Projector help

I searched for this and I couldn't come up with anything.

At work we have a screen thats about 20' x 20' that sits almost mid-stage. It's use for presentations a lot (power points and short videos). My problem is that the projector that I have is ancient and crappy, and the only other projectors in the school are equally crappy InFocus projectors. The output of the projectors just isn't enough when they're throwing the image from 30' away with some stage light and the house up.

Can some one point me in the right direction to find out what projector is right for my space?

Much thanks,


Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
Why do you have all the lights on at the same time as the projector?
I don't have all the stage lights on. I usually have one, maybe two lights on the podium that onstage, but the finish on the stage is Matte and light bounces off of it a lot. Budget is a school systems budget, I don't need the best new thing but I want something that'll last for years.


CB Mods
Premium Member
Sanyo has some medium duty "Pro" series projectors that do quite well for the budget concious theatre. I have a PLC-XT16 that I sent out on a touring show for doing super titles. Throw distance was anywhere from 30' to 70' , shooting on to a 17' wide by 24" tall super title screen mounted above the Proscenium, in most cases. It travelled really well. it's worked perfectly for three years now and I'v used it in at least 4 productions for long term operation. It was spendy just under 5k with two lens for short and long throw, but it beats the heck out of $30k for one of those "beasts", if you don't need something that big.


Active Member
Could you be more specific about where the screen is? You say mid stage but does this mean from the front to the back or from the sides? What I am getting at is the screen close to the back of the stage or more to the front? To the left or right of the centreline? If the screen is more towards the front will the screen let you back project on to it? This will help with some of the washout.

Also you mention the size of the screen but does your projection need to be that big to be legible from the whole of the house? Every foot you can get the projector closer to the screen increases the light on the screen conversley the size goes down.

You have metioned a 30 foot throw for the current projector but to help we'll need more details. For instance is the 30 foot position the only place you can have a projector. Different projectors have different angles, some wider, some narrower just like lights. Some can have greater angles off the horizontal plane so they can hit the screen at a steeper angle but have the keystone correction to make it work.

Also could you post the make and model of the projector so the specs can be checked out. This is to stop someone suggesting a 1000 Lux projector if you already have a 2000 Lux one.

Do you have any local suppliers? I'd contact them and get them into show off a few samples. You might be able to get the school to look at some new ones for the school as well. Things like bulb cost have come down for some of the newer models then the old infocus.

If you can get the teachers who use the projectors most, involved you might get more leverage with admin.

If admin won't come to the party with a new projector can you fix some of the problems? Eg Repaint the floor different finish, different colour? I didn't think matt would reflect as much as a gloss? Reposition the podium and/or lights even a few feet might make a difference. What happens if you move the podium to the other side.

Excuse me if you have already tried all these things but these are the things I would do in your situation.


Not a New User
Fight Leukemia
it beats the heck out of $30k for one of those "beasts", if you don't need something that big.
You have a problem with Christie Van?:lol:
The screen is 23' from the back wall, CS, and about 32' from the front of the pit cover. I have a rear projection screen for it, but the projector still isn't bright enough. Also they need to be able to control the powerpoint from either onstage or from the first row and we dont have that kind of cable.

I do need a large image, the back row which people always sit in is more that 100' away from the screen. I'll post the current projector when i get to the office, and i'm not aware of any local suppliers.

I'll work on the process of getting a new projector (admin support and teacher support) after i figure out what projector would be good for the space so i can go to the person with the money and lay everything out.



Resident Curmudgeon
Senior Team
Premium Member
IIRC, Mentor is near Cleveland, OH. Google "Cleveland audio visual" and you'll get many hits, and any reputable dealer should offer a free, no obligation demo of a product he's trying to sell.


CB Mods
Departed Member
If the screen is 20'x20', then that probably means a 15'x20' image, which is about right for general PowerPoint presentations with the furthest viewer 100' away.

The projector brightness required is the combination of several factors. One of the primary considerations is how much ambient light is on the screen during use. Light on the screen other than from the projector tends to reduce the contrast ratio and wash out the image. This then requires greater output fron te projector to compensate, so reducing any other light on the screen can reduce the image brightness and projector output required. Another factor is the characteristics of the screen material, so knowing the actual screen material would help. If it is a flexible rear screen combined with the short throw distance noted, it is probably a fairly low gain, maybe 07 to 1.0. Without knowing many of the details it is difficult to make an accurate recommendation, but 15'x20' is a big image and for that size screen a 5,000 lumen projector might be a typical general minimum with 10,000 lumens or more being a typical recommended solution.

Most projectors in that performance range have multiple lens options that allow for flexibility in the projector location. This is one example of how rental/staging and install projectors differ from the typical desktop projectors. However, some of the lenses are not inexpensive while others place severe restrictions on projector location. If the screen is 23' from the upstage wall and you have a 15'x20' rear projected image, that suggests that a fixed, very short throw, rear projection style lens is required and even that may be tight. A couple of issues common with these types of lenses is that they are fixed focal length so they have a fixed throw distance, they typically reduce the projector output compared to a standard lens, and they require the projector to be on the horizontal and vertical centerline of the image with no image shift capability.

A projector and lens for this application will be a significant investment. It would probably help to verify some of the details if you can such as the typical light levels on the screen from other sources, the sscreen material and the projected image size. It may also justify a few demos or even rentals to see how some different options work.

Manufacturers for projectors typically used in these types of applications include Barco, Christie Digital, Digital Projection, Panasonic, Sanyo and Sony.

Not to make this more complex, but depending upon what your situation, this may also be a good time to assess going to 16:9 widescreen. It may not be justified in your case, but I have clients for whom WXGA laptops and computers are becoming the prevalent source and they are moving towards screens and projectors to support that format.

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