How to plan for your projector installation
There is nothing that says Home Theatre more, than a projector!
We've installed hundreds of home theatres at Audico - and the ones we love the best, are the ones with projector systems. The excitement that a big movie screen creates as you walk into the room, cannot be reproduced with a big screen TV - it just can't.
There are however factors that you need to consider when planning a home theatre projector for your home. The first and most important is ambient light. Placing a projector system in your TV lounge for everyday viewing is not practical, you do not want to spend every minute of your TV viewing in semi-darkness. And light is the biggest killer of picture clarity for a projector system. So if you're planning on installing a projector in your TV Lounge, which is open plan - and very little possibility of controlling the light - then we would suggest against this. A big screen TV would be your best option for this scenario.
If you have a room however, that is semi closed off, and you have the opportunity to create a cinema or home theater ... then let's get involved!!
- Your first step is to measure your viewing walls height and width - and work out what the biggest screen you can fit into this space. Don't forget about leaving space for your cabinet (if any) center speaker, left and right speakers, as well as any sub woofers. You'd generally want the screen around 600mm above the floor - leaving space for your sound. Most screen manufacturers give the dimensions of the viewing area - so please make sure you have added the frame border. These are generally 80mm thick - although now that you are reading this - and about to install your projector perfectly, you can opt for very thin bezel screens.
- A screen is important yes, pointing a projector onto a white wall is not an ideal situation. Screens have special reflective technology in the fabric, which reflects light at a much higher rate than a wall. Your eyes see the reflected light - so a screen is important. Whilst the entry level products from Grandview and JK Screens are great for cinemas on a budget - consider professional screens such as Screen Innovations or Stuart screens for professional home theaters. Is there much difference? You will not believe the difference between a entry level and pro screen - its night and day ... but we're not all millionaires, so the budget screens will be fine for most.
- Right, now that we have the screen sorted - it's time to choose the correct projector. Naturally you would start your search in the home theatre projector category, and choose a projector to fit your budget. We're not going to dive too deep into manufacturers and which one is best for you (that's perhaps for another article). The likes of Epson, BenQ, Optoma etc all make great projectors. If your budget allows, focus on the 4K versions.
- Excellent - we have the screen, and now we have the projector. Time to plan for the installation. The first thing you would need to do is go to https://www.projectorcentral.com/projection-calculator.cfm this is going to help you work out the distance away from the screen you would need to install your projector ... take this measurement quite seriously. If your projector is not listed, chat to us, or visit the manufacturers website for their calculator.
- You'll need a projector bracket - our favourite is the Vogels PPC range - match the bracket to the amount of ceiling space you have available before the slab, and order the correct bracket.
- Before mounting the pole - check where the lens on the projector is, some of the projector lenses are off to one side. Centre the lens to the screen, not the projector itself. Then mount the projector pole before your ceiling goes in. You'll ideally mount this to the slab to get a good strong base from which to work from.
- That's it - you're almost done! Once the site is dust free complete your installation and fine tune the projector to your screen.
Whilst most projectors have keystone and lens shift adjustments, it's always important to get the projector to the correct position so as to allow for fine tuning. There is nothing worse (in our opinion) than the picture not filling the screen completely.
Follow these simple steps ... and you'll create the perfect Home Cinema projection. If you get it right, it'll be your favorite room in the house.