Are you confused about the term Draper Jedi used in the headline?

You may not have heard the news, but this week marks the public premiere of the new entry in the Star Wars movie franchise. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh episode in the science fiction blockbuster series, and perhaps none of the previous six has been preceded by the level of excitement and hype we’ve seen with this one.

Just a few of the Draper Jedis from our AV Sales department.

Just a few of the Draper Jedis from our AV Sales department.

Some people are, I’m sure, scratching their heads, wondering what all the fuss is about. It’s just a movie, right? I personally like Star Wars, and will probably see the new one—and that’s about it. In fact, I imagine I’m one of the few people who can say I actually read the book adaptation before ever seeing the first Star Wars movie. But I have several friends for whom Star Wars is not just a movie. It’s more even than a cultural touchstone. It’s something that touches them on a deeply personal level, and I have at least one friend who will say seeing the very first Star Wars movie changed her life and the way she saw the world.

That’s pretty big stuff.

Here at Draper we have some fans who are really looking forward to it.

Mike Feeney, who works on graphic shade design and printing among other things in our marketing department, has his tickets and is ready to go:

“I saw Return of the Jedi in theaters as a kid and have a strong and clear memory of sitting in the theater with my little brother. He wasn’t yet old enough to read, and my stepdad was reading the English subtitles aloud to him when characters spoke in other languages. This time I’m taking my son with me, who is close to the age that I was back then. As excited as I am to see the movie myself, I’m equally excited to take my son.”

This collection of Star Wars posters adorns one of the walls of Gini's home.

This collection of Star Wars posters adorns one of the walls of Gini’s home.

Gini Deaton, our Web Designer, isn’t going to the premiere, but is definitely planning to see it. “I saw the first one when I was 24 and already a sci-fi fan and fell instantly in love with everything Star Wars. I saw the first movie nine times!”

Meanwhile, Jeff Irving, our Marketing Mailings Coordinator, is looking forward to a couple of specific story angles: “I am looking forward to seeing if Luke becomes the new Darth Vader! The rumors have been flying wildly about that one. I also can’t wait to see if they kill off any of the old timers that have reappeared for the new ones so they don’t have to keep casting them as their health becomes a potential issue.”

When it comes to Star Wars, though, Roy Smith is probably the closest thing we have to an actual Draper Jedi. Need to know something about Star Wars? Ask Roy.

“George Lucas very deliberately set out to create a story that was timeless and appealing. He borrowed heavily from mythology and popular culture so it’s no surprise that the story resonates with so many people. However, I’m not going to lie, for me when I was a kid it was all about the cool starships, aliens and sci-fi weapons. My nostalgia for these movies and toys and books from my youth is what keeps my interest strong today. I’m glad I’m just old enough to have seen and experienced Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 when it first came out and was able to grow up with it.”

Now can you understand how some people were getting so excited about this public premiere? And since everyone else in the world seems to be getting on the Star Wars bandwagon, or Gamma-class Light Personnel Carrier, if you will—we at Draper thought we’d share some thoughts, as well.

We considered topics such as “10 Times the Force was With Draper,” “Five Ways Draper Can Help You Overcome the Sith,” or possibly a quiz game called “Who Said It: Momaw Nadon or John Pidgeon?”

In the end, though, this comment from Gini gave me the idea for our post topic: “I am looking forward to the new movie. I want to watch all of them again and can’t decide if I should watch them in the order they were released or in the time line order of when they occurred. That is my only issue with the whole Star Wars thing. I wished they had created them in the timeline order instead of IV first. Know what I mean? LOL“

Gini isn’t alone. In advance of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a lot of people are going to be re-watching the first six movies. In addition, people will be watching Episode VII as soon as it is released to DVD and for streaming sometime next year. Although we can’t help with the ordering of the movies, if there’s one thing we at Draper know how to do, it’s enhancing the viewing experience in your home theater. So here are some ways to give your home theater that special “oomph.” Hop on board the Millennium Falcon and prepare for the jump to cinema hyperspace!

These are not the screens you're looking for. Please move along.

These are not the screens you’re looking for. Please move along.

Our first piece of advice is this: Do not go online and just buy the cheapest white screen you can find. These are not the screens you are looking for. Move along.

Next, remember that getting the most out of a Star Wars movie, or any movie or other content, for that matter, depends on your room. Lighting in the specific room, ambient light at the screen, off-axis seating, projector brightness, and the lens all play a role. To find the best projection screen for your home cinema, use a tool like Draper’s Projection Planner (you have to register for the Draper Pro Portal to use it, but it’s free-just click here). Using InfoComm’s PISCR standard as a baseline, the Projection Planner walks you through a series of precise questions—including seating distance, image size, the type of information being projected; ambient light levels at the screen and in the room; and the projector’s format, lumens, contrast ratio, and throw distance—to build a complete system profile. The Projection Planner then calculates system brightness and contrast, and recommends specific projection viewing surfaces that will perform best in actual room conditions.

There are no Jedi mind tricks behind Draper's projection planner-just solid science.

There are no Jedi mind tricks behind Draper’s projection planner-just solid science.

That all being said, though, there are a few things we can suggest without knowing the specific situation. For instance, if your ambient light can be controlled and the room will be dark, a 1.0 white screen, like Draper’s TecVision XT1000X, is perfect. Don’t go brighter—you don’t want to be blinded by all those powerful explosions and laser blasts.

If you can’t get rid of all the ambient light, use a low gain grey screen like XH900X Grey. During Return of the Jedi, there are some hand-drawn effects on Emperor Palpatine’s head, known as the “Emperor’s Slugs.” These were added by the effects team to cover up some technical issue in the original film. They’ve fixed this issue in the Blu-Ray DVD release, but you can see them plainly in earlier versions—unless your screen is washed out by too much ambient light so you need the extra contrast of the grey screen.

Both of these surfaces have wide viewing angles, so there won’t be a bad seat in the house.

In addition, both of these surfaces—and in fact our entire TecVision line—are certified by the Imaging Science Institute for color accuracy. Why is this important? Well, some screen surfaces are made brighter by adding blue tints to them, so the colors aren’t what George Lucas—or, in this case, J.J. Abrams—intended. To see the right colors, you want an ISF-certified or calibrated projector, and an ISF-certified screen. As Roy says, “Take a look at the insane action early in Episode III when Anakin and Obi-Wan are trying to reach the starship where Palpatine is being held hostage. It’s a space battle that you just know Lucas has been itching to film for a long time.” But you might miss some of the intricacies and details if the color is off or there’s not enough contrast.

So there you have it. Use Draper’s Projection Planner and TecVision to get the perfect screen for your room-then come out of hyperspace for a real at-home movie experience!

Then you can be a Draper Jedi! And the Force will be with you.

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