Projection and Worship Imagery: Guide to Projectors

The gear that magically outputs light to form a beautiful images can be a complex piece of equipment to understand. Here are basics to help navigate the emerging types of projectors available on today's market.

LUKE MCELROY  ·  September 7, 2017

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From movie theaters to churches, and seemingly everywhere in between, is a projector.

For churches, projectors can be used to display readings, announcements or lyrics, among other ways to help their congregation follow along. The little contraption that magically outputs light to form a beautiful image on a myriad of surfaces can be a complex piece of technology to understand.

But don’t let the mystery of their model numbers confuse you. In the end, projectors are beautiful instruments that have a very specific place in our technological world!

Projection Technology

First, let’s examine the various projection technologies available — that is, how a projector actually creates an image. There are pros and cons to each of the following three primary projection technologies for a house of worship, and I’ll do my best to break down each technology that is the backbone to their operation.

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display):

These are the most popular and often the most cost effective projectors. The church I attended for 10 years in the Nashville area more than a decade ago was looking to purchase a projector to create a large digital backdrop for their set design. Since budget was the single greatest concern, they opted then for a 10,000 lumen LCD projector, the Christie LX120. After 10 years of use, the church recently updated that projector to a three-chip DLP unit, purchasing the Christie Roadster S+16K. LCD technology uses three crystal panels, (known as “chips”) which give this technology its name, creating an image out of these liquid display panels.

As the images are processed, the projector allows various amounts of light through these panels. One panel is specifically for green light, another for blue light, and finally the third for red light, combined to be described as producing “RGB” colors. By allowing light variations to pass through these different pieces of glass, the projector is able to create the image we want, to be seen by the congregation. The simplest way to explain a projector’s LCD technology is this: Light passes through a chip in order to project an image.

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