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Installation And Set Up

Build Your Own: Wall-Sized 3D Gaming, Just Like Theaters Do It
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This section will be of interest mostly for folks who are planning to recreate a dual-projector, polarized 3D theater in the home. Casual readers might be best served by forwarding to the next page.

So you want to set up your own dual-projector theater, huh? The first thing to do is to install the screen. To do that, you'll want to test-fire your projector and see how far away from the screen it will have to sit to produce the size of the image you'd like. At this point, you should have a good idea of where everything will be placed.

Our particular screen is made of a special silver fabric that preserves the polarization of light and it requires a lot of elastic mounting strips for installation. It takes some time, but the process isn't rocket science. To properly mount the screen, a frame is ideal, but for the purposes of our testing, we'll apply it directly to the wall.

Setting up a dual-projection system is, well, twice the work of setting up a single projector. But the work to install the projector mounts is not simply doubled. Care must be taken to place the mounts so that the projector lenses will be aligned as close as possible. For a dual-projector system to work properly, the displays must overlap perfectly and this is difficult to do if the projectors are mounted too far away from each other. Of course, the projectors do need a bit of breathing room, and it is important that airflow must be allowed to reach the hardware so that the cooling fans can do their job.

As with any projection system, power and display cables need to be routed to each unit. In our somewhat temporary setup, we'll simply mount the cables to the ceiling, but a permanent solution would probably benefit from a stealthy installation behind the wallboard or ceiling tile.

With the projectors mounted and cables attached to the PC, it's time to set up an extended desktop with both projectors as active side-by-side monitors. Using a plain-white desktop background here will help keep the visual confusion to a minimum. Both sides of the desktop are projected onto the same screen space, so the bright light from both displays will wash out the detail. In the Radeon or GeForce drivers, assign the primary desktop to the left display on the extended desktop for now--we might have to switch this later, but this is a good starting point.

At this point, install the TriDef and iZ3D drivers. After the install, select dual projection as the output option for each. There are more details about the driver setup on the following page.

Notice the edges - the projectors haven't yet been alignedNotice the edges - the projectors haven't yet been aligned

Now is the time to do a preliminary screen alignment. Make sure both projectors are outputting the same size of image to the same space. Once again, using a plain white Windows background will come in handy, as it makes it easier to see when one display is bleeding over the edge of the other. It'll take a bit of tweaking to adjust the zoom, focus, and keystone settings to bring the displays acceptably close, but it isn’t as difficult as we imagined it might be. Truth be told, when your eyes see the separate images through the glasses, your brain compensates for a lot of imperfections in alignment.

With the preliminary alignment done, the edges line up much closerWith the preliminary alignment done, the edges line up much closer

After the preliminary alignment, install the polarized filters. This requires a bit of care because each projector will use the same kind of filter, but the axis of polarization will be rotated by 90 degrees in relation to each other. Also remember that the polarized filters only work in one direction. You can test the filter orientation by looking at the screen and wearing a pair of 3D glasses. Now look at the display and adjust the filter until only one eye can see its projector's output. This is usually easy because, in an extended desktop configuration, one projector probably displays the Windows icons and the other is probably blank. It's not important which eye is linked to which projector at this point, as long as one eye receives only the light from one projector.

Notice the right filter blocks the desktop icons intended for the left eyeNotice the right filter blocks the desktop icons intended for the left eye

When installing the polarized filters, it is also important to keep in mind that if it isn't perfectly aligned to the plane of the glasses, the viewer might experience unpleasant crosstalk effects. Also remember to install the filter as far as possible from the projector while keeping all of the light output within its boundaries. Heat from the powerful bulb can quickly damage the expensive filter if it is placed too close. The farther the filter is from the lens, the more area it has to absorb the heat. Ideally, the light output from the projector will cover the polarized filter all the way to its edges.

