The most important aspect of this process is having the right projector. The more lumens the better, but you should be using a projector that is no less than 4000 lumens. The sweet spot for price & brightness is around 4000-5000 lumens. You also need a high contrast ratio; however, that is an often debated spec as manufacturers seem to rate contrast ratio differently. What’s probably just as important, or more important, is using a DLP projector. The blacks are deeper, making it so you don’t see the gray box. You will also want to pay attention to the native resolution of the projector. Full HD, 1920×1080, is preferred, but a projector with a native resolution of 1280×800 will project a nice image, too.
You should try to get a projector that has both horizontal and vertical keystone correction. Having just one or the other will be helpful, but having both will allow you the most flexibility with where you place the projector and still have an image that looks as it was designed. Some projectors also have something called quick corners or corner fit, which also helps to adjust the image so it looks good when shooting from weird angles. In addition, it’s great if you can find a projector that can display images from a USB drive. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a media player.
The following are the minimum specs we would recommend when considering a projector:
– Lumens (4000+): how bright the image will be
– Contrast ratio (over 8,000:1): Difference between white & black. A contrast ratio of 8000:1 means the white is 8000 times brighter than the black.
– Keystone (BOTH horizontal & vertical keystone): This is what allows you to shoot at angles, or different heights, and adjust the image so it doesn’t look distorted.
– Resolution (at least 1280×800): The number of pixels. The higher the number, the more pixels are used, and the higher quality the image is.
– Zoom (at least 1.3x): This is how much you can change the image size by adjusting the lens. This is what allows you to move the projector further away without the image being huge (or to put it closer and get it bigger).
The projectors in the “featured projectors” section below are projectors we have tested ourselves for monogram/image projection, so we have experience with every featured projector listed. We have yet to find the perfect projector, but each of these projectors has features that make them one of our recommended projectors. This list is updated every few months and may include some discontinued projectors, but we still include them in our list because they are still among the best for this application (and can still be found new or even refurbished).