5 Projection Tips

A few fundamentals to help you start using projections today.

Before you Begin, Don't Worry


The best way to get started is to grab a projector and experiment. Be creative! Your space is as unique as you are, and has its own specifications and needs. Get your hands on the best projector, screen and laptop you can, set it up in your theater, and play. You can research and take other directors’ advice, but there is no substitute for seeing projections in your own space...

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What Projector Should I Buy?

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.

The second thing is to look for a projector with a wide lens, such a short throw projector or ultra short throw projector.

Dig Deeper
Optoma GT1080 Short Throw Projector
Optoma GT1080 Short Throw Projector

Good quality, starting level projector ($799)
Epson PowerLite L635SU Laser Projector
Epson PowerLite L635SU Laser Projector

Mid-level, bright, lasts for ages ($3,500)
Epson Pro G7905U, a projector which is solid for theatre productions using digital backdrops
Epson Pro G7905U Projector

Bright, mid-level, optional lenses like short and ultra short throw ($5,000)

What should I use for a projection screen?

Screens are everywhere! Anything can be a screen. Anything. Generally you want it to be light-colored (like a white, cream or very light gray) and reflective. Here are a few options:

• Existing cyclorama
• Blank wall
• Painter's plastic
• Wood with projection paint
• Professional screens

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How do I keep the projection from washing out?

Your best bet is to keep ambient light and stage lighting from pointing at your screen. Focus your lamps about 5 ft off the screen if possible. You can do this by adjusting them down or using the barn doors to control the light spread. And don’t forget, a bright projector is key!

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How Do I Keep Actor Shadows Off the Screen?

Keep your projector up high and tilt it down toward the screen. The closer to the screen the better. You can mount your projector to a light bar, or house ceiling in some cases.

If you have room backstage or could ‘float’ a screen forward, try rear-projection.

Shadows Be Gone!

I have the images. How do I project them?

Put your images into a slideshow software like Powerpoint or Keynote on a laptop. (QLab is a professional option if you want to level up). Connect the laptop to the projector. You may want to put black slides in between your images for blackouts or even use the software’s built-in fades for smooth transitions between scenes.

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Still Have Questions?

We're Here to Help

If after reading these tips, 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!