How to Mount Your Projector on the Ceiling

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Hey bubbas,
If you’re going to go the home theater projector route rather than a flat screen, the biggest challenge you’ll face is how to mount a video projector on the ceiling. Not every ceiling is the same of course, and in addition to ceiling and mounting styles, you have to factor in safety, wire runs, and potential for theft (if you’re doing this for a public or easily accessible space). Projector Central is a great resource on how to mount and install a new projector. Several things need to be decided BEFORE you consider a purchase:

Do you want to flush mount or suspend the projector from the ceiling? Flush mounting the projector allows for approximately four to six inches between ceiling and projector. Flush mounting a projector is not applicable in cathedral mounting but can be used for both structural and suspended applications…You’ll need to know how far back you have to install the projector in order to fill the designated screen. Each projector model may throw a different image size. Projector manufacturers produce “throw charts” that list image size based on distance from the screen. You will have to consult this chart before deciding where to install the projector in the room.

These “throw charts” are a key ingredient in your home theater recipe. They can work in one of two ways: either they can be useful on a projector by projector basis to determine how big a particular projector model will throw an image on your wall/screen, OR some manufacturers actually let you pick one of their projectors based on your specific requirements. The data you need to consider is, how close/far you can mount your projector from your screen, (and how high/low), how big an image you are trying to get, and what kind of mount you would like to work with. (If, for example, you need to mount your projector on the opposite wall rather than drop it down from a ceiling, you are going to require a longer “throw” of that image.)

Here is an example of a simple throw chart for a particular projector from Knoll:

Typical throw chart (this one for a Knoll projector, Model LED1081

Check out this page on the Epson web site for a great example of a calculator which allows you to enter in a variety of information regarding the particular throw you need, and it will recommend (their) projectors which will fit your specs.  Most projector manufacturers will have a similar tool.

If you are really sold on a particular projector model, many manufacturers now have alternate lenses that you can buy.  This can add cost of course, but if you have a difficult room size or mounting technique you need to use, this can be an easy solution. Just like on cameras, a long “telephoto” style lens will allow you to put the projector further away from the image, and a “wide angle” lens would let you mount a projector very close to your screen in the case of a very shallow room or a mount that has to be placed very close to the image you need.

ProjectorCentral.com points out that while most modern projectors come with internal controls to adjust for keystone error, (the distortion caused by not mounting the projector exactly square to the screen) these adjustments should be done minimally with electronics.

All mounts come with pitch, roll or yaw or all of them. Using these features will allow you to adjust the projector picture on the screen from the mount. This is not to say that you will not have to use the projector’s features to correct the image. The mounting features are designed to get the picture square to the screen if the projector has been mounted correctly.

Measure twice, hang once is what I always say. And do your homework before you pounce on a new unit, you’d be surprised how much variance there is in how these projector are designed and for what size rooms/uses. The physical part of mounting your projector on the ceiling is the easy part, as long as you do your homework first.

Original article can be found here.

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