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All things projection

Epson Ultra Bright Cinema Makes a Big Play for Big-Screen Sports at CEDIA 2015

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As the 2015 pro football season is well underway, enjoying the next crop of milestone plays on the big-screen is the only way to be in the game.

We know the world gathers around sports. And often, that party takes place during theCEDIA Booth 1 day. This season half of all pro football TV broadcasts will air during daytime hours1, where daylight can impact your viewing experience with TVs and projectors. And, we know people enjoy their favorite sports in the living or media room with family and friends. Until now, the challenge with a truly big-screen experience was the availability of a projector offering both the image quality and high brightness to overcome the daytime light typical in these entertaining rooms.

At CEDIA 2015, Epson unveiled a new line of Ultra-Bright Pro Cinema Projectors designed for customers who desire big-screen entertainment installed beyond the typical light-controlled home theater room. (Check out this video from CEDIA by clicking here.)

Luxurious Living Room in new homeWhile Epson has a full line of solutions to accommodate the typical home theater needs, the new ultra-bright models offer up to 6,000 lumens of color brightness and 6,000 lumens of white brightness2 and big-screen images unlike any TV. The Ultra-Bright Pro Cinema line enables sports enthusiasts (like myself) to enjoy their favorite team, movies and games in a way they haven’t been able to before.

With the Ultra-Bright Pro Cinema series, sport and AV enthusiasts can have a really big screen – bigger than most TVs – to enjoy their favorite content in rooms with floor to ceiling windows, bright lights and even outdoor patio areas.

Now my Sundays can involve a big-screen leading up to the Big Game. Once you experience sports like this, you will never go back to your TV.

 

1 Sportingnews.com; tvmediainsights.com, fbschedules.com

2 Color brightness (color light output) and white brightness (white light output) will vary depending on usage conditions. Color light output measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4; white light output measured in accordance with ISO 21118.

 

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So You Want to Build a Home Theater? Step 2: Choosing a Screen

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There you are, sitting pretty with your new home theater projector. Next step is to pick the right screen for your viewing environment. What exactly do you need to know about choosing a projection screen? Is bigger always better? Can you just blast the image on a white wall?

The short answer is, it depends. Sometimes bigger is simply better. Why settle for 100-inches when you can get 150-inches? And there are some instances when a bed sheet or a white wall will do the trick. However, there are also a range of screens which are designed for easy, portable outdoor usage and provide greater reflectivity than a bedsheet.

There are a few things that may be worth considering if you’re looking for the screen that is the ideal complement to your projector. Projector screen expert and AV enthusiast Jeremy Meyer of Visual Apex has answers to the most frequently-asked questions from consumers looking to build a personal home theater.

Here’s what he had to share:

Q: What are the typical screen considerations for the average consumer?

A: Almost everyone is going for that unique, immersive, big-screen experience when designing their home theater. However, there are several considerations that consistently come up for consumers as they begin the selection process:

  • Viewing Distance: I always caution consumers to be aware of how far people need to be sitting away from the screen before you go big. The bigger the screen, the farther back people may want to sit.
  • Screen Type: Some people are very selective about their screen type – specifically the material and gain. However, around 90 percent of projector screens will work well in an environment with controlled lighting using a Matte White material.
  • 3D Implications: Consumers inquire about the best type of screen for 3D versus 2D content viewing. However, 3D projections work on almost every screen, so there’s no need to buy a special 3D screen. However, there are some screens which will always perform best in specific applications.
  • Durability and Ease of Set Up: People want useful things that are easy to set up and do not require a lot of maintenance. Consumers have a range of review information available online to discern a good screen. Do your due diligence and look at comparable features, as well as company reviews and return policies.

Q: How do you determine the best location for a screen?

Oftentimes, there is only one wall in a room that will work. Focus on placing the screen on a wall that has no direct light. While there are a range of home theater projectors available offering high brightness, it’s ideal to minimize ambient light to maximize the image quality a projector delivers.

Nowadays, standard living rooms are usually 12 x12 feet or 12 x18 feet. With this in mind, you’ll want to place the screen on the short side of the room. To find the perfect placement for your projector, I recommend using a distance calculator, like the one on Epson.com, to simplify the process of finding the ideal viewing angle.

Q: What are the considerations for a dedicated home theater room when buying a projection screen?

A: For a dedicated theater room, a fixed screen is ideal – the flat surface delivers the true-to-life image filmmakers intended, and fixed screens are relatively inexpensive. In addition, system integration and installation will be easier: there’s no need for a power outlet, rolling it up-and-down or keeping track of a remote control.

