3 Common Mistakes in Projection Video

Could there be a more embarrassing mistake than a poorly devised projector setup? Your audience squints to see the screen, as the faint image and text of something that resembles a PowerPoint, stretched out of its intended proportions. Yes, you are playing with a possible AV disaster with the wrong projector setup. To help you avoid an upset team, disgruntled management, and cancelled meetings, Audio-Video Group wants to share with you three common mistakes that you can avoid to make your projector setup run smoothly and get the most our of your projector investment and meeting time.

Your projector may not be bright enough.

Projector brightness is a tough measure to understand, simply because there are a lot of factors that go into the final presentation of your projector on the screen, and it’s more than the rating on the side of the box. The measure of brightness really comes down to contrast and the contrast ratio. As a rule of thumb, you want to achieve a 10:1 ratio. Now before you pull out the spec sheet on your projector, understand that the elements in the room factor into that contrast ratio more that the spec on the box. There are two things to keep in mind. First the amount of ambient light should be kept to a minimum. Make sure any natural light has dampening or controls to set the amount of light in the space. Your projector will never overpower the sun, so you need to find a way to control the ambient light in your room. Second, every screen material has different properties to deal with ambient light, so you should make sure you have the right screen material for your room. If you picked your projector screen up from Wal-mart, it might not be the right material for your application.

Your aspect ratio should match your application.

The proper aspect ratio, or shape of the screen, depends on the application. Back before the advent of HD TV (yes, there was TV before HD TV and AVG was there!) the predominate aspect ratio was 4:3. This was the standard TV ratio. If you have a projector that is more than 2-3 years old you might have a 4:3 projector. The bad news is that this ratio is being phased out, meaning there will be no new content produced in this ratio. So unless you have a real need to present in this legacy ratio, it’s time to update. If you try to force newer content onto 4:3 projectors, disaster awaits you. Luckily you’ve got two options for that update, 16:9 and 16:10. What does one point have to do with this? Well, not a lot. 16:9 is what you’ll see presented as “widescreen” typically when dealing with motion video. 16:10 is the ratio that most computer screens use, and is the most frequent recommendation we give if you are buying new. 16:10 will give you the ability to do computer source projection, and the difference won’t be noticeable if you decide to output widescreen video. Just make sure you have the same proportion screen so get the maximum projection width from your projector.

The size of the screen should be proportional to the distance from your audience.

And our last tip really asks the question, how big is big enough when it comes to projection screens? Well, we’ve got an answer to that for you. It’s a rule of thumb and there are other factors that can change this, but generally you want a 6:1 ratio of screen height for intended distance. So for example, if the farthest chair in the room is 24ft from the screen, you should have a minimum of a four-foot screen height. Using this rule, your audience should be able to read text at a reasonable size from any point in the room. If the screen is any smaller, it won’t matter how compelling your presentation is, because no one’s going to be able to see it. If you’ve got an odd shaped room, or different elevations, we should probably talk with you directly, but using this rule of thumb and the other tips presented above could save you from these common mistakes. Good luck!

At Audio-Video Group, we specialize in audio, video, and control systems for corporate, educational, and house of worship spaces, and we’ve been trouble-shooting technology needs like yours since 2000. For more information, or for examples of the varied and satisfied clients we’ve helped with aspect ratios, brightness, screen size, and more, visit www.AudioVideoGroup.com, or call (800) 668-4988 today to speak with one of our specialists.

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