OK, as you can imagine, the ideal screen size depends on the type of things you'll be projecting. Movies are easier to see from a distance while presentations with text require the audience to be closer so they can see the detail.
Below, we outline a few common applications and their related screen height guidelines. In all cases, the screen height is the viewable height, not the total screen height.
We admit that these are only guidelines and may not be achieveable within the constraints of your particular room/application/projector. As is the case with all guidelines, it is best to follow them as close as practically feasible.
Once you determine the ideal height, the width can be calculated easily from the format or aspect ratio of the screen. See our format page for more details.
How close is too close? We suggest that the first row of viewers be no closer than 2 screen heights away from the screen to avoid being overwhelmed by the projected image. This is shown in the figures below.
How far is too far away? Well that depends on what is being projected, as mentioned above. The sections below go into more details.
Movies and TV
In this case, the furthest audience member should be no further than 6 screen heights away from the screen. Since TV and movies generally lack great detail, the audience can be far away from the screen.
For example, if your room is 30 feet long and the audience will go to the back of the room, your screen should be at least 5 feet high and the first row of seats should be at least 10 feet from the screen.
Presentations with charts, data and text
In this case, the furthest audience member should be no further than 4 screen heights away from the screen to ensure that all text and details are readable.
Complex Graphics and Data
If you're projecting a lot of detailed information, typical of a command or control center, naturally personnel need to be closer to the screen. In this case, we suggest placing personnel no further than 2 screen heights away from the screen.
Once the ideal screen height is determined, screen width can be easily computed if you know the format you need. For more information about formats, see our format resource page, linked below.
See Other Resource Pages
- Choosing the Best Screen Surface
- Choosing the Best Screen Format
- Da-Lite Screen Surfaces
- Draper Screen Surfaces
Clear as Mud?
Feel free to contact us with any questions.