Theatre Projections Tip 1, What Projector to Buy

Projections Tip #1 - What Projector Should I Buy?

The truth is, many projector types will get the job done. What do you need to make it work? If you are purchasing a new projector, there are lots of specs to consider, and so many levels of pricing, it’s like buying a car. But when you get right down to it, all you really need is a projector of basic-to-good quality. You can always level-up later, as your productions’ value (and budget) grows and your tastes become more refined.

The most important thing with projectors is BRIGHTNESS. Brightness is key. Buy, rent, or borrow the brightest projector you can. This will help the image show up in the presence of ambient and stage lighting in your theater.

Technically speaking, projector brightness is measured in ‘lumens.’ If you’re in a small space, and you can control your lighting, you can get away with 2,500 to 3,500 lumens in your projector. For mid-sized to large spaces like a high school or auditorium, you’ll want a minimum of 5,000 lumens. Our motto is always “the brighter the better.”

When it comes to other technical specs, just use common sense, or ask someone technical you know. There are customer reviews to look at, and also a lot of other schools, universities, and theatre companies that can offer up ideas and advice from their own experience.

Here are a couple projectors that come highly recommended in a lower-mid price range. (If you want to go all in and purchase any 10,000+ lumen options, you’ll want to consult with A/V professionals first.)

Optoma 1080 Short Throw Projector
Good quality, starting level projector

Lumens: 3,800
Lens: Short throw
Contrast ratio: 50,000:1
Price: $799 brand new on Amazon
To Learn More or Purchase this Projector, Click Here

Epson Powerlite L610U Laser Projector
Mid-level, bright, lasts for ages

Lumens: 6,000
Lens: Standard
Contrast ratio: 2,500,000:1
Price: $3500 brand new at various vendors, such as Projector People

Epson Pro G7905U  Projector
Bright, mid-level, optional lenses like short and ultra short throw

Lumens: 7,000
Lens: Standard lens included, but short and ultra short throw available
Contrast ratio: 50,000:1
Price: $5,000 brand new, refurbished available

To Learn More or Purchase this Projector, Click Here

Still have questions?

If after reading this tip, you still have projection questions, drop us a line. Once you get a handle on your technical needs, we're confident your storytelling will soar to new heights!

2 Responses


August 04, 2022

We’re looking at short throw laser projectors and screens that can be easily set up and pulled down (we don’t have a fixed venue). Do these work in a stage production? If so, do you build props around them at the front to stop actors from tripping or go for rear projection and have the screen outset? The XGIMI Aura looks like it could be amazing for stage, but logistically when many of our venues don’t even like us using their power, it’s a bit tricky.

Jason b shamy
Jason b shamy

June 10, 2021

Greetings! I’ve been tasked with stage design for a small show being put on a stage at a historic movie theater. I’d like to speak to someone about creating a custom projection along with a couple stock items.
I’m also considering using the house movie projector and need to know if that’s a terrible idea. The show date is July 31st 2021

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