Now Playing in Your Backyard
Gear up for your very own summer movie nightsBy StatePoint
Looking for ways to get the most out of warm summer evenings? Consider creating your own outdoor home theater. With the right equipment and planning, you can enjoy your favorite movies under the stars, and the most difficult part will be picking out the movie. Here five things to consider when setting things up:
1Placement: To begin designing your home theater space, determine where to place your screen. You want it positioned where there is minimal light once the house lights are off and the sun has set. There should be ample space for guest seating, and room for the projector’s image throw distance. For optimal image quality, your projector should be elevated.
It’s good to limit ambient light as much as possible, but it’s also important to keep your walkways lit. Solar LED pathway lights are a tasteful accent that will help keep your guests safe.
2Equipment: Since outdoor settings include light sources not always within your control, such as street lights and moonlight, choosing a projector with the right lumen level for your space is critical for clear image projection. As a rule, the more ambient light in your backyard, the higher you want your projector’s lumen level to be.
The second component is quality sound. Get an audio source with enough output to cut through ambient noise. Consider a sound bar.
Here's a projector/screen combination at a reasonable price.
3Seating: Arrange lawn chairs or other lightweight pieces such as wicker chairs together so they face the screen, with room in between to place beverages and snacks. Consider placing furniture over an outdoor rug if your grouping is on a solid surface such as a smooth patio. It’s considerate to accommodate seating preferences for guests of all ages. For example, if you are entertaining another family, buy outdoor beanbags for the kids to sit in and ottomans so parents can put their feet up.
4Bug prep: Spray the area for mosquitoes and other insects before guests arrive, and keep additional pest control solutions on hand.
5Games & snacks: While waiting for the sun to set before starting the movie, have some activities planned for your guests to pass the time. Cornhole (where you toss a small beanbag into a hole in a board) has become increasingly popular for teens and adults. You can also have children play old-time games traditionally played in front of drive-in screens before the big movie started. Examples include freeze tag (a variation of tag, where the person who is “it” tags you, causing you to freeze until another participant can un-freeze you).
Don’t forget the fresh popcorn (and other classic cinema snacks)! But your outdoor movie party can be a fun opportunity to put a twist on theater snacks and serve other treats, such as cut-up vegetables with a tasty dip or strawberries with chocolate sauce in cups.