Curved Screen

Having a full size shell with dual controls is pretty immersive. But Putting a 24inch screen upfront fort he outside view might harm the experience. Having a large LCD in the front is a nice start, but still you want to move around with the head and change the perspective. So a curved screen with a beamer is a rather natural way to get a huge field of view without disturbing edges.

My screen setup is rather simple and not too expensive. It consists of bendable thin (4mm) wood with a white painting on one side. You get it in every home improvement store when you ask for something like wardrobe back walls. Indeed we did play around finding the best way to mount it to the wall. While in the beginning it was planned to be drilled onto the wall we soon found out that it just needs to bended into position and is hold there automatically applying wooden „stoppers“ at all corners (otherwise it would take up its original position again). So – here we have a curved screen.

This opens three further questions:

  • How to get a wider view since one projector just can cover the central screen area?
  • How to get an image that works for a short distance from the projector to the screen?
  • How to correct the image that is meant to be projected on a flat surface?

Pretty simple answer to 1 is rather obvious: you need more than one beamer. Many setups with 180° curved screens use 2 of them. That was originally my plan since my shell had the side windows already non-transparent. I guess the former owner preparing the shell for the use as a sim thought it would be sufficient to cover the whole view out of the front window.

Sitting first time with a projected curved image in my shell did immediately bring me to miss the side views. Might not be a problem in an airliner flight deck, which is mainly front oriented as it concerns the windows. But in a general aviation aircraft it is substantial to be in the position to looks around – were are here on VFR most of the time. Situational awareness with covered side windows felt that much odd that I immeditately decided to go for an extended field of view. So let’s add a third beamer.

This brings me to the second question: What beamer can handle such short distances like in my situation? My room is about 8m2 in size with a partly sloped ceiling since it is in the roof-top floor. You have less than 1 meter distance to the screen, so you need something like an ultra short throw beamer to not get an image that is far to huge. I went for BenQ W1070 devices. They are full-HD (and full-HD is a must at that projection size) and they are rather cheaper than ones from other brands. They do not however allow for adapting the display size. So the way you mount them ist he only possibility to adapt the projection.