This is an excerpt from our article on Projector, Screen and Lighting article. Check it out here.

There are many projectors out that will work with our system. The name brands to look for are Viewsonic, Epson, BenQ, Optoma, Hitachi, and InFocus. Here are a few projectors that meet our spec as an example.

ViewSonic® PA503W

BenQ MW526AE

Optoma W331

Warning against cheap LED ebay and Amazon projectors:
The cheap projectors, usually under $150 and LED, will claim high lumen output. In reality, these units put out far less than advertised. Most times they will only be around 100 lumens, nowhere near the required 2000 lumens. Stick with name brands like Viewsonic, Epson, and Hitachi to ensure you get what you pay for. Currently, the cheapest LED projector we have found that is bright enough is the Hitachi LP-WU3500 for around $2500.

Consider the screen/image size
The system is designed to be setup on at least a 6 ft to a 8 ft wide screen at a 16:9 Aspect ratio. The recommended projector brightness is 2000 to 3500 lumens. But if you have a projector over 3000 lumens projecting a smaller image of 5 ft or less you may encounter the Screen Too Bright error when calibrating the camera. In this case, you would need to lower the projector's brightness until the calibration will complete. Or alternatively, you can move the projector and camera farther away from the screen increasing the image size.

Consider the Throw Ratio

The Throw Ratio is the distance the projector will need to be back from the screen to create a specific size image. Our Tracking Camera has a 1.6:1 field of view. That means you would multiply the width of the projected image by 1.6 to find how far back it would need to be to see the projected image. As an example, an 8 ft wide image would require the camera to be 12.8 ft back from the screen.

Projectors list their Throw Ratio in their specifications as a ratio such as 1.56:1 and usually have a zoom range where that can be adjusted so would be something like 1.55 - 1.73:1. As you can see our camera ratio of 1.6:1 is within this range so this projector would allow the projector and our camera to be located at the same place from the screen.

The minimum specs required for a projector are:

  • Minimum 2000 ANSI s to maximum 3500 lumens (depending on screen size, a larger screen needs a brighter projector) (LED Projectors that will work start at $2500. Cheap LED Projectors are not bright enough)
  • capable of displaying a minimum resolution signal of 1280x720 (lower resolution projectors can be used but must be able to read and display at least a 1280x720 signal)
  • Proper input (either VGA or HDMI) to match what your PC connector is.
  • Warning, you can not connect your PC to your projector with a USB cable. It will not work with the Smokeless Range.
  • Warning, signal converters such as HDMI to VGA converters can cause problems. Some may work fine and others may not work correctly.