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Short throw projector for stage

  • 1.  Short throw projector for stage

    Posted 11-30-2018 22:46
    What are your recommendations on a short throw projector? Suggested lumens? Manufacturer? Other considerations? Thank you!

    Sonja Brown, Theatre Teacher
    Thespian Troupe 839
    Galt High School

  • 2.  RE: Short throw projector for stage

    Posted 12-02-2018 11:53
    Great question!

    Here are a few guidelines:
    • 0.5:1 or shorter throw if you want to consider front-projection without shadows.
    • 5,000 Lumens or greater, depending greatly on your lighting and control of light spread
    • Standard Definition or higher. You really don't need 4k for stage projection, because of the distance that the audience is from the surface. 
    • Many different manufacturers offer solutions for this. You'll save money with a fixed lens versus an interchangeable lens. Therefore the niche brands sometimes offer better deals. Larger brands usually have a single model at different brightness levels and secondary lens options to make a short throw. 
    If you have other questions, I'd be happy to help. Projectors and projections are what we do every day... and we understand schools! Remember that regardless of the hardware, you'll still need high-quality projection content (still or animated).

    Hope this helps!

    Quentin Sanford
    Broadway Media Distribution (BMD) | 1-800-277-0343
    We offer: Projector Sales/Rentals, MTI and TRW Partnership for Scenic Projections

  • 3.  RE: Short throw projector for stage

    Posted 12-03-2018 13:04
    Here's a bit of essential info if you aren't familiar with projector specs:

    Throw ratios: The 0.5:1 listed above means "for every half-foot of distance, you'll get one foot of (diagonal) image." This is super-important when determining the size of image you want and how far away the projector will be, especially if the projector has limited or no ability to zoom larger/smaller. Most projector manufacturers have a googleable throw distance calculator to help with the math.

    Resolution: It's a measurement of how many pixels you have. These have names and numbers. The names can be a little misleading, so be sure to double-check the numbers. What was once "standard definition" is woefully small. Remember the web videos that opened in a tiny window, circa 1999? That's not standard anymore. I recommend a minimum of HD (1280 x 720). Here are the basics:

        Standard Definition - 640 x 480 (Aka "SD")
        720p - 1280 x 720 (Aka "HD" or "HD Ready")
        1280p - 1920 x 1080 (aka "Full HD")
        4k - 3840 x 2160 (aka "Ultra HD" or "2160p)

    Benjamin Pilat
    Director of Education
    Stage Lighting Bootcamps

  • 4.  RE: Short throw projector for stage

    Posted 09-20-2021 11:38

    I have local high schools using the Optoma EH340UST - 4,000 lumen 0.25 throw ratio, these represent great value at a list price around $2500 (though often can be had for less then $2,000, but ...
    • at more than about 20ft wide it gets blurry/distorted around the edges in particular (the manufacture recommends a screen size of less than 100" diagonal (thats about 7ft x 4ft
    • it is easily washed out even with relatively careful lighting
    We have Epson Powerlite 700U 4,000 lument 0.27 throw ratio with laser light sourve - these are about the same price, but much bigger/heavier machines, and fair slightly better in use, but you still need to maintain a fairly dark stage to see anything clearly.

    We believe that for truly usable results your need at least 8,000-10,000 lumens.  We rent and recommend the NEC laser NP-PA803 or NP-PX1005Q with the optional Ultra Short Throw lens - we use the NP39ML 0.38 lens - they also have a 0.32 lens.  The 8,000 lumen with 0.38 lens is about $11,000 - another $2,000 for the 0.32 lens
    The 10,000 lumen project is an insane $11,000 more ...

    We also like the Panasonic range of high-powered installation projectors.

    Even the smaller Broadway shows are using projectors with outputs in the 25,000 to 40,000 lumen range.

    Hope this helps some


    Rod Reilly
    Owner, Bodymics
    Somerset NJ

  • 5.  RE: Short throw projector for stage

    Posted 09-19-2021 18:37
    So can you recommend any specific projector for a surface are of about 30 x15 ft?

    Mark Haynes
    Theater Teacher
    Pacetti Bay Middle School

  • 6.  RE: Short throw projector for stage

    Posted 09-20-2021 12:18
    There are several "projector calculators" online that can help one calculate throw distance, screen size and brightness.  Here's one I found in a quick Google search.  Projector Calculator | Projector Screen Calculator | Aspect Ratio Calculator | Screen Size Calculator | Distance Calculator - Projector Screen | Projection Screen

    This can give you some idea of possible models and lenses to choose from and you can change some of the parameters to help clarify some decisions.

    I would recommend, however, that once you have settled on a couple of options-- see if a local rep will come to your school and demonstrate the model(s) for you and go over some of the various options as this can be a pretty daunting and expensive project in many ways.

    Rental can also be an option as well if your usage is short term.

    Hope that helps

    Michael Johnson
    Trinity High School