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This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: Digital projector recommendations
Dan Chilton
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 191
From: Springfield, MO
Registered: Mar 2004


 - posted 08-17-2004 09:04 AM      Profile for Dan Chilton   Author's Homepage   Email Dan Chilton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We're looking to install a digital projector in our theater for use with pre-show ads. Nothing too fancy, but it does need to be able to produce a passable video projection, in case we ever want to use it during a festival. The projector would be on the ceiling, roughly 30 feet back from the screen (it's a small auditorium). Any suggestions?

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Gordon McLeod
Film God

Posts: 9460
From: Toronto Ontario Canada
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-17-2004 09:18 AM      Profile for Gordon McLeod   Email Gordon McLeod   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The size of the image would be helpfull as well as what the source of program material

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Bevan Wright
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 176
From: Fountain Valley, CA, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 08-17-2004 10:08 AM      Profile for Bevan Wright   Author's Homepage   Email Bevan Wright   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
...and budget.

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Dan Chilton
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 191
From: Springfield, MO
Registered: Mar 2004


 - posted 08-17-2004 10:29 AM      Profile for Dan Chilton   Author's Homepage   Email Dan Chilton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, since the ratio will be a lot taller than usual, I'd say I won't be able to go much wider than 15 feet or so... 17 feet max. As for budget, we're an independent, so money isn't exactly sticking out of any holes in our body. I, like the rest of the world, would like a good balance between moderate price and moderate image quality. Like I said, I'm not planning on using this for much more than pre-show ads... maybe an occasional video presentation, but they'd be few and far between. I'm looking for the diamond in the rough. The projector that would make one say "Man, I found this great projector that does a great job and it was really cheap. Even a small indie twin could afford this little puppy. The projector is a ____________________ and I couldn't possibly live without it!"

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4067
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 08-17-2004 10:59 AM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I hope you can find something with a lens selection that lets you project from the booth. I think that whole on the ceiling thing like every company meeting room or a bar seems really tacky in a theatre.

I'm thinking maybe a nice Sanyo would do well. You still haven't said how much $$$. Go to http://www.projectorcentral.com and see what's out there.

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Bevan Wright
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 176
From: Fountain Valley, CA, USA
Registered: Sep 2003


 - posted 08-17-2004 11:13 AM      Profile for Bevan Wright   Author's Homepage   Email Bevan Wright   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Projecting from the booth is obviously preferred, much easier to service, clean and change a lamp - assuming optional lenses are available. Sounds like you want something XGA (largest volume sector) either LCD (cheaper, brighter but wont last as long) or DLP (little more $$/lumen but will look better longer).

Here is a good cross-section of what is out there - http://www.pws-sales.com/products/allprojectors.asp. Probably want to stay above 2,000 lumens (actual lumens are usually 80% of marketing lumens).

The Dell 2300MP is pretty hard to beat, it is specified at 2300 ANSI lumens and 2100:1 contrast ratio for $1420. You would have to mount it in the auditorium as it does not have optional long throw lenses.

[ 08-17-2004, 01:00 PM: Message edited by: Bevan Wright ]

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Jim Alexander
Film Handler

Posts: 71
From: Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-24-2004 08:03 PM      Profile for Jim Alexander   Author's Homepage   Email Jim Alexander   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We installed a BenQ 7200 about six months ago and have been extremely impressed with it. It is mounted in the auditorium, about 36 feet back and projects on a 12 foot high screen, with the house lights up. We installed it to be able to run pre show ads from Power Point XP. It is a DLP projector, so you get 2000:1 contrast and is 2500 lumens (not alot, but with the high contrast, it does the trick). We, and our ad customers, have been extremely impressed with it and the theatre patrons like it because it does not interfere with the show time... Like everyone here, I don't think customers should pay to see ads.

Running from a Laptop, we have a 10 minute loop, slide show with animation, sound and MP3's running off of Power Point. The only real draw back is you need to use the remote to control the projector. Not real professional and can be tacky if not done right, but I am in the process of designing an RS232 control program to automate the whole process. BenQ was thinking when they designed this puppy! [beer]

Having the projector mounted in the auditorium doesn't detract from the theatre, but as mention before, it does complicate maintenance. With this in mind, and because I have a 12 foot high attic above the theatre, I mounted the projector on a 2" ABS pipe that I can extend to lower the projector to a manageable height (3-4'). On the whole, it has been the best investment I've made that results in a very health return. The projector only cost $2800.00 Canadian and it, and the laptop, were paid off with in a month with Ad revenue.

