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How to Select the Right Screen

About Front Projection Screen Surfaces

About Rear Projection Screen Surfaces

Custom Size Screens


Selecting the Right Screen


Dalite offers a wide array of screens each with a choice of projection surfaces. Selecting the right combination to meet your needs is important for optimum results.

The following offer guidelines for selecting a screen that suits your application. Although these recommendations will work in most situations, each must be looked at not as a strict rule, but rather as a guideline for determining your actual needs based on your own situation.
Four Steps to Selecting the Right Screen
  1. Pick the type of screen that best suits your particular needs. For example, choose from front projection screens in either portable, wall or ceiling mounted models in either manual or electric versions or rear projection screens. Generally, if your projection application is permanent, then wall and ceiling screens are your best choice. If, however, you find your needs require moving the screen to different locations then a portable screen is a better alternative. Determine the optimum screen size based on room dimensions, planned audience seating size and arrangement. The rule of thumb is to fit the screen to the audience - not to the projector. Da-Lite recommends the following formula for determining screen size:
    * Screen height should be approximately equal to 1/6 the distance from the screen to the last row of seats, allowing text to be read and detail to be seen in the projected image. Ideally, the first row of seats should be approximately two screen heights away.
    * The bottom of the screen should be a minimum of 4 feet above the audience floor, allowing those seated toward the rear of the audience to see the screen. This may require additional screen "drop" for ceiling hung screens.
    Select the appropriate format for your projection application. Common formats are as follows:

    Common Applications Aspect Ratio
    Width/Height
    NTSC Video 1.33
    PAL Video 1.33
    Wide Format 1.60
    HDTV Video 1.78
    Letterbox Video 1.85
    Cinemascope 2.35
    35 MM Filmstrip 1.32
    2x2 Standard 35MM Double-Frame Slides 1.50
    SXGA Super SXGA Computer 1.25

  2. Choose the screen surface that best suits your projection and viewing requirements. For your convenience, we have listed descriptions and performance characteristics for each front and rear screen surface. Just click on links below. If the screen will be used for multiple projection methods, choose the screen surface that meets the requirements of the lesser performing projection method. For example, if using a 1,500 lumen projector and a 2,500 lumen projector, choose the screen surface for the 1,500 lumen projector.
  3. Pick the screen type that best suits your particular needs. For example, choose from front projection or rear projection screens in either portable, wall or ceiling mounted models in either manual or electric versions. Generally, if your projection application is permanent, then wall and ceiling screens are your best choice. If, however, you find your needs require moving the screen to different locations then a portable screen is a better alternative.
  4. How to Calculate a Custom Screen Size
    Use the following formulas to calculate a custom size. These formulas will assist you in finding the viewing area only.
                           NTSC (1.33)                                        HDTV (1.78)                                    Letterbox (1.85)
                         Video Format                                         Format                                                   Format
                 Diagonal/1.667=Height                Diagonal X 0.49091=Height            Diagonal X 0.4762=Height
                    Height X 1.33=Width                   Diagonal X 0.87247=Width              Diagonal X 0.8800=Width
                     Width/1.33=Height                      Height X 2.0395=Diagonal               Height X 2.100=Diagonal
              Height X 1.667 = Diagonal              Width X 1.14585=Diagonal                Width X 1.135=Diagonal
                                                                                  Height X 1.78=Width                          Height X 1.85=Width
                                                                            Width X 0.561837=Height                    Width X 0.5405=Height

                      Cinemascope (2.35)                        16:10 Wide (1.60)                                     SXGA (1.25)
                             Format                                               Format                                                      Format
               Diagonal X 0.3916=Height              Diagonal X 0.530=Height                    Diagonal X 0.625=Height
                Diagonal X 0.9209=Width                 Diagonal X 0.848=Width                  Diagonal X 0.78125=Width
                Height X 2.554=Diagonal                Height X 1.887=Diagonal                     Height X 1.60=Diagonal
               Width X 1.0868=Diagonal                 Width X 1.179=Diagonal                       Width X 1.28=Diagonal
                   Height X 2.35=Width                           Height X 1.6=Width                              Height X 1.25=Width
                Width X 0.4255=Height                      Width X 0.625=Height                            Width X 0.80=Height

    Screen Borders and Drop
    Black masking borders are standard on most Da-Lite front projection screens at no extra charge. Borders enhance the perceived brightness of an image on a screen. The human eye perceives the image to have more contrast and a sharper picture with brighter colors. Borders also allow the projected image to “bleed-off” the screen for professional appearing presentations. Drop is also available on most Da-Lite wall, ceiling and electric screens. Drop is the term used for extra fabric added to the top or bottom of the screen to adjust the screen surface to within normal viewing heights. Drop can be specified in either black or white.


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