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Old 02-21-2011, 09:26 PM   #1
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Outdoor Movie Setup

Does anyone have any suggestions on what to buy for an outdoor movie projector and what works well for a screen?
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:20 PM   #2
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By outdoor, I assume you just mean portable, not weatherproof?

How about a data projector, the type that folks drag around with their laptop to do presentations. They're relatively inexpensive, and you can find with multiple input options. A traditional composite/rca type input to play straight from a DVD player, or a vga/dvi input so you can play a movie off your laptop, or even streaming netflix if you've got internet access.

For a screen, things are actually a little more difficult. are you wanting a permanent or portable solution? I would just paint some plywood white, build a frame, and haul it around in the back of my pickup. A portable projector screen would be nice, but the one's I've ever used would easily get shredded in the slightest gust of wind. They're just too expensive.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:26 PM   #3
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Screen solution

I saw these at our local Sams Club
Walmart.com: Deluxe Outdoor Inflatable Movie Screen, 12' Widescreen: Patio Decor
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:57 PM   #4
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Do a search on amazon for Pico pocket projector, I almost bought one for my daughter for her ipod a few years back but was too expensive for a college dorm, I was impressed however with the technology!
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Patagoniagrl View Post
Does anyone have any suggestions on what to buy for an outdoor movie projector and what works well for a screen?
Hi, park next to a white box SOB.

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Old 02-22-2011, 07:22 AM   #6
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I've got quite a bit of experience with this so hopefully this will help. I started a small business back at the turn of the millennium but the product was a bit bulky for shipping etc. I did put together a web site with much of the information I learned throughout the process here:


It's a couple of years old but most of the information is still relevant. Here are a few thoughts:

If you want a dedicated projector I found the Optoma movietime players to be ideal. (models DV10 and DV 11). They have a built-in DVD player so you don't need to mess with other hookups. You can use the built in speaker for a small group or hook them up to a boombox / stereo etc if you need more volume. I think they're getting hard to find but are still avaialble. Epson has a moviemate that's similar.

If portability is the priority, the Pico projectors are it. They don't throw much light though so you'll want it pretty dark - especially with a big screen.

Any projector will actually work. For a theater application something with a "native" widescreen (16X9) aspect ratio is generally better.

Anything reasonably priced will need it to be beyond dusk for a decent picture. If you want to use it in daylight you're talking about tens of thousands and even then you'll need some shade. Don't get too caught up in the "lumins" BS. Once you have 1000 or more you'll be OK for this purpose since you'll need it ot be dusk anyway. Even a couple hundred will do well when it's truly dark out.

There are really cool prefab screens that work great. A few options are
-The pull-up kind (I sometimes use these in the camper)
-Fixed frame - if you have a wall you can mount it on (e.g. side of the camper)
-Folding frame - these are really cool and portable, but wicked expensive if you buy the prefab ones. If you've seen presentations at conferences they often use these.
DIY. I've found that simple white muslin fabric works very well and is versatile. You can find it in very wide sizes too. One of the primary benefits is that you can use it as front or rear projection so you can hide the projector and other sensitive equipment from scurrying youths. If you really want simple, use black duct tape around the edges (any size but use a 16X9 ratio length to height) and pop some grommets in every foot or so. You can then just bungee it to anything that can be used as a frame. Awning poles are great for this.

In any case - check out the site above and I think you'll get a good idea of what to consider. Our backyard theater is always a big hit, and when we do it at a campground we always meet tons of people. Enjoy!
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Old 02-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #7
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We did this some at a marina that my boat was at. We used the stretched taut foresail of a sailboat as a screen and it worked just fine. You might check with a sailmaker to see if they have any old sails that you could have for free to use for a screen.

We also used a battery powered boom box with an auxiliary input for a sound system.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for all the suggestions!! That helps out tremendously. Was getting overwhelmed with all the different projectors and so forth. I'm glad it's narrowed down now I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:03 AM   #9
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I own a company specializing in outdoor movies events and equipment sales. I'd be happy to direct you to some excellent choices.

If you simply looking for something quick and easy that will work I would direct you to look at the Epson MovieMate 62. This is an all-in-one projector with DVD player and speakers. I know a lot of people using this system in their backyards and they love it. It regularly sells for about $500 and you can sometimes find it on sale in the low $400 range.

As another reference please visit BackyardTheater.com, this is a great website dealing with just what the site name implies, Backyard Theater. I'd also be happy to assist and point you in the right direction on your projector or any other aspect if you need additional help.

Chris dePaola
Blazing Star Cinema
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:35 AM   #10
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I'd love to use a Zip Dee as the basis for a screen, perhaps attaching the top of the scrim to the awning when it's deployed. That way you could still walk behind it and get into the trailer. I mean, as long as we have the coolest trailer around... why not incorporate it into a neat portable theater?
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Old 02-24-2011, 01:07 PM   #11
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i would appear no1 in this thread has ever watched outdoor movies at a rally?

see post 1494 here...

(about the 33rd pic down)


as i recall this was simply a giant sheet hung between trees and made a great screen.

but every a/s-er is already equipped with a movie screen...

in fact we r all rolling with genuine silver screens which work great at gatherings...

see jack's pix here...


and here...

P1010107 - Photo Gallery

and read about it here...


and rach's pix here in post 480...


which is clearly a 'vintage silver' screen.

all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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Old 02-25-2011, 09:49 AM   #12
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bredlo & 2airishuman, thanks for the advice! the pics were great, i don't know why i didn't think about using the as or the zip dee for screens! and 2airishuman, i haven't been to a rally yet, attending my first one in may, maybe in april. we can't wait!
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