Projection screen selection

The type of projection screen system that is best suited for meetings and conferences is determined by the venue, budget and most importantly, the goals of the event.

The venue’s ceiling height will dictate the largest screen size that will fit into the room. If the room has a 10 foot ceiling then a 9′ x 12′ projection screen will not be effective in a standard meeting set up. The bottom of the screen would be only one foot off the ground and not visible to anyone who is not seated in the first row. Generally the bottom of the screen should be at least 4 feet off the ground, higher if it is a larger audience.

A long, narrow room will generally require a single large screen so that people at the back of the room can read the text. A wide room may require that two screens be employed to provide the audience with a comfortable viewing angle. The screens should be placed as close as possible to the stage so that the audience can easily view the screens and the presenter.
There are four basic types of projection screens available: wall mounted, tripod, post and cradle, and fast fold.

Many venues have wall mounted screens permanently installed in the room. These are usually adequate as long as they fit into your room set up. Tripod screens are the least expensive and the largest is eight feet across.

Post and cradle screens are available in 8′, 10′ and 12′ sizes. A post and cradle screen is similar to a tripod in that the projection surface rolls from a metal screen casing. The width and weight of the casing and screen is too much for tripod legs to balance so a cradle supports the casing and vertical post.

Popular fast fold screen sizes are 6′ x 8′, 9′ x 12′ and 12′ x 16′ with other larger sizes and formats also available. The fast fold screens can also include the dress kit (drape) that includes the skirt, two wing arms and valance. Fast fold screens cost more than post and cradle and tripod screens as there are more to them and they take much longer to set up and dismantle. Fast fold screens are collapsible metal frames (no post in the middle) and the front or rear surface snaps onto the frame. Rear projection systems also require that the room is large enough to allow for the required distance for the projector to display the image on the rear surface.

The main consideration for the style of screen to use is the feeling that your event is to have. If the event is educational in nature, the participants expect that the room will be set up like a classroom. A front projection tripod, post and cradle or wall mounted screen may be appropriate for the expectations of a classroom setting.

Those attending an annual general meeting would likely expect a fast fold screen to be in place. The exceptions to this would depend on what type of organization is making the presentation. A “lean” organization would present with a basic tripod, wall mount or post and cradle screen in keeping with the “lean” brand.

Screen selection can also be influenced by the message that will be delivered. A mixed message would be delivered if the AGM is to deliver bleak financial news with a large fast fold screen complete with dress kit, draping and sophisticated lighting system in place.

Meanwhile, a gala event would be poorly served with a post and cradle screen. When the event is honoring achievements the audience expects an impressive set up that includes a fast fold screen, preferably rear projection or front projection and the projectors flown to add a touch of class.

In summary, when determining the type of projection screen for an event an important rule to remember is “one size definitely does not fit all.”

Chris Germain, Inland AV Edmonton General Manager, will address audiovisual considerations that are important to event planners. As a branch manager, Chris brings a unique AV perspective from his experience in permanent systems design & integration, and rental applications.

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