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Tim Reed
Better Projection Pays

Posts: 5244
From: Northampton, PA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 08-26-2004 01:18 PM      Profile for Tim Reed   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Ditto nix the ceiling mount. If you don't put it in the booth, you'll be sorry later. A bulb explosion could also injure customers, and then you'd really be sorry! [Wink]

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Richard Fowler
Film God

Posts: 2389
From: Ft. Lauderdale, FL, USA
Registered: Jun 2001


 - posted 08-26-2004 01:21 PM      Profile for Richard Fowler   Email Richard Fowler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
BenQ does not have long throw lenses available. There is an optical adapter from Navitar / Buhl for 20% longer throw.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16221
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-26-2004 06:08 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've installed about thirty Panasonic PT-L735Us in the last six months for pre shows at various independent locations. This is also a 2600 lumen projector that has many other really nice features not found on many other projectors. I believe that Kodak also uses this particuluar projector as part of their Kodak Digital Pre-Show Service. This projector lists for 5499.00 but you will find street prices at around 4,000 or less. Lenses are not cheap at about a grand a pop, but at least there are several available.

The nicer features of the Panasonic I've found are....

Many interchangable lenses.

1024X768 pixel resolution micro lens lcd's

Does 16X9 format which the pre-show distributer here is using on all his disks.

Has two blower speeds so there is a high speed for the higher altitudes like we are at(very important to lamp life!).

High/Low lamp brightness setting

Auto blower timeout after lamp shutdown, then projector goes into sleep mode automatically till the automation wakes it back up.

Direct, very easy interface to most automation or RS-232.

Panasonics unbeatable customer support and service! (I should know, I worked for them for five years.)

All I can say is that while I agree with Andy Rooney on advertising before a movie this thing sure kicks the pants off an equivelent slide show! But perhaps I'll just start going to the local Century Theatre in SLC instead of my local customers theatres [Eek!] .

Mark @ CLACO

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Steve Kraus
Film God

Posts: 4067
From: Chicago, IL, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 08-26-2004 06:27 PM      Profile for Steve Kraus     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
People, please let us know some of the basic specs of the projectors you are discussing. Besides output lumens and price, also native resolution and the projection technology.

Mark's Panasonic PT-L735U is 1024 x 768 (4:3). 3 panel LCD.

Jim's BenQ PB7200 is also 1024 x 768 (4:3). 1 chip DLP using a 4 segment color filter wheel running at 3X.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 16221
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-26-2004 06:57 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey who gives a hoot, its better than slides..... [Big Grin] . I guess it is alot of work to look up model numbers of this stuff up. So here is a link to the info page.... Lets do a time out to see how long it takes Joe to fix the incredibly long link [Eek!]

One think I will say is that I have come to prefer LCD much more over DLP. There are way too many artifacts generated even in 3 chip DLP projectors. The color rendition fomr a good LCD projector(or TV for that matter) is much better. Like comparing Plumbicons and Staticons. One has good color, perhaps a bit of switching lag(LCD). The other just does not look right no matter what(DLP). Neither has really true black level anyway so that point doesn't matter.

• 2600 ANSI lumens of brightness

• 9.3 pounds

• XGA native resolution

• 110v - 240v auto sensing

• HDTV compatible

• Three-year limited warranty

• 200W UHM lamp

• 90% brightness uniformity

• One-Touch "Auto Everything" Set-Up with Digital Keystone Correction

• Short throw lens

• Automatic input signal detector

• SD Memory Card slot with 8MB SD card

• IEEE802.11B wireless card included

• Anti theft features: Control panel lock, Password protection, Text superimposing

• Quiet operation (28dB in low power mode)

• 4:3 Aspect ratio native (16:9 capable)

• sRGB compatible

• 2000-hour lamp life

• Two RGB input terminals; RGB2 can be switched to RGB output

• Full function remote

• Dual 5-watt speakers

• Color temperature selectable

• Auto power off feature

• Speed start feature

• Blackboard mode

• 2000-hour lamp life

Lets stick the link at the bottom of the page, perhaps he won't notice it..... Joe, this links for you bud.....
http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ModelDet ail?displayTab=O ... designing the software before writing the code would have saved us half of this ... PT-L735NTU&surfModel=PT-L735NTU

Mark @ CLACO

[ 08-26-2004, 07:10 PM: Message edited by: Daryl C. W. O'Shea ]