In this room scenario, you typically want a theater-like experience that delivers the wow-factor. In other words, you want an image that’s as big as your room will allow. There are a variety of factors that will determine what screen size you should purchase, such as viewing distance, your projector and the size of your wall.

Q: Do you have any recommendations for a multi-use space like a living room?

A: In a multi-use room, a retractable screen is often a better option. I recommend going with a tensioned electric screen, as it tends to keep the screen surface more flat over a longer period of time.

If you have a wide seating area in your living room, consider a matte white screen. Matte white screens provide better viewing experiences for guests sitting on the extreme left and right sides of the room.

Q: Do you have any recommendations regarding vertical offset?

A: Vertical offset determines how high or low the projector needs to be mounted in order for the image to appear at the proper height on the wall. Look for a projector that features horizontal and vertical lens shift capabilities, which will allow for significant flexibility in where you can place the projector because the image location is adjustable. Keep in mind that vertical offset is just as important as throw distance when installing your projector.

Q: How does screen material and gain impact screen selection?

A: Screen material is important and relates to the type of room you are working with. Matte white materials have a wider viewing angle, allowing for more extreme right and left viewing. While higher contrast grey materials can offer better viewing with more ambient light, some have a narrow viewing angle, which could impact seating in larger rooms, such as in an auditorium.

Gain is a term that is used for how much light will be reflected into the room. Matte white is typically a 1.1 gain. From there, the gain ratio typically goes up pending the type of material. Choosing the right material depends on the environment and level of light in the room. There are several helpful resources available to consult such as this article on Projectorcentral.com.

Buying a screen should never be overwhelming. Enjoy the experience, and be aware of how your room lighting can be adapted to the home theater system. Don’t forget: all your hard work will pay off. Before you know it, you’ll be hosting viewing parties and game nights that your guests will remember for many years to come.

 

Epson Takes Center Stage during New York Fashion Week

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When attendees of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) were asked to describe the event in one word, they called it, “epic”, “inimitable”, “authentic”, “fabulous”, and “futuristic”. But if you ask me, those same descriptive words can also be used to sum up Epson’s Digital Couture event during NYFW where lighting and projection added a sense of awe to the show.

Utilizing the Epson Pro G-series high lumen projectors, we worked with Refik Anadol to set the mood of the event by transforming the entry way, allowing attendees leave behind the outside hustle of New York City and take their first steps to imagining the fashion line and runway show they were about to view.

The entry way was lit up with a moving projection display of active neon lines and engaging geometric shapes. The designs changed, continuing to engage those walking through the entryway. Show attendees even stopped to take photos as they entered the New York City venue.

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Projection is perfect to engage any kind of audience, and you too can easily create a projection show similar to that seen at NYFW, all you need is the right equipment. The Epson Digital Couture show was created using multiple Epson Pro G-Series projectors, audiovisual software (Millumin or Madmapper are good options), and a laptop. With a relatively small budget, you can create a variety of different shows for your audience no matter what occasion. Don’t limit yourself – even a small budget can create stunning audiovisual!

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Check out this time lapse video of the projector setup at NYFW.

Epson 3D Mapping Lights the Runway at Silicon Valley Fashion Week

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Earlier this year, Silicon Valley staked its claim in the fashion industry with its first technology-focused fashion event. The Silicon Valley Fashion Week, as you should expect, was no traditional runway show. Due to the anticipation and location-hype, this show had to meet “The Valley’s” extraordinary expectations. And it did by using drones, flying pants, and bike aerial acrobatics of course. And to help set the stage – literally – were Epson’s projectors with 3D mapping technology, which engaged attendees in the introduction of new wearable and tech-oriented fashion for the startup crowd.

Dramatic and interactive projection set the mood for the forward-looking technology-based fashion show. Leveraging stacked Epson® PowerLite® Pro Z large venue projectors, SF-based creative agency All of it Now lit the stage, runway, sculptures, and walls with 3D-mapped images for bright and whimsical light displays. By stacking and programming Epson projectors, the Silicon Valley Fashion Week team was able to create multiple projections that changed shapes, colors, patterns, and danced along to the music.

Danny Firpo, managing partner at All of it Now, told me, “The best part about the Epson projectors is that they cut straight through the stage lighting that the camera crews need without overexposing the cameras.”

Danny and his team utilized SDI inputs on the stacked projectors so IMAG could be integrated into the mapping. All of the geometric correction was done right on the projector, which made for simple mapping and only one output from the mapping computer, instead of two. By using one output, Danny and his team were able to reduce the amount of time spent creating the mapping effect and amount of video processing required.

