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Front or Rear Projection: Which to Choose for Your Event

Updated: May 3, 2022

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If you are organizing a live event and plan to use video, you will want to ensure that your visual media content is delivered in the best way possible. This applies whether you are showing an enticing intro video or just projecting a Powerpoint presentation. In either scenario, you will have to decide whether to use front or rear projection.

Simply put, the difference between these two options is that the front projection reflects light off of the screen while rear-projection diffuses the projector's light through the screen. The cost and time associated with each are relatively similar; however, there are several factors to consider, when determining which might make one option better than the other for your particular event.

The Venue – How Much Space Do You Have?

One of the critical factors when deciding between front or rear projection is the amount of space that is available in your venue. Let's look at the space implications of each option in turn:

Front Projection

With front projection, the screen can be placed against a wall since all the equipment will be in front of the screen. The projector can either be positioned on the floor, mounted to the ceiling, or at the back of the room with your other production equipment. Front projection, particularly if you are mounting the projector to the ceiling, clears up floor space allowing for a higher audience capacity or other activities/vendors. Additionally, because the projector can be placed anywhere between a few feet to several yards from the screen, front projection is an excellent option for large audiences and venues. However, be aware that anything between the projector and screen, such as a presenter standing in front of the screen or structural features like pillars or chandeliers will generate shadows.

Rear Projection

With this arrangement, everything will be behind the screen; therefore, the screen will need to be placed away from the wall to make room for the equipment. This option is best suited for larger venues since it does cut down space in the room. The specific amount of space needed behind the screen will vary depending on the size of the screen, projector, and projector lens being used. The advantage, however, is it eliminates any issues with shadows such as people walking in front of the projector.

Ambient Light

With front projection, the image produced is considerably weakened if there is a lot of ambient light, so you would need a way to darken the room to ensure the image is bright and clear. With rear projection, the presence of ambient light can actually make the image better by increasing contrast and saturation, so it would be well worth considering this for rooms where it is not possible to eliminate the required amount of ambient light.

Line of Sight and Angle

Take into account where your audience will sit in relation to the screen. With front projection, the screen gain has the greatest effect on the viewing angle. As a general guideline, the further off to the side the attendees sit, the more distorted the image becomes. With rear projection, the angle is not as imperative, but screen material should be carefully considered, as this can affect the quality and clarity of the images.

Look and Feel

Lastly, when it comes to choosing which option is best for your event, consider the event's ambiance. With front projection, the visibility of the equipment in the venue can make it seem cluttered and less professional. While rear projection, everything is hidden away behind the screen giving the event a clean, clear, and professional look.

All of these factors need to be carefully considered before making a final decision. If you are still unsure or your event has some complex AV needs please get in touch, we are always happy to help make your event memorable for all the right reasons.


Sound board/mixer at front of house at a live concert


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