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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

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Author Topic: First showing ALMOST a disaster **LONG**  (Read 4735 times)
40-Dan
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« on: August 03, 2008, 08:57:13 am »

First of all, a big thanks to everyone on this forum.  Not only to those who answered a few of my noob questions, but to anyone who has posted a response to anyone else's questions.  I learned SO much simply by reading thru a LOT of threads.

We had my daughter's birthday party last nite.  Like any parent, I wanted to make it really special, so I had the idea to do a movie out by the pool.  I already owned all of the equipment I needed except for the screen.  Some preliminary tests w/ my layout indicated that I was going to need a REALLY big screen.  I went w/ the kit from Creative Shelters.  The 20' x 10' is almost exactly perfect.

I actually had a pretty challenging setup.  The idea was to be able to locate the screen on one side of the pool and shoot across it so that the movie could be viewed from either the pool, the deck, or the patio beneath the deck.  In order to prevent having the projector right on the opposite side of the pool, I needed a throw of about 39'.  This allowed the projection boot to be located safely ON the deck.  My projector (inherited from the wife's work) is a 2000 lumen Hitachi.  This distance is right on the edge of what the specs say it will do, but it performed flawlessly.  At that distance on the CS screen, it filled the screen (w/ a 16x9 aspect ratio) almost perfectly.

Anyway, the plan for the party was pretty simple - swimming at 6:30 w/ pizza and cake to follow, a classic looney toon cartoon at 8:45 followed by the main feature.  At around 7:30, the weather warning siren down the street started going off.  A look at the sky made everyone believe that something must be wrong w/ the siren - not a cloud to be seen.  Just in case, I pulled up the radar on the laptop (my source for the show) and looked in awe at the solid red and PURPLE storm headed right for us.  We quickly drug the table serving as my projection booth inside, put trash bags over my speakers, sent the kids into the basement for pizza and cake, and hunkered down.  Of particular concern was how the CS screen would fare against the 70 MPH winds being talked about on the local news stations.

Some more studying the radar images made me feel better.  I looked as though the brunt of the storm was going to skirt to the east of us.  As it turns out, that's exactly what happened - we got a pretty good blow, but it was really just the edge of the cell.

By 9:15, the skies had cleared, so we rigged a makeshift cover for my gear (just in case) and hooked everything back up.  From that point on, everything worked PERFECTLY.  There's just something magical about seeing a movie in one's own backyard on a screen that large.  And to make things better, I think I've got a gig (non-paying, since I'm still getting my act together) to do the Bristol night race on the 23rd for the parents of one of my daughter's friends.

Anyway, I just wanted to relate my experiences and say thanks once again to everyone here.  I've attached some pics below.  Note that the daytime pics are morning-after, so please excuse the mess.



* nite view.JPG (102.93 KB, 640x480 - viewed 392 times.)

* upstairs.JPG (229.12 KB, 640x480 - viewed 342 times.)

* downstairs.JPG (181.84 KB, 640x480 - viewed 390 times.)

* morning after screen.JPG (218.79 KB, 640x480 - viewed 400 times.)

* morning after booth.JPG (243.77 KB, 640x480 - viewed 403 times.)
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movielover
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2008, 09:14:21 am »

sounds like you were very lucky being on the edge of the storm, i hope the others in it's path faired as well.

the last picture is nice, having a balcony to sit on, reminds me of the old theaters we used to have (and they all had a stage in front of the screen and would draw tickets and hand out prizes, you'd get to go up on the stage and that was really neat).
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2008, 09:18:27 am »

I think I stayed at this four seasons........... Grin

Sounds like a great night and you have a perfect viewing area. Thanks for the pics.

It's all about makin' memories.
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seating for 1,000........... 12 at a time
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« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2008, 09:27:08 am »

Beautiful house and great set up.
Glad we could help...your closing credits must have been long Wink

When I saw your balcony i thought of my favorite movie scene.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Q5UG7ISJfP0" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/Q5UG7ISJfP0</a>
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 09:31:24 am by aleuni » Logged

Alex
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Sparge
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« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2008, 10:42:33 am »

Dan,

Welcome to the madness!  You have a wonderful looking home there.  I'm glad to hear the weather held out and you were able to get your showing in.  I've had five movie nights this year (three were in a row over the Fourth of July weekend).  It looked like we might get bad weather for four of those five, but nothing as scary as your threat sounded!   Shocked  What's up with the weather this year?

"LONG"?  Pffft.  Your post is but the size of a postscript compared to some of the tome-like ramblings I've posted!  And I kind of feel the urge to type coming on...   Cheesy

I, too, have a Creative Shelters (CS) screen.  You gotta love that 20' wide screen!  My apologies if I offend, but I see your frame looks a bit out of square and your screen material is not as taught as it could be.  If you don't mind I'd like to share some tips from working with my CS screen for the last three years...

1. On some of the fittings it makes a difference which piece of EMT pipe is inserted first due to the way the pipes overlap.  The bottom corner fittings are a good example.  If one inserts the horizontal pipe first then the vertical pipe comes to rest on top of the horizontal pipe.  This causes the vertical pipe to be essentially 1" taller and the horizontal pipe is essentially 1" shorter.  Of course, the reverse is true if one inserts the vertical pipe first.  You might find one way or the other makes things more square.  The most important thing is to do it the same way on each of the three trusses.

