LCD projector and screen recommendations

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photon
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LCD projector and screen recommendations

Post by photon » Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:46 am

greetings, in the process of sorting out a projector to display some cool images during the burn. as you may or may not know there are a shitload of them on ebay and about. i'd like to have to not spend more than $1500 bucks as i think it may get abused on the playa. i intend on building it into a boz with active ventilation but i'm sure dust may still get into the box. basically, i'm wondering how many lumens is needed to get a decent picture on a 10-15' screen that week. if others have experience i'd appreciate some specs on what they use. it's also going to be a full moon this year so i'm thinking the brighter the better. must the projector be at the same plane/centerline of the screen? any suggestions on a makeshift screen? i got the frame figured as it will be between two wind generators but i'm uncertain what the best material would be. ideally something that will let the wind pass through the screen but perhaps that would also be a compromise of image quality. thanks for any experienced thoughts. nick

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bigbluedoggy
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Post by bigbluedoggy » Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:26 pm

Hey there! Large screen projection has been part of my career for many years. You of course realize that this is a night time only option unless you want to throw out some huge bucks. You will be needing a projector with a minimum of 1500 - 2000 lumens to make a decent (not great) picture on a 10' screen in full moonlight.

Quality of your screen material will also be a factor. Cheap rear projection material is just that: cheap. Unfortunately, out on the playa, you will only want to use cheap material, because it will pretty much be playafied when you are done with it. This means you will need more light to make your cheap screen bright enough. Going from a 10' screen to a 15' screen more than doubles your image area, thus cutting your light level in half.

Large screen also = large sail. Bad idea unless you are prepared to reinforce it with high test fishing line across both faces to keep it from totally destroying itself in the wind. Far easier to rig up your projector to point at a solid surface (side of a truck perhaps) and use front projection.

There are many low end video projectors available at places like Fry's and the like. My recommendation is to go with the brightest one you can afford that doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles you don't need. Are you feeding from a laptop or a dvd player? If you don't need the data projection capabilities required by a laptop, go for one that only does straight video.

You already seem to realize that you are potentially shortening the projector's life by bringing it to the playa. I personally have done no projection out there, (although I'm considering a little this year) as I don't wish to bring my work with me among other reasons. If you have some trouble on the playa, feel free to come by Destiny Lounge and ask for me. Maybe I can help troubleshoot. Good luck!
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bmix
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Post by bmix » Sun Jul 22, 2007 12:42 pm

I don't know what your tolerance is for tinkering, but here's something we're doing this year:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/11/13/ ... r_tv_for_/

We're still building it, so I can't vouch for our success at the moment... however, it will be built in some fashion and we will be using it at Tikiplex 12 (tiki bar/theater). Look us up at Playa info and drop by to check the results! And also to grab a beverage, o'course...

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Token
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Post by Token » Sun Jul 22, 2007 3:01 pm

Photon,

You need to decide on a design and stick with it. Your post lists too many different design directions.

I have a 1200 lumen DLP in my bedroom on an 8' screen, complete 100% light control, and it is just bearable for movie watching on a 1.0 gain screen.

Might be worth just renting a business projector with 4500 lumen or more for the week. Lumen are everything in an uncontrolled light environment.

The screen itself does not need to be store bought. You can paint the screen surface yourself and get good results. You can even create greater than 1.0 gain screens using pearlescent paints and such. Note: you will spend some money on paint so this may not be cheaper than getting a cheap used screen.

Another popular screen medium in DIY world is Black-Out-Drape. Any fabric store has it. It is a white fabric designed to bounce off all light, hence it is used to block light from entering a room and the name.

You are concerned about wind and a 10' wall. Just build a wall. Talk to a carpenter. That part is really easy.

T

photon
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lcd projector and screen recommendations

Post by photon » Sun Jul 22, 2007 9:15 pm

thanks for the great info bigbluedoggy. when you say 10' you are referring to a diagonal measurement right? will a projector with a DVI input for my laptop produce a better image if i were to use my laptop? does the unit need to be on the centerline of the screen or can it be projected upwards at a shallow angle? are automatic image adjusting units needed? choose one with a remote if possible or is the image usually good once adjusted properly? thanks for the help, it's nice hearing from experience.
BTW-nice camp layout! I'll stop by, i'll be the one saying meow.

bmix- thanks but i already have enough projects and would rather just buy one and spend the time elsewhere. i commend you on your efforts though. i'll certainly stop by though, interesting.

token- thanks for the advice on making a decision, that's what i'm in the process of doing. mainly have not decided screen size but it's looking like a 10 footer. the screen material is the next thing to consider. Black out drape seems like a good recommendation. Other DIY plans suggested a super white paper from a specialty photo store and I know the fabric would hold up better on the playa. I'm a carpenter and then some so not concerned about the design, just trying to design something that lets the wind pass from the get go. Thanks for the input!

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bigbluedoggy
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Post by bigbluedoggy » Sun Jul 22, 2007 11:34 pm

Hi photon,

I was actually referring to an overall width of 10', but the math still works when discussing the increase in screen area vs. width or diagonal measurement. (diagonal measurement is used in home theater which is not my area of expertise. I work in broadcast). Many of the factors you are asking about vary from projector to projector. Most basic projectors have limited lens shift adjustment or keystone correction. Once you start spending a little more, you get into those capabilities.

