of screen Screen
size Screen shapes
fabric type Tab
tension screens Projector screens
The right screen is essential to get the most out of your projector, whether it's a
data, slide or overhead projector. Here are some tips on how to make the best choice.
Type of screen
Once of the first things you should consider is will your screen be permanently used
in one room or do you need a screen which can be transported from room to room. If you are
taking your presentations on the road and need to carry the equipment with you, then the
screen will need to be light and portable.
Wall or ceiling mounted screens are ideally suited for
constant use in one room. Manual or electric wall and ceiling screens
are available for a wide range of applications. Where you have a
recessed ceiling, there are electric screens especially designed for recessed
screens are ideal for applications where you want to shine the
projector onto the rear of the screen, for instance, in flight
simulators, or when people will be walking in front of the screen and
you do not want to cast shadows. Picture frame screens
give the appearance of a picture on the wall, and are also available for
Big screens and wide projector screens are suitable for auditoria,
theatres for large sales meetings, conventions and conference centres.
Front or rear projection screens are available, front projection being
the most common. Rear projection screens are designed to be used with a
rear projection projector (often the projector has a switch that lets
you switch from front to rear projection). This is to stop shadows
when people walk between the projector and screen, as the projector sits
behind the rear projection screen and shines the images directly onto
the screen. Therefore if anyone walks in front of the screen, they do
not distort the image.
Dual projection film is designed to be used
with rear projectors. Comes in a roll and you adhere to your window
with either soap and water or adhesive (depending on film used),
then you project onto it from the inside of the window. Ideal
for displaying signage presentations on a large area.
Rigid rear projector panels Rigid rear projection screens, made
of various thicknesses of acrylic, can be placed on a stand in front of the inside of a retail store
window to allow shoppers in the street to view information. These
screens can also be suspended from the ceilings, ideal for shopping
malls, airports, exhibitions, etc. Option to suspend on a tall
wire stand for outdoor events to give the impression that the screen
is suspended in thin-air. Screens are available to suit daylight, window or indoor
Portable, mobile screens offer a choice of tripod screens, pull-up mobile
screens, desk top
/ table top screens or mobile
frame screens for on the road presentation, temporary
installations and exhibitions.
Table top screens are
best for presenting to up to six people around a desk., although
choice is now limited. For
larger audiences pull-up screens are ideal. You simply pull up the
screen from its case and it's ready for you to project your
Tripod screens are normally square image so ideal for
use with overhead projectors (OHPs) and slide projectors, especially
for moving room to room in schools, colleges, universities and for
training in large corporate organisations.
Mobile frame screens are
suited for mobile presentations for larger audiences, whether
business presentations, exhibitions, conferences or on-stage.
Choice of front projection, rear projection or front/rear projection
fabrics to give you the best possible images for your application. Inflatable
screens for indoor or outdoor use are ideal for open-air
events, sales conventions, movies and music concerts.
The size of your room and the position of the audience are the prime
factors in deciding on the best screen size to use. A good rule of
thumb is: the minimum distance to the screen should be 1.5 times the
screen width, and the maximum distance should be six times the
screen width, so for instance, if the projector screen width is 2
metres, then 1.5 times the width is 3 metres, so you need to
position the projector a minimum of 3 metres away from the screen
and the maximum distance of six times the screen width, means the
furthest you should position the projector away from the screen is
12 metres. This gives you a comfortable projection zone
of between 3 and 12 metres for you to project from.
You need to also consider the seating position of your audience, as
to whether they are all grouped together in the central position in
a long room, or seated across the full width of a wide room.
Various screen fabrics are available that give viewing angles, for
instance 170 degrees viewing angle is a wide viewing angle, whilst a
50 degree viewing angle is mainly for audiences all grouped together
down the centre of a room.
Projector screens generally come in 3 shapes: 1:1 4:3 16:9. A
rectangular screen 4:3 will be ideal for most applications. We are now seeing 16:10 widescreen
projector screens to complement 16:10
Square 1:1 aspect ratio
These were originally designed for use with overhead projectors where the image
projected is also square so that the image fills the entire screen.
Rectangle 4:3 aspect ratio
Televisions and computer monitors are not square but slightly rectangular in shape and
have a 4:3 aspect ratio. This just means that the width of the screen being 4 parts long
to 3 parts high. Most projectors display this rectangular image and a rectangular screen
will allow the image to fill the entire area. If you project onto the square screen for
comparison, then you will see an unused area at the top and bottom.
Widescreen 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratio
16:9 is the shape of a wide screen television. Some projectors, which are specifically
designed for video use, can project an image of this shape. Again if the image shape and
screen match, then you can completely fill the screen with the image.
We are now seeing 16:10 widescreen to complement 16:10
Rectangle 1:1 aspect ratio
These screens are square and are normally available as tripod
screens, although 4:3 and 16:9 are more common now.
Types of screen fabrics
Screen fabric varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Inexpensive
screens are normally on matt white fabric.
With so many fabric choices on the market, it is easy to dismiss the
importance that fabric plays in the end result of your projected
image, therefore just settling for a standard size in matt white.
This might be an easy solution when buying a low cost screen for
general use, but for more professional presentations to large
audiences, using an expensive projector, it is worth considering the
various screen size and fabric options to get the best from your
It is important to ensure that the screen you choose is suitable for
either front or rear projection. A common misconception is
that you can use front projection screen fabric for rear projection
or vice versa. If you were to project an image directly onto
the front of a rear projection fabric you would still see an image
but when you displayed a spreadsheet, the figures would be
distorted. Obviously, this is because a rear projection screen
surface is designed to have an image projected onto the rear of the
screen, for instance, in a helicopter flight simulation, you would
have the projector shining onto the rear of the screen, and the
person taking part would then sit directly in front of the screen to
follow the projected image.
Other instances of using rear projection would be shining a
projector onto the rear of a thin-film screen on a shop window, so
passers-by in front of the window can see the image clearly.
Indoor shopping malls use rear projection to projector images onto a
suspended mid-air acrylic polymer screen. In the main, front projection
screens are the most popular, especially for business, government,
training and educational use.
Tab tensioned screens
Draper, Screen International and Da-Lite offer a choice of tab tensioning
screens. Tab tensioning holds the screen surface taut
which keeps it wrinkle-free. This is particularly important with
a rear projection screen. It is also advisable when using
a short throw projector to use a tab tensioning screen, or one which
has a weighted bottom bar, as a short throw projector will emphasize
any waves in a screen fabric. However, many short throw projectors are
used with an interactive whiteboard.
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Projector screens comparison chart
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