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Author Topic: Drive-In Screen
Dave Marlow
Film Handler

Posts: 6
From: Redfield SD USA
Registered: Aug 2014


 - posted 08-13-2014 10:25 PM      Profile for Dave Marlow   Email Dave Marlow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We took over the local Drive-In, We have a steel corrugated screen, we painted it with A Behr Ultra Pure White exterior flat latex, we can still see the corrugations in light colors at 250 feet, we have a Barco DP2k-23B, The screen size is 28X50 with a throw of 270 feet, Screen was new in 1981, is there a better paint to use? The corrugation is about the same as what they use for grain bins.

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Steve Matz
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 672
From: Billings, Montana, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 08-13-2014 10:47 PM      Profile for Steve Matz   Email Steve Matz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you have a SHERWIN WILLIAMS Store close ask to Look at their Commercial Fleet Catalog and you may find a Screen Mfger that they supplied Paint for During Manufacturing. SW has the largest amount of Fleet related Colors in the World...

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Frank B. McLaughlin
Film Handler

Posts: 76
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Dec 2011


 - posted 08-14-2014 08:16 AM      Profile for Frank B. McLaughlin   Author's Homepage   Email Frank B. McLaughlin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Had a drive-in a number of years ago. Our local theater supply company (Western Service & Supply) had a line of outdoor screen paints. They recommended a primer coat and then the screen paint. Results were spectacular. Try a theater supply company and see what they know - there are a few left with people who actually know what they are talking about.

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Sam Graham
AKA: "The Evil Sam Graham". Wackiness ensues.

Posts: 1431
From: Waukee, IA
Registered: Dec 2004


 - posted 08-14-2014 08:21 AM      Profile for Sam Graham   Author's Homepage   Email Sam Graham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sherman-Williams A100 Flat is the official screen paint of drive-ins everywhere.

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1079
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-14-2014 09:28 AM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yep, Both of my screens are painted with Sherwin Williams A-100 flat latex. I repaint mine about once every 5-6 years.

Depending on what type of corrugated metal you have on the screen face really determines how much you'll be able to see the corrugations. Some folks have used "5V" metal roofing panel, and they generally look like crap on the screen. Others have used an "R-panel", and they are even worse. My second screen (built back in 2005) uses a 2.67" x 1/2" sinewave panel, and the corrugations are not visible unless your standing directly underneath it.
Corrugated Metal Panel Profiles

I'm using the same Barco DP-2K23B projectors as you, and my screens are 25'x59' with a 354 foot throw, so results should be fairly similar.

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Steve Matz
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 672
From: Billings, Montana, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 08-14-2014 12:09 PM      Profile for Steve Matz   Email Steve Matz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If your down to bare metal than I suggest this SW Primer. Remember your top coat is only as good as whats underneath it for adhesion. This is one of the Best...

http://oem.sherwin-williams.com/products/metal/polyurethane-primer-sealers/solvent/catalyzed/polane-sp-primer

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1079
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-14-2014 03:14 PM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you have to sand blast it to get the old paint off, make sure your underlying metal surface is NOT galvanized. When we built our screen, the corrugated panels were galvanized, and that had to come off first in order for the primer to stick. We washed and mopped ours with hot water and a gallon of original Dawn dishwashing liquid to get rid of the oil film that's used in the rolling process, then sprayed them down with a very high acidic vinegar. The whole drive-in smelled like vinegar for days afterwards, but the galvanization on the metal panels just turned to powder and was able to be brushed off. Haven't had any peeling in 9 years on that screen.

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Dave Marlow
Film Handler

Posts: 6
From: Redfield SD USA
Registered: Aug 2014


 - posted 08-24-2014 10:25 AM      Profile for Dave Marlow   Email Dave Marlow   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We painted the screen with Sherwin Williams A-100, seemed to look a little better, I might be expecting to much, I think what I have is 3/4 inch corrugated sinewave, I like the looks of the 2.67 x 1/2. I'm going to contact Corrugated Metal Products and see if they will send me a sample and do a test run.

Thanks for all the Help
Dave Marlow Pheasant City Drive-In Redfield SD

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4441
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 08-24-2014 11:37 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank: You are probably referring to Blatz Pains of St. Louis. The plant burnt to the ground 25 years ago and so no more paint.

We have used SW XL-100 but it is not the paint that the Blatz was. Blame EPA.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5305
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-24-2014 02:36 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Years ago I read in Box Office (I think), a process where they used primer, then a coat of silver metallic paint and than on top of that was a very light coating of any good white paint with high titanium oxide content, such as SW A100. The silver and top white coats had to be sprayed, not rolled, with the top white sprayed very lightly over the silver. This was supposed to produce a gain screen, rarely accomplished in DI screens.

I don't recall them mentioning what type of silver paint was to use, but I am sure the type of silver paint has to be a significant factor as many silver paints I have see quickly lose their reflective properties and turn into what looks like nothing but gray paint. Same thing with metallic "gold" paint -- a year later it's just yellow.

