Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dealing with poor projectors

I have been corresponding over the past few weeks with a subscriber in an Asian country who is having challenges with projectors. He is trying to educate builders in his country about the need to make buildings accessible for those with disabilities. He is in a wheelchair, so he has great credibility when speaking on this topic. He uses photos that are powerful demonstrations of the points he is making. The greatest challenge is that the projectors that are supplied for his talks are usually old models with bulbs that are past their prime. He recently shared that he had spent much time fixing a set of photos that looked great on his laptop, but when projected, looked much poorer than he had hoped. What advice did I give him? I shared two strategies that might help him and help you when faced with situations where the projector is not very good.

First is to prepare your slides, then arrive at the venue early and test to see what one of the photos looks like. If it does not appear good, try adjusting the Brightness and Contrast settings in PowerPoint for that photo until it looks good. Then quickly change the other photos with the same method so that all photos look the best they can given that projector. The second thought is to create your slides and then make one or two extra copies of the slides. In each of these extra copies, adjust all the pictures the same way. So in copy #1 you would adjust all of the pictures to appear darker for situations where that will make them look better with the projector. In copy #2 you would adjust all the pictures to appear lighter for situations where that will make the pictures look better. Then, when you get to the room, test the three versions (normal coloring, darker coloring and lighter coloring) and use the one that looks the best that day.

If you are in situations where you have no control over the projector, you will have to come prepared with more options to be able to best handle the situation of that day. As you see what works better on a consistent basis, you can refine the options you bring.


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