Choosing Your Screen

As it is the ultimate support of your message, video, text or graphic, the screen is a prime element in the projection chain. The quality of the image is only as good as the weakest link in the chain so screen selection is important.

There are a number of criteria to be considered to establish the optimum image quality including the positioning, size, lighting conditions, projection distance, position of the viewers, aspect ratio, projector output and screen type.


Various types of screen exist appropriate for a wide range of uses. The following give an indication of the different types available. Call for more advice - 0845 370 3220


Tripod Mobile Desktop Folding frame *


Manual wall/ceiling Crank wall/ceiling Electric wall/ceiling * Fixed wall


Electric * Polichinelle * Truss frame *
Holographic Rigid rear projection Interactive

 * indicates available in front or rear projection type


In many venues the layout and architecture will influence the practical size of screen to use - too large and it becomes obtrusive, too small and it can't be seen from the rear of the venue.

As a rule of thumb we recommend the screen width to be around 10-15% of the distance to the furthest viewer e.g. if the distance from the furthest viewer is 20m, the ideal screen width would be 2-3m.

Remember that multimedia projectors generally display in 4:3 format i.e. rectangular 4 units wide by 3 units high. Screen sizes are sometimes given as diagonal measurements so it is important to check which dimension(s) are referred to.


Screen position is important as the human eye has a reflex attraction towards light and movement (sometimes known as the TV syndrome). On this basis the congregation will naturally tend to look towards a bright moving image.

In order to optimise this there are a number of guidelines to follow. However, we recognise that most venues differ in layout and functionality so special solutions are sometimes required.

If using a portable screen, position is obviously flexible.

1) What are the lighting conditions?
Try to avoid direct sunlight or spotlights on to the screen as this will seriously reduce the apparent brightness and colour definition of the image. Bear in mind that projectors can't project black, they simply block projected light to such areas so the blackest black possible is the base colour of the screen (white!).

2) Central or side screen(s)?
In general we recommend a central screen to maintain even viewing from either side of the venue and in general, most activities take place centrally at the front. If this is not practical it may be better located to one side as close to the speaker as possible to maintain eye contact position.

3) Practical considerations
If you are a church and have a stained glass window it may not be ideal to obscure this with a permanent screen. There may be ornate architecture or inscriptions that exclude certain positions. It may be that the only way to mount a screen is from a tall archway, or there may be local restrictions governing what is or isn't permitted, particularly in listed buildings.

4) Screen height?
We recommend that the bottom of the screen is above head height if possible for 2 reasons: Firstly, it can generally be seen by everyone in the venue when standing up (check sight lines from the back), and secondly, it reduces the chances of anyone looking directly into the projector lens (which is dangerous). Clearly the latter depends on the position of the projector.

5) Viewing position?
Can the screen be seen from all populated positions in the venue? If not it may be worth considering secondary screens and/or monitors. However, they key is not to go overboard - too much technology can be unsightly and detract from the purpose (particularly in old churches).