Projection 101: Understanding Basic Terms in Layman’s

Due to the complexity of the technical side of projection, terms need to be put into more layman-friendly terms. Here are some easier-to-understand explanations of Black-White Levels or Black-White Dynamic Range, Color and Contrast.

Dave Rodgers  ·  June 20, 2017

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I really had to fight off the peer pressure of my associates in the AV world to avoid toning down the complexity of this subject, but it needs to be put into more layman-friendly terms. 

This is important because while this is common knowledge to an installer, the average customer has no idea about this stuff. 

This topic has been covered in all its glorious intricacy by best minds in organizations like SMPTE, CTA, InfoComm, ISF, & CEDIA. 

However, I recommend a more basic approach to someone who doesn’t know lux from lumens.

To understand Black-White levels and contrast, here are 3 characteristics of any perceived color that you should know.

• Color Saturation:
This is the intensity of a color. Think of a glass cup full of red paint and how it gets lighter with every drop of water you use to dilute it. The color is lighter because the color saturation is lower.  The color is fuller when color saturation is higher.
• Hue:
This represents the full range of colors that can be seen.  This incorporates the full Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet color spectrum.
• Luminance:
The measured presence from the black-white dynamic range that occurs with a measured point of color. It determines the brightness or darkness of an image. This is broken down to Tint (adding white to the color) and Shade (adding black to the color).

While contrast can describe how lighter and darker portions of an image differentiate from one another, that’s only part of the story.  Although, black-level dynamic range can enhance contrast, the same can be said about varying levels of color saturation whereas a more deeply saturated color will “contrast” with a lesser saturated color in the same spectrum. (See attached slide)

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