Draper has announced the company’s latest projection screen innovation, the Penumbra screen.

The new product’s release comes as Draper’s 2016 AV Price List is set to hit the streets in a few days.

Hand_shadow_birdThe Penumbra screen was developed as a specialty product with one specific use: shadow puppetry. The Penumbra’s specially formulated viewing surface has been designed and perfected to deliver the optimum shadow puppet viewing experience.

“The idea for this product actually started out with one of our dealers,” according to Jim Hoodlebrink, the product manager for the new screen. “Apparently he was seriously into shadow puppetry as a side business, and had never been able to find the right surface for it.”

Aware of Draper’s custom capabilities, the dealer—Hank Throgmorton of Flint Falls, South Dakota—approached the company with his idea.

“I had just ended another disappointing show—crying kids, upset mothers, a couple of broken fingers—it was bad,” Throgmorton recalls. “I almost gave it up. Then I thought, ‘why not run it by those screen geniuses at Draper’—I didn’t have anything to lose.”

Draper’s engineers and chemists tackled the problem with gusto, putting in many hours of overtime to develop just the right formulation for the perfect depiction of shadow puppets. It was harder than you might think.

Ombra_francese_prima“The first problem we had to deal with was hotspotting,” according to Hoodlebrink. “Then there was the issue of legibility—we didn’t want any fuzzy effects or halos around the shadows. We didn’t want just a weak adumbration—we wanted to achieve a high resolution shadow depiction for maximum enjoyment.”

In addition to the mental strain involved in developing a completely new specialty product, there were physical issues to deal with as well—especially as research and testing continued to stretch out.

“We had broken fingers, sprained muscles, popped knuckles, swollen thumbs—you name it, it happened to us,” Hoodlebrink says. “Luckily the Draper clinic was on standby with cortisone shots and deep muscle massages to keep us going.”

In the end, Hoodlebrink says the Penumbra may be Draper’s greatest innovation yet.

For more information on the new Penumbra screen, see your 2016 AV price list, arriving soon!

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