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Ultra-short throw lenses make high brightness projection possible at

The London Marathon

For the first time Marathon IT, which organises the technology required for the London Marathon, released a tender for supply of the AV equipment for the Marathon’s press centre. Rental and staging firms Hamilton Rentals and Creative Staging won the tender after forming a partnership for the event.

Outdoor projection with limited space

For many years all press activity had been held at the Tower Hotel, which is Race HQ. This year, the race organisers wanted a larger space for the post-race press conference at a location near the finish line, so journalists didn’t have to travel between the finish and the Tower Hotel.

“The event organisers approached us with the idea of hosting the press centre in a marquee at the finish line on The Mall. This posed two challenges for us. A marquee would let in a lot of ambient light. Naturally we would need 20k lumens projectors, however we didn’t have the space behind the projection screen to accommodate the throw distance of a high brightness projector,” said Richard Crowe, Managing Director of Creative Staging.

There was no weight capability to suspend the projectors from the marquee ceiling, therefore a solution had to be found for high brightness projection from a maximum of six feet. As only a small section of the marquee could be blacked out, 20k lumens was essential.



After researching the potential options, Creative Staging and Hamilton Rentals specified three Panasonic PT-DZ21K projectors equipped with ET-D75LE90 (LE90) ultra short throw lenses for 3-chip DLP projectors.  This allowed them to create a backwards projected 200 inch screen, from a distance of only five feet. Conventional forward facing short throw lenses would need a distance of 13 feet to create the same sized screen.

In total, three Panasonic PT-DZ21K projectors, equipped with ultra short throw lenses, were used to project on three separate screens, showing live footage of the Elite Men’s and Women’s race as well as displaying live results. They then provided the backdrop during the press conference.

“We chose Panasonic because they could offer a range of projectors and lenses that suited our needs best. The DZ21K is very compact and light; it only takes two people to carry it, while other 20,000 lumens projectors on the market require four people to carry them. That makes a big difference for us. We’ve had good experience with Panasonic projectors in the past and they offer the performance and excellent reliability we need at a good price point,” added Richard Crowe.

Making the impossible, possible

As the press centre at the Tower Hotel was inside, Creative Staging and Hamilton Rentals specified three Panasonic PT-DZ870 projectors. The 8,500 lumens 1-chip DLP projectors were equipped with Panasonic’s ET-DLE030 (LE030) ultra-short throw lens for 1-chip DLP projectors. This lens allows for a projection distance of just 2.75 feet to create a 100-inch screen in comparison to 7.5 feet with a conventional short throw lens.

The three projectors equipped with the lenses created one seamless image by using edge-blending technology. The Tower Hotel press centre was used for press conferences and athlete briefings before and after the event.












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“I’ve had experience with using short throw lenses before and they sometimes produce a bowed projection, but the Panasonic solution produces a really crisp image,” said John Gibson, Project Manager at Hamilton Rentals. “These ultra-short throw lenses are making things possible which weren’t possible before.”

The Panasonic Ultra-Short Throw family

The LE030 ultra-short throw lens enables large screen projection for 1-chip DLP projectors at a short distance. It allows the user to shorten the projection distance by approximately 60% compared with conventional short throw lenses. Since the launch of the lens in November 2013, it won Live Design’s 2013-2014 Product of the Year award for Projector Accessories and was nominated for AV Accessory of the Year in the 2014 AV Magazine awards.

The LE90 lens, launched in November 2014, builds on the success of the LE030 lens but for 3-chip DLP projectors, enabling high brightness projection in spaces which weren’t previously possible. Both lenses are backwards compatible with older Panasonic projector models, so organisations don’t have to invest in a new fleet of projectors to enjoy the benefits of ultra-short throw projection.