How to Choose the Right Projector Screen Size?

It’s not enough that you have a high-definition projector; you also need the right projector screen size to boot. This is to ensure optimal viewing experience, whether it’s for a movie screening, presentation, live show, etc.

The screen size will largely affect the clarity of the projected image. If it’s too big, the image quality will lose substantial resolution. Meanwhile, if it’s too small, the screen will not maximize the full resolution of the projector. Also, it will negatively impact the viewing experience in a large room.

In this blog post, we will help you select the suitable projector size based on your needs. Read on to know more about the technical aspects of projector screens. 

How to choose the right projector screen size

1. Check your projector brightness

The first thing you should check is the compatibility of your projector to the screen. Not all projectors and screens are compatible with each other.

Technically, the bigger the screen, the higher brightness it will need. If the projector doesn’t have enough lumens (brightness), the projected image will be dull and blurry. Your audience will have trouble seeing what’s on the screen – ultimately ruining their viewing experience.

The rule of thumb is that a 6-foot tripod screen requires a projector with at least 3,000 lumens. Meanwhile, a 13.5 x 24-foot fast fold screen must be paired with a 30,000-lumen projector.

However, if the room has ambient lighting, you will need higher lumens for the best results. Take note that projectors work best in dark spaces. 

2. Determine the number of viewers

The size of your projector screen should also depend on the number of viewers. Basically, a large audience translates to a bigger venue, thus the need for an equally larger screen.

Aside from that, a large crowd also means that the screen has to seat far from the first row. This is to give the audience a good view of the content (more on this below).

With that, a bigger audience requires a large screen. And if you use a large screen, you also have to upgrade your projector and venue. It’s a domino effect. 

3. Consider the viewing distances

Screen size and viewing distance go hand in hand. The bigger your screen is, the farther the viewing distance will be. On the same note, longer viewing distances mean you need larger projection screens.

For the best viewing experience, the screen should fill at least 30 degrees of the person’s field of vision. This can be raised to 40 degrees for a cinematic motion picture feel.

The rule of thumb you can follow is this: multiply the projector screen size by 1.2 to 1.6 for the optimal distance.

Following this rule, a 100” screen must be viewed at a distance of 120 to 160 inches.

Nevertheless, indoor viewing like with a home cinema will usually require an equally smaller screen. In this case, the viewing distance will be much shorter. 

4. Check the aspect ratio

The aspect ratio of a screen refers to the relation between its width and height. The most common are the 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios.

This means that for every 16 feet of the screen width, it would have 9 feet of the screen height. The same applies to the 4:3 ratio.

If you’re not sure what aspect ratio to get, stick to 16:9. This is the widely used screen size in multimedia content. Also, it’s easier to adjust a 4:3 ratio of content to a 16:9 projector screen than the other way around.

Take note that a 16:9 aspect ratio is sometimes referred to as 1:78:1 or 1.78. These numbers are basically the same since 16 divided by 9 is 1.78. Also, there are other aspect ratios aside from 16:9 and 4:3, so always check your content first.

So what happens if I used a screen with an improper aspect ratio? While you can still project your content, there would be black bars on the edges.

Don’t worry because projector providers like Rent For Event can help you pick the right aspect ratio for your screen. Our team will check your content and customize your screen for the best viewing experience. 

5. Check the throw distance

The throw distance refers to the horizontal distance between the screen and the projector lens. It’s measured in ratio, which will dictate how large of an image the projector can produce at a specific distance.

For example, a projector with a throw ratio of 1:2 means that for each foot of the projected image, the distance must be 2 feet. With this, lower throw ratios mean that the projector can emit larger images at shorter distances.

So how does it relate to your projector screen? The throw ratio will determine the screen size you’ll need based on the space you have in your venue. Also, the placement of the screen is critical for the best image quality.

Technically, throw distances are categorized into three levels: ultra-short throw, short throw, and long throw.

  • Ultra-short throw. This is ideal for small and confined spaces like offices and classrooms. It usually has a throw distance of 0 to 1.5 meters
  • Short throw. This is the in-between of an ultra-short and long throw. Short throw projectors mean that the device can be placed 1 to 2.5 feet from the screen. It’s ideal for larger rooms like average home theaters.
  • Long throw. This is the perfect choice for conference rooms, halls, and massive home cinemas. In this setup, the projector is usually mounted on the ceiling.

6. Check the venue’s ceiling height

One thing that many event hosts overlook is the size of their venue, especially the ceiling height. Aside from considering all the factors above, you shouldn’t forget to make actual measurements of the installation area.

If you’re renting a 16:9 projector screen, you should add extra four feet or the leg or mounting height. So if you’re installing a 5’7” x 9’ 4” fast fold, the final dimensions would be 9’7” x 9’x4.

However, if you’re adding a dress kit, you have to add 1 foot more on the height and four feet on the width. All these additional dimensions must be factored in to ensure that your venue has ample space for the entire screen setup.

In case your chosen venue doesn’t have ample ceiling height, you can use multiple screens instead. This way, all your attendees will have a clear view of the content you’re projecting. Our AV team can handle this for you, so you can focus on preparing for your presentation. 

7. Factor in the screen materials

Aside from picking the right screen size, you should also check its material. While it may not seem necessary, the screen material can actually affect the image quality being projected.

Some projector screens have a gain boost added to enhance the brightness of the image. However, this may cause hotspotting on some projectors and reduced viewing angles.

If possible, look for a projector screen with a neutral coating. After all, modern projectors are already equipped with adjustable settings and there’s no need for added screen enhancements. 

Additional projector screen advice

To ensure that you’ll achieve the best projection quality on your screen, you should also keep these in mind:

1. Place ambient lighting strategically

It can be challenging to set up a projector screen if there’s ambient lighting inside the room. If not done properly, the lighting can wash out the image and impact the viewing experience.

Make sure that no lighting is pointing directly into your screen. Also, consider renting a brighter projector to ensure that the ambient lighting won’t be an issue during your presentation. 

2. Don’t settle on random white cloth

While any white cloth can project an image, it’s prone to wrinkling and movement due to wind. This will also make it harder for your audience to see the content.

Aside from that, hanging a white cloth can be challenging. It’s also not a practical solution for regular and long-term use. 

3. Hire an AV provider

If you’re preparing for an important presentation or event, you should consider hiring an audiovisual provider. These professionals will pick the best projector screen for your needs. This way, you don’t have to worry about the technical aspects.

If you’re looking for a reliable AV team in Los Angeles, Rent For Event is the trusted option. We have 20+ years of AV expertise and we provide full-service projector and screen rental services.

Simply tells us about your event and we will help you pick the right equipment. We will also select the proper projector screen size for you. Also, our team will also handle everything from delivery to the breakdown of your screen. 

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