In-game, we can see both perspectives with the glasses offIn-game, we can see both perspectives with the glasses off

Through the polarized glasses, only one perspective can be seen for each eyeThrough the polarized glasses, only one perspective can be seen for each eye

After the polarized filter is installed, it's time to test the system. Launch a game in 3D mode and pay attention. If the 3D effect appears disorienting and confusing, the displays probably need to be switched as the image intended for the right eye is being displayed in the left eye and vice-versa. This is done in the graphics card's display driver panel. Simply swap the location of the displays in relation to each other when configuring the extended desktop and try again.

This is the kind of in-game screen that is ideal for final calibrationThis is the kind of in-game screen that is ideal for final calibration

By now, the display should be working in-game and you will probably be completely amazed by the result, but there's one more thing to do: find a static screen without a lot of 3D effect in the Options menu and remove the 3D glasses. This is a good reference to use for a final alignment of the projectors. A 2D Options menu provides a lot of identical detail on each screen and the text should make it obvious that things are in or out of alignment. Align the projectors until the image looks as clear as possible with no blurry edges.

That's all that's involved with the installation and frankly it sounds more difficult than it actually is. If you're intrepid enough to get this far, you're probably surprised at how quickly the system is up and running once the projectors are mounted. I expected some additional driver hocus-pocus to deal with, but our test system was up-and-running fairly quickly.

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Top Comments
  • 27 Hide
    MiamiU , March 30, 2010 6:32 AM
    seems like being a hardcore gamer just keeps getting more and more expensive...
  • 23 Hide
    Icehearted , March 30, 2010 6:56 AM
    As for poor folk like me, we'll just settle for those still images where we cross our eyes, and cry because $2,565 is far away from "comfortable".
  • 12 Hide
    salgado18 , March 30, 2010 1:11 PM
    I don't know if it would be possible, but it would sure be AWESOME to see some of those games on a short gif animation in "fake" 3D! Please! (a video review would be great too!) :D 

    PLEASE people, vote me up! If you do they'll try it!
Other Comments
  • 27 Hide
    MiamiU , March 30, 2010 6:32 AM
    seems like being a hardcore gamer just keeps getting more and more expensive...
  • 23 Hide
    Icehearted , March 30, 2010 6:56 AM
    As for poor folk like me, we'll just settle for those still images where we cross our eyes, and cry because $2,565 is far away from "comfortable".
  • -3 Hide
    winner4455 , March 30, 2010 7:29 AM
    I can see this becoming main stream and the next few years... In 3d too.
  • 6 Hide
    tigerwraith , March 30, 2010 7:59 AM
    2.6k now but you know things like this keep getting cheaper and cheaper. Maybe by this time next year, the 1080p 2600 lumens will drop to 500, and the drivers will better support dual projector setups.
  • -4 Hide
    tigerwraith , March 30, 2010 8:09 AM
    But I do have a question would of mattered if you used LCD projectors?
  • 0 Hide
    gti88 , March 30, 2010 9:40 AM
    Great article! Thanx a lot.
    But as I can see, 3D stereo is not there yet.
    Almost no movies are available at 3DS, and game developers don't focus on stereo optimisation. Thus, we have some glitches and inconveniences.
  • 1 Hide
    pojih , March 30, 2010 9:59 AM
    ahh, something else to cost an arm and a leg...

    not saying that many people here don't want the fastest and most expensive....

    but it was clearly shown that many people looking at this site want something that performs for what it costs, as seen by the fermi release and the comments .....
  • 2 Hide
    skora , March 30, 2010 10:24 AM
    Whats the next price bracket up for a projector with higher res?

    I like the idea of dual projectors better than the alt-image standard, but they didn't ask me.

    Here's a wild thought, soon, everyone will have their own glasses that not only do the shutter for 3D, but will also be able to be personal monitors. Connect to any computer/phone/TV with your glasses. Displays might even become unnecessary. That will be the next wireless mainstream device. The iShades. Phone, mobile pc and display, earbud is right there. Have pants that have built in keyboard. We'll all just be sitting there with our shades on and never see the person next to us as we get lost in the cloud. And it all starts with 3D glasses. :p 
  • -1 Hide
    djab , March 30, 2010 10:31 AM
    IceheartedAs for poor folk like me, we'll just settle for those still images where we cross our eyes, and cry because $2,565 is far away from "comfortable".


