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Author Topic: Chinese Inflatable Screen  (Read 85811 times)
bmac
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« on: October 20, 2007, 01:00:28 pm »

I thought I would share with the group my experience in obtaining an inflatable screen from China.  It was a rather unusual process (compared to my typical purchasing experiences), but so far I am pleased with the outcome.  I've not yet used it for a movie, so the jury is still out on image quality.

I learned about the screen over at AVSForum.com and read the accounts of a couple of folks who had already obtained one.  And, Randy has referred to this guy in the past when investigating sources of inflatables to re-selll.  So, I was not a real pioneer in this adventure.  Still, the process was a little unnerving for me. 

First, there was no website to refer to (I've since learned that he does have a website, but there is not much information there).  All communication is done via e-mail.  The only photos I saw before ordering were those form others who had purchased one (probably a more honest representation than what a company might provide).  Although a previous customer bought one with a 20' (diagonal) screen, I was offered 2 sizes - 12' x 9' and 16' x 9' .  Of course, I picked the larger one though I really would have preferred something even bigger.

So, I was given a price of $400 for the screen  and blower + $440 for shipping.  While the shipping charges seemed absurdly high to me, it is really not much more than the shipping charges by some of the domestic suppliers for screens this size.  And, when you compare the price with what our domestic manufacturers are charging ($3K, $4K, $5K), for 16' x 9' inflatables, this was still an unbelievable deal.

The unnerving part was paying for this via wire transfer of funds.  I had never done this before and sending money to someone you know only via e-mail correspondence who has no known address or telephone number....well, let's just say it takes a leap of faith.  But certainly not as much as whoever did it the first time.  I at least had the experiences of others to fall back on.

So, I wired the money on a Tuesday.  He received it in his account on Friday.  By Monday, the screen construction was complete (he does not build the screen until he receives payment).  Screen and blower were shipped via UPS on Wednesday and delivered to me Friday morning  (as in yesterday).  Unbelievable!

I was not able to unpack and test the screen until today.  I took a few photos to share with you that I'll do in follow up replies to this one.
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bmac
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2007, 01:13:49 pm »

So, I get home yesterday to find 2 parcels.  A box and a yellow bag.  I was surprised that the screen was not boxed before shipment.  The bag was scuffed up pretty bad (but not unreasonably so, considering that it had just flown half way around the world) but there were no tears or punctures.  The blower was in the box and the box travelled well with no apparent damage.  Inside, the blower had plenty of packing material to protect it, but it appeared to be packing material that was reclaimed from a dumpster.  Still, it did the job.

Here's how the screen came.




* CHINA1.jpg (82.3 KB, 432x576 - viewed 1174 times.)
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Danoplex II
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2007, 01:16:11 pm »

For sure an interesting shipping container.  Looks like it made the trip though and that is all that counts.

I am interested/curious to see the screen inflated.  When you do get it inflated, please post a few photos.  I know you were going to anyway ;-)

Dano
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bmac
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« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2007, 01:18:20 pm »

Here's the screen unrolled on a tarp.  This is not where I'll set the screen up for use - just a test location.  As I unrolled the screen, my first impress was "man, this feels durable"  



* China2.jpg (96.05 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1168 times.)
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bmac
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« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2007, 01:25:35 pm »

Dano, I've got several more photos coming.  Be patient as I'm a slow typist.

And, just because you asking politely, Dano, here's one after inflation.  Although I didn't time it, I bet it didn't take more than 2 minutes to fully inflate.  As I critique the inflation, I see a slight sag in the center.  But, as I think about it, I never staked it down and I think with some tension of the guy ropes to the right and left, it may very well straighten things out some.  But, even if it doesn't, it's not too bad as it is.


* China3.jpg (52.43 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1455 times.)

* China4.jpg (67.83 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1207 times.)

* China5.jpg (100.11 KB, 432x576 - viewed 1142 times.)
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bmac
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2007, 01:43:56 pm »

Again, construction seems to be top-notch.  Plenty of D-Rings to tie it down,  double stitching on the seams and easy screen removal.  The blower seems adequate in terms of air output.  I don't know how to judge the niose level as I've never used one before.  Certainly, you can hear it.  But I know my JBL EON 15's will easily win the volume war when they are hooked up.

BTW, the screen is seamless and is suitable for front or rear projection.

So, we will see how the image looks as soon as we can.  Probably won't be this weekend, but hopefully soon.   I'll report on that as soon as we fire up the projector with this new screen.


* China7.jpg (91.5 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1153 times.)

* China9.jpg (127.97 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1058 times.)

* China6.jpg (35.48 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1204 times.)

