Projectors are versatile tools that can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on your needs.
There are many aspects to consider when you think of using a projector outside during the day, such as the ANSI lumens rating of your projector, the weather forecast, the location where you intend to use the device, and more.
Below are some handy tips to keep in mind when you want to conduct an outdoor business meeting or have a movie night in your garden!
Can you use a projector outside during the day?
There are many projectors on the market designed for different environments. So finding a projector you can use outdoors during the day should not be difficult.
Projectors suitable for outdoor use usually have a very high lumens count. However, seeing a clear image in direct sunlight can still be challenging. So, the shadier the location of your outdoor projector, the better.
Top tips when using a projector outside
There are a few tips to keep in mind when using a projector outside.
Check your lumens
The brightness of a light source is measured in terms of lumens. When checking how many lumens your projector needs, you need to consider two factors: the projector screen size and the amount of sunlight it will compete against.
Speaking of projector screen size, a smaller screen requires fewer lumens to be bright enough to watch during the daytime than a screen that is twice as big.
Regardless of the screen size, you should aim for a projector that offers at least 4000 lumens if you intend to use it outside during the day. Generally, the more the lumens, the better, but a minimum of 4000 lumens should be good enough during partly sunny hours. (based on zero sunlight hitting the screen and a screen size between 2 – 2.5m.)
Check the weather forecast
While there is no denying that you could set up a projector outdoors and have an immersive cinematic experience at any time, certain weather extremities can render that experience impossible.
If the wind is strong, it’s best to put a hold on using your projector and consider storing it away instead. Wind can cause some severe damage to your projector and screen, resulting in costly losses down the line.
Taking care of your projector in extreme weather conditions like rain or summer heat is essential as it is not a sealed unit. These weather conditions can damage the projector.
The best weather conditions for using a projector outside during the day are when it’s partially cloudy, the wind is calm, and the sun isn’t shining too brightly.
Note that there are a few projectors available with a weather-proof enclosure but they cost thousands of pounds.
Pick the right time of day
Besides the weather forecast, it’s best to ensure that you have adequate time to watch a movie or conduct a meeting without any obstacles. As such, the best times are sunrise, sunset, and evening.
You will need the assistance of items, like tents, to increase the shaded area so your projector can perform optimally during other times of the day.
Choose a suitable location
There are various powerful projectors available in the market. Choosing a convenient location while using it outside during the day can boost your viewing experience.
Regardless of the outdoor space you have allocated for your projector – be it a garden, patio, or lawn – it is advisable to position your projector so that the sun is kept on one of the sides.
If the sun is behind the projector, you might feel blinded after staring at it for the whole film. If the sun is behind the audience, the quality of the pictures will be reduced.
Therefore, the best bet is to keep the sun at either your right or left side.
Set up a projector screen
With the suitable location chosen, you now need to set up a projector screen. There are various screen types, and choosing the right one can help cope with adverse weather conditions.
Some of the screens you can consider for use outdoors during the day include inflatable, tripod, and hung projector screens.
Inflatable screens are a great option if your location is susceptible to weather hazards. An inflatable screen is also a cheap, easy-to-use, and versatile solution.
A tripod projector screen is a more cost-effective and easy-to-install option. Unfortunately, this type of screen cannot be placed on an uneven surface, nor are the tripods strong enough to withstand the screen’s weight in severe weather conditions.
Finally, there are fastfold type projector screens that you can consider. These screens are portable and easy-to-assemble, with a folding frame made of lightweight aluminium or steel, used for large-scale presentations and events. They come in various sizes and aspect ratios.
Once you have finalised a projector screen, you must ensure that it offers a 160° viewing angle. This is important because it allows the audience to watch the film from anywhere in the room and still have a great view.
Note that for the 160° viewing angle feature to work, your projector must also support it.
Make sure your projector has a strong reflective display
Choose a projector screen with a strong reflective display for high brightness, vibrant colours, and fine details.
A reflective screen makes this possible by fending off the sunlight and creating more precise, vibrant, and definite pictures to be made visible to the audience.
Don’t forget to clean the screen
Years of wear and tear can cause your projector screen to become dirty.
As dirt accumulates across the screen’s surface, conducting a presentation or watching a movie with a sharp display can be a hassle.
Therefore, you should clean your projector screen before use with a mild, bleach-free, alcohol-free, and pH-neutral cleaner.
Do you need a specific projector to use outside?
There are no projectors designed exclusively for outdoor use. However, most home theatre models can be used outside.
Generally, to use a projector outdoors, it must have enough lumens to compete with the sunlight – typically above 3000.
How to work a projector outside?
The best bet would be to place your projector and screen in a shaded or partially shaded area. This will produce a much clearer, and sharper image as ambient light is minimised.
Can you keep a projector outside?
Yes, you can keep a projector outside. However, choose a projector with a high ANSI lumens rating for the best output. If the projector is to be kept outside on a permanent basis, a dedicated enclosure is required to protect it from moisture.
The less shade your projector will be in, the more lumens you will need for optimal results.
There are certain tips you should keep in mind when using a projector outside during the day. These include using a projector of lumens greater than 3000, making sure that it is placed under a shade, using a projector screen, ensuring that the screen is clean, and more.