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How Do Projectors Project The Black Color?

How Do Projectors Project The Black Color?

Projectors basically produce an image by casting out light onto a surface. The light is cast out through a small transparent lens.

Projectors don’t just project black and white images. They also project colored images using color producing technology.

While black is present in almost every image, it is not really projected. In fact, it depends on deflection rather than reflection of light.

Most of us have probably wondered at some point, “how do projectors project the black color?”

In this article, you’ll find answers to that question. We also discuss what screen types project better blacks.

Black Color Projection Explained

how projector produces black color

When light from a projector lamp is split, we get red, blue and green light beams. Sometimes, there is white, but never black.

Where exactly does the black color on your screen come from? Well, this section explains it.

The fact is that there is no such thing as black light. There is just an absence of light or a very dim white light.

The projector tricks the human vision into seeing black color. It projects light to the surrounding areas and deflects light from the black parts of the image.

Projector pixels are either in an ON or OFF position. When they’re in the off position, they deflect any light rays that fall on them.

This causes an absence of light on that part of the picture. The result is a grey or black color on the screen.

Have you noticed how rooms that house projectors are always dark? Cinema halls also warn against secondary (ambient) light.

This is because projectors create pictures with front projection. Secondary light can interfere with the strength of the beam directed at the screen.

Darkness or darker rooms accentuate the lights falling on the screen. It also accentuates the dark areas of the picture and improves black colors.

How Good Is the Projector Black Against the TV Black?

Projectors give you good and beautiful visuals on large screens. They are most ideal for public use and large audiences.

There’s one limitation, however. Projectors need little or no secondary lighting for higher picture clarity.

This limitation lends TVs a slight advantage.

There are projectors and TVs within the same price range. It has been noticed that the luminance of TV panels beats that of projectors within the same price range.

They may even beat projectors with ambient light rejection features. This feature enables a projector to give good quality displays in lit environments.

Here’s how TV panels work: they turn off the pixels in the areas where black color is needed. The pixels on TV panels are black by default.

TV turns off pixels for black color presence

These turned off pixels do not reflect or emit any light. Therefore, they show their native black color with or without the presence of secondary lighting.

However, with projectors, the quality of the black color depends on the strength of other projected colors.

Where there is high ambient light, the projected image may lose some clarity. This will also cause the black areas to look pale.

In other words the darker the room, the better the black color quality.

Projectors have a limitation: they are dependent on the absence of ambient light for better black color.

TVs, on the other hand, have pure black OLED panels that display a healthy black when pixels are turned off.

Comparing the Black Color on the Black Projector Screen Vs the White Projector Screen

black vs white projector screen

Quite frankly, the verdict of this section was already out even before the question was asked.

Black screens display better blacks than white screens. In the paragraphs that follow, we will give a detailed explanation.

Ambient light interferes with projection. It causes projected images to have a white-washed appearance.

Black screens give up to 80 to 85 percent light rejection. This quality equips them to display clear pictures even in a lit up room or area.

The white screen, however, has only about 15 percent light rejection. This makes it less ideal for projecting in daylight or bright rooms.

Lighting, even from a simple room light bulb, can significantly reduce the quality of the visuals projected on a white screen.

White screens can display amazing visuals too. They only require that one darkens the area.

White screens have long been the standard. They were first invented, are less expensive, and are still widely used.

People lean towards white screens because they display brighter images. However, black screens possess better contrast.

Colors always come off more pronounced on black surfaces than white surfaces. Even black color looks better on black surfaces.

The answer to the question, “how do projectors project the color black?” helps you to understand the result of this comparison better.

Like we mentioned earlier, black color projection involves the omission or reduction of projected light on specific areas.

What better background to display black color than a similarly black screen?

When light is deflected from a black screen, the resulting color is the black of the screen.

Even without a dark room, black screens display deep blacks. They also combat ambient light and display other colors in high clarity.

Think of it like this:

Light deflected from a black screen and light deflected from a white screen; which screen would show a better black color?

I’m sure your answer is the black screen.

White screens do not display the black color in the same quality as a black screen. In high secondary light, black color may appear grey on a white screen.

White screens are best used in a room with controlled lighting. To use them in lit up rooms, one would need a very strong projector.

Tips To Help With Projecting Black Color

If you want better blacks on your projected images, here are a few things to try:

  • Decrease any existing, contrasting secondary light. It is best if the beam from the projector lamp is the only light source in the room.
  • Manipulate the contrast and brightness levels of the projector to your preferred quality.
  • Make use of a less reflective screen like grey. It can help in better and clearer picture presentation.
  • Make use of black screen material to achieve better black color quality.

The absence of light takes on the color of what you are projecting on. Black screens come highly recommended in projecting better black color.


Evidently, projectors don’t send out black light. Rather, they emit low or no light at all on areas of projected pictures that are meant to have a black color.

Regardless of projection strength, lighting always affects picture quality.

The production of good black color relies on absence light and the color of projector screens. Black projector screens and black paneled TV screens are better at projecting black colors.

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