What does Gain mean?
Gain is a measurement of the reflectivity of any screen or projection surface. The gain number is the ratio of the light that is reflected from the screen as compared to the light reflected from a standard white (magnesium oxide) board. Therefore, a screen with a gain of 1.0 will reflect the same amount of light as that from a white board. A screen rated at 1.5 gain will reflect 50% more light as that from a white board, whereas a gray screen with an 0.8 gain will reflect 80% of the light from a white board and so on.
Gain is measured from the vantage point of the screen where it is at its brightest, which would be directly in front and perpendicular to the screen. The brightness of the image starts falling the more one moves away from this point.
Should I go for higher gain or lower?
It depends on your purpose. When a higher gain screen like Digilite 1.4 or 1.8 is used, it provides 40% or 80% more brightness. For cinema owners, this means that they can use a lamp with a lower lumen power, which will help them reduce electricity and operation costs. At the same time, Digilite’s unique formulation ensures that the audience can enjoy vibrant colours and fantastic picture quality with little to no hot spotting. High gain is also important while using an Active 3D system, because the 3D glasses cut out much of the light from the screen. In such cases, a low gain screen will result in a darker, less vibrant picture for the viewer, thus usage of Mirage 1.7 or 2.7 gain will ensure that the audience can enjoy a bright and vibrant viewing experience despite the dark glasses. High gain screens are often curved to provide better contrasts, lower hot spotting and higher brightness.
However, for a videophile with a home theatre, a low gain screen like Matte White will be the better option as it provides a wider viewing angle, better contrasts and uniformity.
In conclusion, selecting the screen with the right gain for your needs is an extremely important aspect of purchasing a screen. A low gain screen in a high gain environment and a high gain screen in a low gain environment can ruin the audience’s experience. To select the right screen with optimum gain, consult your screen supplier and ask for a screen evaluation. For screens that match your gain needs perfectly, check out Galalite’s range of projection screens.