While you probably won’t see me in some of the outfits that graced the stage at the first Silicon Valley Fashion Week, I was excited to see how our Pro Z projectors with 3D mapping helped to set the tone and bring originality, excitement, and sophistication to the show.

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All Brightness is Not Created Equal

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Over the weekend, my wife and I went to our local consumer electronics store – we are in the market for a new washer and dryer. Unable to decide on a model, we took a break and wandered over to the projector section. Sounds weird, I know, but as someone who works very closely with projectors, I’m always curious about how they’re displayed on shelves and talked about by store employees. Just my luck, a customer was asking about the differences between a few projectors (DLP-based models), and as the employee was going through the specs he stated that one model offered 2,700 lumens, implying that the projector is very bright.

I shook my head. What the employee didn’t tell the potential customer was that 2,700 lumens for that particular model only covered the projector’s white brightness, not color brightness. According to testing by an independent lab, the color brightness performance for this particular DLP-based projector was only 700 lumens1.

What does this mean? While the projector might very well look bright when projecting white, the color projected would be much darker and muddier. Click on the video clip below to learn how low color brightness can hurt a projector’s performance.

When buying a projector, the first and most important question should be: What are the lumen ratings for white brightness AND color brightness?

For the DLP-based projectors you’ll find in your local consumer electronics store – they use 1-chip DLP technology – you will not see a color brightness rating published by the manufacturer. Why? Because their color brightness is much lower than their white brightness. And that’s because with 1-chip technology, only one color is available at a time, giving you colors that are less bright.

One of the biggest advantages Epson projectors provide over these DLP projectors is that Epson projectors utilize 3LCD technology, which results in equal ratings for color and white brightness, for projected colors that are rich and bright. 3LCD projectors are 3-chip, which means the engines send light continuously, not sequentially, so all colors are available all the time, resulting in brighter, better colors.

In fact, Epson projectors have up to 3x higher color brightness than competing 1-chip DLP projectors2. In a recent study, it was also found that 9 out of 10 respondents prefer images from Epson 3LCD projectors3.

So next time you’re at your local consumer electronics store, or even researching projectors online, make sure you look for BOTH color and white brightness ratings. If you’re in the store and don’t see a manufacturer’s color brightness rating for its projector, you can even tell the store employee that color brightness is so important, it is now an industry standard, courtesy of the International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM). You can learn more about the science behind color and white brightness on our Color Brightness website.

Now, can anyone offer a recommendation on a washer and dryer?

 

1 Data obtained from independent third party laboratory testing of a unit according to the international standard for measuring color brightness, IDMS 15.4.

2 Color Brightness (Color Light Output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color Brightness will vary depending on usage conditions. The projectors used by a third-party lab for measuring Color Brightness were leading Epson projectors and leading 1-chip DLP projectors based on NPD sales data for June 2013 through May 2014 and PMA Research sales data for Q1 through Q3 2013.

3 Leading business and education projectors vs. leading 1-chip DLP projectors, selected according to NPD data as of July 2015. Based on U.S. research conducted by Radius Research.

Game BIG or Go Home

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CablesA few months ago, I attended the Press Start Gaming competition at UC Irvine, one of the largest free-play LAN events in the U.S. With almost 500 registered gamers, it was pretty much two days of gaming mayhem… and I loved it!

As part of the event, organizers set up four large screens in the arena to show different game feeds as well as player stats, interviews and commentators. At the center stage, two stacked Epson PowerLite Pro Z 10,000 lumen, WUXGA resolution projectors created a huge 25’ image. But getting to that point is always the fun part.

Event setup started at 1 a.m. Nine hours of tables and chairs, power and network cables, and projectors and screens later, I stepped out of the event center and into the light to a sea of people crowding the doors, anxiously waiting to come in. To the right, there was a BYOC (bring your own computer) line where hardcore gamers clutched their computers, monitors and gaming consoles waiting to get a badge, get inside, and set up. Several people brought their rather large CRT monitors – which weigh significantly more than the average LCD panel, but deliver zero lag. Lower lagtime can mean slower reaction time, and when the stakes are high – $30,000 in prizes – folks don’t mess around.

The games went on for 36 hours, and while at the end everyone was tired, the event crushed it! I love gaming, and walking around the venue hearing people say, “This is amazing – I’ve never seen so many projectors and screens set up.” That makes the long hours of set up totally worth it.

See you at the next event!

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A New Day Dawns on a University Campus—With New Tech

Outside

Bright orange vest: Check. Yellow hard hat: Check. Safety goggles: Check. Earplugs: Check. But thankfully I didn’t need them, because the fire alarms were tested the day prior to my tour of the new business and information technology (BIT) building at California State University, Monterey Bay.

