Overhead Lighting, Friend Or Foe?

A recent discussion gave me the opportunity to think about this in-depth.  How many times have you been to a breakfast function or luncheon where the screen was blown out by the overhead lighting?  I know I just raised my hand…

Below are some thoughts on how to plan ahead for your next big meeting!


In putting together meetings and events, the planners I work with are always torn between having the room bright enough to take notes, (20 – 50 footcandles in conference rooms and 10 – 30 footcandles in exposition halls) and dark enough to see the projector (30% of the ambient light* or 6 – 15 footcandles in conference rooms and 3 – 10 foot candles in expo halls.)

Ultimately, it comes down to which is more important.  In some cases, it may possible to dim the room lights during the video presentation portion of the event.  In some cases, a bigger, brighter projector will overcome the room’s overhead lighting.

It is always recommended to place the screen away from any direct overhead lighting.

*Based on a 6,500 ansi projector @ 25′


This is where things may get a bit sticky.  There is usually only one light source, and there is not a very handy method to dim it.  The outdoor projectionist’s motto is “dawn, dusk, or dark! ”  There are a few ways to minimize the impact the sun will have on your presentation.

Plan on doing rear projection, with the screen pointed AWAY from the sunrise or sunset.  I have in the past, built an enclosure covering the “projection pathway.”  (Some sort of tent/pipe and drape/tarp or black plastic/dark, dark, dark, enclosure.)  To allow my client’s presentation to shine.

The last step, is to make sure the projection unit(s) are bright enough to handle the job.  Ultimately a minimum of a 10,000 ansi projector, or two smaller identical units stacked & aligned is my recommendation.

 Alignment Image

At this point, I’d have to say “overhead lighting is the foe of a nice bright presentation.”  If some forethought is givin in the planning process, the impact on the presentation should be minimal.

I hope you found this helpful in your event planning process.  If you did, please like my Facebook!


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