Movie Night In Your Own Backyard |

Movie Night In Your Own Backyard

Have you stepped outside recently and felt comfortably warm? Were you surprised by finding grass, and not snow, under your feet? Perhaps you’ve also seen wildlife, flowering plants, and the sun. In all likelihood, you have been experiencing spring, and it’s probably going to give way to summer. It’s worth it to take advantage of these pleasant changes by spending as much time as you can outside, so today I’ll show you how to make an outdoor theater in your very own backyard.

Outside movie

What equipment will you need?

First and foremost, you need to get yourself a projector. Brightness matters more than anything else, so make sure the model you buy can put out at least 1200 lumens. Since most new projectors (starting at $500) project at over 2000 lumens, you could probably find an affordable used projector that fits your budget and still lights up a big screen. If you’re not too worried about getting a true HD picture, then you’ll have saved a lot of money to put towards things that matter – like refreshments. Popcorn, anyone?


Your audio setup depends on a few things. If you want to make a permanent installation, be sure to get a waterproof setup. You’ll need a container that can house an amplifier, an amplifier that can power the speakers, and speakers that can make your movie night come to life. Or you could just plug some computer speakers into a DVD player and call it a night!

We’re nearly there – now you need to figure out what you’ll play your movies on. It could be as simple as a laptop, or it could be a standalone Blue Ray player. Another option that’s strongly worth considering if you’re within range of your home’s WiFi network is an AppleTV. For $100, you get access to a rental library where you’ll be able to find something for everyone.

Now the piece de resistance: the movie screen! It could be a wall, a sheet, a custom built screen or one you buy from the store, but as long as it’s a large, white or grey surface that isn’t too glossy, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Backyard movie

Setting up and laying it out

Make sure that the speakers aren’t too far from you, which makes for a host of problems. The audio can get out of sync with the video, you’ll need more power, and your neighbors are just that much more likely to be bothered by the noise.

The next biggest consideration is lighting. Place your screen in an area as dark as possible. Even a street light can cut down the sharpness of your projector’s image, so carefully consider your screen placement.

If your control equipment is too far away to work with a remote or is well-concealed in a waterproof cabinet, consider purchasing an infrared repeater. That way, you can pause, play, and fast-forward without having to get up from your comfy lawn chair.

Considering pairing up a movie night with your Memorial Day BBQ. By the time everyone eats and things get wrapped up, it’ll be dark enough to start watching something. Just try not to indulge in too many burgers or you might not be able to stay awake once the sun goes down!


It’s time. The screen is set up, the movie’s cued and ready to roll, and you’ve got an itchy trigger finger on the play button. Take stock of the fresh air, appreciate the fact that you’ve got the people who you care most deeply about with you, and settle in. Have a great Memorial Day.

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