Outdoor projectors are the go-to equipment to acquire today. With them, you can stream your favorite movie or sitcom in the comfort of your house’s backyard. Bearing in mind that you are outside, you might need a powerful item that will correlate well with the bright sunlight.
You might consider streaming your shows during sunsets. Or increase the number of lumens in your projector. What are lumens? And how do they relate to the image brightness?
In this article, you will get in-depth information on the best lumens for an outdoor projector.
What are lumens?
Lumens are common aspects when a projector’s topic comes up. Lumens are the SI-derived units of luminous flux. They measure the total amount of visible light coming from a light source per unit of time. For your information, luminous flux is different from power. Power sums up all the electromagnetic waves released from sources. In comparison, luminous flux weighs as per a model of sensitivity in the eyes to several wavelengths.
If you have been in the industry for a while, you might have come across the ANSI (American National Standard Institute) lumens.
According to projector experts, different light sources have varying lumen counts. For instance, a candle might have 14 lumens; a 100-watt light bulb might have 1600 lumens. Besides, a sunset might have 400 lumens, while a bright sunny day might go up to 100,000 lumens.
The American National Standards Institute established a procedure for testing projectors. It involves producing average measurements at several positions. When marketing projectors, the luminous flux of projectors quotes ‘ANSI lumens’ to tell apart from other items that used a different testing approach.
Majority of individuals in the projector niche heavily rely on this accurate measurement when purchasing their projectors. It makes it simple to compare different projectors’ brightness specifications with this popular measurement standard.
Now we know a fundamental concept on projector lumen, let us check on the different factors that make up a good projector for your outdoor activities.
What to consider before buying an outdoor projector
To enjoy your movie-night summer in your backyard, you might want to consider the below factors before making your purchase choice.
1. Set up status
Before buying your most anticipated projector, it would be wise to decide whether you want an ad hoc setup or a permanent one.
Will it be convenient for you to install and fix all your components, including the audio or video systems? Or, will it be best for you to set things up when the need arises?
If you decide to go with the final option, you might have to install speakers and audio systems every time you want to set up an outdoor projector. And also, bring along the rest of the gear out and back for film episodes.
You might need only to worry about the projector, the audio, and the video sources for permanent setups. It is pretty simple to safeguard these components from harsh climatic conditions. A room with an exterior sliding door will do you a great favor.
Once everything is ready, you can slide your door open for the projector to bring in some efficient light to the screen. However, you might want to keep your gears inside during winter and wilder storms.
2. Assessing screen brightness and size
Be it an indoor or an outdoor projector; brightness requirements are similar for both. Much focus is on the ambient light and the size of the targeted image.
Outdoors at night might have ambient levels similar to a darker room. You can assess the existing brightness in your backyard to consider your projector of choice. You might check if there is any full moon present or any blazing lights from your neighbor’s place. Then, choose a projector withstanding all the brightness and produces clear images on the projector’s screen.
For an ideal experience, you might want a screen size that is at least 80 inches. With this size, even a pocket projector with 800 lumens will give you comfortable images.
3. Screen factor
Projectors do not limit you to a specific screen. You are left with a variety of options when mounting your screen. You can decide to use a hanging bedsheet, your garage door, or even a plain wall. The images might, however, not have the best quality.
For perfect images in your movies, you might want a dedicated screen for this activity. It is simple to find significant frames for your permanent and temporary projectors. The screen material quality is the most vital element.
Screen specifications called gains have a relative effect on the image brightness. A screen with a 1.0-gain might offer equal light reflection in all directions when viewing the angle at 180-degrees. A higher gain might reflect light at a smaller angle. It produces brighter images within that angle and makes it a bit dimmer on the outside.
Therefore, a 1.2-gain screen might give you more than 20% brightness on your image. The viewing angle is crucial here. You might ensure all your friends and family are reasonably closer to the screen. The projected image needs to also fit on the screen.
While doing your shopping, consider the resolution design employed on the screen. Some screens are meant for 4K outputs, while others have 8K imagery. The good news is that these screens are long-term investments, unlike most electronics. Also, check on the screen aspect ratio. Screens for movies and TV shows have a typical 16:9 ratio.
4. Throw distance
Here is another technical term in the projectors world. Do not be too hard on yourself if you are clueless about what it means. The throw distance is the measurement between the projector lens and the screen.
If you have to pick a projector with an incorrect throw ratio, you might face over bleed issues. Massive screens might have higher throw ratios. For example, if you have a 2.0 throw ratio and a 5-feet widescreen, your projector might have a 10-feet position from the screen.
Your computation formula might look like this; ratio * width = distance between projector and screen.
You might adjust your variables around when determining the distance. In case you want to know your throw distance, you might divide the variables to get the ideal projector.
5. Audio source
Some projectors in the market come with in-built speakers. However, you might want to add more external speakers for clear audio while watching the summer movie. You might purchase them from your local store at affordable costs.
Check on the available audio ports or Bluetooth support on your projector before purchasing the speakers. Most home projectors lack audio ports. They instead have a design that will allow you to utilize a separate audio resource that comes with your video source.
When you get that booming system for your movie, keep up an excellent relationship with your neighbors. Remember not to interfere with their comfort. Or, you might consider doubling up your popcorn bowls and invite them over for a heaven movie experience.
Blackouts can be unpredictable sometimes. It would be best to back yourself up with AC power for your equipment. Smaller projectors might run out of power, while others might have false claims of holding up power. Some might even become dimmer after losing battery power.
You might install a professional outlet near your projector’s position. Ensure all your outlets have safer plugs to shun from electrical shocks.
Resolution accounts for the number of pixels in an area. You might have come across this vital technical term if you spend much time on TV. A Blu-Ray screen has a typical resolution of 1280 by 720.
If you desire a higher-quality image, you might need a projector of 1280 by 768 resolution. For gaming and HD videos, you might want 1920 by 1080 resolution.
Best lumens for outdoor projector
When buying your projector, you need to take a keen note of the lumen count. If you want larger images, you might need to pick projectors with more lumen count. Their costs might be unfriendly, but it will assure you of perfect images with fewer strains from ambient light.
- Under 3000 ANSI Lumens
You will have an easy time when projecting screen sizes with at least 80 inches. Most individuals with this type of lumen get a better color effect. But they might need to take control and minimize ambient light during projection.
- Above 3000 ANSI Lumens
Under this, the same applies to a screen with at least 80 inches. For this, the image quality is less sensitive to ambient light effects.
You cannot tell which lumen beats the other in brightness because it depends on the user’s needs.
For outdoor meetings or classrooms, a 3000-3999 ANSI lumen might be the significant choice for you. It effortlessly showcases an 80-inch screen at a budget-friendly cost. It would be best to use it when the ambient light is at its minimum level.
The 4000-4999 ANSI lumens might be outstanding for medium spaces. Then, you might not worry about the ambient light because of its higher brightness.
More extensive outdoor settings such as group camping might need 5000+ ANSI lumens. Ambient light is also well taken care of when using this type of lumen.
Projectors make it possible to have an authentic cinema experience in your personal or group space. They are simple to set up but can be daunting when selecting the significant choice for your needs.
There are several factors that you might need to have at your fingertips when doing your shopping. Due to the underlying external natural effects such as sun brightness, it would be wise to pick an outdoor projector with a higher lumen count to have reasonable control of the light.