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Old May 31st, 2007, 08:36 AM   #1
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Projector recommendations


I am wondering what people use to project their films (short or feature) and what their experiences are with projectors in general.

Does a higher end projector (like a Christie or Panasonic) make a difference either for the better or worse?

Or does multimedia projector (Epson, Infocus, etc.) do the job?

My footage is SD and shot with the DVX.

Any feedback would help.


Ken Castellano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 31st, 2007, 09:43 AM   #2
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There are a lot of things to consider with a projector, but there are two things of which I am sure:

1. Get a projector with at least 2000 ANSI lumens unless you are only working in fairly small rooms. Anything more than an office room or living room needs 2000 lumens.

2. Ensure that you get a projector with TRUE 1024x768 or better resolution. Don't be fooled by "up to" or "maximum" in the description. It must be at least 1024x768 "native.

Anything less than these specs may not be bright enough or the pixels may be so large that the "screen door" effect may be noticeable. There is sometimes a small dim space between pixels. This dim space is less evident with more pixels and greater distance from the screen.

DLP projectors have a couple of benefits over LCD that I think tips the balance in their favor. They have less, or none, of the "screen door" effect and will probably never have a dead pixel. LCD screens can sometimes get a pixel that gets stuck on in one color. Things have improved tremendously, but I worked with an old LCD projector that had a dead pixel that looked like a big red laser pointer near the middle of the screen.

Another factor to look into is the type of de-interlacing the projector performs on your video source. This could make a big difference in some circumstances, but I don't really know how to guide you in this area.

Don't forget that you need a screen. You can do either front or rear projection. Rear projection is good in really large rooms as you can keep the projector out of the crowd and move the screen up closer to the viewers. It takes a bit more light to blast through a rear projection screen, but 2000 lumens should be enough for a screen 6' wide (8' diagonal). If you want to do a really huge screen, I worked with a 3500 lumen projector on a 15' diagonal screen and it was just fine. That thing looked like a movie theater and took two people 15 minutes to pack.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 11:11 AM   #3
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Thanks for the lumens and resolution tips. They really helped clear things up for me.

Here's a follow-question:

I can either rent a 3000 Lumens Projector or a 6000 Lumens Projector (has a long throw lens).

They both have 1024x768 native resolution, DVI connection, and play a NTSC source.

I will projecting on to a 15' screen (diagonal) from the front.

The difference between the two is the cost of rental.

Which one would you recommend?


Last edited by Ken Castellano; May 31st, 2007 at 11:15 AM. Reason: added question
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Old May 31st, 2007, 11:23 AM   #4
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I really can't say, but either will likely work if the 3000 lumen model has a good lamp. Apparently, these things dim over time so they may not be as bright as when new. I experienced a 5000 lumen model cast up on the wall of a building and it was strong enough to get decent exposure on a 3/4" CCD DigiBeta camera at night. It wasn't overly bright to the audience, but the projected image was HUGE. I would say the diagonal approached 40 feet. If your room has good conditions, the 3000 lumen should be fine. Just make sure there aren't any lights shining on your screen and that the overall room brightness is fairly low. Room conditions probably have a bigger impact than the projector itself.

Try to test your video source/connection before you leave the rental shop.
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Old May 31st, 2007, 06:41 PM   #5
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Marcus has expressed very useful points. Allow me to add my opinions based upon 23 years dealing with video projection in the meetings and conventions industry:

Video/Data projectors are really stupid pieces of gear, but they do what they are designed to do very well. Video/Data projectors will reproduce any signal they can receive. They won't produce signals they are not designed to receive. How well they reproduce those signals depends upon a lot of variables.
All projectors have a "native resolution". The least expensive are now 800x600 pixel resolution. Those all include a means to accomodate resolutions above and below the native via amathematical algorhythm formula, which works rather well in most cases. My four year old Epson is native 800 x 600 and will easily and quite nicely manages 640x480 or 1024x768 signals when projected on a 6'x8' or 7.5x10' screen.

Remember the resolution of your video. If all you are doing is SD, then an 800 x 600 native resolution projector should be fine, as SD video is below 800x600. But, a 1024x768 native resolution projector will display more shades of grey (color is never an issue), and that could well be important.

Lumens are relative. Higher lumens always provide better looking images, but audience size and screen size remains the determining factor. A PowerPoint presentation will have the same visual imact at 800 x 600 vs 1024 x 768. An SD video via RGB, vs s-video or composite, may gain some luminance values when displayed at 1024 x 768, but will get a bit blurry because it has been "up-rezed" ... your computer has added interpolated pixels, which has a degrading effect upon clarity.

DLP (Texas Instruments technology) is not LCD based. It uses uses tiny, tiny mirrors that are pixel based and can alter reflectance. Lumen for lumen, DLP projectors are way brighter, but may suffer in the shadow regions of grey when compared to LCD. It is a tech thing.

Rear projection vs front projection. Rear projection is transmitted light vs front projection which is reflected light. RP, like 35mm slides, provides higher saturation of color and increased contrast. Favors impact in place of natural look. Takes a bit more more power, but not much more. Has a much better look, in my opinion. Front Projection (FP) softens images, because of the scattered light of reflection, and could demand more projector lumen power.

The biggest difficulty with RP is that it demands you command floor space in a ballroom that could be given to paying guests, so it always works best in a space that has a real performance stage that can't be sold from the box office.

The important decision is to evaluate the venue, the format, and choose that with best fits the need.
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Old June 2nd, 2007, 10:12 AM   #6
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That was an excellent response. Thanks for detailed points about DLP projectors.

I will be checking out the venue this week, taking measurements (screen and distance) and bringing two projectors to test.

I have one short-throw DLP and a long throw Epson. It will be interesting to see the difference in brightness and clarity.

I will let you know the results.

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Old June 4th, 2007, 03:22 AM   #7
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Im looking for a projector to buy. I want to screen DVD films and show some of my 720p footage on screen.

I was going through price list, and found Benq MP620, which has 1024x768 resolution and it also says HDTV ready. I can't get how though, 720p has 1280x720 and this projectors resolution is below that. Is it down-resizing or what?
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Old June 4th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #8
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It doesn't have the full resolution, but they are claiming that it will connect and display from HD devices. Check to see if it has DVI, component, and/or HDMI inputs. I've seen HD shown on a 1024x768 display and it looks fairly good.
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