I f you never got to experience the drive-in cinema your parents cannot help but feeling nostalgic about, or you did get the chance to watch Casablanca from your car and want to revive that precious moment, now is the perfect time to build an outdoor movie theater in your backyard. The equipment has become more accessible and easier to operate, and you have a lot of outdoor movie screen reviews to guide you when it comes to selecting the right one. Plus, you can get your extended family and friends around even if some of them are still trying to accommodate to life after the Covid pandemic.
In this article, you will find information about the pieces you need to build a fully functional outdoor cinema, and we also have a few tips that will help you improve the quality of the projection and get better sound, so stay with us as we explore various arrangements.
In general, people build temporary outdoor cinemas because they are cheaper and are not difficult to install or take down when the movie season is over. Of course, you can go for a full-time movie theater that would imply building a covered terrace on which you can install your movie screen, a couch, a popcorn machine, and other accessories. Not only that this would cost you a lot, but you would still have to winterize the cinema, so you will not be spared the effort. This is why we recommend sticking to the temporary arrangement, which only requires acquiring the following pieces of equipment:
While you can, at any time, get your TV outside and watch your favorite action movie, you will not really get the big screen effect, won’t you? The good news is that today you can get a portable projector with great video quality, which is small enough that you can just place it on a small table. You would be surprised how bright these new gadgets can be, which means that the image quality won’t be affected during starry nights. You won’t be able to use them in the middle of the day, though.
The style of screen you resolve to install will undoubtedly influence the experience you will have while viewing the movie. But if you are not being too picky, you can just skip this step completely. It is sufficient to have a white wall around or paint one in white, and you are all set. However, you need to take into consideration that the texture of the wall and any dent in it will also become part of the movie.
Another option is to use a white sheet, and there are a few ideas of how to build your panel that we will discuss later in this article. The advantage with the sheet is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on this arrangement, and your display won’t take up a lot of space when it needs to be stored.
You can also go for an inflatable movie screen, which is probably the best option if you really care about the quality of your projections and want to follow all the cinematic effects in Tarantino’s latest movie. They are pretty robust, so you don’t risk a little wind ruining your evening. Plus, you can just deflate them when the fun is over and not sacrifice a lot of storage space in this case as well.
Projectors today are extremely smart, so they usually come with streaming capabilities. This means that you just need to download an app and use it. In some cases, an HDMI connection may be required if you want to play Netflix movies or shows from other streaming platforms due to standard app copyright. Many models include USB ports that allow you to connect your laptop or a TV stick, so they are super easy to use.
A good projector will be able to play the movie with good audio. However, this may not be sufficient if the environment is quite loud or if you have a lot of people invited. In this instance, you should look for a projector with Bluetooth capability, which will allow you to connect a set of speakers to it and boost the volume so that everyone can hear what the actors are saying.
If you are preparing to host a movie night, make sure you keep the noise at decent levels and talk to your neighbors to get their approval, as there are regulations regarding noise pollution that may get the police at your door.
If you have picked the DIY installation, which implies setting a sheet screen, here are some ideas on how you can keep the sheet neat and straight.
The most uncomplicated way is to tie a rope between two trees and hang the sheet on it. We suggest using a large sheet that can be folded in half. If you want to frame it for a better cinematic effect, you can attach dark red or green curtains at the end of the rope. The disadvantage of this type of installation is that the sheet is secured only at one end, so the wind can easily move it. Nevertheless, it is wonderful for still nights. Plus, if you don’t have any trees around, you can tie it from other tall things you may have around the yard, like the posts of a swing. Just take a look around to spot the opportunities.
If you have heard people talking about how to make an outdoor movie screen with PVC pipe, you should know that this is an excellent solution, probably the best of them from a quality-price report point of view. The PVC is also lighter and cheaper than wood, but we suggest picking pipes that are at least 2” thick, otherwise, the structure may not be robust enough.
Take into account that you won’t be able to staple the sheet to the frame, so we recommend making a sleeve that can dress the pipes and to which you can attach the sheet. You can also contemplate piercing the sheet on the edges and using rope to tie it to the pipes.
There are a series of elements that can influence the price of a projector screen. For example, an inflatable model will cost more than a tripod model, but it is also more robust and resistant. Thus for the first option, you can pay between $150 and $350, while for the second option, the price goes from $25 to $300. If you decide to build your screen, the costs will be lower, so you will be able to go for a larger one. Considering that PVC pipes cost about $2.6 per foot, you can easily build a 200” screen without spending a lot of money.
Moving the fun outdoors in the summer seems to be the rule. The parties get organized around the pool, the grill becomes the chef of the night, and the garden or the patio turns into an outdoor living room. In this décor, an outdoor movie theater fits like a glove, especially for the kids who can get busy watching their favorite movies, while the adults can enjoy their cocktails and conversations without being interrupted. You can opt for buying the screen – the prices can be really accessible – or build your own and go for a larger frame without spending a lot of money. Add to this a projector and a set of speakers, and you are ready to watch humankind’s cinematic masterpieces on the big screen.