Fall in Wilmington means great weather filled with earlier sunsets and comfortable temperatures. It’s a great time of year for backyard activities. One of our favorite activities is outdoor movies on the lawn. And who needs the mall theater when you can be outside? Its super easy for just about anyone, with any level of budget to bring the silver screen to the backyard with a red-carpet-worthy movie experience.
Harnessing the power of a great movie, cutting-edge technology, some clever planning, and an array of delectable snacks and beverages, this guide will walk you through the process of establishing a backyard cinema that will undoubtedly make you the most popular house in the neighborhood.
How to Create a Movie Theater in Your Backyard
This comprehensive guide will cover all the essentials to help you create an enticing backyard movie theater with just a few key pieces of equipment. Keep reading to uncover the secrets to backyard movie magic!
Start with an outdoor projector
There’s almost no room for debate when it comes to the centerpiece of a backyard movie theater—it’s the projector. Backyard projectors cast video onto a flat surface, be it a wall, fence, or even a dedicated movie screen. Of course, if you’re without a projector, hauling a TV to the backyard is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
When you embark on your projector shopping journey, a few key factors come into play. First and foremost, opt for a modern projector that boasts essential media inputs like USB ports, along with outputs to seamlessly connect to your speaker system. Don’t forget to check for WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities, as these can make connecting your mobile and audio devices a breeze.
It’s crucial to understand the different types of projectors available. LCD (liquid crystal display) projectors are budget-friendly but may sacrifice some clarity. On the other hand, LED (light emitting diode) projectors are lightweight and energy-efficient, making them a great fit for backyard movie nights.
For those who demand nothing less than perfection and don’t want to miss a single detail, DLP (digital light processing) projectors stand as the most advanced choice. They often come in various resolutions, ascending from 720P to 1080P, and up to 4K.
Finally, budget considerations come into play. Outdoor projectors are not low-cost items, so be prepared to invest at least a few hundred dollars from a projector perspective. If you’re after the absolute best, featuring the brightest, sharpest, and most vibrant 4K picture, the BenQ GV40 is a top pick. However, if you’re looking for a projector that is lower budget but still delivers, consider exploring the DBPower WiFi Projector.
Create or purchase a movie screen
The second crucial element of a successful backyard movie night is the screen. Your screen choice can range from the simplicity of hanging a sheet from a fence to the sophistication of an inflatable screen tailored for outdoor use.
If you’re aiming to make the most of your movie-night budget, the classic white sheet is a viable option. White sheets can secured to a homemade wood frame, using ropes fastened at each corner to suspend it from the fence, or, if you prefer, project the movie directly onto the side of your garage or house.
For dedicated cinephiles who demand nothing but the best, a purpose-built projector screen is the ultimate choice. The AAJK Outdoor Projection Screen, supporting HD projection and boasting a generous 150-inch diagonal size, is a top contender, although it may require some creative installation. Alternatively, consider the simplicity of an inflatable model like the one offered by VIVOHOME for an easier setup.
Establish a media device
In the past, selecting the right media device for projecting your favorite movie could be quite a challenge. However, in today’s digital landscape, the decision is far less daunting, thanks to the ubiquitous presence of a pocket-sized streaming devices (our phones). Most modern projectors now offer the convenience of streaming content directly from your iPhone or Android devices, allowing you to bring any video from your phone to the big screen effortlessly.
Many of the top-notch projectors come equipped with pre-installed apps that facilitate seamless integration with your streaming services, enabling you to play movies directly from the projector itself. Alternatively, some projectors allow you to insert a FireStick or Roku stick directly into them for added versatility. You could also go old-school and carry a laptop to your backyard and connect it to the projector using HDMI cables.
Audio is super important
When it comes to outdoor projectors, one aspect they often fall short in is delivering exceptional sound quality. To ensure you don’t miss a single word of your film, it’s worth considering an audio system upgrade, such as a set of speakers or a soundbar.
Numerous options are available, but it’s essential to find a solution that seamlessly integrates with your projector. While Bluetooth may appear to be the most straightforward choice, it can sometimes introduce a slight delay, causing the audio to fall out of sync with the picture. An excellent alternative is a high-quality jobsite radio like the one offered by Turtle Box, which features an audio input for direct connection to your projector.
For a more budget-friendly option that can handle short outdoor stints, consider the Sony soundbar. It comes equipped with all the necessary inputs for most projectors. If you’re looking to recreate a true cinematic audio experience, explore a dedicated outdoor soundbar like the Samsung model, which promises impeccable movie-quality audio.
Relax and enjoy with comfortable seating
Everybody wants to enjoy their movie in comfort, so it’s essential to put some consideration into outdoor seating. Typically, patio furniture, such as those comfortable wicker chairs on the deck, is an excellent choice. However, when your neighbors start joining in, your patio seating might be in high demand. What’s the solution then?
As the host, guide your guests to their folding chairs. For couples, Kelty’s Outdoor Lowdown Couch is a fantastic option and it fits 3 people, while an economical camp chair like the one from TIMBER RIDGE should suffice for kids and single guests. Additionally, an extra-large picnic blanket is also a great option.
Candy, snacks and concessions
What’s a movie experience without some delectable snacks and refreshing drinks? Prepare a cooler filled with ice and a variety of beverages, including sodas, seltzers, juice boxes, and adult beverages, ensuring that nobody goes thirsty. Additionally, consider setting up a convenient folding table stocked with chips, popcorn, candy bars, napkins, and other essentials to prevent the rumbling of stomachs from overshadowing that crucial moment when you discover it was the librarian all along.
Last but not least, give some careful consideration to keeping those backyard pests at bay. Illuminate the area with citronella candles to deter flying nuisances from settling in.