    No, you can at least use red/cyan paper glasses with iz3d drivers and a normal display.
    That is not that bad!
  • 1 Hide
    manitoublack , March 30, 2010 11:05 AM
    Great article, and no doubt people ask you: "why have you got 2 projectors?" The only trouble with polarized setups is that you cant view 3D laying down, eg: Lounge Lizard style, which you can do with shutter glasses (however uncomfortable that may be.)

    Still though, for $2,500USD you've built a pretty mad setup. To those winging about price, deal with it, if you want the best you've got to be prepared to buy the best. I'd suspect that a WUXGA setup would be in the $5-6,000 range using the projectors you'd want. Well worth the buy-in price. I hope for your sake (if you payed for it, not Tomshardware) that it is compatible with yet-to-be-released BR3D.

  • 1 Hide
    mjello , March 30, 2010 11:17 AM
    manitoublackGreat article, and no doubt people ask you: "why have you got 2 projectors?" The only trouble with polarized setups is that you cant view 3D laying down, eg: Lounge Lizard style, which you can do with shutter glasses (however uncomfortable that may be.)Still though, for $2,500USD you've built a pretty mad setup. To those winging about price, deal with it, if you want the best you've got to be prepared to buy the best. I'd suspect that a WUXGA setup would be in the $5-6,000 range using the projectors you'd want. Well worth the buy-in price. I hope for your sake (if you payed for it, not Tomshardware) that it is compatible with yet-to-be-released BR3D.


    Samsung display dont work lying down
  • -4 Hide
    idisarmu , March 30, 2010 11:27 AM
    What's wrong with the old school red-green glasses? It seems like a much cheaper and convenient solution. I would hate having to recharge glasses, let alone wear them if they're going to be heavier than normal.
  • -4 Hide
    d70guy , March 30, 2010 11:27 AM
    There are a lot of issues with this. The lack of resolution, difference in brightness of the images over time (no two bulbs are identical), the less than ideal projection surface, the fact that all bluray titles will be 1080p for each eye, etc.. I mean, this *is* a fun toy, but not for a serious gamer, and not for an even semi-serious home theater person. It is strictly for someone with the money to blow on a toy.
  • 0 Hide
    d70guy , March 30, 2010 11:34 AM
    idisarmuWhat's wrong with the old school red-green glasses? It seems like a much cheaper and convenient solution. I would hate having to recharge glasses, let alone wear them if they're going to be heavier than normal.


    Red blue glasses are the worst case 3D experience. Both polarized and shutter glasses are 10 times better at delivering a realistic 3D experience. The anaglyph (red/blue separation of the image distorts the color of the image, and even with high quality (eyeglass quality) red/blue glass lenses the overall effect is that of a poor quality experience. Shutter glasses these days are not that heavy, and its not like you are going to be wearing them for the length of the movie. It really doesn't factor in. Personally, I will take the shutter glasses. They block light much better thereby eliminating the ghosting issues associated with the polarized lenses. I say this as someone who has worked with linear, circular, and shutter technology since the late 1980s.
  • 1 Hide
    Artman256 , March 30, 2010 12:21 PM
    From the dual projector page - "the filters polarize the light across a plane". This is not entirely true, old systems did that, but modern systems use circular polarization, which avoids the problems caused by tilting your head.
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 30, 2010 12:21 PM
    This is going to be very expensive.
  • 12 Hide
    salgado18 , March 30, 2010 1:11 PM
    I don't know if it would be possible, but it would sure be AWESOME to see some of those games on a short gif animation in "fake" 3D! Please! (a video review would be great too!) :D 

    PLEASE people, vote me up! If you do they'll try it!
  • 5 Hide
    pluripotent , March 30, 2010 1:23 PM
    But Don! I'z only gotz one eye!
  • 2 Hide
    Rehnquist- , March 30, 2010 1:53 PM
    Why on earth are all the screenshots scaled down to such a low resolution?
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