Outdoor Entertainment: How To Set Up A Temporary Theater

The first day of summer is just around the corner which means longer nights, warmer nights, and outdoor entertainment.

In this blog post, we’re going to show you how to set up a temporary outdoor theater, a.k.a how to become the hero of your neighborhood. Keep in mind that there are various levels of quality that you can use during each phase of setup—choose what’s best for your desired results and budget.

Get The Projector

There’s a reason we’ve listed this one first—this part will make or break your neighborhood movie night. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Find a projector with diverse inputs – There’s nothing worse than a tech issue when you’re supposed to be watching a movie. Get a projector that will allow you to plug in whatever you need, from a laptop to an old-school DVD player.

Lumens – These are how bright you can illuminate. A general rule of thumb is that you need at least 2,000 for outdoor use. The higher you go, the earlier you’ll be able to start the movie!

Size and throw distance – How much does a 200” diagonal TV cost? $100,000? Yikes. Projectors allow you to achieve this size waaay cheaper, but they need a longer throw distance—basically how far away the projector is from the screen.

Resolution and aspect ratio – Outdoor movie nights are usually more about fun, as opposed to quality, but these are definitely things worth considering when shopping for a projector.

Decide How You’re Going To Play The Movie

Will you use a DVD player? A laptop with a movie on the hard drive? Or perhaps using a laptop or tablet streaming Netflix?

If you’re going to use the latter option, keep in mind that a strong WiFi network is necessary for uninterrupted streaming. Make sure your home’s network is up to the task.

Get Your Speakers

Sound quality can really enhance the outdoor movie experience. Since you’ll be surrounded by ambient outdoor noise (and if you do it right, probably all the neighborhood kids!) you need to make sure you seriously consider how you’ll deliver the sound.

On one end of the spectrum, you can use a soundbar to increase your sound quality with minimal effort and expense.

On the other hand, you can give your guest a truly cinematic experience with a series of satellite speakers organized strategically to deliver surround sound.

Either way, make sure to test your sound, and also to warn (or invite!) your neighbors so you don’t keep them up all night with your movie noise.

Set Up Your Screen

We’ll be the first to admit that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with hanging some light bedsheets up and projecting onto them. If you have a decent projector, you’ll actually be surprised at the picture. Will it be HD? Not even close, but will your guests care?

Another option is to use an inflatable screen. These are moderately priced and have a certain cool factor that kids love. Plus, they are super convenient—just blow them up when you’re ready for a movie night!

As you may have guessed, we’re huge fans of outdoor entertainment at Valley Home Theater! If you’re looking for advice on how to set up a temporary outdoor theater, give us a call and we’d be happy to walk you through the basics.

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