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Topic: Projector for Stage Backdrops
Joined: Mar 23, 2016
Posts: 1
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Our high school drama department is interested in using a projector for digital backgrops for their musicals and plays. We have a white wall that is 35 feet wide and 20 feet high.

The projector would need to be mounted about 23 feet from the front of the wall and high (we have a place we can mount the projector inside the top of the curtain).

What projector would fit our needs? Obviously we need something with high lumens to overcome the stage lights (although we can adjust all lights so they do not hit the back wall). 6K Lumens? 10K Lumens?

Just to test, we projected some images on the wall with all the stage lights on using an Epson Powerlite HomeCinema 707 (H475A). The image was visible but very washed out. I think it only has 2700 lumens.

Joined: Mar 28, 2005
Posts: 13,005
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The proper way to do this, and worth it, is to use a light meter from the photo department, and measure the ambient light expected during a play. Shoot for no less than a 12:1 contrast ratio, so you will want a projector that produces 12 times that much light per square foot.

So, if you measure 5 foot lamberts, then you will need a projector which actually delivers 60 foot lamberts, and typically that means getting a model which is advertised at 80 foot lamberts.

That's 80 lumens per square foot.

That's 35x20x80. Or, roughly 56,000 lumens.

This is a type of discussion that really should involve a A/V company that can really help with proper rigging, power, and measurements to ensure that what is desired is realistic and attainable. I have done high schools and colleges, in which $10,000-$50,000 projectors (or more) have been used, and quite often they are only usable with lights out or in limited use during productions. It's just a lot of necessary light to do real world backdrops on a stage/screen that large which matches commercial cinemas. Understand that a typical commercial cinema is completely dark, with dark walls, ceiling, furniture, etc. and operates with the lights out, and uses a $50,000+ projector.

Perspective here is very important if budget matters.

I would likely be starting by looking at a model like this:
[Edited by AV_Integrated on Mar 23, 2016 at 5:40 PM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.