Create an outdoor home theater: part two

Written by
  • Shelagh M.
  • 7 years ago

Enjoy some summer fun with an outdoor home theater!

Capture the fun of the drive-in movie by creating your outdoor home theater. Be sure to read Part One of creating your home theater so you’ve got your location and set up complete.

The screen

Your screen really depends on how big you want to go and your budget. Get creative for your screen. Test out the picture on a variety of surfaces such as a white garage door or the side of a building. The absolute easiest (and cheapest) screen is the simple white bed sheet. Iron out the wrinkles and then find a way to secure it so doesn’t move too much and has a slight bit of tension. Experiment with attaching it to a swing set or the gutter and clipping something on the bottom to provide some weight or tension such as a rake or broom.

An older analog projector screen makes a good outdoor screen since it already has a semi-reflective coating so work well outside. The downside is you will need to weight down the stand so it doesn’t blow over and the older sometimes only come with a 4:3 ratio so you’ll need to play around with placement. You can also consider an inflatable screen but while its portable and easy to install it does require constant power and you’ll need to turn up the sound since the blower makes noise.

 Change the settings

You’ll need to play around with the throw distance to get right placements. Consult the specifications of your particular projector to figure out the maximum screen size with the throw distance required. You can also just move the screen and projector around until you get the right combination.
Aspect ratio is also something that you should be flexible with as well. If your projector has an aspect ratio of 16:9 this can function for the widescreen format. All cinema-class projectors will have this option while a business type projector will probably only a digital option which may cause some light bleed. This means part of the picture at the top and bottom of the screen will fall into the darkness behind.
Stay flexible. Don’t get too hung up on picture quality. You’re not going to get the same resolution as viewing indoors. It’s actually more important to have the image bright and crisp rather than a high resolution. Adjust the focus along with the keystone to compensate for the change in environment.

Focus on the sound

Sound can make or break your outdoor home theater. A weak or muffled sound system is going to ruin movie. Audio purists may want to set up the indoor AV receiver and run the extra wiring but this may cause a bit of a tripping hazard. Probably the simplest solution is a powerful all-in-one-speaker. There are some affordable and portable solutions out on the marker.

Relax and have fun!

Don’t get hung up on having the most perfect picture or sound. The outdoor movie theater is all about enjoying a movie under the stars with friends and family.
For more great ideas on out outdoor theater visit Backyard Theater.

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