Unfortunately, it's not as easy as picking a projector and you're done. There are various factors to consider before selecting the correct projector and choosing the right company. Renting the wrong projector from the wrong company will make your presentation and/or event have the opposite intended affect. So choose carefully.
Whether it's a sales pitch to a client or a presentation to your colleagues, shareholders, or investors, the video projector is key to relaying your message in a visually appealing manner. Not to mention the professionalism relayed to your audience. However, owning a projector might not always be feasible for many individuals, small companies and organizations. Projector prices vary greatly, but a good quality projector will set you back a few thousand dollars. This is why many choose to rent on an as-needed basis. You receive top of the line equipment, latest technology, and don't have to worry about ownership maintenance - which can be expensive when you consider the lamps for projectors can cost as much as the unit itself! Of course, if your organization is constantly renting video projectors, perhaps owning one might be a more viable option for you.
SOCIAL PRESENTATIONS / EVENTS
The use of video projectors has gained much more momentum in the private/social setting. It could be used as 'eye candy' for a party in a club, used to show some personal videos at a social function such as a wedding, birthday party, shower, or anniversary event. It can also be rented on New Years Eve or during the Super Bowl to watch the game with a larger audience. Whatever the purpose, renting a projector for these types of occassions is now viable for many people.
PROJECTOR RENTAL BASICS
- Do research on the available models. Unfortunately, not all models work well for all functions. Explain to the rental representative your exact usage of the unit, and they'll match you up based on those specifications. Ask the representative for the exact model number, then do some research to make sure it will fulfill your needs.
- What technical support is available? Most companies offer technical assistance if anything should go wrong. However, you still need to make sure that this support will suite your needs. For instances, what if technical support is only offered during business hours (9am-5pm), but your event isn't until 10pm. What if the unit doesn't work, or your having a hard time figuring it out? You need support to match your requirements. Of course, this is not always a deal breaker. Rather, it's just something to consider when renting. This is especialy true of internet only rental companies, who ship out many rental units daily. Many times because of the amount of usage and turnaround schedule, some projectors don't receive the proper testing required to ensure it will not fail on you. Most just plug it in, and turn in it on. They don't check to see how many hours are left on the lamp, or if there are any issues with the functions/buttons on the unit itself. Again, something to keep in mind. If your not sure, ask the company about their procedure for equipment failure.
- Lighting Conditions & Environment - When renting a projector, please keep in mind that environmental conditions will dictate the size of projector you will need. For example, if you are projecting an image at night or in an enclosed space, a low or medium lumen projector may work for you. Should you be showing the image with outdoor or ambient light on the projection screen, a high lumen projector would be needed to overcome an image being washed out.
TYPES OF PROJECTORS
These start with a source of light (lamp) and split the light into three beams. Each beam passes through its own LCD panel. The LCD panels each have hundreds of thousands of tiny pixels, the higher the resolution, the more pixels. Data determines whether light is allowed to pass through each one.
One panel has a red filter, one a green, and one a blue filter (RGB). The light is then recombined, using a dichroic prism. The combined, now in full color, passes through the lens and hits your screen.
DLP's (except 3 chip) also start with a lamp light source. Instead of passing light through an LCD panel, it is reflected off of a DLP chip (which has hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors), which modulates the light. A color, spinning wheel (referred to as a color wheel), combined with timing, allows the light to come out the correct colors, and pass through the lens on its way to the screen.
DLP PROJECTORS - ONE or THREE CHIPS?
The vast majority of DLP projectors use a single monochrome DLP chip (officially DMD for 'Digital Micro Device), and the aforementioned spinning color filter wheel to generate colors. Unless specifically noted, when this series of articles refers to DLP projectors, they are discussing single chip models.
There is another group of DLP projectors, 3 chip models. These are currently at the top of the food chain, in terms of performance, whether for business or home theater, but as they currently start with selling prices in excess of $10,000, are not widely used, except in high end home theater, screening rooms, and commercial applications demanding the best performance. Three chip DLP projectors function more like LCD projectors. The light source is split into 3 beams. Light is still reflected off of the DLP chips instead of passing though as is done with LCD panels, however, like with LCD projectors the three beams are recombined into a single beam and pass through the lens. It should be noted that 3 chip DLP projectors often use the exact same DLP chips that are used singly in one chip models.
* Richer color dynamics for better results in rooms with ample ambient light
* Draw less power
* Throw less heat
* No color filter wheel = No 'rainbow effect'
* Slightly quieter Seemingly sharper image on data
Quick Tip: Figure you need about 30% more lumens in a DLP projector to hold its own with an LCD model.
* More visible pixels
* Some screen door effect on certain video images
* Physically larger - Even for the same number of lumens
* Poorer contrast
* Blacks come out lighter gray than DLP projectors
* Smoother video
* Smaller box
* Pixels far less visible (although normally not an issue for business use)
* More 'filmlike' on DVD and HDTV
* Generate 'blacker' blacks
* Higher contrast
* Rainbow effect bothers some
* More moving parts (color filter wheel)
* Color filter wheel often produces soft but audible whine
* Poorer reds and yellows at full power
* Color saturation
* Need more lumens than LCD, for rich colors, when dealing with ambient light
SOURCE - LAPTOP, PC, MAC, DVD Player, VCR?
The video or presentation source is just as important as the actual projector. Let your rental company know what source you'll be using so that they may provide you with the proper cable to connect to the projector. Knowing the output connection is also especially important. Is it DVI? HDMI? VGI? S-Video? There are various options out there, so make sure you know which one applies to your source.
MAKING THE DECISION
It may seem a bit overwhelming selecting the proper projector for your specific event needs, but if you do the research, you will find a company that you are comfortable renting from. Make sure the one you choose has a history and proven track record for renting projection equipment in your area, and don't forget to farmiliarize yourself with their return policy and support system. The right rental company will walk you through the equipment selection process, ask you the right questions, and help you stay within your budget.