Andrew Robinson began his career as an art director in entertainment advertising in 2003, after graduating from Art Center College of Design. In 2006, he became a creative director at Crew Creative Advertising, and oversaw the agency's Television Division, where he worked for clients such as TNT, TBS, History, FX, and Bravo to name a few. He now has one of the most popular AV-related channels on YouTube.
Front projection screen manufacturer Vutec's latest Vision X Dyna-Curve is an assault on state of the art projection screen technology, offering supreme flexibility and performance. The Dyna-Curve is, as its name suggests, a curved front projection screen with a native 2:35:1 aspect ratio that can also display 16:9 and even 4:3 aspect ratio material, thanks to its auto masking system, making it essentially three screens in one. In order to take full advantage of the Dyna-Curve's various aspect ratios you'll need an anamorphic lens / attachment or projector to properly display 2:35:1 material without bars top and bottom. However, if you prefer vertical masking or wish to save a little money, Vutec does offer a Dyna-Curve in a vertical masking format in the Dyna-Curve VM, though it can only display 2:35:1 and 16:9 material. If you require zero masking Vutec also offers the Dyna-Curve FS, which stands for fixed screen, meaning it's 2:35:1 aspect ratio screen only.
The Dyna-Curve comes in three standard sizes ranging from 115-inches (in 2:35:1) to 181-inches (in 2:35:1) diagonal, though custom sizes can be ordered upon request. In fact all Dyna-Curve screens are custom built to order even when ordered in standard sizes. Because the Dyna-Curve is curved, its "footprint" isn't the same as flat projection screens, serving up depths that range from a little over nine inches to 10 inches depending on what size Dyna-Curve you choose. The Dyna-Curve screen can be outfitted in one of six different Vutec screen surfaces: SilverStar (6.0 gain), BriteWhite Opaque (1.3 gain), PearlBrite (3.1 gain), GreyDove (.95 gain), SoundScreen (1.0 gain) and GreyDove SoundScreen (.85 gain). Of course prices vary with size and screen material but start at around $18,000 on up to a little over $40,000. As I said earlier, if you want to save a little you can always go with either the Dyna-Curve VM ($11,000-$31,500) or Dyna-Curve FS ($3,950-$18,770)
My review of the Dyna-Curve came courtesy of one of Vutec's local Southern California dealers, Definition Audio Video in Santa Monica. In Definition's demo theater rests a fully tricked out Vision X Dyna-Curve screen measuring 147-inches diagonal (2:35:1) and outfitted with Vutec's own, high contrast, SilverStar screen material. For this demonstration we used an LED projector from Wolf Cinema, the DCL-200FD, showing Avatar on Blu-ray (20th Century Fox). From a performance standpoint the image being projected upon the Dyna-Curve screen was as good, if not better than what I saw at my local theater back when Avatar was first released. The SilverStar material was stunning to behold, capturing all the colors, contrast and sharpness that you expect from a largely CG movie. A lot of high contrast screens suffer from a bit of "shimmer" thanks in part to their make-up. Not so with the SilverStar, for I could detect zero surface anomalies from my primary viewing position and even several feet closer. To say the SilverStar material is smooth is an understatement, though I should point out it's also a rigid surface. The Dyna-Curve's auto masking system was sublime in its operation and features some of the quietest motors I've experienced on an auto masking screen. The masking material blended seamlessly with the surrounding frame, making it difficult to determine, especially in a darkened room, what size the screen actually was; by that I mean Avatar is shown in a 16:9 format, and with the masking cutting off the sides of the native 2:35:1 screen I wasn't always aware that I was missing some horizontal real estate. Furthermore the Dyna-Curve's masking produced no visible shadows or soft edges along the image itself.
Read about the high points and low points of the Dyna-Curve screen on Page 2.
• While expensive, the Dyna-Curve from Vutec is arguably one of the finest front projection screens on the market today, aimed at the most discerning videophile and/or home theater enthusiast.
• The Dyna-Curve screen with Vutec's high contrast SilverStar screen material installed is a revelation and produces a vibrant, punchy image that manages to dazzle in even ambient light conditions while still appearing natural to the eye.
• The Dyna-Curve's auto masking system is effective and virtually silent, giving the Dyna-Curve extreme flexibility enabling the viewer to properly enjoy a wider range of source material.
• The Dyna-Curve's build quality is first rate and its day-to-day operation couldn't be easier.
• Because the Dyna-Curve is a curved screen, complete with motors and electrical concerns, its mounting procedure isn't as simple as ready-set-hang. You should consult a professional or have your local dealer install your Dyna-Curve for you, which may or may not add to its overall cost.
• In order to enjoy native 2:35:1 content on the Dyna-Curve or any 2:35:1 aspect ratio screen you'll need to purchase an anamorphic lens or lens adapter which does add to the overall cost of the installation and/or system.
• As cool as the Dyna-Curve's auto masking is, there is an argument to be made that with the SilverStar screen material installed you could easily get away with no masking for the blacks will already be inky black thus negating the need for masking all together. With the other Vutec screen surfaces this would not be the case.
Competition and Comparison
The only real competition the Dyna-Curve faces is from the likes of dnp and their Supernova Epic screen. dnp's Supernova is a curved screen, like the Dyna-Curve, and like the Dyna-Curve it features automated masking. While the Supernova screen material is high contrast, its gain isn't as high as Vutec's SilverStar material at only 0.8; still both screens are capable performers and represent the pinnacle of front projection technology. Not to mention they both cost roughly the same with Supernova Epic screens starting at around $16,000.
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For a starting price just north of $14,000 there's no denying that the Vutec Vision X Dyna-Curve screen is expensive but then again the best is rarely ever cheap. If you're looking to take your viewing experience and home theater to the next level (and perhaps a few levels beyond that) then you can do worse than the Dyna-Curve screen from Vutec, but chances are you can't do any better. If you don't require auto masking then you can save some money by going with one of Vutec's other Dyna-Curve screens but for the absolute best it has to be the original Dyna-Curve - accept no substitute.