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Fast-Fold Deluxe Screen System Enhanced for High-Resolution Projectors

Posted on 12/4/2019 6:00:00 PM by Da-Lite Team

As with any industry-leading product line, Da-Lite has continued to evolve the Fast-Fold® to keep up with the demands of the marketplace. In the professional presentation environment, the projection screen remains a mission critical, make-or-break element. A good quality screen, that is in good condition, supports the presentation effectively, a poor screen can destroy it, leaving the end-user and the attendees frustrated. With recent design enhancements to Fast-Fold Deluxe frames and screen materials, now is an opportune time for rental and staging companies to review their screen inventories, weed out the bad and broken and replace them with the current state-of-the-art.

Enhanced fast fold screen

The newly enhanced Fast-Fold Deluxe Screen System

For some rental and stagers, projection screens aren’t a beloved portion of the inventory. However, a screen that eliminates unattached parts that get lost and is made from super-sturdy materials is a long-term income and profit producer for rental companies.

The Projection Screen Trap

Traditionally, the process of setting up a portable projection screen would go something like this:

  1. Drag over beat-up case with one broken wheel.
  2. Open case straps.
  3. Sort through various bags and loose screen parts.
  4. Call the shop to replace the inevitable missing parts or “McGyver” the fix on site.
  5. Unfold screen frame and stretch stained screen surface with raggedy border and snap onto frame.
  6. Hope client isn’t looking very closely.

Along with the effort required to keep track of little parts, portable screen care and feeding also requires vigilance related to the condition of the frame and the screen surface. Over time, screen frames are subject to loose joints and tube bending. Rental and stagers even coined a term to describe this syndrome, dubbing it “smiley face”, as the offending screen frame would bow to the forces of gravity and sag in the middle.

Then, there is the ever-present challenge of how to keep a screen surface pristine while working in the unkind environment of the event space. For some reason, screen surfaces seem to have an almost magnetic attraction to the dirtiest area of the ballroom floor and love to soak up whatever beverage has been spilled on the carpet during the previous session. Then, the screen gets folded and crammed into its case, ready for the next use, complete with coffee stains and creases.

However, the cost and risks that portable screens pose for the rental and staging company can be mitigated effectively by purchasing high-quality products and putting in place a comprehensive maintenance and training program for the shop and the field. This will result in the gratification that comes from happy customers and enhanced profitability.

Stepping Up Your Screen Game, Part I: The Da-Lite Fast-Fold Deluxe

In enhancing the Fast-Fold Deluxe, Da-Lite looked for ways to advance the performance as well as the longevity of the product. The screen surface supports today’s 4K-and-beyond projectors and the loose parts have been eliminated. A review of the details provides a complete picture.

Starting with the robust 1 ¼” square aluminum tube inherited from the previous model, Da-lite has enhanced the longevity of the frame by incorporating Adjustable Corner Braces at the top corners of the frame. These will allow you to use a hex key to adjust the tension in the frame and eliminate bowing - bringing your frame back to life. In addition, a wheel and keyway mechanism has been designed to lock the leg to the frame and eliminate loose parts or tools from the assembly process.

Detail picture of corner on fast fold screen

Adjustable Corner Braces at the top corners of the enhanced Fast-Fold Deluxe frame can be adjusted with a hex key to eliminate frame bowing over the life of the screen.

detailed picture of gear connection on legs of Fast-Fold

The new wheel and keyway mechanism is designed to lock the leg to the frame and eliminate loose parts or tools from the assembly process.

The other prominent enhancement is related to the screen surface itself and addresses the fact that most of the screen surfaces in use today were designed when projectors used CRT’s, not DMD’s and when high-resolution meant 480i. For today’s presentation market, you need a screen surface that will handle the high-resolution, high-brightness and wide contrast and color gamut of current laser-phosphor projectors. For this reason, Da-Lite formulated the HD Rental screen surface – a version similar to the HD Progressive surface, but specifically designed for the rigors of the rental business.

HD Rental creates a 1.0 gain surface that is 16K-ready and color accurate. Similar to Da-Lite’s other HD Progressive products, the formulation results in a super-smooth surface, ensuring pixel uniformity whether HD, 4K or even the 16K images of the future. The screen has a generous viewing angle and is designed to hold up to repeated folding – perfect for the rental market. The HD Rental screen surface also uses RF welding on the screen bindings, which provides better durability and a clean look better matched to current aesthetics.

Detailed picture of edge of screen surface.

The HD Rental screen surface uses RF welding on the screen bindings, providing better durability and a clean look.

HD Rental screen material is available seamless up to 16’ high and has been awarded a Greenguard and Greenguard Gold Certificate for meeting very stringent low gas emission regulations and contributes to a healthier work environment for presentation professionals. All of this is backed up by a five-year limited warranty, underlining Da-Lite’s commitment to the product.

5 year warranty logogreenguard logo

HD Rental is Greenguard and Greenguard Gold certified for healthy work environments. The screen and surface is covered by a five-year warranty for total peace of mind.

Stepping Up Your Screen Game, Part II: The Process

Having made the investment in new Da-Lite Fast-Fold Deluxe screens, the wise rental manager is going to adhere to a program that will leverage the product’s revenue-producing potential for years to come. The screen inventory and maintenance program should include steps for training shop as well as field technicians in the proper care and feeding of rental screens.

Starting at the beginning, every component in the screen kit should be bar-coded and added to the rental inventory database. This includes everything from the case, to the frame, the screen material and even the screen bag. The screen kit should be checked against inventory every time it leaves or returns to the shop and thoroughly inspected. Particular care should be given to the screen surface to make sure that it is free of marks, tears or stains. Additional screen surfaces should be purchased and placed into inventory as spares to be used if a screen fails inspection.

Train shop and field techs in the proper assembly/disassembly of the Fast-Fold Deluxe. Da-Lite provides detailed instructions covering the assembly of the frame, legs and dress kits. Most importantly, the literature has instructions, complete with illustrations, on how to properly fold and pack screens to avoid marks or other damage – an all too common occurrence on the job site. 100% cotton sheets can be a valuable addition to screen kits, providing a clean surface to lay out screens as well as a foldable inter-layer for packing.

The transactional inspection outlined above, along with periodic maintenance inspections of the rental screen inventory, will provide opportunity to follow Da-Lite’s instructions for cleaning screen surfaces. The cleaning process is straightforward, typically using nothing more than water and a clean 100% cotton rag.

My Boss Gave Me a High-Five!

For rental and staging companies, complementing a solid projection system with a new, well cared-for projection screen rewards the faith your customers place in your capabilities. The projection screen is the face you show to the world (or at least the audience) and the condition of the screen is a direct reflection of your brand. Obviously, it is worth the money and effort to make sure it looks good.

Finally, bear in mind that the professional presentation arena is an environment where presenters can shine amongst their peers and managers and, if the AV technology and projection screen you provide contributes to that success, it will build powerful loyalty for your brand.