You will almost always be safe getting your projector near screen center. If that isn't an option for you, then you want to make sure that whatever projector you get either has enough mechanical lens shift ability, or electronic keystone correction. Mechanical lens shift will provide a better image than electronic correction.

As far as input goes: what are you showing? If you are just running standard video type source like a DVD in video resolution (525 lines) then you can run it from most anything. Probably don't want to use a laptop asa source unless you are prepared for it to get very dirty. DVI is capable of supporting several resolutions, but unless you really need the high res it can do, keep it simple and just run things in component (3 wire) or composite (1 wire).

If you are going to run graphics and other content that was created in high resolution, then you may want to use a computer to make it look as good as it can. Make sure the projector you get is capable of supporting the resolution of your content. In that case DVI is an easy option. DVI generally limits out at 16' however without special cables: something to keep in mind in working on your layout.

Almost all projectors will include a remote, since most are designed to be either hung from the ceiling or sit on a table. What do you mean by auto image adjusting units? Don't waste money on one that will focus itself or that sort of thing. Put the money towards a brighter projector with higher resolution. You ultimately won't care how crisp your image is out there if you can't see it. Brighter is better. You want to achieve at least 25 foot-lamberts on your screen to compete with the surrounding ambience. You can derive that number by taking the total projector lumens and dividing it by the square footage of the screen area.

7.5' x 10' screen = 75 sq ft --- 2000 lumen proj / 75 sq ft = 26.667 fl

Using that formula you can rapidly figure out how big an image you should make with your projector. Be aware, most projectors do not actually produce the published number of lumens. They MAY when the lamp is brand new and some may even exceed that number then, but lamp output falls off fairly quickly from the peak and will settle in at about 75% of published output after the first 50 hours or so of runtime. This is a general statement and will vary depending on many factors, but you should really figure your projector is good for about 75% of its published lumens output as a general rule of thumb. Don't forget to bring a spare lamp...

As far as a screen goes...I am still not clear on whether you are going to try to use front or rear projection. The simplest and cheapest way to go would be to literally project on a taut white bedsheet or something similar. Gain screens are good for a specific environment, but IMHO Burning Man ain't it. Unless you are prepared to protect a rear screen from the elements in some way (wind) I would try to work out a front projection scenario. Build a wall, use the side of a truck with a sheet over it, something along those lines.

If you want to go one step further, these guys make some great screen paint products: http://www.goosystems.com/ What you want to avoid is a shiny highly reflective surface (the unadorned side of a rental truck for instance). A good matte surface will give you the widest viewing angle, meaning you can stand off to the side and see it just as brightly as if you were right in front of it. Gain screens tend to maximize the brightness for the prime viewing area (center) and there is a falloff factor in the viewing angle.

Paul of Playa Video has had rear projection screens at Burning Man several times and is probably a better source of info than I on projection practicality on the playa. Sadly, he just informed me he is not coming this year. I imagine he could be coerced to enlighten you a bit on some finer points if you ask him nicely. PM me if you want his email address.

This concludes Projection 101 for the evening. Let me know if I lost you along the way. Good luck!

*WOof*!
A plan is what you vary from.

Destiny Lounge has been proven to cause cuteness in small kittens.

Destiny Lounge 3D - located in the 3:00 Plaza at G for 2019! Look for our art installation too: The Temple uv Enlightenment!

photon
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lcd projector and screen recommendations

Post by photon » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:19 am

wow, thanks. projection 101 was quite informative. the formula for deriving ideal light intensity over a given area is quite useful. i intend to run slideshows of fairly low res images so realistically i'm thinking i'm not bringing my own laptop. knew that from the get go but still would like to use the unit at home. i intend on trying the suspended screen technique held taught inside of a metal pipe framework. would seeking for black out drape as suggested by Token be worth the hassle or would a white sheet as you suggested show nearly the same results? so keystone correction is the name of the function that can help overcome a projector below centerline?

thanks a mil, meow

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stuart
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Post by stuart » Thu Jul 26, 2007 12:42 pm

I've done large projection there several years. White nylon curtain sheers work very well for RP but they will get dusty and so have to be cleaned unless you want to loose a lot of light. 2K lumens for a 12'x9' screen will give a decent image. Not something you'd want to watch a movie on at home but plenty OK for the playa.

As far as rigging screens goes, I've used 4x4 posts anchored by aircraft cable to create a basic and very strong frame to which screens in a sub frame have been attached. In '04 I set up a three segment 40' x 10' screen that survived an entire afternoon of very high sustained winds with gusts well over 70.

While dust certainly has an effect on your gear, believe it or not (out of frustration with my poorly made enviro boxes) I've had projectors fully exposed to the elements for the better part of the week up there. Brought them home, blew them out real good. They still work quite well. I'm not recommending it, but it's not as bad as folks would tell you.
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photon
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LCD Projectors

Post by photon » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:28 pm

Thanks Stuart, more valuable information. When you say white nylon curtain sheers work very well for RP but they will get dusty and have to be cleaned just what does cleaning them involve. Beating the screen with a stick? Shop vac?

Also, the boxes you had frutration with- did it use a piece of glass in front of the lense? Too difficult to get into the box to make adjustments? Dust on the glass interfere with the image? Box get too hot? What brand projector have you?

thanks for sharing your experience, nick

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