Projectors have been in use since the mid 1600’s. Earlier it involved reflecting sunlight from a mirror onto a lens which subsequently allowed the image to be shown on screen. Only after the early 1950’s would projectors work on electricity and they became popular for movies, theatres and other types of businesses.
The progress made with projectors has been very slow and not until the 1990’s was the first multimedia projector introduced. This device allowed the microchip to produce images. It was further improved in 1996 when the first wireless projector was launched. With the help of built in speakers the sound quality also made a remarkable improvement. The demand for these kinds of projectors increased and many manufacturers began to offer various models.
An outdoor projector is a device in which the images are projected onto a large screen outside. Most projectors can be taken in the open subject to appropriate conditions
Some basic requirements for an outdoor projector are:-
Projection quality: – the qualities you need to look out for are Brightness, Contrast, Resolutions and Connectivity inputs
A wall or screen to project onto: – A flat white wall is most preferred.
Output devices – DVD players / laptops or films
Sound quality:- Ideally you must use portable powered speakers to give sufficient sound without having to move the entire equipment outside
There are two common type of projectors:-
Digital Light Processing (DLP):- this technology was originally developed in 1987 by Dr Larry Hornbeck of Texas Instruments. These projectors can be classified as one chip or three chips. Each chip contains millions of mirrors that reflect light thousands of times each second. One chip DLP can produce more than 16 million colors while three chip can produce more than 35 trillion colors. This enables DLP projectors to produce more natural and lifelike images. Due to the closeness of each mirror it is difficult to see any separation in the pixels which results in a more fluid and crisp image being created.
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD):- LCD projectors work by using polarized mirrors that reflect only certain colors of light. This causes each channel of blue, red and green to be separated and later re-converged via a prism that controls the intensity and saturation of each color.
Projector screens also come in a number of different styles like Electric, Manual, Tripod, Fixed, Home theatre, Fast fold and Recessed screens.
The brightness of a projector is rated in lumens. As the lumen value is increases, so does the brightness of the image. Depending on the surroundings and the projector being used, the brightness needed in lumens can be determined. In a small room, when projecting is on a small screen, a projector whose lumen value is anywhere from 1500 to 3000 can be used. In bigger areas where large screens are being used, a lumen rating of 10000 to 28000 is essential
Lenses:- Depending on the distance between the projector and the screen, different types of lenses are available
Short throw Lens:- This lens is designed to project the image as big as possible from a short distance. This type of lens is frequently used in front room projectors. They are more commonly used for rear projection where the depth behind the screen is limited. A short throw lens may produce an image size of 10 ft from a distance of 7-10 ft
Long throw Lens:- This allows for a greater distance between the projector and the screen and is also able to maintain the image size and brightness at the same time. Hence it is designed for projection from the back of the room. A typical long throw lens projector would have to be at least 50 to 100 ft back to be able to project an image of 10 ft. Therefore the size of the room and operating areas play an important role in determining the image size.
When is an Outdoor projector most beneficial?
An outdoor projector is most useful when events of various types are organized in one’s home. They help in enhancing special events like wedding and birthday parties. They manage in capturing everyone’s attention at the venue and avoid the chance of people getting bored. It enables the projection on a large scale thus creating a life like image which has a deeper impact on people.
If you are planning on any outdoor activity and are not sure where to begin, outdoor projectors are the best way to ensure a fun filled party. If you don’t have the budget to buy one, the other viable option would be to rent. There are various factors one needs to consider while looking for a projector to buy or rent:-
Needs and Preferences: – Various factors like the number of people, the size of the area and the weather and lightning conditions need to be taken into account. The type of outdoor projector needed and the cost will be affected by this.
The equipment required:- The basic requirements are a projector, an output device, sound equipment and a flat screen. Depending on the situation, you would have to choose the appropriate equipment accordingly. One important consideration to be made while choosing an outdoor projector it to look at the lumens.
Choose the rental company:- It is best to compare rates and discounts of different companies before committing to renting. After a basic online search for the best deals, you can then contact your nearest rental company in your area.
While an outdoor projector can be quite useful, there are certain measures one must take for safe enjoyment
Weather:- It is always better to have a forecast of the weather ready. In case it’s a rainy day, it would not be advisable to use an outdoor projector as rain does not mix well with electronics!
Tripping on power Cords:- It is also advisable to keep the cords away from human contact as there is always a fear of tripping on them
Away from heat and liquid sources: – Another word of caution would be to keep projectors away from objects like swimming pool and BBQs.
Appropriate storage:- putting away the kit after usage and not leaving it outside plays a vital role in maintaining the quality of the projector. Also you must check the projector manual for any limitations on outdoor usage.
Another method of increasing the life span of a projector is by using Projector enclosures. Some of the benefits include
It filters and cools the ambient air
Keeps the projector from over heating
It protects the projector from damaging elements like heat , cold, snow, rain, cigarette smoke, dust, etc
It helps in getting more hours out of the projector bulb
As can seen most outdoor projectors give you an experience that is beyond imagination. Hence watching a science fiction movie under the stars in the outdoors can be an unforgettable experience. Besides being used for entertainment, outdoor projectors are also used by businesses across the world for a variety of purposes.