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Outdoor Movie Theater/Screen who's got one?


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So thinking about getting one of those blow up screens to have movies outside this summer. Curious if anyone has a screen, projector, setup they recommend? Know little to nothing about this, hoping someone can help me avoid making the wrong purchase :) 

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if you own a bed and it has sheets you are like three quarters of the way there take that to the bank bromigo 

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Go to the Fabric Store. Get a few yards of theatre screen caliber fabric for about 5.99 a yard. Get a 50.00 collapsable pavillion/tent from the local store.  Go to the Home Depot at a get 6-10 foot wood rod for about 20.00.  Go to the Walmart and get some of those fancy shower curtain holder circle things for about 7.99.  Put it all together...Bingo, Bango, Bongo......movie.

YWIA. 

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2 hours ago, SWC said:

if you own a bed and it has sheets you are like three quarters of the way there take that to the bank bromigo 

whoa - look at me everyone, I have sheets on my bed humblebragbroheem 

 

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We did this last summer. My total cost was under $350, but this setup requires an Apple TV and a portable speaker, which we already have. It could possibly also work with a Roku, Amazon Fire Stick or the Google streaming device. 

I got this projector:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MY6GWSW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I got this screen:

https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07X629FKT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

For the screen, I went to the hardware store and got PVC pipe and connectors and built a frame about 10 feet wide and 7 feet high. It's basically the shape as the ones here:

https://www.instructables.com/Outdoor-Projector-Screen-on-a-Budget/

The screen stretches and has grommets around the edges for attaching hooks. I got the ball bungee cords at the hardware store, but they were basically these:

https://smile.amazon.com/Baosity-Premium-Bungee-Canopy-Resistance/dp/B07JVM6X46/ref=sr_1_17?dchild=1&keywords=ball+bungee+white&qid=1614626204&sr=8-17

I used those to attach the screen to the frame.

Apple TV connects to the projector via HDMI. The projector has a headphone jack. We have a portable bluetooth speaker that also has a headphone jack (the Amazon Tap). We have a cord where both ends are the male headphone (one of these). That connects the projector to the speaker for sound. 

The whole thing works pretty great for movie nights in the backyard. Setup takes about 20 minutes. The biggest drawback is that the speaker isn't that loud, but, then again, in the summer it doesn't get dark until 8:30 pm (in San Diego), and we have neighbors on both sides, so we try not to have movies blasting at 11 pm. I'm thinking up upgrading to an inexpensive sound bar instead. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 2/28/2021 at 7:33 PM, ffmail4me said:

So thinking about getting one of those blow up screens to have movies outside this summer. Curious if anyone has a screen, projector, setup they recommend? Know little to nothing about this, hoping someone can help me avoid making the wrong purchase :) 

Looking into this same thing myself. Aiming to purchase all the components today, but want to do my due diligence first. Some of the electronics companies that make the projectors are totally unfamiliar names to me, and I'm wondering if I should totally pass over the no-names and look for established brand names for projectors.

Also curious about how well the outdoor inflatable screens work vs. the various metal-frame outdoor screens that are available. I will read through this thread and pay attention to any new input that comes from this bump.

...

One thing I have learned is that some (many?) companies give customers a rebate or a "free gift" in exchange for a positive Amazon review. Well, that circumvents the whole reason for Amazon to collect reviews :kicksrock:  So I'd love to hear from the collective wisdom of the FFA.

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On 3/1/2021 at 9:44 AM, ffmail4me said:

Looks like you can spend about $4-8k on a complete system. I bet you could do individual pieces for a lot cheaper though....

Looks like a screen and projector alone can readily be had for less than $500, actually. Just need to figure out if that the $500 projector really is worth double the $250 projector. And if the $100 inflatable screen really is a bad idea compared to a $500 metal frame screen (though some metal frame screens are cheap-ish, too).

Sounds like for outdoor, backyard use that some kind of speaker system is needed. Assuming old (but working) speakers from a 1990s Jansen stereo wouldn't be compatible. Or would they?

A lot of variables to consider.

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On 3/1/2021 at 1:13 PM, The Gator said:

I have this thing  tucked away under my eve. Not sure where you want to set your stuff up, but this could be an option. 

Says indoor/outdoor, but this screen doesn't look like it can be used free-standing in, say, a backyard. Looks like it has to have a wall or something to mount it to.

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1 hour ago, Doug B said:

Says indoor/outdoor, but this screen doesn't look like it can be used free-standing in, say, a backyard. Looks like it has to have a wall or something to mount it to.

Yeah, it comes with brackets to mount on... something, but it doesn’t come with anything. 
 

like I mentioned, mine is mounted under the eave of my roof. If a spot like that works for you then it’s  perfect, out of the weather and mostly out of sight. If you don’t want/can’t mount it there you’d need to build a stand. 

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3 hours ago, cap'n grunge said:

For those that do this, I'm guessing you don't have close neighbors or they don't care or maybe they are over watching with you?

Will be doing it at my parents' house. The the yards and fences are set up, the movie wouldn't be visible from the street and not readily visible from neighboring yards.

The main concern would be the noise, but we shouldn't be having it so loud that it could be heard from inside a neighbor's house. My parents are cool with their neighbors, and we will (a) talk to the neighbors beforehand and (b) test out the set-up to make sure it's not disturbing anyone.

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On 3/1/2021 at 1:44 PM, Thunderlips said:

Go to the Fabric Store. Get a few yards of theatre screen caliber fabric for about 5.99 a yard. Get a 50.00 collapsable pavillion/tent from the local store.  Go to the Home Depot at a get 6-10 foot wood rod for about 20.00.  Go to the Walmart and get some of those fancy shower curtain holder circle things for about 7.99.  Put it all together...Bingo, Bango, Bongo......movie.

YWIA. 

I made a portable one a couple years ago out of PVC pipes and blackout curtains. Easy to do and pretty cheap. Sew a couple pieces of the blackout material down the middle, folds the top and bottom and sew a loop for the top and bottom PVC poles to go in, cut the poles to proper lengths with joints and done. 2 long poles for top and bottom, 8 shorter poles for sides, legs coming down and bottom legs. 2 corner joints, 4 T joints. Add I couple tent stakes and rope to stabilize on a windy day. 

Edited by The Iguana
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I have a small brookstone projector similar to the one linked above and a beats pill speaker. Both work well enough and are also easily portable to wherever. Sound upgrade would be nice, however. 

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https://www.pvcfittingsonline.com/resource-center/diy-pvc-outside-movie-theater/

I don't recall the exact dimensions that I made mine but there are a couple different sizes/designs on that link. The legs are the shape of the first one and the screen also slides onto the top/bottom poles like that one. Pretty sure I built the whole thing for about $50-$75?. And it all packs up into basically a "camp chair" bag. We've taken it camping, used it in the backyard, taken to friends house, etc. Blackout material can be found at like Jo-Ann's or Hobby Lobby and cut to the size you want. 

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Caution on some of the smaller, cheaper projectors that you can get on amazon: many say that they support full hd, or “1920x1080”, but that just means that they can accept that resolution. It does not mean that they project that resolution. Most of the under $200 projectors downscale the input and output a much smaller resolution. On a bigger screen, this lower resolution can look like crap. 
 

If you dig through the specs you will find “Native Resolution “ which is what the projectors actually output. On a bigger screen, I’d look for at least 720. 

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On 3/28/2021 at 11:55 AM, Doug B said:

Sounds like for outdoor, backyard use that some kind of speaker system is needed. Assuming old (but working) speakers from a 1990s Jansen stereo wouldn't be compatible. Or would they?

A lot of variables to consider.

You very well could output the projector sound into a tiny Amp Like This and use those speakers

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