Draper’s web-based screen sizing tools help you to choose the correct size of your screen based upon:

  • dimension of the audience area
  • projection screen format(s) to be used

Audience Area

The goal is to make the screen large enough so those in the back row can read the subject matter easily, but not so large as to overwhelm the closest viewer.

  • Height—Use the following formulas for calculating screen height for maximum legibility.Screen_Height
    • For 4:3 NTSC/PAL moving video and entertainment, screen height should be at least 1/6 the distance from the screen to the furthest seat
    • For charts and data, as in a conference or lecture room, use 1/4
    • For complex graphics found in a command/control center, use ½.
    • For HDTV projection (16:9), Widescreen, 16:10, or 15:9 formats, screen height should equal or exceed 1/3 the distance from the screen to the optimum seat.
  • Width—Screen width is generally determined by the height of the screen and the projection formats to be used.
  • Ceiling Height—The bottom of the screen should be approximately 40-48″ above the floor in a room with a level floor and several rows of seats. In rooms with theatre seating or only one or two rows, the bottom of the screen should usually be 24-36″ above the floor. Evaluate any barriers, and try to make sure that the lower part of the screen will be visible from all seats. Extra drop may be required to position the screen at a comfortable viewing level in a room with a high ceiling.

Next Choose a FormatProjection_Formats2

  • Square (AV format) – accommodates a variety of projector types. Good for multi-use environments.
  • 4:3 NTSC – specifically designed for use with video/data projectors.
  • 16:9 HDTV – designed for high-definition television projection
  • 1.85:1 Widescreen – suitable for letter boxed video image
  • 2.35:1 CinemaScope – sizing of many Hollywood feature films and is wider than Letterbox Format or HDTV Format. Film projectors achieve this aspect ratio by replacing the typical standard ‘Flat’ lens with an anamorphic ‘Scope’ lens
  • 16:10 – Native computer presentations and projectors with 1280 x 800 resolutions.Once you have determined the correct size of screen based upon the audience area, that size may be modified based upon the projection equipment. If the screen will only be used with one type of projector (NTSC video, HDTV, etc.), it is easy to determine the exact screen dimensions based upon its projection format. Custom sizes are also available; use our Custom Size Calculator to determine your needs.

Choosing the right screen size is the key to success design.  We often get the question, “how do I compete with online retailers who sell at such a low price?”  The answer is to add value!  Offer more than a part number.  Size a screen properly for the room and its use!  These tools make that task easy.

A projection screen might not be the “sexy” component of your design, but it is the one piece of equipment that is seen every time a system is used!  Why not take the time to make sure you are offering the best solution possible?  Yes I said the same thing in another blog, Adding Value with our Surface Selector Pro.  Maybe if you hear it enough, you’ll start to see the value in my advice, no pun intended!

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