Moving from a flat-screen TV to a big screen projector is such a huge upgrade. However, I can tell you right off the bat that mounting a projector is not an easy or straightforward task as it may appear. There are a lot of technical aspects involved in installing a projector, but if you can get through them, your decision to upgrade will pay off big time.
Usually, there is a lot of confusion on which to install first; the projector or projector screen? Well, to put this issue to rest, you should always start with the projector screen.
And as such, we recommend you read our step by step guide on projector screen installation before you continue with this guide.
Assuming you’re all caught up, let us now dive into this guide.
Tools and Materials Required
- Projector mounts (Wall or ceiling mounts)
- Measuring tape for measuring the throw distance as well as the vertical and horizontal offsets
- Painter’s Tape for making the projector placement on the ceiling or wall
- Cardboard to be used as a model for the drill holes
- Marker for marking the mount holes on the cardboard
- Drill for drilling holes in the wall or ceiling
- Screwdriver for securing the projector on the mount
- Bolts and Screws for mounting the projector screen to the wall or ceiling
- 2 Step Ladders or Stools for stepping on when mounting the screen
Steps on Mounting a Projector
Step 1: Deciding the Projector Location
If you followed our first guide on projector screen installation, we trust that you have already found the correct screen placement. If you haven’t, we highly recommend you take a look at the screen installation guide before you continue with this guide.
Finding the correct placement for your projector is a little more complicated than the screen. There are many variables you need to take into account. You have to consider your home’s design as factors such as hanging lights, electrical outlets and joists can work against you.
Apart from your home’s design, you might want to mount the projector away from the sitting area. Avoid mounting your projector directly above your head as some projectors are heavy and loud.
The last and most important factor is calculating the projectors vertical offset, horizontal offset, and throw distance.
Let us now look at each of these 3 variables in detail because if you get them wrong, you will end up ruining your media experience.
Step 2: Throw Distance – How to Calculate it and Determine the Best Position
As the name suggests, throw distance is the measurement between your screen and projector lens. Luckily for you, you don’t have to go through the hassle of calculating the throw distance as it is usually indicated the manual.
However, you can still calculate the throw distance even if you’re not a math geek using the simple formula below.
(throw distance = throw ratio x screen width)
The preferred unit of measurement for this formula is “inches,” but the formula works just as well with other measurement units.
For instance, if your projector has a throw ratio of 1.6, and you have a 100-inch screen, (1.6 x 100” = 160”) then your projector should be 160-inches away from the screen.
Please keep in mind that if you mount the projector too close to the screen, the image will be too small. The converse is true, and the image will probably be larger than the screen. Luckily, all modern projectors come equipped with an optical zoom feature that lets you adjust the size of the image regardless the projector’s position.
However, if your projector does not have zoom capabilities, you will not get away with placing your projector outside the correct throw distance. You need to mount the projector within the right throw distance. Otherwise, you will have to move it towards or away from the screen physically.
Step 3: Vertical Offset – Determining the Ideal Vertical Placement for your Projector
The vertical offset of the projector is the distance of hang relative to the floor and the ceiling. The significance of the vertical offset is that it tells you the correct hang position to get an image that fits on your screen. If you get the vertical offset wrong, the image will appear higher or lower than the screen.
The vertical offset can be calculated using the formula below.
(height of screen x offset percentage = distance of lens above or below the center of the screen)
Most projectors come with an adjustable offset percentage of -96.3% to +96.3%
Projection screens have an aspect ratio of 16:9. This means the height of the screen is usually 0.56 times as high as it is wide.
Assuming you have a 100-inch screen, its height will be 56-inches (100” x 0.56 =0.56”)
Therefore to calculate the vertical offset of a screen with a height of 56-inches, and a projector that has a -96.3% to +96.3% offset percentage, (56” x 96.3% = 53.93”) your projector should be mounted 53.93-inches above the center of your screen.
If you feel the math is too complicated for you, you’re in luck as most projectors offer a vertical lens shift. This feature lets you move the lens up or down to project the image at the proper height on the screen.
As for the projectors that don’t have the vertical lens shift feature, you will have to physically move the projector up or down to get the proper image height.
Step 4: Determining the Correct Horizontal Offset
The horizontal offset works just like the vertical offset. It allows you to position the image at the center of the screen along the horizontal axis. The principles that apply to the vertical offset apply on the horizontal offset as well. The only difference lies in the mathematical formula. Use the formula below to calculate the horizontal offset.
(width of screen x offset percentage = distance of the lens to the left or right of the screen’s center)
Step 5: Wall-Mounting or Ceiling-Mounting?
Depending on the type of your projector as well as the size and layout of your room, you can decide to either mount it on the wall or the ceiling. Keep in mind that some projectors are heavy so consider the strength and structural integrity of your wall and ceiling before mounting the projector.
Step 6: Installing the Projector Mount
Proceed to this step only if you have calculated the vertical and horizontal offsets and the throw distance correctly.
Next, follow the same procedure we used to mount the screen mount. Once the mount holes have been drilled, ensure that the projector is secured onto the mount before installing it on the ceiling or wall. Tighten the mount bolts securely into the wall or ceiling and ensure everything is stable.
Step 7: Cable Time
The next step is attaching all the relevant cables to the projector. Use cable fasteners to secure your cables along the walls and ceiling. You can also opt to use wire molds if you want your cables to blend in with your walls for a clean and tidy finish.
Step 8: Calibrate your Projector Settings.
Power on your projector and adjust the settings to fine tune the image output. For this step, you can refer to the user manual to adjust the lens shift settings, focus intensity as well as zoom, brightness, color and contrast levels. Once you are satisfied, sit back, relax and enjoy your hard work.