Pro Sound


Video Projection

What is the best screen size for my application?

Fit the screen to the audience, not the projector.  Screen Size determined by the depth of the audience.

Application Example

As a rule of thumb, screen height should be determined by the following:
  • 1/4th of the distance from the screen to the last viewer for detailed viewing
  • 1/6th of the distance from the screen to the last viewer for comfortable viewing
  • 1/8th of the distance from the screen to the last viewer for reference viewing

 What aspect ratio should I use?

 Always use the 80/20 rule when selecting a screen!

Example: If you are using a computer 80% of the time, 20% of the time watching movies, select Wide Format as that is the most common aspect ratio among computers.  If 80% of the time you are watching movies, choose HDTV Video as that is the most common aspect in movies.

For your projection application, common formats are as follows:

Common Applications

Aspect Ratio


NTSC Video 4:3

1.33 - Common

PAL Video 4:3


Wide Format 16:10

1.60 - Common

HDTV Video 16:9

1.78 - Common

Letter Box Video


35mm Filmstrip


2X2 Standard 35mm Double Frame Slides




 Can a screen surface improve my projected image?

Yes a screen surface can make a huge difference in the quality of the viewed image. Screen surfaces come in many variations, each with a specific purpose.  Some come with a reflective coating that reflects more light toward the audience; others have grey added to combat ambient light. Screens also come in reflective and retro-reflective variations.  A retro-reflective screen returns light back to where the source (projector) is located.  These are used in portable projection situations.  A reflective screen is used to reflect light down to the viewer. These are used in a ceiling mounted projector application.

 Ambient light is a huge player in the quality of viewing experience.  Projectors cannot make black, and black levels are what govern the contrast of the image. Therefore making sure the room is as dark as possible ensures the best looking picture, because the black levels will be higher. Simply put, when looking at screen with no image projected, the white screen is the darkest black you will see.  The brain perceives black when brilliant white is projected on the screen.  Thus in a higher ambient light situation, a brighter projector is used to give perceived higher contrast image.


The goal of every projection design:

A)     Control Ambient Light

B)      Properly size the screen to that of the audience

C)      Position the screen appropriately for ease of viewing

D)     Select the appropriate aspect ratio

E)      Select the correct projector

a.       Counter-act the effects of ambient light (Lumen output)

b.      LCD/DLP/LED

c.       3D

d.      Aspect Ratio

e.      Control and I/O Requirements

F)      Select the correct screen surface

a.       Reflective/Retro-Reflective

b.      Gain/Viewing Angle

c.       Rear-Projection/Front-Projection

G)     Select the correct Screen Type

a.       Fixed/Motorized

b.      Installed/Portable