Not all projectors are portable. Most are designed to be permanently installed and are too heavy to be lugged around. The portable ones get used in various environments — in another room, the patio, the complete outdoors, etc.
Not to mention, using a projector in varied settings means the device has to deal with different lighting conditions. And your average projector may not be able to perform equally well in diverse ambiances at its default setting.
Projectors, therefore, come built-in with a feature or setting that lets them adapt to their environment to produce the best visuals possible. Epson projectors have the “color mode” feature to facilitate just that.
But what is “color mode”, and how does it enhance your projector viewing experience? What impact do the different modes have on lamp life? Keep reading to find answers to all of them and more.
Epson Projectors and Color Modes
Color mode helps adjust the contrast, brightness, and, of course, color that your Epson projector produces for multiple viewing scenarios.
Instead of you, the user, manually fiddling with the brightness, contrast, color, etc., of the visuals on the screen, the various modes, and the predetermined picture settings accomplish the same at the mere click of a button.
If the picture you see on the screen doesn’t seem right or to your liking, just keep pressing the “color mode” control button on your remote until things look good or the correct mode is chosen.
The following are the various color mode presets and the environment and purpose they are best suited for:
|Dynamic||Ideal for projections within a well-illuminated space|
|Presentation||Suits color presentations in well-lit rooms the best|
|Natural||Suits projection of photos or non-moving content|
|Cinema||True to its name, the setting works the best projecting movies in a dark environment|
|BT.709||Ideal for Blu-ray discs or digital TV content consumption (the images produced adhere to ITU-R BT.709)|
|DICOM SIM||Works best in medical settings (for projecting medical images such as X-ray photos)|
|Multi-Projection||Works the best when using more than one projector (helps bring down the color tone disparities between the visuals)|
Note: Not every Epson projector model will have all the color modes mentioned above. If your projector lacks one or more of the picture modes, you may use the individual settings for brightness, contrast, color saturation, sharpness, tint, etc., instead.
Dynamic is the brightest mode since it has to negotiate the ambient lighting in a given space.
The mode, however, could have a slightly greenish hue — which won’t be obvious enough to be distracting but could be discerned upon close inspection. In some Epson projectors, the tint could be a bit more pronounced.
The skin tones of humans may look a tad yellowish, but not to the extent of making things look unnatural. General projector users are unlikely to notice the slight boost in skin tone since people usually only turn on this color mode in outdoor projections.
Presentation mode facilitates projecting just the presentation slides, or the pages occupy the entire virtual real estate on offer, thereby offering a seamless look.
The presentation pages would show up on the screen only when the file is in slideshow mode. If it’s not in slideshow mode but in standard view, the file will not show up. Instead, a black screen would appear.
The presentation mode works with all presentation files and formats, including PowerPoint and Keynote.
Natural mode, as the name implies, projects visuals the way the creator intended. In other words, there won’t be an artificial or forced boost or decline in brightness, color saturation, contrast, etc.
The color mode is not for users who like vivid images. It’s for people who are sticklers for accuracy in visuals.
The mode comes in extremely handy while making color adjustments/corrections during photo or video editing.
If you would like to edit your video and images on a projector screen, turn on the “natural” mode before getting started.
Cinema is the picture setting to opt for when watching movies or consuming videos in a dark room setting or spaces with low ambient light.
It’s the dimmest picture setting of them all because it’s meant to be used in dark environments. You’ll experience the lack of luminosity when employing the color mode outdoors or when there’s ample environment light.
Cinema mode offers the darkest blacks of all picture modes while keeping the shadow details intact. The picture standard also lets you appreciate 3D effects in dark scenes. The black certainly won’t look like a consistent block with zero definition or character.
If you like to watch movies when there’s daylight seeping into the room, use the Bright Cinema mode instead.
Bright Cinema can tackle ambient light a lot more efficiently than Cinema mode. But you must pull down the curtains to block out natural light as much as possible. Do not expect Bright Cinema to work with lights turned on.
Not to mention, Bright Cinema provides good contrast and shadow detail like Cinema mode.
BT.709 is the display calibration setting that many projectors usually come with set as standard, including Epson beamers.
