and my retouching skills are quite limited...). I'd say I was pretty close.
This image is not clickable
This diagram shows the floor plan of the relevent portion of the house. North is to the right (west is up). The grey triangle at the top of the diagram is our back patio. The blue circle next to the washer and dryer is the hot water heater.
This image is not clickable
And here is a modified layout just showing the projector's relative location and the projection path.
Here is a schematic diagram of the screen and frame as it is installed in the wall. This diagram also shows the PVC pipe on the left hand side that limits the position of the screen.