We recently finished some retractable projection screen Revit families for Stewart Filmscreen, based in southern California. These are the kind of screens installed in the ceiling of a conference room or auditorium, where you might barely notice the screen is there until someone hits a button and it gracefully descends from a sleek minimalist enclosure. Since the screens are recessed products, the bulk of the work was in modeling all of the different canvas sizes and image areas available for each of the two models.

Like many manufacturers of high-end building products, Stewart Filmscreen provides a range of standard screen configurations, but also allows customers to specify their own custom configurations within certain limits. To cover these options in the family, we used a type catalog containing each of the standard configurations. The screen size is defined by entering the desired image diagonal and aspect ratio X and Y values.

To create a custom screen size, you would typically duplicate an existing type, name it accordingly and change those parameters to suit. If a custom screen size exceeds Stewart’s stated maximum dimensions (which in certain cases they can still manufacture), the family still works fine in Revit, but the screen’s canvas turns red – by means of a custom material parameter – to alert the user that he or she has crossed into uncertain territory. The custom highlighting is done with the use of a faux IsCustom parameter. In my opinion, it would be great to have the real IsCustom parameter as part of most, if not all, Revit categories. Currently it only exists in the Pipe Fittings category.

Finally, any image can be placed onto the screen for renderings or 3D views in fine LOD – a project screenshot, your company logo, an image of whatever might actually get projected there, etc.

The families were delivered in two versions, one with all the parameters required by the InfoComm BIM Guidelines (InfoComm being a professional organization for the AV industry) and one without any shared parameters (my personal recommendation for any manufacturer, and probably worth another post at some point). The Stealth Trapdoor family shown here, with all the different types, custom highlighting, 2D levels of detail — plan and elevations, with differing front and back — as well as 3D levels of detail, weighs in at only 436K. The maths involved for the flexing of the family geometry were pretty fun to work with too.

So now, when you decide your project requires a high-end, quality projection screen, you can count on Stewart Filmscreens not only to provide the actual goods, but also to show up beautifully in your Revit project, both graphically and in your schedules.