Although BT.709 encompasses recommendations for frame rate, resolution, color range, bit depth, etc., the color range aspect usually receives more attention. Not to mention, it offers true-to-life colors.
BT.2020 (another display calibration setting) packs in color composition that’s quite a bit color-boosted and can be easily detected by the naked eye.
6. DICOM SIM
The DICOM SIM (Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine Simulation) mode helps handle, store, print, and transmit medical imaging data. It lets its users reproduce visuals with an enhanced grey scale level.
The mode is best suited for viewing X-rays and other grayscale medical images generally used for educational and training purposes.
Kindly note, the color mode is purely for reference purposes and not for medical diagnoses.
In case you weren’t aware, two or more Epson or non-Epson projectors could be made to work in tandem and produce much larger images than a single projector could create.
Visual size is usually not an issue with projectors. But when you blow up the canvas huge (200 inches or more), the texts could get grainy, or the pixels may be a bit more discernible. A multi-projector setup helps address those image sharpness concerns.
The above represents the color mode options for 2D visuals.
Epson has distinct color modes to handle 3D images as well. Those are:
|3D Dynamic||Bright room projections|
|3D Cinema||Dark environment movie projections|
|3D THX||General dark room projections|
Do Color Modes Impact Your Epson Projector’s Lamp Life?
The lifespan of your projector is dependent on multiple aspects — including the length of use, usage environment, projector maintenance, etc. The aforementioned picture settings play a role, too, but not solely or to the extent you could have possibly imagined.
The lamp shines or emits light and varying intensities with the above color mode settings. In Dynamic mode, it burns the most to produce brighter-than-normal visuals.
In Natural color mode, the lamp doesn’t have to work that hard. And in Cinema mode, the bulb or light source exerts the slightest pressure on itself to perform since the particular color mode is the dimmest of all the settings.
In short, if Epson claims your projector’s lamp would last for 5,000 hours, it supposedly arrived at that number, assuming you would be using the various color modes during the projector’s lifespan and not just a particular picture setting.
If you happen to use only the Dynamic mode on your projector, it may not live up to the 5,000 hours lamp promise since the lamp hits 100 percent brightness levels when projecting white or bright images.
That, however, doesn’t imply you must not take your projector outside and set the picture setting to Dynamic. If you predominantly use your beamer outdoors, do not allow the color mode and its influence on lamp life to dictate how you’ll use the device.
The impact picture setting has on the lamp life should not be on your mind or a hurdle against using your projector, especially if the replacement bulb is relatively cheap. It may not be worth the experience.
If you want the bulb to last the distance, live up to its potential life, or go beyond, turn your attention toward the more critical aspects influencing lamp health.
A Few Tips to Ensure Optimal Projector Lamp Health
If you are worried about lamp life, focus more on using the projector in the correct settings and maintaining it well. In other words, give the projector proper breaks.
Instead of using the device eight to 10 hours straight, use it for two to three hours at a stretch; break for 15 to 30 minutes; use the projector for another couple of hours, and take another break.
The non-continuous use would ensure the projector doesn’t get too hot from service and has its breathing periods. When too warm to the touch, various device components will take a severe beating or age prematurely, including the lamp.
Interim rests of at least 15 or 30 minutes are mandatory to reduce the load on the projector.
If you’re turning on a projector that’s hot or warm from recent use, you must not have switched it off, to begin with. Turn off the device only when you’re done for the day or not going to turn the device on for the next 15 minutes at least or until all the projector heat has dissipated.
There’s no best Epson projector color mode(s) as such. The picture setting that suits your requirements and personal tastes is the “best”. And that could differ for various users and their diverse requirements.
For instance, the best color mode would be Dynamic for people who like portable projectors, such as the Epson EpiqVision Mini EF12 . For individuals who have a space dedicated for projection or cinema viewing, Cinema mode would grab their fancy the most.
Therefore, don’t worry much about what the experts or random users in a forum online say about color modes. If a particular picture mode looks the best to you, it’s the “best color mode”.
Catherine Tramell has been covering technology as a freelance writer for over a decade. She has been writing for Pointer Clicker for over a year, further expanding her expertise as a tech columnist. Catherine likes spending time with her family and friends and her pastimes are reading books and news articles.