Cinemin Screen With more and more pico projectors becoming available, both as standalone projectors, like the Editors’ Choice Optoma PK301 Pico Pocket Projector ($400 street, 4 stars) and as extras embedded in other products, like the Nikon Coolpix S1000pj ($429.95 list, 2 stars) camera, there’s more and more need for something to project the image onto. Sure, you can use any handy blank wall, or even a piece of paper, but you won’t see the best possible image from the projector. That’s where the Cinemin Screen ($25 direct) comes in, as a small screen that’s highly portable and easy to set up.
When it’s closed up for storage or for carrying, at 9.75 by 12.75 by 0.4 inches (HWD), the Cinemin Screen is roughly the size, shape, and thickness of a clipboard, without the clip, and it looks like nothing so much as a black vinyl binder. To set it up, you open the flap, which is held in place by a magnet, then lift the front cover to reveal the actual screen, and continue to rotate the cover to the back, ending at an angle behind the screen, so it becomes a support.
The flap folds into two parts, with one becoming the base for the Cinemin Screen as a whole and the other folding up flat behind the section with the screen itself, once again being held in place with a magnet. In this open position, the cross section is a right triangle, so when you set it down on a flat surface, the screen itself is perpendicular to the surface, ready for whatever image you want to project on it.
The screen measures only 14 inches diagonally, or about the same as a letter-size sheet of paper. (The screen is 8.3 inches high by 11.7 inches wide.) Bigger might be better in some ways, but 14 inches is an appropriate size for ensuring a reasonably bright image from a pico projector. More important, if the screen were any bigger, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as portable. Larger screens, like the EPSON ES 1000 ($129.99 direct, 4 stars), aren’t even in the same league when it comes to portability.
Cinemin Screen Specifications
- Cinemin Screen Type
- Business, Consumer
Cinemin Screen Gain
If the Cinemin Screen did nothing but make it easy to set up a white vertical surface to project images onto, it would still be a big improvement over using, say, walls with random paint colors or trying to hold a white piece of paper in place with one hand or mount it on something with a piece of tape (all strategies I’ve used with pico projectors). But because the screen material has a 1.1 gain, it actually does a bit more than that.
Screen materials can have positive or negative gains, or be neutral in that regard, with a gain of 1.0. By definition, a screen with 1.0 gain reflects the same amount of light as a standard white (magnesium oxide) board. A screen that reflects less light, as with gray screens that are meant to help increase contrast, has a negative gain, with a number lower than 1. A screen that reflects more light has a positive gain, with a number higher than 1. A 1.1 gain translates to a slightly brighter image than you would see with a standard screen.
Cinemin Screen Another way to understand gain is that a 1.0 (or lower) gain screen offers the same brightness from any angle, because it reflects light evenly in all directions. A higher gain screen reflects more of the light along the centerline between the screen and projector, which is what boosts the brightness. But with more photons being reflected along the centerline, fewer are left to reflect at other angles, and the brightness falls off at increasing angles to the screen—much like early LCD screens, which offered relatively narrow angles of view.
I confirmed in my tests that the Cinemin Screen’s 1.1 gain is enough to make a subtle, but noticeable, difference in brightness compared with, say, a piece of white paper that you might otherwise use. It also has the benefit of making the image appear just a bit crisper compared to using a sheet of white paper.
Ultimately, if you have a pico projector, the Cinemin Screen is well worth getting, whether for business or personal use. It’s small, lightweight, highly portable, big enough for showing presentations, photos, or video to a small group of people, and it improves the image compared with ad hoc choices you might otherwise use. In fact, if you have a pico projector, you might even think of it as a must-have accessory.