Recently we went through a transition where we decided to no longer meet in our church sanctuary but instead meet in our multi-purpose room. The multi-purpose room had an antiquated projection system in it and we wanted to upgrade to a more modern church projection system. This led me on the journey of figuring out the best church projector screen size and viewing distance.
Little did I know that there would be both some impractical, and such diverse opinions on church projection screen sizes and how to judge that based on viewing distance. So here is my attempt to help you wade through the information so you can make the best decision possible.
Tips In Choosing The Right Church Projector Screen Size And Viewing Distance
Use A Wide Screen Projector And Screen
Many of the old and antiquated systems use a 4:3 screen size and image size. The industry is moving to 16:9. If you are using the old size then you are looking dated. All the TV's and monitors today use the wide screen format. Only the old TV's use the 4:3 ratio. So make sure it is up to date.
Know The Primary Purpose Of Your Projector And Screen
What are you going to use your church projection system for? Is it for song lyrics? Are you going to play video announcements or sermon illustrations on it? Will you be using Power Point or another presentation software to go along with your pastor's sermons?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself because it will effect the size of your projection screen.
Traditional wisdom says that you need a screen that is 12 inches in height for every 6-10 feet of viewing distance. So if your sanctuary is 60 feet long and the screen is on the wall at the front of the sanctuary, then you would need a screen that is 72 inches high. (60 feet divided by 10 feet, times 12 inches equals 72 inches.)
However this is not always what is needed or what works. Sometimes sanctuaries have low ceilings or other objects that will be in the way of the screen if you have a 6 foot screen and a ceiling that is 9 feet high.
That is why I had you ask yourselves the questions above. This ratio can be overcome if you use larger font on your worship slides or Power Point presentations. However it is not as easy to overcome if you are doing video announcements and video sermon illustrations.
In our case, we are using a 12 inch to 15 feet ratio and using larger font and the readability of the screen is just fine. But we do not use a lot of video. We use some and everyone can see. It is just not the surround sound cinema experience you find in a movie theater.
Consider How The Screen Looks And Where To Place It
Just as important as screen size and viewing distance is aesthetics. A big ole honkin' screen in a beautiful chapel might not be all that pleasing to anyone. You might consider motorized screens so that it is only visible when being used. You might also consider using smaller screens placed at the side of the church rather than in the middle and if your church is really long, place a second screen halfway to the back.
Just take a look at your sanctuary and see what size will look right in light of it's architecture and design.
Well there you have it. You can now figure out church projector screen size and viewing distance. 12 inches high for every 6-10 feet if you are using video. You can go up to 15-20 feet if you are not and using a high quality projector with good clarity.
I hope that help you.