2. There should be empty space between the screen tarp and the frame on all four sides (see a pic of my screen below).  This allows the bungees to pull the screen taught.  You seem to need a bit more vertical height to get the sags out of your tarp (which is touching at the top and bottom).  I personally sink the vertical side pipes into the top fittings until they bottom out.  However, I only insert those same pipes 6" into the bottom fittings.  This adds the needed few inches of height in the screen frame box.

3. It looks like the top of your screen frame is narrower than the bottom.  I think the problem is that the top horizontal pipes are buried all the way into the middle tee fitting at the top.  This is a place where inserting each side only 6" will help square things up.  I personally used a Sharpie marker to put marks at 6" on all my pipes.  One hint there, draw it all the way around the pipe.  That way you don't have to spin the pipe around looking for your marks.  I used a fitting as a guide to draw a perfect circle around the pipes.  After a couple of set-ups and tear-downs you'll get to know which pipes get inserted all the way and which should only be inserted 6".

4. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks like you decided to forego the rear support bars in favor of sand bags.  That's a bad idea in my opinion.  That structure's a big sail and even in a moderate wind it's going to take off.  Sometimes there's no warning when the wind's going to kick up.  Best case only the screen or some of your other property get's damaged.  Worst case, that thing injures or even kills someone.  No, I'm not exaggerating.  We set ours up in a moderate wind at my parent's place last year.  I had my mother stand on the front of the screen until we could get the rear support bars in and the front staked down.  The wind was actually picking my mother up off the ground!  I'm sure there are enough other BYT'ers here to provide plenty of horror stories about wind.  Unfortunately, I think Randy's had more than his share of run-ins with Mother Nature.   Sad

5. One of the issues with our CS screens is that visible seam in the tarp.  I'm sure you noted from your showing that the seam is a little more reflective (brighter) than the rest of the screen.  Most people aren't distracted by it once the show gets going.  Only one person (other than me) has commented on it in three years.  He thought it was an issue with the projector.  Your seam, like mine, is not dead center in the tarp.  That leaves two rectangular quadrants, one larger than the other.  My tip here is to put the larger rectangular quadrant toward the top.  Or looking at it another way, put the seam closer to the ground.  When the seam is at the top (the way you have your's in the pic) it tends to go right through the eyeballs of the on-screen actors.  The actor's eyes are where the audience naturally focus their attention.  The seam becomes less noticeable when it's lower on the screen.  I've ran mine both ways and came to this conclusion.  Your mileage may vary.

6. I don't completely disassemble my screen between showings.  If you have the room to store them I recommend you leave the lower box of each truss assembled.  That saves a lot of time messing around with the short pipes, getting them assembled square, tightening them down, etc.

Here's a representation of a complete frame truss:

          .
         /|
        / |
       /  |
      /   |
     +--+
    /     |
   /      |
  +----+

Here are the parts I leave together:

     +--+
    /     |
   /      |
  +----+

That way you're only storing long poles, those three pre-assembled "squares", and a handful of fittings.  I hang those squares on hooks in the garage.

I hope some of the above helps you or others who have the CS screen!

Once again, happy screenings!

-Sparge-


* the_screen.jpg (157.1 KB, 1024x768 - viewed 368 times.)
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 10:55:11 am by Sparge » Logged
40-Dan
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« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2008, 11:12:55 am »

Sparge,

Your advice is REALLY appreciated.  This was (obviously) the first time we assembled this frame.  At the time of assembly, the temperature was around 95 degrees w/ a heat index hovering a shade over 105.  I noticed once it was stood up that I had alignment issues, but, frankly, we were WAY too exhausted to pull it back down to correct them.

I had intended to use the braces, but, as the adjustable brackets normally used for this were backordered, I opted for some fixed angle brackets instead.  As it turns out, I installed the wrong ones on the diagonal poles, and fixed them in place WAY too high up.  This was not noticed until the screen was moved into position (a 3 man job).   In addition to the sandbags, there is a tie-rope back to my fence that helps keep everything in place.  I plan to do this "the right way" the next time I put it up, but it didn't even budge with some pretty severe winds last nite (I'd reckon we had gusts of at least 45 mph if not higher).

I like the idea of keeping the bottom portions together.  I THINK I even have an adequate place to store them like that.

One question that you didn't address - what is the trick to getting all of the poles inserted when they come together to form a triangle.  We were only successful with a little "persuasion" courtesy of a dead-blow mallet and a wood block.

Dan
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Sparge
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« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2008, 11:33:51 am »

One question that you didn't address - what is the trick to getting all of the poles inserted when they come together to form a triangle.  We were only successful with a little "persuasion" courtesy of a dead-blow mallet and a wood block.

When all of the pieces are assembled squarely they slide together with little persuasion.  I've never needed to resort to a mallet.  I have tapped a couple of them with a small chunk of 2x4 from time to time.   Grin

I suppose another thing is that I disagree with the EMT cut lengths that come with the CS kit.  I re-cut a lot of my short pipes to new (mostly shorter) lengths to square things up a bit better.  I want to make a couple of more adjustments but each time I set up the screen I'm usually behind schedule and I push it out until "next time".  I'll try to get some final cut lengths to share in a couple of weeks (my next planned movie night).

Going back to the small chunks of 2x4, that's another good tip.  I use small sections of 2x4s as shims under the frame to make up for the uneveness of the lawn.  I'm sure that's less of any issue when setting up on cement/concrete.

-Sparge-
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« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2008, 11:35:16 am »

Congratulations, Dan!  Beautiful home and setup.  Glad to hear the weather cooperated and things worked out well.  Thank for posting pics and info for others!!

Enjoy the movies!

Randy
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"Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle for where we're going.  There's something ahead worth looking for." -- Neil Young


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