Outdoor movie projectors are a great way to enjoy an outdoor space. You can create drive-through or outdoor camping movie experiences and share your favorite movies with family and friends. Outdoor projectors can be expensive, so we’ll focus on brightness, not everything. Projectors are sorted by brightness, which is recorded in lumens. Do you know how many lumens an outdoor projector can make it a perfect fit? Let’s explore together!
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What Is Lumens
In simple terms, lumens are the visible light measurement of a single light source per unit of time.
Unlike other radiant power measurements, which include all light waves in the spectrum, lumens only measure light visible to the human eye.
This is the most convenient way to measure how much light we can perceive from a device.
Most projectors are marked with ANSI lumens, a defined measurement standardized by the American National Standards Institute.
Projectors marked with ANSI lumens are easier to compare because they all meet the same standard.
Related Reading: What is ANSI Lumens?
How Many Lumens For Outdoor Movie Projector?
There are a lot of factors that determine how many lumens you need in an outdoor projector. Here are some things to consider:
- Ambient light
Of course, on a sunny day, you’ll need a very bright projector to enjoy a movie outdoors. But keep in mind that even at night, your outdoor space may have a lot of ambient light.
Street lights, security lights, night lights, and even the moon can create an ambient light that competes with projectors.
- Screen size
The larger the screen, the more lumens the projector needs to fill the entire area. If you have a large outdoor projector screen, you need a bigger, more powerful projector.
- Content and Image Quality
The truth is, you usually don’t use a projector at the highest possible brightness.
If you’re watching a movie or playing a game, turning the projector to 100% will wash out the image, reducing contrast and quality.
In practice, you’ll usually be watching content at a brightness well below the projector’s maximum capacity.
- Screen “Gain”
Gain is a measure of how much light the screen itself can reflect. A screen with a gain of 1.0 reflects light evenly in all directions.
A screen with a higher gain can increase the brightness, but it must be within the specified viewing angle.
If you want more brightness for outdoor movies, consider opting for a higher-gain screen, assuming you’ll be sitting at a good viewing angle to enjoy it.
Because of all these different factors, you need to choose the right outdoor projector for your screen, content, and lighting conditions. Here are some basic suggestions:
- Most experts recommend an outdoor projector with 2500-3000 lumens during the day, but more lumens is better on sunny days. However, you may need 5000 lumens or more for the project on a huge screen or wall
- If you’re watching an outdoor movie with a smaller screen in the dark, you’ll probably only need 500-800 lumens.
Related Reading: How to Set Up An Outdoor Cinema?
What If the Outdoor Movie Projector Doesn’t List Lumens?
Unfortunately, not every outdoor movie projector simply lists its lumens, making it difficult to compare them.
Here are some other brightness measurements that projectors can use, and how they compare.
Lux is a measure of lumens relative to volume. In other words, how much visible light can be seen per square meter of space?
You can use the online calculator to enter your desired lumens and screen surface area and get your desired lux measurement.
A watt is a measure of how much energy a light bulb uses. It’s not a measure of brightness, but it can be converted to lumens.
For example, 13W LED bulbs, 19W CFL bulbs, 53W halogen bulbs, and 75W incandescent bulbs all produce about 1100 lumens.
How Many Lumens For Outdoor Movie Projector Is Good In Daylight?
Above 3000 lumens is best for outdoor projectors. However, in most cases, many characters come into play, such as ambient lighting factor and screen size. Therefore, the number of lumens varies with these aspects. However, anything above 3000 lumens is fine for a daytime outdoor projector.
What Kind Of Projector Do You Need For Outdoor Movies?
Projectors with high brightness lumens and good quality and gain capacity are suitable for outdoor projection. If you know how many lumens are suitable for an outdoor projector, you can better decide which projector is best for your outdoor movie. You can check the brightness and other related information in the detailed projector buying guide.
How Many Lumens Are Enough For A Daytime Projector?
When we say daytime projector, we actually want to use the projector during the day. In most cases, we want to use the projector on a lawn or garden in direct sunlight. So 3000 to 3500 lumens should be ideal for a daytime projector.
If you want to enjoy movies, games, TV, and other content outdoors, you need a high-quality projector. Brightness is almost always better when viewing during the day, but it’s not always necessary.
Depending on your content type, screen size, screen gain, and ambient lighting conditions, you can still use an outdoor projector, even with fewer lumens.