What is a Fixed Projection Screen?

Carol Francois

A fixed projection screen is a large, permanently unfurled, white or gray screen designed to display images from a projector. These types of screens are commonly found in theaters or studios and are usually installed by professional audio visual technicians. The quality of a screen can be determined by its resolution, gain, contrast, color accuracy and build quality.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

Resolution is a property of the screen that determines the sharpness and clarity of the projected image. The type of material used for the projection screen has a direct impact on the resolution value. Projection screens can be made from either a textile-backed reflective surface that is laminated to a woven textile base or a vinyl screen with no backing material. The level of tension in these screens is adjustable. The greater the level of tension, the flatter the screen and the higher the image resolution.

The brightness of the fixed projection screen is based on its ability to reflect light, or its gain rating. All screens come with a gain rating in the product specifications. A high gain rating of greater than 2.0 creates a brighter image which appears brighter in the middle than at the sides. A medium gain of 1.3 is ideal for a consistent level of brightness. Low gain of less than 1.1 tends to produce a slightly darker image.

The level of contrast in an image has a direct impact on the way in which the colors appear on the screen. The higher the contrast, the greater the difference in brightness of light and dark areas of an image. It is important to review the contrast levels and settings of the projector and locate a screen with a complementary contrast rating.

Color accuracy is critical to our interpretation of an image. The level of color accuracy should be true to the image provided by the projector. The build quality of the screen materials, mounting equipment and tension all contribute to the color accuracy. Fixed projection screens are large purchases and are expected to last at least 10 years. Invest in quality to obtain the longevity that you need.

A fixed projection screen is typically installed by a professional audio visual technician. Technicians are able to ensure that the screen is installed at the ideal angle for optimal viewing enjoyment. They can also recommend speaker placement that provides the best possible sound based on the dimensions of the room and the seating arrangement.

When looking for a firm to install a fixed projection screen, obtain a written quote from at least three different suppliers. Ask for a detailed breakdown of labor and material costs which will make it significantly easier to compare multiple quotes. The amount of setup time required should be fairly consistent as the installation process is relatively similar between different fixed projection screen models.

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