Help with Projector Alignment

Adjusting a home theater projector can be tricky.


Malcom wrote to Ask-a-Pro

I have a small 14’X12’ home theatre with a 120” screen and an Epson PoweLite Cinema-Pro 1080UB projector. I’ve had this for a few years now, and I recently had to take my projector down to clean the filter. My projector is an overhead front mount. When I re-installed my projector the image is not 100% square to the screen frame. I would like to know the easiest, most precise way to align the image to my screen with the Epson image shift and zoom controls. I do also have a laser level as well. I have a throw distance of 13.5’ which is just slightly more than the minimum for a 120” screen.

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Thank-you for your assistance.

Mark Coxen of Orange Pro A/V suggests:

You are not facing an uncommon problem. I commend you on actually doing your maintenance on your projector. I just visited a very large scale installation where racks of amplifiers hadn’t been cleaned in nearly 6 years, and it really takes a toll on the equipment.

As for your question, I assume that the image is not square to the frame in that it is tilted left or right. Use the “pattern” button on your Epson remote to display a test pattern. Use your laser level to shoot a line across the screen, (have someone hold it level or use two nails once it is in position to support it) and line the level up with one of the pattern lines.

You can adjust the projector’s roll left or right to align the projector with the test line, this is done on the mount itself typically with a small adjustment knob. If the front of the projector lens is not parallel with the screen, you will get a trapezoidal pattern left to right. See page 58 of your manual. Square up the projector to the screen meaning you need to adjust the yaw of the projector, twisting it left or right (as opposed to rolling it). Your pattern will again appear square and line up with the level line when parallel. This again needs to be done at the mount. Then use the horizonatl lens shift knob to move the lens left or right to center the image.

If the image is not squared top to bottom, you have a trapezoid in the vertical orientation, that is fixed by making sure the projector is level front to back (pitch adjustment) and the centering the image with the vertical lens shift knob. See page 58 of your manual. Some projectors do this digitally through keystoning, however this particular one does it mechanically with the lens shift knob.
I hope that this helps!
Let us know how it goes.
Mark C
Orange ProAV

CE Pro’s Bob Archer adds:

Hi Malcolm, there is no real easy way. I would make sure that before you start that you make sure that you are 100 percent level and inline with the screen.

Beyond that, it’s just a matter of throwing up a 16:9 image/frame that allows you properly zoom the image then align its horizontal and vertical shifts.

The big recommendation I would make is to try at all costs to avoid the keystone adjustments. Sometimes with keystone adjustments you’ll find that you fix one problem and create another.
It sounds like you have a pretty straight shoot so it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to use your horizontal and vertical adjustments.

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This article was originally published on May 25, 2011 and updated on July 12, 2015


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