One of the most daunting tasks associated with starting out in meeting planning is attaining a working knowledge of the audio-visual (A/V) realm. While most hotels and event centers can recommend and even provide your meeting with A/V solutions, it is worth knowing whether or not you are going to be using the correct setup or just the setup that is available. In this guide, we’ll go over some of the basics of one of the most important and widely used pieces of equipment in the conference space, A/V projectors for meeting planners.
A/V Projectors for Meeting Planners
There are a few basic specs for any projector that must be considered. Knowing why these particular figures are important will help outfit any meeting planner with the proper equipment:
Measured in lumens, the brightness is effectively the greatest single factor when choosing a projector. You’ll need enough lumens to cover your “throw” (distance from the projector to the screen or wall), so your image is seen clearly without being distorted. The brightness also determines how well the projector can punch through any ambient light that may be present in your meeting space. 2500 lumens may be enough when projecting onto a 150″ screen in a dark room, but if the windows are open and the sun is shining through you are going to need to double your output (at least 5000 lumens+) to prevent a washed-out look on screen.
This is a chart to show some examples of what you may need for different screen sizes in certain ambient light settings, however, it still doesn’t account for your throw, so be sure to consult and test with your A/V provider to ensure it’s acceptable.
The resolution is the maximum actual pixel count that can be displayed through the projector. In almost every case, you’re going to want a projector that matches your “source” (usually a laptop computer or video server) resolution. If the resolution on your computer’s desktop goes up to 1920 x 1080 (also known as 1080p), then that is the resolution you want on your projector. You will also have to consider the aspect ratio of your resolution. 4:3 has been a long time standard definition staple and looks more square than rectangular while the modern 16:9 aspect ratio is more rectangular in shape and can support higher resolutions, and thus, higher definition. Make sure your screen size or projection surface has the adequate aspect ratio for the content you’re projecting on it.
Mounting your projector will more than likely be in the hands of the provider. However, it is important to note that most projectors can achieve what’s known as “rear projection” where you can place the projector behind the screen instead of in front. Be careful! Rear projection will require certain lighter screen materials, so be sure to confirm with the provider that this is a possibility.
Fairly straightforward, but incredibly important: ensuring you have the proper cables and connections on the projector is a simple inquiry and should never be assumed. In most cases, an HDMI cable will be your connection from the source (your computer) to the projector. However, some older projectors could limit you to using DVI or VGA. DVI will give you full HD resolution, however, may require a converter cable from HDMI if you’re using a laptop. VGA will NOT support full HD resolutions; if you must use VGA, make sure a projection aspect ratio of 4:3 is appropriate for the content you’re using. There is also a relatively new connection called DisplayPort. This connection supports full HD resolution and has several advantages that are a bit too technical to cover in this short guide; just know that it is the most flexible and modern of the connection types and can handle anything you throw at it.
Here is a small visual guide to help the diligent meeting planner quickly identify what connections are available on the back/side of the projector.
Keeping this baseline knowledge in your back pocket can prevent some major headaches down the road and allow you to accurately convey your needs to your A/V provider. Be sure to check in on the Brightspot blog regularly for more useful tips on meeting planning, incentive travel, sales incentives programs, and more!