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I hadn’t had a chance to see the military buildings that this new facility was replacing, but from what Kurt Henne had told me in our first interview, I knew that they hadn’t been the most IT-friendly buildings. Actually, he called them his “worst nightmare,” due to concrete walls and floors that block signals, contain asbestos and are nowhere near up to the earthquake codes.

But this new building was a thing of beauty, even in its current state of construction, with wall-to-wall windows reflecting the blue Monterey skies, clean lines and wide hallways. I skirted large rolls of cable and ducked through plastic barriers while my guide, Dave McKinnon of Integrated Communication Systems, led me into the partially completed classrooms.

“These short-throw projectors have been very popular,” McKinnon commented as we moved into the first classroom. “The last three jobs I’ve worked on have all used Epson projectors.”

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McKinnon and his team were in the process of installing Da-Lite IDEA™ screens and Epson BrightLink Pro and PowerLite Pro projectors in several classrooms and an auditorium. Setting up the calibration, edges and touch sensing is just part of the installation—Epson’s wide projection area means that the white boards have to be positioned carefully.

“When you get an image that big, there’s no play,” explained McKinnon. “It’s got to be exactly right.”

But the installations for the eight single-projector classrooms and the six dual-projector classrooms aren’t as daunting as the auditorium. McKinnon and his crew will install a panoramic Da-Lite white board along with two PowerLite Pro projectors that will be calibrated with edge-blending for a single, extremely large image. How large? About 10 feet high and 27 feet wide. That should be big enough for every one of the 90 auditorium seats to have an incredible visual experience.

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A self-confessed Epson geek, Henne favorite part of the new BIT building—besides it not being a military bunker—is obvious. “I’m looking forward to seeing the edge blending working with the two projectors and the custom white boards in the new lecture hall.” And, frankly, so am I. I’ll be visiting the campus again when the teachers and students move in and can’t wait to see the results.

In the meantime, Dave and his crew have the difficult and important task of installing the oversized white board. But from the quality of work I saw on my tour of the new building, he’s got it all under control.

Epson Robotic Imaging Mapping at InfoComm 2015

Summary: 12 projectors, two high-precision robots and 88,000 lumens create futuristic projection display at InfoComm 2015.

Epson Robotic Imaging Mapping at InfoComm 2015Imagine being able to project images on a moving surface. Well that is exactly what Epson did at this year’s InfoComm 2015. Attendees had the opportunity to see a range of image mapping applications executed at the show, but few booths had image mapping in motion!

In collaboration with AV Concepts, Epson integrated a projection mapping display with its very own robots and the Epson PowerLite® Pro Z and Pro G-Series large venue projectors for edge-blending on different levels of platforms. A total of 12 projector models projecting 88,000 lumens worked together to create a futuristic cityscape projection mapping display.

Factories throughout the world rely on Epson robots every day and integrating the robots into the projector mapping solution was an impressive feat, highlighting the high-precision of the Epson robots and innovative display capabilities of Epson projectors that truly stopped attendees in their tracks.

Epson Robotic Imaging Mapping at InfoComm 2015Another attraction for attendees was the BrightLink® Pro 1430Wi, which utilizes any standard flat surface for touch annotation and display. Attendees were intrigued to see the BrightLink Pro attached to a Conen Interactive table that seamlessly transformed from a motorized table into a drafting board.

unInfoComm 2015 was a great success, showcasing the next generation of projector mapping and collaboration technology.

Check out the Epson projection mapping display here:

Summertime Celebration under the Stars: Tips for Hosting Backyard Movie Night

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With summer breezing in, it’s the perfect time to start planning the quintessential backyard movie night to enjoy the best seat in the house – under the stars. Whether it’s the patio, rooftop or backyard, there’s something magical about an outdoor movie on a warm summer evening with friends and family.

My kids and I recently hosted a sports night for the neighborhood kids, complete with a movie screening and a sports game tournament on the Xbox. The kids had a blast. To be honest, the parents had just as much fun as the kids. And I am now not only the reigning FIFA champion of the Woodland’s neighborhood dads, but I’m also the father of the decade. When the kids went to sleep and the neighbors went home, my wife and I dropped in a classic into the Blu-ray and relived 1985 all over again.

