One of the most enjoyable things you can do with your family, relatives and neighbors is to create a temporary or permanent backyard movie theater. With the high cost of movies, and the price of concessions and drinks, it may be well worth considering this idea, even if just for the fun of a one-time event. Here are five things to consider when planning for an outdoor theater experience.
Types of projectors
First things first: You will need a projector of some sort. There are DLP and LCD projectors available. DLP stands for digital light processing, using mirrors for reflecting light. LCD stands for liquid crystal display, and is like the displays used for most home TV screens. What type you will choose is a matter of preference — and budget — and you will need to do a little research to decide which is best for your needs.
There are varying types of screens, from inflatable (costing $300 to $10,000 or more) to manual projection, pull-down types and screens on tripods. Doing a search engine comparison of these screens will provide you with many options to fit most budgets and lifestyles.
Sound speakers and amplifiers
What type of sound you want to provide is also a cost/quality trade-off. However, you can find many speaker systems at your local electronics store that will fit the bill. Consider whether you want to keep it simple, or whether you want full-blown surround sound. How much sound can your community handle where you live? How big will the event be? From small speaker systems — think old time drive-ins — to larger scale PA systems, there are many options to consider for any price range.
What about seating?
Are you going to provide blankets to sit on? Maybe lawn chairs? Folding chairs? Most movies are two hours or so in length; it’ll be important to consider your guests’ comfort.
Other things to consider
It might be wise to keep track of what the weather is going to be like on the night of your event. Weather.com is a great website for forecasting several days ahead. Also, do you live in an area where bugs are flying about? Maybe consider little handouts of bug spray, citronella candles or some other form of mosquito control. Also consider setting up a self-serve vending area for popcorn and snacks.
Outdoor theaters provide great family and community fun, and make for memorable good times for all ages.
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