Mind Your Shadows

By M. David Stone  |  Posted 2008-07-23 Print this article Print

Mind Your Shadows

You can usually avoid shadows in front projection by mounting the projector on a ceiling, using a laser pointer to point to the screen (instead of trying to point with some physical object, like your arm, getting between the projector and the screen), or both. In a small conference room, however, positioning a standard throw projector to avoid shadows may mean putting it relatively close to the screen and living with a smaller image than you'd like. Choosing a short throw projector can usually solve that problem. If it doesn't for a given room, an ultrashort-throw projector should certainly solve it.

1. Projectors Aren't Just for Presentations

Avoiding shadows can also be a problem in other situations. A projector setup that works for a presentation, for example, with only one person needing to point things out on the screen, may not work well if the image is something like an architectural drawing, that everyone in the room needs to point to and discuss. Similarly, you may need a display in, say, a reception area, where people will be standing up and walking around, and can easily cast shadows.

2. Look Ma, No Shadows

One way to avoid any possibility of shadows is to put the projector in back of a translucent rear-projection screen. The problem with rear projection is that you need enough room behind the screen for the projector to throw the size image you want. For a standard or even a short-throw projector, that works out to a lot of dead space behind the screen. For an ultrashort-throw projector, however, all you need is to wall off a small part of a room, or, better yet, put the projector in a small recess in the wall behind the screen.


M. David Stone is an award-winning freelance writer and computer industry consultant with special areas of expertise in imaging technologies (including printers, monitors, large-screen displays, projectors, scanners, and digital cameras), storage (both magnetic and optical), and word processing. His 25 years of experience in writing about science and technology includes a nearly 20-year concentration on PC hardware and software. He also has a proven track record of making technical issues easy for non-technical readers to understand, while holding the interest of more knowledgeable readers. Writing credits include eight computer-related books, major contributions to four others, and more than 2,000 articles in national and worldwide computer and general interest publications. His two most recent books are The Underground Guide to Color Printers (Addison-Wesley, 1996) and Troubleshooting Your PC, (Microsoft Press, 2000, with co-author Alfred Poor).

Much of David's current writing is for PC Magazine, where he has been a frequent contributor since 1983 and a contributing editor since 1987. His work includes feature articles, special projects, reviews, and both hardware and software solutions for PC Magazine's Solutions columns. He also contributes to other magazines, including Wired. As Computers Editor at Science Digest from 1984 until the magazine stopped publication, he wrote both a monthly column and additional articles. His newspaper column on computers appeared in the Newark Star Ledger from 1995 through 1997.

Non-computer-related work includes the Project Data Book for NASA's Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (written for GE's Astro-Space Division), and magazine articles and AV productions on subjects ranging from cosmology to ape language experiments. David also develops and writes testing scripts for leading computer magazines, including PC Magazine's PC Labs. His scripts have covered a wide range of subjects, including computers, scanners, printers, modems, word processors, fax modems, and communications software. He lives just outside of New York City, and considers himself a New Yorker at heart.


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