Following are some tips to help you set the stage for your very own spectacular outdoor cinema:

  1. Location, Location, Location: Scout out the perfect spot – the patio, side yard, porch or rooftop. It’s important to think about how far from the screen your guests will be sitting in relation to your screen size for movie night. Check out this nifty throw distance calculator from the experts at Projector Central to determine how much throw distance you need to host your movie night. Aside from the location of the screen, the next most important element to consider is proximity to power and ensuring you have a heavy-duty extension cord and power strip handy.
  1. Equipment Checklist: Essentials include a projector, screen and a source for content. A High Definition, bright projector with an HDMI input (for a Blu-ray player or laptop) and built-in sound is the best bet, such as the Epson Home Cinema 730HD. For bigger sound, you can set up an external audio system. While there are a range of weatherproof screens available, you can also project onto a white sheet, shower curtain or create a DIY screen with a few basic supplies.
  1. Creative Invitations: Add a personal touch to movie night with invitations. You can pick a genre for the night and use pre-made templates created by Epson’s creative team for an 80s inspired eventfamily-friendly bash or movies that got big game.
  1. Movie Picks: Consider the crowd and choose accordingly. If you need some inspiration, there are several sources online to help pick the evening’s featured flick. Check out Apartment Therapy’s list of Best Summertime Movies or Rotten Tomato’s Best Summer Movies list.
  1. Mood Lighting: Soft lighting – candles, string lights, garden stake lights and lanterns – can help set the mood for the evening. However, too much ambient light can be an ambiance killer. Whenever possible, plan out your movie viewing layout to avoid nearby house lighting and street lights. When it’s time for the movie to start, make sure your lighting can be dimmed.
  1. Comfortable Seating: From cozy throws and oversized pillows to lawn chairs and hay bales, seating can make or break movie night. You can mix and match seating options to cater to guest’s viewing preferences as long as you position seating so that guests in chairs aren’t blocking the view for those who prefer to lay out on the ground. And, there’s no need to fret about wet grass with this waterproof blanket tutorial from MarthaStewart.com.
  1. Movie Bites: Movie-watching is synonymous with snacking. While a great gourmet popcorn recipe is a surefire hit, prepping cuisine from the featured film is also a nice touch. It’s also fun to involve your guests in the food planning, inviting them to bring candy or savory snacks for a DIY snack bar. Guests can create their own “movie mix” of treats in personalized containers that match your movie-night theme.

When the sun sets, the magic begins. All that’s left is to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Make sure to take a photo of your summer movie celebration and share your personal touches using #backyardmovie.

 

*Illustration by Epson 2015

Little Church Boasts Big and Bright Projection

God said, “Let there be light.” Applewood Community Church agreed, and set out to find that light through a major renovation.

Applewood Community Church’s humble beginnings consisted of a small building nestled in the outskirts of Golden, Colorado, created for its community in 2005. However, as the community grew, so did the congregation. By 2011, the congregation had grown by more than 20 percent, mostly with kids. And one thing became certain – it was time for a renovation.

From July 2011 to August 2012, Applewood Community Church underwent a major renovation consisting of a complete renovation of the downstairs classroom space, an addition with new office space for the staff, a larger kitchen, updated landscaping, and a facelift of the sanctuary.

The result was nothing short of a miracle:

Applewood Church Before+After

But as church patrons filed in for services in their beautiful new space, they quickly noticed a critical piece of equipment for worship that failed to be upgraded – the sanctuary’s projector.

“Our old projector was 14 years old, not bright enough for the space and had very low resolution,” said Andy Platt, the leader of the church’s audio visual team.

It didn’t help that the new sanctuary was filled with light from its newly-installed bordering windows, making it nearly impossible for the projected images and videos to be seen.

“We had rebuilt the old projector once, maybe twice, and determined that even rebuilt, the projector was not going to meet our sanctuary’s needs,” Platt continued. “Our projector also had color and quality issues; the red was also shifted by two pixels to the left so sharpness to the image was impossible.”

The solution? The Epson PowerLite Pro G6750WU – and what a difference it made.

Applewood Church Worship 1

The words and images that were once hard to read and see were now bright and crisp. Patrons were wowed by the quality and brightness of the projected song lyrics, scripture and videos which had a huge impact on the worship experience.

The church also hosts a myriad of community activities, from classes to movie nights, and all experience the benefits of the PowerLite Pro G6750WU.

“The difference has been night and day. We can read the words on the screen in any lighting environment, and our movie nights are now better than ever,” professed Steve Seybold, one of the church’s technology consultants.

Applewood Church Worship 2

And the biggest difference between the old projector and the new PowerLite Pro G? It works within the bright light of the sanctuary.

“We can now leave the curtains up and lights on while watching a video. This was never previously possible,” said Seybold.

Applewood Church Worship 3

Be it through song lyrics, scripture, images, or videos, Applewood Church patrons are finally able to see their messages clearly, and the final piece of the renovation is complete, thanks to Epson and very dedicated members of the congregation.

 

*Photos courtesy of Justin LeVett Photography