I believe the motivation behind this was to make a screen that was very directional, keeping R or X rated images from being seen from the road.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 08-24-2014 05:59 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My experience with drive ins is zero to none. Around here, they unfortunately vanished almost completely about two decades ago. During the summer months, there are some limited revivals, mostly using inflatable screens or temporary rigs.

But this thread got me wondering... How is paint ever going to entirely hide the underlying structure of a corrugated steel screen? It's not like "normal" paint has the magical ability to bend light in the right direction, which would be required to hide those artifacts?

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Barry Floyd
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1079
From: Lebanon, Tennessee, USA
Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 08-24-2014 07:21 PM      Profile for Barry Floyd   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Floyd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marcel Birgelen
But this thread got me wondering... How is paint ever going to entirely hide the underlying structure of a corrugated steel screen?
The truth is... it's not, so that's why you find the "flattest & whitest" paint you can find. The flat sheen on the paint "helps" hide the corrugations, but you really can't make them go away 100%.

My first screen (built in 2003) is a Selby screen tower. That structure uses 12" - 18" wide flat surfaced extruded aluminum panels that interlock on the back side and are held to the supporting steel I-beam structure with "J-clips". The metal panels on the face of the screen are the exact same panels you see on the under-side of gas station canopies. Next time your pumping gas under the convenience store canopy - look up... same stuff.

While it produces a great looking picture when it's dry, it looks horrible when it gets wet. Because it's flat, the rain will "sheet-flow" down the face of it and any areas in the picture that are white or extremely bright will "hot spot". On the corrugated steel screens, the rain tends to run along the lowest portion of the corrugations, and the light from the projector tends to "bend" around the profile of the corrugation. No "hot spotting" ever on that screen. Just something to think about.....

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Steve Matz
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 672
From: Billings, Montana, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 08-24-2014 10:14 PM      Profile for Steve Matz   Email Steve Matz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We had a 4-Plex Drive-in for one season back in 1981(SAGE 4). The other 3 Single Screen Drive-in's were closed by 1979. I remember they were Skeletal Screens and very small compared to what a person was use too with the Scope size Screens. The white panels they used look like Hell.You could see every seam and the screen looked wavey. I don't know if it was just Poor Assembly or Cheap Materials, (or both) but when you were use to a nice looking Fully Enclosed Screen like the other old Drive-in's we had it was pretty disappointing. This was also the 1st Drive-in I went too that used FM Radio Signal so the absence of Speaker Poles/speakers was kind of Strange. Because the Screens were so piss poor assembled;you could almost see intersect lines where the panels butted together. It reminded me of when they showed "How the West was Won" on TV and you could actually see the 2 intersect lines from the 3 projection Cinerama, and it was almost blurry looking. Needless to say we didn't stay for the whole Movie and I was going to ask for our money back but just left the place.

It must have been pretty bad to other Movie Goers because it was gone by the end of the theater season which in Montana is usually September. I think if these People hadn't probably cut corners/costs when Purchasing the Screens for this Drive-in it might have made a go of it....Myself, I never liked Drive-in's that didn't have a fully enclosed Screen. They always looked like an unfinished Structure and unprofessional looking...

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5305
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-26-2014 02:48 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Marcel Birgelen
But this thread got me wondering... How is paint ever going to entirely hide the underlying structure of a corrugated steel screen? It's not like "normal" paint has the magical ability to bend light in the right direction, which would be required to hide those artifacts?

Actually, Marcel, the paint doesn't hide the corrugations -- it's just needed to coat the raw metal with a white surface on which to project the image same as a white screen is needed in an indoor theatre. Thing is, focused light projected from a projector's optical system is a single point-source of light which hits the screen surface front on so it will cause minimum to no shadows on minor irregularities in the screen surface (up to a point), thus the corrugations are barely visible and the farther back from the screen the audience sits (in a DI, that's much farther than in a regular cinema), the less the eye can see those corrugations -- it's much like the perforations in an indoor screen. At a certain distance, they become impossible for the eye to resolve and they seem to disappear....so do the corrugations, IF the proper type and size of the corrugations are chosen.

The point at which the corrugations become invisible, just like the size of the perforations, is corrolates directly to their size; the more shallow the corrugations/the smaller the perfs, the shorter the distance it takes for them to become invisible to the naked eye.

DIs (ozoners) and indoor cinemas (hardtops) both need these compromises in the screen to over-come unique and specific physical problems each faces; DIs need the corrugations to keep water from sheeting on the screen surface and indoor cinemas of course need perforations to pass sound to the audience. Both seem to work quite effectively.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 3357
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012


 - posted 08-26-2014 09:54 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've not thought about the effects of water on a large, flat, white surface, so those corrugations actually start to make some sense to me now [Wink] .

The difference with perforations, of course, is that it's practically just holes in the surface. Light will just pass trough and will not reflect in another direction on the edges of those holes. (It probably will, but the effects are negligible.)

I understand that's a matter of size, structure and relative dimensions, once those corrugations become (virtually) invisible, just like the perforations in a regular "indoor" screen. Then again, I didn't understand why one would build a screen out of this kind of material in the first place.

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