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Getting the projector brightness right


Lloyd Stewart
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Till now, all of my shows have been in situations where I can dim the lights as much as I want. But now, we want to do a show with actors/dancers on stage interacting with our Watchout show. So we are trying to get a feel for just how bright our projectors need to be. I know there are a large number of factors to consider, most especially the stage lighting, but I would guess that our situation would be close to that of the Martina McBride show that Showsage did in 2002. Regarding that show, it was said:

 

"A central 48’ x20’ panoramic wide screen was flanked by two 24’ x18’ standard ratio screens. A total of 96,000 lumens from eight Digital Projection 15SX DLP projectors provided extremely bright, crisp imagery, even with full stage lighting." - Showsage website

 

That breaks down to eight 12,000 lumen projectors, and I'm sure I needn't comment on the outrageous cost of projectors in that lumen range, especially if you want HD.

 

Can anyone comment or have suggestions regarding proper brightness/lumens in suchlike situations? Does anyone have any recommendations for specific projectors at reasonable prices that might make doing such a show feasible?

 

Thanks!

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Thanks geogen! Happy to know that an 8K lumen projector would likely work for me. I found the Christie DHD 800 and LHD 700 both for about $12k in the US, certainly better than the $50k-plus projectors that I was looking at initially. I usually expect Christie & Barco prices to be higher than everyone else, but in this case, oddly enough, Christie seems to have the lower price. I like the 43 pound weight too.

 

Projector prices, both rental and purchase prices, are the most common deal breaker for me in getting or NOT getting a Watchout show. I keep hoping that maybe the new laser/LED technology will drive prices down, but I have my doubts. There is so much that we want to do, if only high lumen projectors were available at low lumen prices.

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Geogen, how is the LCD technology working for you using Christie? In my personal experience I found any LCD projector inferior (even 3-chip versions) in terms of the lack of blacklevel and thus low contrast ratio's. Our company only uses 3-chip dlp for anything over 6K A.L. Not only because every shoot-out points in that direction but most of our clients request for it in their RFP's.

 

I'm curious about your experience in this.

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We have few DLP SHARP projectors, but due to DLP projectors also processing video, there are some delays on output, its very noticeable in live CTV.

 

The LHD700 its great projector, for inside and outside shows, after the show (the link above) 6 of this projectors going to stay in big hall to project 50m video wall, which have sunlight from outside and after my testings the image quality is great.

 

We also have Christie Mirage HD20K-J 3 chip DLP projectors, but they are too have delays, so they are basically used on shows without live CTV

 

So its very dependent on what show we are running.

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Some comment on the above:

- as far as I know, there are only LCD projectors with 3 panels.

DLP technology gives you a choice of 1-chip (with color-wheel filters) or 3-chip (without)

 

- I've never encountered a projector/display device NOT processing the video (or graphics).

They might do it differently, but they always do. I would say the difference in delay

comes from how this process is performed in a certain device, not which display technology (DLP or LCD) is used.

 

This processing is sometimes possible to turn off, as in certain Barco projectors.

 

/jonas

(old projectionist...)

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Hello Geogen. May I ask 3 questions?

 

1. Excuse my ignorance, but what does CTV stand for?

2. Would you know the brand and source for the scrim material used in the link you provided above? (Those were impressive projections!)

3. LCD projectors seem generally worse when it comes to the overlaps, especially when going to black or for any dark projections. I call it "black level build up" that results from the increased light where projections overlap. How have you dealt with that problem?

 

Thanks!

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Of course.

 

1. CTV = CCTV = Close Circuit TV

2. Screen is silicon strips (something like 5000 strips, maybe more, I didn't count them, the screen is not ours, Ron Arad made it and brought it to Israel) you can see here http://www.eyesonthewall.net/projects/ron-arads-curtain-call/ he made same show in London.

3. We have this problem in our Sharp DLP projectors, which we didn't solved for now, the good thing in LHD700 which we use in this show, that there is almost no increased light on overlap. I don't know why, but even if the screen black all screen looks almost the same, maybe a little lighter on overlap.

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The good black-level performance comes from the fact that LHD700 uses the new, inorganic, LCD-panels, as described in the tech link above:

 

Contrast advantages.

Most business class DLP projectors (those intended for portable presentation or conference room use) have much higher Full On/Off contrast ratings than comparably priced LCD models. ANSI contrast figures are rarely published in the projector industry, but our measurements indicate DLP projectors usually have an edge over the LCD competition in ANSI contrast as well. However, with the introduction of inorganic LCD panels that are now used in most LCD 1080p home theater products, DLP's traditional advantage in contrast within the home theater market niche has been neutralized to a large extent."

 

http://www.projectorcentral.com/lcd_dlp_comparison.htm

 

 

/jonas

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Good to know, when we chosed projectors to buy for Ron arad show, we asked our suppliers to bring to our office two of each kind of the projectors they have.

There was Christie, Barco, Sanyo, sharp and few others

 

So we picked them by picture quality, contrast and brightness. After all we chosed lhd700 because it's really great projector, sometimes I compare it to our Christie lx1500

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Thanks geogen and Jonas!

 

With the knowledge of the testing you did with the projector suppliers, and after hearing Jonas' explanation for the improvements, that, to me, turns my understanding of the projector world on it's head. It seems to me now that "inorganic LCD" is the much better way to go. With so much money riding on these decisions, that is some extremely valuable information, and I, for one, am most grateful that you shared your knowledge.

 

By the way, I checked out the Simul website and, Whoa! That is some high quality work. Nicely done. You guys must own Israel as far as multimedia work goes. Keep up the good work!

 

Lloyd

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