With the start of summer, it seems like every town and county in the area hosts outdoor movie nights! There’s nothing like kicking back and enjoying a flick under the stars, but straining to see the screen through the crowd can be a pain in the neck—literally. Host your own outdoor movie night anytime by creating your very own backyard theater!
There are fully decked out packages available for purchase, but we think doing it yourself is way more fun, not to mention more affordable.
Here’s everything you need for a fabulous outdoor movie night, from the tech to the treats!
How to Build Your Own Backyard Movie Screen & Outdoor Theater
DIY Outdoor Movie Projector
The first step is finding the right projector to project your movie. This is a very important factor because it determines how that film will look on your big screen. You’ll definitely want to do your research here. Look for a projector that is very bright and has a high resolution (1080p is ideal). You may also want a high contrast ratio so that you can get a more vibrant and crisp picture.
Projectors can really vary in price, so pick one that works for your budget. On the lower end of the spectrum, there’s the Crenova XPE470 Mini LED Video Projector for about $89, which is a small but effective unit. Moving up in cost, there’s the Epson Home Cinema for $599, which has 1080p resolution. If you really want to splurge, go for the Epson Home Cinema 5040UBe for $2,799, which is wireless and has 4K capabilities.
Create Your Own Outdoor Movie Screen
Next, set up a sweet screen to project your movie onto. There are a few ways you can do this…
Purchase a screen, like one of these three options:
- Camp Chef’s Backyard Big Screen ($249.99): easy to set up, freestanding frame with stabilization equipment, large screen designed to improve image quality and block out ambient light
- Camp Chef’s Outdoor Big Screen ($174.99): slightly smaller and more affordable version of the above
- Gemmy Airblown Inflatable Movie Screen ($169.99): portable, self-inflating screen that can be adjusted
- Build your own screen and frame following these instructions or this Wired experiment
- Simply drape a bed sheet on the side of a house or shed
DVD, Blu-ray Player, Laptop, or Smart Phone
Of course, you’ll need something to play your movie. You don’t need to be picky here. You can grab a standard model at Best Buy, Amazon, or another tech store, or use what you already have. Just make sure it’s compatible with your projector. You could also use a laptop, tablet, or smart phone if your projector supports that connectivity; look for the right cord or app to play from your device!
The sound system is a key component for any outdoor movie experience. You could opt to go for something elaborate like the Pioneer 5.1 Home Theater System for $299.99, or keep it budget-friendly with the Logitech Z506 Surround Sound Home Theater Speaker System for $61.96. You might also be able to use a stereo or speaker set you already have at home, with a little MacGuyver-ing.
Now that you’ve figured out all the major technology pieces, don’t forget the little details. You’ll definitely need plenty of extra-long extension cords to run power from your house or garage to all of your units.
With the cinema system all set up, it’s time to focus on the viewing area. If you’re going for a romantic evening with your sweetheart, you could lay out a blanket and some pillows. For a family or neighborhood affair, grab camping chairs or patio furniture and set up a rows, making sure that each chair position has an unobstructed view of the screen.
Drinks and Snacks
It’s not a big screen experience without snacks, so don’t skimp on the concessions bar. Set up a movie-themed table with fresh popcorn, seasonings, candy, soda, and more.
The Feature Film
This is arguably the most important part! Choose a flick that will best suit your audience and the occasion, whether it’s an intimate date, a family campout, a girls slumber party, or a rowdy guys night. You could borrow the movie from a friend or your local library, buy it at Target or Best Buy, or use Netflix or another video-on-demand or streaming service.
Insect Contingency Plan
After going through all this effort, you definitely don’t want to be chased back inside because of buzzing, biting mosquitoes. They’ll come out in force at dusk and into the evening, so be sure to have a strong line of defense. Stock up on bug spray and point a few fans at the seating section. Wearing long sleeves and long pants is also a good idea hen battling the bugs.
For a fool-proof solution that eliminates the need for personal bug spray application and swatting away into the night, contact DC Mosquito Squad for help. We can treat your property with with an effective mosquito barrier spray that will keep mosquitoes away for up to 21 days!