Optical framing projectors are engineered for art displays, so they possess several design features important to the task, like excellent color rendering, precise light metering and adjustability. Modern optical framing projectors may also come with LED lighting technology, which is the most efficient and long lasting form of illumination on the market.
What features should an optical framing projector come with?
Effective art displays rely on precise, attractive illumination to make an impact, so an art display projector must be designed to deliver that impact. Here is how they do it:
• No spill illumination – Spill illumination is the part of the light’s beam that isn’t contacting the art, but the wall or ceiling around it. Most lights, including many art display fixtures, produce some amount of spill, and some produce a lot.
If this spill illumination is removed, it allows for more contrast between the subject and the surface it is mounted to. Achieving this effect requires an adjustable projector, but once achieved, it makes the artwork appear as if it is lit from within. It’s rare to see artwork presented in this way, so the vibrancy can surprise people, but it’s a pleasant surprise.
Phantom’s optical framing projectors can be fitted with adjustable shutters for square or rectangular subjects, or with a custom cut template for sculptures and other uniquely shaped subjects. In both cases, the effect is the same – one where spill lighting is absent.
• Precise optics – The human eye is sensitive to any flaw in a lighting display, and even the slightest flaw may pose a distraction. Optical framing projectors are built with sophisticated optics to avoid spectral abnormalities, like a fuzzy lighting edge. Achromatic focal lenses are an important feature in this regard, and the projector should be designed to offer several projection distances, to ensure properly metered light in any room.
• Color rendering – Most lighting technologies are not kind to artwork, causing it to appear discolored or muted. That’s why you’ll never see a display under fluorescent lights. Until recently, halogen lights were the best option on the market for color rendering, as they simulate the sun’s light well. However, high performance LEDs can compete with halogen now, and many high performance models come with color rendering index (CRI) scores in excess of 90. LEDs have made up enough ground in this area that the difference between them and halogen are negligible.
• LED lighting – Color rendering aside, there are several reasons why LED technology is the right choice for optical framing projectors. It’s extremely efficient and long-lived, lasting for 50,000 hours or more, in some cases. That’s important for lights that are kept on for hours at a time. LED technology is also highly controllable, so it can be paired with dimmers, motion controls or timers for more effective operation.
What housings are available with an optical framing projector?
Art framing projectors are also distinguished by their versatility, as they can be paired with one of several housing options. For example, some of Phantom’s projector housings include:
- The Float Finish (FFL) Series – The FFL Series is designed to sit flush with the ceiling once installed, and this effect is made possible with a color matched float ring. This produces a zero sight line look that remains inconspicuous even while the projector is in operation, so it is ideal for ceilings where a visible cover plate would be undesirable.
- The Remodeler Housing (RML) Series – The RML Series is made for installation between floors, and it is designed to accommodate shallow ceiling depths. It can be used with ceiling joists as tight as 10 inches deep, and it comes with a glare-shielded cover plate that ensures a streamlined look.
- The New Construction Housing (NCL) Series – The NCL Series is intended for installation prior to sheetrock placement, so it can be integrated into the build early on. It comes with mounting bars that can accommodate joist spacing up to 10 inches high and 24 inches wide, and it comes with the same smooth cover plate that the RML Series does.
- The Top Access (TAL) Series – The TAL Series is for projects where bottom access to the projector is impractical. It is also a good choice when ceiling penetration must be minimal, so it also makes for a smooth ceiling finish.
- The Surface Mount (SML) Series – The SML Series is the easiest to install and the most economical, because it is mounted to a surface instead of installed inside the ceiling. Phantom’s SML projectors are available in a standard or low profile canopy design, and with clever placement, they can be partially or totally concealed.
An important attribute of projector housings is safety, which is why homeowners should focus on IC-rated (insulation contact) models. An IC-rated projector housing is one that can be used safely in close proximity or in contact with insulation. They have been designed to produce no fire risk, using advanced heat sinking and dissipation features. IC-rated housings are especially important in energy efficient homes, where there is usually much more insulation present.
Optical framing projectors have an array of features perfect for exhibiting art. They are inconspicuous, safe, precise, adjustable, efficient, controllable and long lived, which means they are worthy of any masterpiece.