The Wavien’s dual paraboloid reflector system improves the output brightness of an illumination system by preserving the brightness of the arc. We present steps for optimizing a projection engine illumination system using this reflector system and an output tapered light pipe. The output from the light pipe is then fed into a supercube polarization recovery system for its freedom from problematic wave plates. Ray-tracing software is used to optimize the components, including the dual paraboloid reflector parameters and the supercube polarization recovery system. The model shows agreements with the experimental results and is suitable for designing and predicting future system performance. © 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers.