Selecting the proper mounting solution for your projector application can be like finding a needle in a haystack. There are literally hundreds of mounts on the market today in varying styles and sizes, and with just about every feature and option imaginable. So, where do you start?
Whether the projector is for the main worship sanctuary, overflow area or a smaller youth/ancillary room, choosing the right mounting solution will enable you to maximize what you can do with your projection technology.
Let’s start by clarifying the difference between a universal mount and a model-specific mount and outlining the benefits of each.
A universal mount is designed to fit a wide range of projector sizes, brands and models. The real beauty of a universal mount is its flexibility, which is great for worship centers that use a variety of different projectors. Universal mounts are designed with adjustable attachment “legs” or an adapter plate with hole patterns that match up to the mounting holes on the projector. They ship with a hardware kit that includes fasteners and spacers compatible with most projectors and an instruction manual that explains how to use them. Some manufacturers even go so far as to separate and label the hardware in sectioned pouches to help sort through the different fasteners and expedite installation. Most projector mount manufacturers offer universal mounts.
Model-specific — also referred to as dedicated — mounts are ideal when one particular projector model is repeatedly being used. Model-specific mounts come with a dedicated adapter plate and only the necessary hardware for that particular model. One might argue that model-specific mounts make great time-savers for those using a single projector or for multiple installations of the same projector model. It takes a strong commitment and many resources for a manufacturer to offer model-specific mounts, so only a few professional-grade companies actually carry them.
Projector Mounting Essentials
Once you determine whether a universal or model-specific mount is preferred, you’ll need to think about your application in terms of:
A well-functioning projector mount should be easy to install. It should also make aligning an image on a screen simple — even intuitive. Look for a projector mount that comes pre-assembled and includes all the hardware required for a quick installation. Most can be directly (flush) mounted to the ceiling or can be used with additional accessories that allow for other mounting options. Some mounts have multiple points of adjustment to precisely tune the image onto the screen, while others offer a single point of adjustment for quick image alignment. A few even come with a quick release feature for easy removal of the projector for lamp/filter replacement and maintenance.
It is important that your mount includes safety features to protect both the projector and the people around the equipment. It is important that you select a mount that is UL listed, meaning it has been tested to hold four times the rated load capacity. And look for one that includes integrated cable management to securely hide unsightly cords and cables and prevent accidental snagging during projector maintenance. Aside from the safety features designed into the projector mount, be sure the person installing it reads and understands the instructions included with the mount. The mount is only as safe as the installation.
There are many styles of projector mounts on the market, so choose one that matches the projector or the surrounding environment. Some mounts are made with formed sheet metal, while others are constructed out of high-grade aluminum for a stylish look. You may like one that blends in with the extension pole used in a drop application, or one with a low profile design for a sleek, slim solution to keep the projector – especially a larger model — up and out of view. Projector mounts are available in a variety of colors and finishes, making them ideal for both new construction and renovations. Again, choose a mount with cable management features not only for safety, but to make the installation look cleaner and more attractive.
Anytime costly projection equipment is used in a public location – including a worship center – security measures must be taken to prevent theft or vandalism. Several projector mount companies offer products with “passive” security features that range from security screws and locks to heavy-duty cables and full enclosures (see sidebar on passive security levels). While these are usually sufficient, other “active” security measures, such as alarms and electronic detection devices, can be implemented for higher risk applications.
Q&A — Common Projector Installation and Accessory Questions
You’re now ready to start thinking about mount accessories. Mount accessories help put the finishing touches on an installation by allowing you to optimize the placement and use of your mounted projector. Below are some of the most common questions asked about accessorizing projector mounts in a worship environment:
Q: Can I mount a projector from a cathedral ceiling?
A: Absolutely. You’ll need an accessory ceiling plate that can be adjusted to fit the angle of the ceiling. Some manufacturers offer this ceiling plate as an option for the mount.
Q: To what type of ceiling surfaces can a projector be mounted?
A: In addition to cathedral (vaulted) ceilings, projectors can be attached to many other ceiling surfaces commonly used in worship centers like a truss, I-beam or drop (false) ceiling. Prior to purchase, check to make sure your mount company carries an accessory that is compatible with your ceiling surface.
Q: How do I install my projector at the desired height?
A: You will require a drop ceiling extension column. Fixed or adjustable columns are offered at common drop lengths. Choose drop columns that incorporate safety features to ensure a secure installation.
Q: What if I can’t install the projector on the ceiling?
A: There are accessories available that allow a projector to be mounted from the wall. Wall construction may vary from wood to metal stud, concrete or cinder block. Be sure the right mounting hardware is used for the proper surface.
Q: How do I fine-tune the projector mount’s position after installation?
A: If you discover that the mounted projector needs to be slightly repositioned for better image alignment after installation, consider an accessory that allows positioning adjustability either at the ceiling plate level or at the mount level.
Q: Is there a mounting accessory available to reduce vibration?
A: Yes, there are several that reduce the vibration caused by HVAC units, sound systems or other outside factors. For small movement, a vibration dampening mechanism is suggested, and for large movement, stabilizing brackets and suspension cable accessories will usually do the trick.
The right projector mount and accessories can make a good application magnificent. Take the time upfront to select the most appropriate mounting solution for your worship facility. You’ll then be able to shift your focus to the impact the mounted visual display has on your worship message.