* China8.jpg (94.72 KB, 576x432 - viewed 1136 times.)
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movieman
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2007, 07:13:52 am »

I guess the BIG question is would you buy it again. Can you post the web site.  rg
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rg
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bmac
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2007, 09:49:22 am »

I guess the BIG question is would you buy it again. Can you post the web site.  rg

I'll answer with a qualified "Yes, I'd buy it again".  Assuming the image is good and assuming that it holds up like I expect it to.  As far as image quality, I can see no reason why it wouldn't be great.  The fabric is what I imagine Trapeze fabric is like, although I've never seen Trapeze personally.  And, if image is not great, I can easily swap the screen for a Trapeze screen.  The small amount of sag is no big deal to me, although it may bother others.

Here's the website:  http://www.hy-inflatable.com/me.html
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ripdog
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« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2007, 10:20:03 pm »

So the actual size of the white screen is 16x9?  My wife will kill me if i get anyhting else for my outdoor!  I already have 2 Gemmy!  Time to sell and upgrade perhaps.  Please let us know the quality.  My Gemmy is OK, but in the wind, it is a bit light.
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Deano

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bmac
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 08:41:56 am »

So the actual size of the white screen is 16x9?  My wife will kill me if i get anyhting else for my outdoor!  I already have 2 Gemmy!  Time to sell and upgrade perhaps.  Please let us know the quality.  My Gemmy is OK, but in the wind, it is a bit light.

Well,  I haven't measured the screen myself but I was told when I ordered that it would be 16x9.  I can tell you that the blue tarp is 23' wide so that will give you a refernce point as there is not much tarp extending beyond the screen frame.

As far as weight goes, it is relatively heavy - another user says about 65 lbs.  I seems heavier than that to me, but I am old and weak. Grin.  Total shipping weight for screen and blower was a little over 80 lbs.  I had a little wind (enough to blow my tarp around as I was setting up) but the screen did not budge despite not being tied down.  The screen material appears to be breathable so I think wind will tend to pass through it instead of it acting like a sail.
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ripdog
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2007, 01:16:41 pm »

Let us know how it works for the screen.  Thinking you will need a nice lumen PJ for that as the distance to project must be about 30 feet!

Fun!  I have looked at the AVSForum posts too.  Wondering if the blower has anything to do with the sagging?
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Deano

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« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2007, 02:34:02 pm »

bmac,

I emailed the chinese screen guy, got a price of about $440 plus shipping (for the 16x9).
question--did the slight sag in the middle go away after some use?  also, sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but does that screen fabric work at all for rear projection?
thanks,

Matt
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bmac
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« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2007, 06:20:43 pm »

bmac,

I emailed the chinese screen guy, got a price of about $440 plus shipping (for the 16x9).
question--did the slight sag in the middle go away after some use?  also, sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but does that screen fabric work at all for rear projection?
thanks,

Matt

Seems to me that his pricing changes somewhat from customer to customer.  I read someone was quoted $600 (which is still a good deal).  I guess it depends on what mood he is in or maybe his busyness level.  Did your price include the blower?  Historically, the price is about $100 less (and shipping is also less) if you provide your own blower.  Also, if you have the where with all to arrange your own shipping, you might save some money.  He quoted my shipping based on an inflated (no pun intended) weight.  He quoted for 55 Kg when the actual weight was less than 40 Kg.  However, to his credit, he quoted the shipping price based upon DHL rates but shipped it UPS (which cost more than DHL) so it would get here sooner.  So, I was only charged about $40 more than I should have been.  Considering this screen would have cost easily 6-7 times more from a US vendor, I'm not going to complain about the shipping issue.

I have only used the screen about 3 times and have used rear projection each time.  It works fine.  Nice image (to my old eyes).  There is still a small amount of sag in the middle but it is not enough to bother anyone but me (and I'm not bothered too much by it).

I think the only change I would make were I to order another one would be to get my own blower.  That way, I could probably exchange it for something more powerful if any sag was present.  Right now, its not worth buying another blower for the small amount of improvement I might realize in the sag issue.  And, who knows?  Even with a bigger blower, the sag may remain - might be a construction issue.

Sorry for the long reply.  Hope this helps.
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cheftom
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« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2007, 10:28:14 pm »

Mine is one of the expensive US made ones and it also has a slight sag in the middle, it is not an issue on the projection surface just the frame.
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Grevoni
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« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2007, 11:16:09 pm »

Thanks for the input guys.  reply not too lenghty at all--I'll take all the info I can get before I buy "blind." 
I have a friend in the import business--I don't know the geography that well over there, but I'm going to see if it would be at all feasible to have this thing put in one of his containers--who knows?  might save a buck or two.  I agree though, compared to what else I've seen--getting a screen this size for the money is a huge deal.

thanks again!

Matt
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