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Plan a Backyard Movie Night


backyard-movie-nightA perfect backyard movie night just takes a little planning and a nice summer evening. Here’s how to bring together a movie night that makes you the coolest neighbor on the block.

Start with invitations. As with anything that has the potential to be loud, you’ll want to invite the neighbors! Invite anyone you think might be interested and encourage them to bring outdoor movie necessities, including a blanket and bug spray. If your party is open to the public, or you’re charging admission, you’ll need to license your movie from the movie studio.

Pick the right spot. You’ll want to be away from streetlights and other bright lights, ideally in a space with some open grass for viewing. Or you can set up the screen above the pool and host a “dive-in” movie!

Plan enough food and drinks. Since your screening won’t start until after dark, you probably won’t need to provide a meal. No snack screams “movie night” more than popcorn, and you can serve it in classic paper popcorn bags for just a few dollars. Don’t forget, you’ll want to provide a trash and recycle bin, too, so your guests can clean up after themselves.

Start after dark. It’s tempting on late summer nights with kids to try to start the movie early, but the projection won’t be very visible until after sunset. Using a brighter projector can help, but no projector is going to work well while the sun is still up. At least you’ll have an excuse to use your glow bracelets. They’re for the kids, right?

host-outdoor-movie-night Pick a spot where the lights won’t shine on the screen, to help keep the image easy to see.

Choose the right screen size for your group. Most backyard movies look best on a 16:9 screen that’s between 10 and 12 feet diagonal (usually for crowds between 20 and 120). You can build your own budget screen from a large sheet or project on a plain white wall, or you can get much nicer results from an affordable outdoor screen rental.

Use a bright enough projector. Projector brightness is measured in lumens. Here’s our suggested brightness chart for a good-looking projection on a typical summer night outside:

Screen Size
(Diagonal)
Suggested
Lumens
80” 2000
100” 2700
120” 3000
144” 4000

Good sound is really important. Most digital projectors include some kind of speaker, but it’s not designed for large groups outdoors. For the outdoor movie experience, it’s best to use powerful speakers with good sound quality. For safety, you can add wireless audio to connect your speakers without running cables through your audience.

If you don’t want to worry about getting all the right av equipment and cables, we offer a backyard movie night package that has all the equipment you need. We can even have an AV tech come set it up if you like!


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