Obviously if you're going to be buying a projector for outdoor cinema events, you're going to want it to have the best picture possible. You're going to want it to have sharp resolution. You're going to want it to have good, vibrant coloring. But one of the most important aspects that you'll want to evaluate in your projector is the contrast ratio - the differential in your picture between the really black blacks and the really bright brights. Obviously, some projectors are better than others in this department. So, in this post, we're going to go over the ways that you can tell if the projector you're buying is going to deliver those deep blacks and those bright whites.
Contrast and ANSI Contrast
If you read through the spec sheet on your proposed projector - which you absolutely should - the contrast will be represented in one of two ways. The simplest way that most people understand contrast is via the On/Off paradigm. On/Off represents the absolute whitest white and the absolute blackest black that the projector is able to produce. If your spec sheet refers to Contrast without any special qualifiers, then the numbers you're looking at represent this basic On/Off idea. However, your spec sheet might list the quality in discussion as ANSI Contrast - which is a horse of a different contrast, of course. If a projector boasts ANSI Contrast , it means that the contrast ratio has been determined via a checkerboard pattern with black and white squares. The overall brightness of each square is measure individually.
Which is Better?
On a spec sheet, regular old Contrast will always be represented by a bigger number than ANSI Contrast . Since bigger is almost always instinctively interpreted as better, you might be tempted to lean toward a projector with the former spec type. However, it is worth noting that the ANSI Contrast measurement is more indicative of the kind of picture you'll be looking at. After all, the checkerboard pattern is much more similar to the what you'll actually be viewing on your screen most of the time. Typically images are chock full of contrast, of whites, blacks, and every shade in between jockeying for position. By basing their ratio on the checkerboard pattern, projectors with ANIS Contrast are naturally more capable of taking on the complex images that we see in the average movie shot. Unless you only watch films that feature whole scenes in only black and only white, a projector with ANSI Contrast is going to be the way to go.
While it's not vital to your picture's contrast, a dynamic iris will definitely give a boost to your contrast ratio and therefore give your projector the edge. В The dynamic iris' job is to sit in between the lamp and lens and constantly evaluate the overall brightness of the picture being displayed. These irises are typically very fast and they make a plethora of these evaluations every second. As the iris evaluates the brightness or darkness of the image, it closes or opens to either restrict the amount of light going through or increase it, depending on the contrast needs of the image at the moment. A dynamic iris won't do much good for a projector whose contrast is based on ANSI standards - but it will definitely improve the contrast on the projector with the simpler contrast ratio.
As with any technical spec, ask around. Read reviews online. When you go to the store, be sure to read the spec sheets on each projector that happens to catch your fancy. If you're paying attention to your contrast ratios, you're outdoor cinema events will be all the better for it.