In most practical use situations, projectors face the issue of ambient light. What is the science behind this effect, and what are the solutions for maintaining a bright image when the environment will not allow for the proper darkness? Steve Cook, Consultant Relations Manager at Draper, provided some insights on ambient light rejection (ALR).

“Ambient light impacts projected images in a few different ways,” Cook said. “Projection is a two-piece system. You have a projector, and you have a screen with a screen surface. Both of those things come into play, and if they are not selected properly, you can get into trouble right off the bat,” he said.

With ambient light, various sources around the room bounce off surfaces, including the screen where one only wants projected light to reflect.

“It’s a competition between two types of light. You need to make sure that the light coming from the projector off the screen getting into your eyes exceeds by a good margin the light coming from the ambient light,” Cook said.

The diffusion level of the screen surface impacts the amount of ambient light that hits the surface. The more the surface diffuses light, the more light will wash out the image. The two challenges for optimal projection in ambient light are how bright an image returns to the viewer’s eyes and how much ambient light impacts the screen surface.

To combat the problems of ambient light, ALR offers a solution.

“Ambient light rejection allows someone to get decent performance from the projection system in a fully lighted room,” Cook said.

An ambient light rejection screen allows you to exceed a 15:1 system contrast, a target baseline to ensure proper brightness in a lighted room. Draper’s TecVision ALR surfaces feature an absorbing dark backing, which prevents picture degradation from the light behind the screen and is engineered for high contrast, precise resolution, color accuracy, and the broadest possible viewing cone.

While ALR systems remedy ambient lighting situations, it is essential to remember that it is not a solution for sunlight.

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