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Jim Alexander
Film Handler

Posts: 71
From: Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 08-27-2004 08:40 AM      Profile for Jim Alexander   Author's Homepage   Email Jim Alexander   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Over the previous six years, I've work quite extensively with LCD and have found them to be generally poor contrast ratio. The highest I've come across, unless you wish to spend mega thousands of dollars is 1200:1. As a result, they have a tendency to need a higher lumens to achieve a decent colour contrast and not be washed out by stray light. Secondly, they are prone to burn in with stationary graphics. As to DLP, I have only started working with them over the past year and have been very impressed with the BenQ model mentioned earlier. I have not found and appreciative distortion in colour or resolution and it is warrantee for 50,000 hrs against burn in. Which is better, only the end user can really tell. Personally I prefer the DLP in this case. Then again, I also preferred Beta too [thumbsup] .

As to the mounting and throw, you are correct, booth mount, is by far, the preferred method, however, many independants, myself included, don't have extraneous amounts of money to throw into these things, and this option works very well for the budget minded individual. My whole installation, projector, computer, software, cabling, mounting, etc, cost less than $5000.00 Canadian. By installing this unit, I have generated a firm cash flow into the theatre that will aford the ability to provide funding to many upgrades that I would not have afforded otherwise. On the whole,%

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12209
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-27-2004 08:16 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are so many facts and fiction in the above thread, I hardly know where to begin....

Contrast ratio is contrast ratio but ALL digital manufacturers cheat on their numbers so what you read in the spec (full on, full-off) is not what is shown in reality. I'd be highly surprised if any theatre could achieve a contrast ratio of 1000:1 with the lights OFF...with them on you would be in the low hundreds....lets say you can achieve 14fL on that digital projector (and a 2600 lumen job could only do that on about a 11-foot tall picture or so (depending on how truthful the lumen output is and your screen gain and such). So, with the lights out and projecting a "black" picture...do you really think the light meter will read .014 fL or less (for 1000:1)? Raise them lights up to allow the audience to enter, you'd be lucky to break 100:1 and are more likely in the 50:1 range...depending on how dark it really is up there.

If you are only getting say 12 or less fL out of the digital projector your contrast ratio is even worse.

There are many pros and cons to LCD versus DLP.

The LCD, since it is a transmissive imager (the light projects through it)...you will get the "screen door" effect to your image.

LCDs normally have poor color accuracy and VERY poor color fading characteristics.

LCDs are great for putting up a computer generated image in a static manner and are okay at motion video and are generally acceptable beyond 1-screen height though some need to be about 2-screen heights away, depending on your susceptability to seeing the screen door.

DLPs are much better at holding their color. They are a reflective imager so do not put out the screen door effect thus they will appear sharper than and LCD of the same resolution.

DLP also has the edge on light transmission...they can get a lot brighter.

DLP's color bit depth has a lot of hand-waving involved...they need to dither their image due to the nature of jiggling the mirrors so they really don't have a color accuracy of other technologies.

DLPs suck at static images (like Power point)....due to the nature of their pixels jiggling...you will see bit-crawl all over if you go down to the screen (as compared to the LCD which will look rock solid...just like the computer's own screen).

So giving the two leading contenders for today (the technology is always changing)...I see nothing wrong with using LCD technology for use primarily advertising with occasional DVD shows. DLPs are more suited for motion video and would get the nod from me if you were to plan on running features on them with advertisement augmentation.

If advertisements are your thing...worry less about contrast ratio and more on lumens. Make the picture bright...the lack of blacks won't be an issue in a lit theatre. However, if you DO plan to run DVDs or other video...when the lights go down the picture will be too bright and suffer from poor blacks, as one would predict...a Neutral Density filter can aid in dealing with both situations.

If motion videos are your primary concern (or has high priority) then you need to worry about contrast ratio more and also target your light output right. Also, if you are going to run movies on it, you need to think about the aspect ratio. There are 16:9 LCD and DLP projectors. There are also anamorphic lenses available from ISCO to turn your 4:3 machine into a 16:9 machine. Furthermore, you can use an Anamorphic lens to take your 16:9 projector to 2.35 or rotate it 90-degrees and make the 16:9 projector into a 4:3.

Steve

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Bryan Fournier
Film Handler

Posts: 61
From: Greensboro, NC
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-28-2004 05:43 PM      Profile for Bryan Fournier   Email Bryan Fournier   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve,

What is a Neutral Density filter? How much do they cost and where are they installed?

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