How can one deal with ambient light while projecting?

Hello people!
I’ve had this question for some time. I have some projectors that look very nice at night but I’d like to know how you people have dealt with ambient light on other instalations, beside just trying get the lowest amount of ambient light possible.
Are there any materials you usually use that you think are better for projecting while you have ambient light?
Do you always go for the projector with the most “lumens” possible? Does its constrast really matter when you have ambient light?

Any comments, suggestions and/or anecdotes are welcome.

Thank you!

if you cant reduce ambient light, get a stronger projector. be aware that, when stacking two projectors with N lumen, the image will not be perceived as bright as 2N lumen, cause the black level will also rise. you can use black gauze or similar materials as screens, those can produce stiking effects, but need a strong projector.

This is very interesting. Thanks bilderbuchi!

if you are retroprojecting there are several materials that really help to get a more constrasted image.
3M’s Vikuiti is really good (and expensive). Rosco Black and Rosco gray are much cheaper but less good.

If you are doing a front projection the surface really matters. Just making it white is not enough.
For instance there are silverplated screens that will really enhance brightness. Also for instance if you go to the cinema and get close to the projection screen you’ll notice that it has a black dots pattern.
This helps to get a better contrast.
A mixture between a silverplated or similar screen with black dots would make a really good job.
I think that there are some modern materials that achieve this effect. If you take a look at fancy hometheater prejection screens most of them are grey (which is the optical gray from the withe and black dots).
For painting the projection surface there are several comercial solutions, but you might want to try, for the cheap, using the same paint that’s used for painting the street signs over the driveway.


That is a very informative answer Roy. Thank you very much this great info!

I’ve read it like 3 times already! I’ve got a lot of stuff now to try out. :stuck_out_tongue: