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How to Set Up a DIY Backyard Movie Theater In Under an Hour

Anyone would jump at the offer to stay home for the weekend, or have a day off in the middle of the work week.

But the truth is, being chained to your house gets quite boring – especially during a pandemic. The simple luxuries of a drive-in cinema or sitting down at the movies are no more. But why should the fun stop there?

As summer approaches, you should take advantage of the warmth and find alternative ways to entertain yourself and your loved ones. An ideal solution to your boredom is an outdoor cinema that can liven up the evening.

In fact, you could be the owner of a DIY backyard movie theatre in just under an hour – it really is effortless!

An outdoor cinema costs much less time and money than a permanent system – and it will be a lot safer than visiting a regular cinema, too. Not to mention, a home cinema will be a great bonding opportunity for your family. Above all, you’ll get to feel proud of your personalised creation after following this article.

What You Need

Movie Projector

Laptops are convenient for two-person binge-watches. However, they aren’t really suitable for hosting a movie night.

To get the most out of your DIY outdoor cinema experience, you’ll need to buy a decent projector. But don’t worry – there’s no need to go searching for top sellers.

Any projector with standard HD resolutions (starting at 720p) is adequate, although 1080p devices offer cleaner images.

Sheet or Portable Projector Screen

If you’re on a budget, you’ll fare best by using something that’s already within the household.

A large sheet can provide enough coverage for the entire projection. However, beware of wrinkles, stains, or designs that alter an image’s texture or clarity.

Your best bet is using a blank, white sheet. You could even go the extra mile and iron it out before hanging!

Either way, you’ll need to stretch the sheet as tight as possible across your frame to keep it stationary. Otherwise, just a light summer breeze could see your movie screen falling down!

You could also use a portable projector screen. Most brands offer multiple sizes to choose from according to your backyard space. Unlike a sheet, these mobile movie screens are stable enough to withstand summer winds.

Bluetooth Sound System

Extra speakers are great for enhancing your projector’s built-in audio.

If you don’t own a Bluetooth speaker – or if your device doesn’t support it – you could opt for a conventional sound system. However, wireless transmission eliminates the need for pesky wires or an extension lead.

Media Player

Instead of pulling out the old DVD player, you could download the latest blockbusters to your USB drive. Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick are excellent extensions that you can hook up to your device’s HDMI port.

Or, you could take advantage of the WiFi capabilities on a smart projector. These allow you to stream videos live off the internet.

Setting it Up

You’ve gathered everything you need – now it’s time to build!

  • Find a Space

There’s no point in having a backyard theatre if it can’t accommodate your audience.

Consider adding a table to prop your projector, and keep an eye out for any trees that you could use to support your sheet screen if necessary! Make sure there’s enough room for some comfortable chairs, too!

  • Organise the Screen

Make sure your screen is a good distance from your seating area, so everyone gets a great view. Then, place the projector high enough at the back of your seating area, so it won’t create any shadows!

  • Position the Speakers

Angling the speakers away from the audience defeats their purpose. Position them in a way that amplifies the media audio and sound effects. It will make for a more life-like experience!

  • Give it a Theme

Decorate your home theatre to match the occasion.

Choose between standing chairs or pillows and blankets, and add some lights or romantic candles to set the mood.

Workshops like Spur Creative specialise in designing custom props to complement your outdoor events. However, don’t just fill up the area with trinkets – people still need to move around!

Finishing Touches

Don’t neglect to entertain your audience with some delicious movie snacks and drinks – popcorn is a must! Remember to be mindful of your neighbours, who may be asleep while you blast your favourite rom-coms!

Ana Hoffman
Anna Hoffman is a part-time blogger who blog about Business Technology, Digital Marketing, Real Estate, Digital Currencies, and Educational topics.
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