Back Projection Screens

Back Projection ScreenProjection screens for years have commonly been known as front projection or standard projection, however over the last 10 plus years back projection screens have actually become a substantial part of the projection screen market and are more common place in today’s technology display uses.

Back projection screens allow you to project an image onto the front of the projection screen from the rear or back side of the screen; on this note it is important to realize that front projection screens cannot be used as rear projection screens as they are not designed for that purpose. Most screens are designed for either front or back projection use and there are also dual purpose projection screens available that you can use as either.

You have probably heard in your lifetime this statement “use the right tool for the right job” and we mention it because as you begin your quest for a back projection screen surface we will help you understand some common uses and practices of back projection screens so you too can use the right screen for the right project.  So what are some of the uses of back projection screens?

  • Live events
  • Storefront digital window displays
  • Training facilities
  • Concerts and shows
  • Outdoor movie showings
  • Video trucks
  • Street level advertising
  • Trade show displays
  • Churches and House of Worship
  • Corporate demonstration rooms

What are the downsides or drawbacks to back projection screens? As with any product you should know the limitations and best practices; the biggest downside to back projection screen is the space needed. In order to project on the rear surface of your screen and fill it you need to plan accordingly and be sure that you have enough space to fill the screen. With the advancements in the technology of both projection screens and projectors you can accomplish more with less today; to give you an idea of the distance requirements and how they vary depending on your project and application we have a couple of examples for you.

short throw mirror rig projection screenProject A

OVERVIEW – A city council chambers wanted to replace their 20 year old front projection screen for a state of the art back projection screen display. They currently had a 112” screen that was in use and wanted to upgrade to a 133” rear projection display; the challenge they presented us with was they wanted it to stay in the same space requirements which were 3.5 feet off the wall. We had to put a system together using both a custom mirror rig and short throw projection lens to accomplish this but we managed to do it with a fair amount of calculation and technology.

Project B

Overview – A corporate client was participating in a tradeshow and wanted a floating back projection screen as their centerpiece when customers walk through the door, they had a structure setup and wanted an image to be suspended in the middle of it. For this application we recommended using our rigid back projection screen suspended on thin wire.

How does a back projection screen show the image correctly on the front side of the screen you might be asking yourself? The screen is just the display surface and does not contain the technology to turn the image around so you can see the words etc. properly; we receive so many calls the first time people go to setup their new projection screen and are wondering why the words are backwards. The answer to this question actually is found in the projector itself and not in the screen; inside of most projectors available in the market is what is called “mirror settings” and this gives them the ability to flip the image as needed for the following installations –

  • Ceiling mounted front projection applications
  • Ceiling Mounted back projection screen applications
  • Desk mounted front projection applications
  • Desk mounted back projection screen applications


Inside the projector and available from the menu functions you can find the functions to do flip the image to the correct position for your application. Although it varies from one projector manufacturer to another.

Typically you choose front or rear projection and then desk or ceiling mounting and this will correctly alter the image for display on your screen based on your setup. For a video of how to properly flip the image in your projector for a back projection screen application click here.


Why is the image brighter on the front than on the rear side of the screen?

Well this is a question that has a lot more to it then we have time to go into in this article but the bottom line is that the screen is specifically designed to retain the light on the front side of the screen and many times the image is barely if at all visible on the back side of the screen. Everything has its proper function and the back projection screen is specifically designed to capture the light from the rear in short.


What are the benefits of using back projection screens and how can you utilize this technology properly and get the most out of it? In the world of projection it is good to understand the basics of both front and rear projection surfaces and how they work, for more information and details on both technology types please click here but for now we will give you the quick overview.

Back projection allows the light path coming from the projector to continue through the projection screen towards the viewing audience; in contrast front projection screens reflect or bounce the image off of the projection surface and back to the viewers.

Back projection screen surfaces can provide a higher quality image with less firepower usually, as you don’t need to work as hard to get the image to the viewing audience. Most front projection screen surfaces are technologically lacking and contain inherent problems if you are fighting a lot of ambient light or real world circumstances; if you are not careful you can end up with a big nasty hot spot that seems to follow you around as you move. To learn more about hot spots click here.

There are many different kinds of back projection screen technology ranging from fabric to rigid or hard screens and even thin back projection films. As with any product available there are many different levels of technology when looking for a rear projection screen and you should educate yourself properly before you decide on which to purchase for your application; additional information on back projection screen technologies can be found by BACK PROJECTION SCREENS.