Projection screens come in a huge variety of sizes and shapes, and are used for a number of different purposes at events. This can make it difficult to know what screen is the best option when planning for conferences and meetings. The last thing you want is to have a screen that can’t be viewed by all attendees, or worse yet, one that’s not compatible with the space or projector!
Fortunately, once you have other key event details figured out, the decision comes down to a few simple factors. When determining what projector screen to use for your next event, here are 4 important questions to get you started:
1. How many guests are you expecting?
For smaller meetings of up to 100 people, a tripod screen is a great option. Tripod screens come in 6′ and 8′ options, and are mobile and more flexible in an event space. They can be used for both 4:3 or 16:9 content, have adjustable legs so ceiling heights are not a concern, and do not require technician setup.
Groups over 100 people require a larger fastfold screen. Fastfolds are a great way to make a visual impact and allow larger audiences to effectively view your content on a large scale. These do not fit in all event spaces, and the legs of the screen add about 5′ to the screen height. (For example, a 7’x12′ screen actually requires at least 12′ of ceiling height, where the average ceiling height of a meeting room is 8′-10′.)
For audiences larger than 1,000 people, you can also consider a truss screen or custom sized setup. These types of screens can be flown or ground supported, and are available in front or rear projection. Truss screens are available in almost any size you can imagine, so if you aren’t immediately seeing what you want, just ask your AV provider what other options are out there!
2. What’s the aspect ratio of your content?
Aspect ratio is an important factor in determining which screen to use. Content displayed on the wrong size screen or monitor creates black bars around the displayed content, which can be distracting and visually unappealing.
To get the best look and experience, its important to match the screen to the aspect ratio of your content. Always determine the aspect ratio of your content and whether you require a 4:3 or 16:9 compatible screen.
If your aspect ratio isn’t 4:3 or 16:9, consult with your AV provider to make sure the screen is a good fit. They should be able to help you find a perfect display solution for your content, whatever the format and aspect ratio.
Quick tip: You can find the aspect ratio of your PPT deck by viewing the "Design" tab and selecting "Page Setup" within your Power Point file. The drop down selected in the "Slides sized for" box will show either 4:3 or 16:9. You can view more information on how to change your slide size here.
3. How much room do you have to work with?
Larger screens can require ceiling heights of 10′-15’+ depending on the screen height. If your event venue doesn’t accommodate the ceiling height you need, consider multiple smaller screens or additional monitors to ensure guests can view the content. Most venues have room diagrams or layouts online that clearly state the ceiling height. If you aren’t able to locate that information, you can always set up a pre-event site survey for a technician to ensure the screen will fit into the event layout.
Some venues also have space restrictions that don’t allow the required throw or space in front of the screen. Throw distance is the space required between the projector lens and the screen. Without the appropriate space to ensure adequate throw distance, your content may not fit within the screen. Make sure you determine the space required for your projector and ensure you secure the space you need.
4. Are your screen and projector compatible?
If you already have a projector that you plan to use, it’s important to remember that not all projectors and screens work together. As screens increase in size, the lumens (aka brightness) required in a projector increase as well. Appropriate projector brightness is crucial to ensure content shows up clearly on the screen. If your projector doesn’t produce enough lumens, you may have trouble seeing the content on the screen.
These 4 questions are a great starting point to ensure you are headed in the right direction. No two events are alike though, and depending on the full scope of your program, there may be other factors to think about. There are many creative solutions to consider, and your AV provider should be able to help ensure all guests can view your content in the best way possible.
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