The amount of lumens that a movie theater projector might produce would depend on the actual size of the screen. For example, if you go to an IMAX theater, that projector would use more lumens than a regular sized movie theater projector would need to.
In general, a movie theater projector could range anywhere between 40,000 to 60,000 lumens.
If you do not know much about lumens, this number might seem strange to you. For reference, a lamp can range anywhere from a few hundred lumens to a few thousand lumens.
A projector that you might use in your home or office space might only be a few thousand lumens. The larger the space the image needs to be projected on, the higher the number of lumens required to produce a clear picture.
What Are Lumens?
This is why lumens are used as a way to measure things such as projector strength. They will be able to tell you how strong a light is, and you can easily compare the strengths of different projectors this way.
Watts are not a measure of lumens. Knowing what the wattage of a light is will not help you to understand how bright a light is.
This is why it is better to measure movie theater projectors and regular home projectors in lumens rather than watts.
What Are Watts?
Watts are a measurement of how much energy is being consumed. While this can sound misleading, it is vastly different from the meaning of lumens.
The difference is that watts are a measure of how much energy you are consuming, rather than how much light is being produced.
Knowing the wattage that something takes up will not help you to determine how bright something is, which is why it is not a helpful way to understand how bright movie theater projectors have to be.
Watts are more important for knowing how much power you are either able to use or how much power you will be using.
For example, lamps have wattage limits that you can’t go above. You’re probably going to want to track the amount of watts your household is using, as it will be charged on your power bill.
Why Are Watts and Lumens Important?
Lumens and watts measure two different things, so they are both important to know.
Their importance becomes relevant in different situations, though.
For example, if you are worried about how bright something is, you are going to want to check to see how many lumens it has. This is what is going to tell you how much light a thing is able to produce, but not how much energy it uses to produce this light.
If you are looking for how much energy something takes up, you should check for how many watts it uses. This is important for when you are looking at things such as energy limits, and when you are checking your power bill.
Because of these different uses for the measurements, it’s likely that you won’t really need to use them both at the same time.
Using them both at the same time only comes in handy when you are trying to figure out how energy efficient a product is. In general, something that is energy efficient will use the fewest watts to produce the most lumens.
Read more: How Many Watts Does A Projector Use?
Movie Theater Lights and Brightness
While lumens are an accurate count of how much light a projector can emit, there are a few other things that change the way those lumens can look.
When you are sitting in a movie theater, the room around you is dark. This darkness helps the projector appear brighter on the screen.
If the lights of the theater were turned on, they would dilute the brightness of the projector, even though the amount of lumens coming from the projector wouldn’t change.
You might have noticed that there are soft lights in a movie theater before the movie starts, and then the lights are brought back up when the movie is over.
Next time you go to a movie theater, check to see how the changing lighting affects the visibility of the screen. You will probably notice that the colors on the screen get richer and clearer as the lights in the surrounding room darken.
Even though the lumens of the movie theater projector do not change, the lights in the room are able to affect the way that the lumens of the projector reach across the room.
Projector Distance and Brightness
Another factor that has a great effect on the brightness and display of a movie theater projector is the distance between the screen and the projector.
Movie theaters have projector rooms at the very back of the seating area, where the projector’s light is set up to come out of a small window through the wall.
This means that the projector is often very far away from the screen. The further away from the screen a projector is, the more lumens it will need to be able to reach the screen well.
If you took that same projector in the movie theater and made it closer to the screen, the image would get smaller and brighter. Whereas if you were to move it further away from the screen, it would get larger, but duller.
There is a very fine balance between lumens and distance in movie theaters, and the measurements used are very precise.
Why Do Movie Theaters Use Projectors?
While it might seem less convenient than using a screen, projectors in movie theaters are actually able to produce a clearer picture than other methods.
Plus, using a projector allows the theater to have more seating, as a movie can be projected onto a large screen from the back of a room.
This allows a movie theater to seat more people, and to make more money per showing.