The initial projector setup is quick and hassle-free. Much more important is the next step – the fine-tuning of the parameters to suit the room lighting, the distance to the wall, the type of screen. There are no universal settings, each projector is adjusted depending on the viewer’s position and room configuration.
Step 1: Installing the Screen
This is not only the first step but also the most important one. How and where the screen is mounted determines half of the projector’s settings – distance, focus, clarity.
The main rule of installation – the screen must not be exposed to the light of the nearest star. If direct sunlight can not be avoided, it is necessary to use thick curtains or special blinds “blackout”.
Height. A comfortable distance for the eyes from the floor to the screen is 2-3 ft. The farther the audience sits, the higher you can hang the canvas. Do not forget to subtract the height of the screen from the ceiling height before determining the lower level. Do not rely only on the numbers and immediately fasten the canvas to the wall – the best metric will be the feeling of comfort that you feel when you look at the screen from a sofa or an armchair.
The dilemma of choosing a place for a projection screen is not a problem for owners of painted walls. It is enough to take a special paint with a matte reflective surface and paint the entire wall.
Step 2: Installing the Projector
When the cardboard “skin” of the projector is peeled off, the dusty packaging is torn off, and the manual on the right page is opened, it’s time to start installing it. You can place the device on a table, on the floor, or suspended from the ceiling.
The manual specifies the manufacturer’s recommended projection ratio distance, depending on screen size. Usually from 1.15:1 to 2.8:1. The unit refers to the diagonal size of the screen. For example, a screen size of 80 inches is multiplied by this value: 80×1.15 = 92 inches – the minimum distance and 80×2.8 = 224 inches – the maximum distance.
If you want to calculate the screen size for an already installed projector, divide the distance by the parameters specified in the documents. For example, the unit hangs 10 ft from the wall: 10/1.15=8.7 ft (105 inches) is the maximum screen size and 10/2.8 is 3.57 ft (42 inches) is the minimum.
In the case of the cabinet, it’s simple – put the projector on, unscrew the legs all the way, turn it on. If the cabinet is low or the legs are too short, a universal height adjuster – a book comes in handy.
Floor – do not place the projector on carpeting and other hairy objects that block the flow of warm air from below, otherwise, it is the same.
Mounting under the ceiling – here everything is a little easier and a little more complicated at the same time. You will need a bracket, fasteners, a punching machine, and a little patience from your neighbors. First, you need to make a marking to understand where exactly the projector will be located.
Consider the height of the extension arm 6-16 inches and the maximum tilt angle of 12 inches. The projector should be mounted flush with the top edge of the screen.
Positive and negative offset
Many people don’t pay attention to this setting and then complain that the projector is bad, the ceiling is crooked, the mounting is wrong, etc.
The projector manual usually indicates a positive and negative offset value. If the offset is positive, the picture is projected higher, and if it is negative, it is projected lower. The most common value is +96.3% or -96.3%.
If there is no auto-adjustment in the menu, you will have to compensate for the difference by adjusting the angle of the projector.
Step 3: Hardware Setup
Turn it on, look at the adjustment screen, if it has crawled up, reduce the height with the wheel under/over the lens or with the remote control if there is a function of electronic adjustment.
If the picture is skewed, choose “keystone correction” in the menu, the image will be aligned, stretching horizontally and vertically.
This function has a significant disadvantage – the quality of the picture decreases when stretching.
Contrast, color, and sharpness calibration
Let’s play a little ophthalmologist, but not with the famous Snellen chart, but with the regular credits of your favorite movie. It is advisable to call a friend, who will slowly twist the focus knob while your eyes follow the change of pixels on the screen.
The image must be clear, contrasting, and not sprawled out into separate fragments. The letters are supposed to be in lines, not dancing around.
Using the menu, you can increase the sharpness for a couple of points, but you should be careful with this parameter – the contrast of colored pictures can start to hurt the eye.
Adjusting contrast with the cloud
Cumulonimbus clouds are a great indicator of contrast. You can take any video of clouds floating in the sky. The objects should have a clear shape, pronounced edges, and the transition of different shades of white.
The universal way to adjust it is to turn the brightness to maximum and then gradually reduce it until a clear outline appears.
Measuring brightness by coat
Strictly speaking, any black clothing, suit, or coat will do.
Turn on the noir detective, freeze frame with an imposing gangster, reduce the brightness until the folds of clothing and pockets are barely visible.
Selecting a color palette
You’ll need a few still shots: a close-up of a person’s face in natural light, the streets of the city, a pastoral landscape, or an assortment of flowers in a flower store.
If the flowers in the frame seem too cold, raise the level.
If the face is unnaturally pink, turn it down. Look at what the street signs look like, the glare in the windows, the cars – adjust until you get a realistic color. Go back to the frame with colors, do it again if the result is unsatisfactory.
What to do if the picture is still pale
It may be the projector itself that is at fault. Most models have an economy mode where the lamp operates at a lower intensity and produces a faint picture. Try turning Eco mode off in the settings.
Instead of a Conclusion, a Few More Tips
- Make adjustments in the evening or at least with the curtains closed.
- The location of the viewer affects the image – sometimes it’s easier to move the couch than to fiddle with the position of the projector or screen.
- Use the brightness and contrast settings in the projector’s operating mode that you are going to watch in – economy or normal mode.
- Any adjustment is done by eye – four eyes are better than two.
- The settings are not eternal, over time the lamp will shine worse.
- The settings are not universal. Filmmakers use different effects when making movies that can affect color and contrast.
To choose the right office projector, check our article on Best Office Projectors.