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Sony projectors
The Sony VPL-FHZ120L projector has some other enticing features, like a lens shift range of up to 107 percent, allowing you to mount the unit much higher and overcome some installation hurdles. It also has automatic color calibration, contrast enhancer, Cat5 or 6 IP connection and more.

Is Laser Projection Saving the Projection Market?

While LED has changed the marketplace, projection still has its place. From an initial cost perspective, projection still wins the day.

The cost for LED walls is dropping at a rapid pace. The resolution capabilities and quality for LED continues to advance, to where you can now have a great view within a few feet of an LED video screen.

While Sony is known as a leader in the laser projection market, other manufacturers like Panasonic, Epson, Barco, Christie, are also providing laser projectors that offer a varied feature selection and different lumen/brightness options.

The whole world seems to be going to LED screens.

LED video walls are now easier to set up, manipulate and use. LED saves you money on energy, and they are amazingly bright.

With each of these advantages, then, is there even a reason to opt instead for projection?

I say yes!

Here are my reasons:

While LED has changed the marketplace, projection still has its place. From an initial cost perspective, projection still wins the day. They are much easier to set up, and typically you can do it with very simple training.

In addition, projection can still do some niche things that LED can’t do, among them environmental projection, by painting the walls of your worship space with video images.

By going with projection, one can also provide massive screens in close proximity to the audience. This is something that LED walls are overcoming with ever smaller pixel pitches, but that tighter pitch comes with a cost.

Projection still has the up-close viewer handled.

I also believe that projection still has the advantage in small classroom environments, while LED, because of issues with weight, cost, setup and processing needs, still has a cost disadvantage when used in such smaller configurations. Additionally, most buildings have several classrooms, requiring a lot more expense if one was to go with LED. At he same time, there are a few major downsides to using lamp-based projection: lamp costs, long- term electrical costs, and air conditioning requirements.

With that, take a moment to consider laser projection. 

A relatively new technology, laser projection is solving some of the weaknesses that exist with standard, lamp-based projection.

Imagine a projector with a 20,000-hour lamp life, which would add up to running the unit for eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks out of the year, amounting to 10 years. That’s just one of the benefits of a laser projector over the lamp-based option. Going with laser also has the benefit in that it maintains its brightness for the life of the projector, precision color accuracy and stability, instant on and off, no cooling off period, and greater energy efficiency. 

Don’t believe me? Check out the Sony VPL-FHZ120L. This Sony projector has some other enticing features, like a lens shift range of up to 107 percent, allowing you to mount the unit much higher and overcome some installation hurdles. It also has automatic color calibration, contrast enhancer, Cat5 or 6 IP connection and more.

While Sony is known as a leader in the laser projection market, other manufacturers like Panasonic, Epson, Barco, Christie, are also providing laser projectors that offer a varied feature selection and different lumen/brightness options. 

Now that you have some options, you need to know when you should use a standard lamp projector, a laser projector or an LED screen.

What situation requires which solution?

While your specific situation may require a professional to diagnose exactly which unit you would need, I’ll give you my general guidelines for choosing which product best fits. 

If your room has an audience size that is more than 500, a first row more than 17 feet away from the screen (with it not in the camera shot), a room with bright audience lights, paired with you having some skilled video volunteers, you are an optimal candidate for an LED screen.

Moire

Many houses of worship opt to set up an LED screen as a backdrop in their worship space, which puts it directly in the camera shot. If you are not careful, this can cause your cameras to moire, which is a video issue that displays when capturing video directly from the screen. It’s looks like rolling interference.

To avoid moire, one can use camera lenses that offer good zoom ability. Meaning, you don’t have to zoom all the way in when seeking a tight shot.

A good rule of thumb, I like my zoom to match the length of the front edge of the camera to the front edge of the stage. Meaning, if your camera is 50 feet from the front edge of the stage, your zoom should be a 50x. This general rule will help steady the camera when zoomed in and will help avoid your LED screen causing moire interference on your camera shots.

Another way to avoid moire is to keep the pixel pitch of the LED tight, in the 2mm - 5mm range. Keeping it that tight will avoid moire issues and deliver a great image to everyone watching the stream of the service. 

The instances where using laser projection is ideal is when you have a project where moire must be avoided, or has the audience very close to the screen, can’t support the weight of an LED screen or wall, requires a lower budget, but still needs a smooth image with a very high resolution.

Lumens

Another item to consider, although this is rapidly changing, is your lumen/brightness requirement. Lumens are a unit of measurement of the light intensity radiating from a light source. In this case, your projector. I have found that you want to hit 70 lumens per square foot of the screen you are projecting on.

Anything below that measurement tends to come across to the viewer as dim, anything at that level or brighter, tends to look right to the audience. This assumes a brighter ambient light level, with a light level that allows people to read their Bibles, yet still see the lyrics or sermon notes on the screen. This measurement is important because standard projection can go very bright and be very budget-friendly, compared to laser projectors. Upon accounting for these considerations, you will find a breaking point as to when the long-term lamp, maintenance and electrical savings of a laser projectors give way to the lower initial costs of a lamp-based projector. That breaking point tends to revolve around how bright you need the projector. 

Lamp-based projection can be used in every situation, but the negatives of regularly replacing lamps as frequently as after every 3,000 hours of operation, while also having the lamp dim as it ages, to go with using more electricity and air conditioning, causes me to only recommend lamp-based projection in portable projection environments and specialty use cases.

Specialty cases are general needs that require super bright projection, cases that require a change in –three to six months, in uses that require the unit to project on a set or be used as a lighting instrument and rooms that require rare projector usage. Of course, there could be more specialty cases, but noting the above specific uses show that, because of cost, physics or other requirements, there are instances where you can’t use a laser projector or an LED wall or screen. 

What’s amazing to me is how technology constantly evolves to present solutions that can fit every need that we have.

Laser projectors are a specific response to the weaknesses of standard lamp-based projection and the specific budget constraints and abilities of LED screens.

When God said, “Let there be light,” He provided us with an amazing ability to use that light in the form of lamps, lasers and LED diodes to better visualize our services, tell touching stories and ultimately engage the visual senses of our congregants.

With such tools at our disposal, they allow us to draw those congregants in to experience the amazing reality of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ.

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