Every time you say you don’t believe in visualists, a bulb dies. Photo by -cr.

In an informal poll of a variety of people, I’ve been unable to get agreement on a pretty fundamental question in projection:

Is it bad for a projector to hang it vertically?

For instance, to project on the floor, your first temptation would be to hang the projector perpendicular to the ground, with the lens pointed downward. But some projectionists argue this can increase the failure rate of the projector. Why? I’ve heard to explanations: one is that it’s “bad for the electronics” and somehow unnatural and evil. That one I have an extremely tough time with: the lamp, internal electronics, and fan themselves would have to be pretty poorly put together to be unable to withstand something this simple. The most delicate electronics are all solid-state. The second argument I could believe: that airflow in the vertical position is different than airflow in the horizontal position, increasing heat and reducing the life of the projector. The obvious argument otherwise would be that the fan should still operate and convection will continue to move air around. But there’s enough doubt here that I wouldn’t want to experiment on a projector to find out.

So, brave CDMers, what do you think? Is this just a projectionist “old wive’s tale”? Or is there truth to this somewhere? (And is it best to err on the side of caution, swallow my pride, and just use a mirror?)

The answer: a definitive “yes, it is in fact bad.” I’m satisfied now in that we not only have a “just because” answer:

  • Manufacturers specifically advise that this is bad.
  • Airflow and lamp orientation provide specific technical reasons for why this could reduce lamp life/increase failure rates.
  • Some of you have shared specific anecdotal experience.

Thankfully, mirrors easily solve the problem.

Thanks to everyone for writing in!