This topic is for all readers who are very sensitive about a perfect movie experience. It will also save you from looking deep into the aspect ratios of the screens. How? Let us look into it in detail. In the dictionary, a masking system allows you to adjust the black frame on your screen to any desired location.
Whenever you see a good screen, it comes with a border on all four sides. The size of this screen ranges from 1 inch to 4 inches. This border around the screen helps to frame the image on the screen. Apart from framing, it also helps to increase contrast. This is because this border is often black in color so it provides a higher contrast to your bright images. So these were the benefits of this border system but what about the case when you are able to move this fixed border system? Seems amazing to hear! Yes you can physically move this border if your screen supports masking system.
Do they cost money? Yes. Then why are they useful or are they just a showpiece? This is the main question. Yes, this system is very helpful when you watch movies or another type of video on your screen. This is because many films which come in DVD, won’t fit on your screen. If you love watching old movies, those SD ratio movies develop black bars on the top and bottom of the screen for the empty space. You can edit the movie and stretch its dimensions but the picture will lose its original charm.
Suppose you have a projector screen with an aspect ratio of 16:9 i.e. HD TV. You watch a widescreen DVD movie which is filmed originally with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Now what will happen is that your screen will stretch the image on left and right and will develop black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. Seems no issue for many people, but there are some people who get annoyed by these bars and wants a solution for them.
A masking system actually allows you to move the borders to the desired aspect ratio. You analyze the image you are projecting, fit it on the screen, and then customize the borders of the screen to fit the screen completely. Thus your screen is neither 16:9, nor 4:3, it is a customized screen.
These screens come in two types. The first one is a two-way masking system. It allows you to adjust the borders in just two directions i.e. you can only move the top and bottom borders of the screen or adjust the sides inward. It lets you shift between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios. Another recent type of system is 4-way masking. In this system, borders of all 4 sides of the screen are adjustable. This way you can adjust both horizontal and vertical borders. It lets you give your screen the shape, you desire it to get. Original aspects of the video become useless for you because you can alter them anytime according to your need.
Apart from just a need, making system is more like an adventure. You no longer spend hours on selecting the most needed aspect ratio, you buy your favorite screen and just adjust it to the need every time you use it. It is just like you have multiple screens for multiple functions.
Like roll up and down screens, it also comes in two options i.e. manual and motorized masking system. I prefer motorized one because it takes care of your screen and border material and doesn’t let any of them get damaged. However, like every new invention, these screens are fairly expensive than the normal ones and you must arrange a large budget for buying them. If you ask me my opinion, the price is the only factor which is its cons. Overall, it is a good option which highly customizes your screen.