To make your home cinema more “cinematic”, you can put up a projector there along with your media players, HDTV, computer rigs, and other display monitors. A projector can give you a movie-theater feel due to its big images. You can even further enhance your viewing pleasure with the right sound system to give you that surround sound experience. With that said, mounting your projector can be quite the pain in the neck, especially if you’re doing so on your ceiling rather than on the floor. However, it saves so much space and effort on your part that it’s something worth considering.
How to Mount and Hide Your Projector on the Ceiling
There are a myriad of measurements to take when mounting your projector to the ceiling, which includes screen size, room size, projector placement, projector angle, and throws distance or the distance from the screen to projector lens so that the image is the same size as the screen. Measure all of these properly to help decide where to mount the projector. Now let’s discuss the steps needed to mount your projector.
- Measure the Height of the Ceiling: You should also know the height of the ceiling. This way, you can buy the appropriate screen size and mount it at the right height relative to where you could place your projector so that its image is centered on its surface. The projection should be at the center location of the screen. Not a little below and not a little higher, or else you’ll have to use the image shift function of your projector to adjust every time. It’s advised that you keep the lower section of the screen about 24 inches off of the ground at a minimum. The optimum screen size for a typical home cinema is 100 inches as well. Mark the ideal screen placement with tape or pencil to know where exactly to move and mount the screen.
- Find a Location to Mount the Projector: As much as possible, you should have the projector placed in such a way that there’s little need to fiddle with its lens shift and keystone correction features. To do that, you should calculate the throw distance or the ideal distance between the projector and screen so that the resulting image fits perfectly unto the screen. You can estimate the throw distance using the throw ratio mentioned in your projector’s user manual. The formula is screen width multiplied by throw ratio equals throw distance. This will give you the right amount of distance between the projector and screen. There are some devices that include a throw ratio range rather than a specific throw ratio, so you might need trial and error to get the right position.
- Positioning the Projector: The ideal location for the projector to screen placement is where ambient light won’t fall directly unto the screen. If you have a window there, close it. If you have an overhead light fixture there, turn it off before viewing. Or if you want to view something in ambient light, find the darkest place to put your screen and then place your projector relative to where the screen is placed. To wit, in order to find out where you should hang your projector like a security camera or a spotlight, you should know where to place the screen too. Some projector mounts have swivels on them so that you can move the projector around to always face the screen. At any rate, never put your screen near the window that can’t be closed or can’t block sunlight.
- More about Finding the Throw Distance: After estimating the throw distance, you still need to calibrate the projector to get the exact throw distance that works for both the device and its screen. You’ll have to move the projector around and put up markers on the part of the ceiling where the mounting will happen. This way, there will be little calibration done via the projector itself once it is mounted. You should also keep a safe distance between viewers while sitting down and the hanging projector. You should also take into consideration the power outlet positioning, media player placement, and HDMI cable length for good measure.
- Get The Best Vertical Offset: Churning out the best vertical offset will help determine what vertical length you’ll have to place the projector at when push comes to shove. The vertical offset is mentioned on your user manual as a percentage of the positive and negative mark. Use the offset in order to set the projector at various heights while controlling the lens shift and checking the best viewing length relative to your screen. Take note that if there isn’t a vertical lens shift available, you should simply hang the projector at the recommended height as advised by the user manual. You can also make use of clamps to ensure the projector’s placement at the right height as well.
- Search for the Best Viewing Angle: If your projector has a widescreen aspect ratio then you should brace yourself because the overall size of the image or projection can get quite bigger than normal. You should take this time to adjust the projector in a way that its lens is almost parallel to the screen’s midsection to ensure perfect placement. From there, you can use the horizontal lens shift to move the projection around at dead center of the screen. That center placement should be your target because in case the projection is slightly too big for the screen, you can always zoom it in or out until it fits perfectly.
- Make The Necessary Holes on Your Ceiling: After making all the necessary precautions and measurements to find the exact place to mount your projector at, now you can begin mounting it. Use a power drill to make the necessary holes in your ceilings for projector placement. That part of your ceiling should be reinforced with beams and/or concrete so that it could support the weight of the device, even if it’s a mini or lightweight projector. There are chances of accidents or a falling projector if you lack the proper support for your projector placement. You can even make use of the extended wood panel for the sake of connecting two joists in the ceiling before installing the bracket on the indicated location altogether.
- Mounting Your Projector Itself to the Ceiling: It’s at this point that you should attach the projector to the mount. Thankfully, you can buy projectors that come with the mounting bracket to spare you the trouble of buying a one that fits your projector separately. When shopping for brackets, make sure you get a sturdy, high-quality mount instead of a cheap one. This ensures your projector won’t get off-position or dislodged even after months of use. So you need the proper support from the ceiling and a sturdy mount to boot in order to give you the best projector viewing experience even when they’re dealing with a heavy equipment load.
- Attach the Mounting Bracket to the Projector: After attaching the bracket to the projector, follow the instructions included in your user manual for the bracket. It should give you detailed steps when attaching the projector to the mount, such as making sure the bracket is in-line with the lens. The mount should furthermore be screwed tight so that the entire bracket is connected to your display device in an ideally strong and safe fashion. From there, mount the other bracket on your ceiling, which will then get padded with the bracket attached to your projector. Screw the bolts on these connecting brackets then screw the mount unto the holes you made with your power drill.
- Hide the Projector and Finish Up The Job: After attaching the mount to the ceiling and the brackets to each other, tighten the bolts with the right amount of torque. Check whether the projector is drifting or not after the brackets have been attached. In regards to hiding the projector, you can do it by investing in a mount that opens and closes on your ceiling like a trap door. You can also use trunking and cable management to hide the projector’s presence from being too obvious. It’s also possible to invest in a wireless dongle receiver to allow you to connect your projector to the media players without the need for HDMI cables.
When All Is Said and Done
Consumers often neglect to remember that purchasing projectors and taking it home is not the end of your overarching task of setting up your home cinema. It doesn’t end there. Rather, you still have to set everything up properly. Putting your projector on the table can be a hassle since you have to correctly place and aim it at the screen every time. You also have dust and wire issues to contend with. It’s so much better to set everything up properly, including the ceiling mount, so that you can experience a seamless viewing session every time. Just remember that if you believe putting up a projector is too much of a hassle you can always hire someone to do it for you.