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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

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Author Topic: How to build a backyard theater on the cheap  (Read 344986 times)
victor-eyd
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« Reply #45 on: September 03, 2008, 10:34:16 pm »

This projector is not dlp, its lcd.

This projector has a horrible resolution and here is the thread showing it
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=756397
note: pictures are missing from the original thread but I have a few if you need it

Although some might say its okay at 50", anything above that the light is too dim to show anything imo

Victor
« Last Edit: September 03, 2008, 10:35:57 pm by victor-eyd » Logged

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gopsu
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« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2008, 08:49:14 am »

Help! I am new to all of this and this is so much information in this forum, that I feel overwhelmed.
I'm finding a great deal of information on movies and feel I understand how to start in that arena.
What I want to do is surprise my husband by hosting a backyard tailgate party and watch a football game. Everything I'm reading pertains to movies/dvd's. How do I go about showing a TV program, once I get my screen up?
I'm not that technicial, but can follow directions. (I do all the electronics in our home) Any adivce or suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
I am willing to make, rent and or buy what I need. I have until 10/25 to pull this off, will that be enough time?
Thank you in advance!
KK
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victor-eyd
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« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2008, 09:18:56 am »

Start with the basics: you need a projector. Check your budget- if you can only spend under three hundred there's a great deal going on right now on infocus' website for a refurb X2

http://store.infocus.com/Stores/Consumer/Product.aspx?ProductId={F62A83B8-E047-40BC-87BC-26E7C8401A79}

This will be more than enough for a backyard theater in most cases. If you want to spend higher (for resolution and/or for a widescreen version) there are always deals on woot or dell or even amazon. You could try craigslist or ebay but considering you can get a pj with a factory warranty I'd be reluctant to go any other way.

As to the screen, you have the choice of a premad inflatable, like the gemmy, which you can get at walmart for undr $200, or make your own, whether its bedsheets, white paneling, trapeze spandex fabric, or whatever flat material you can paint white and put against the wall.

Audio is easy. You can get a HTIB, or simply rummage around your house for unused audio gear and play away. As to your question about TV hookup, all projectors have video inputs for dvds and cable boxes. Find out what outputs you have on your cable/sat box and hook directly to the pj. The best is HDMI, followed by DVI, VGA, S-video, and finally composite (yellow RCA). Don't get me wrong, even composite will render a watchable picture, just not as good as the other formats
 
See, it wasn't that hard  Wink

Victor
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Cherry Hills
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« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2008, 10:42:13 am »

You need a TV tuner or a cable box, and you need to be able to get the signal from there to your projector. If you have a HD tuner already, you should be able to drag that out to the yard with your projector. If you're connected to cable, you will have to figure out how to get the cable and decoder box out there, or how to run a cable from the decoder to your projector.

If you don't have a HD tuner already, you can pick one up relatively inexpensively and you'll be able to use it on that spare analog TV that will be useless after February without it. That seems like the simplest to me (assuming you can get the game you want to see over the air).
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matt314159
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« Reply #49 on: January 07, 2009, 06:24:16 pm »

interesting thread!

One tip for getting the best projector for your buck, if you are very careful, discerning, and technically adept, and know what to look for, is eBay. 

Specifically, if you can find a projector that is missing the lamp, they usually go for between $100 and $150, even some of the higher end models.  Then a new lamp usually costs $200 - $300. 

Last summer I got a Toshiba 2500 Lumen, XGA DLP video projector without a lamp for roughly $150 on ebay.   Bought a new lamp for about $250, making the total just over $400.  At the time that was pretty good, I think.

But you've got to be careful.  You need to make sure it's from a very reputable seller, and you need to make sure you are confident that all it needs is a new lamp.  It can really be a gamble so it's not for everyone.  If you get a projector that explodes your brand new lamp, you can be sorry.   

But for me, sometimes the gamble is half the fun.  Lamps sometimes just explode, it's a fact of life.  A lot of times, somebody's home theater projector's lamp might go bad, and instead of spending $300 on a new lamp, they just put the projector up on ebay for whatever they can get, and buy a new projector. 
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reg71
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« Reply #50 on: March 28, 2009, 07:59:25 pm »

Ok, I realize I am coming late to this party.  I like the OP am shall we say 'on the frugal side'.  More commonly referred to by my family as a cheap bastard.  Anyway, I heard that you could essentially build your own projector a while back from my teenaged so so he went on the lookout for old overhead projectors from craigslist.  He ended up finding a couple that we gave $25 for that were retired from the local highschool I believe.  He also researched bulb prices on the models we were getting before we bought them.  The high cost of typical projectors was something we wished to avoid.  Now, he lives with my ex so he took his projector back home and worked on it there.  I left mine up in the attic and forgot about it until last week.  Since remembering, I have created what might be the cheapest backyard theater solution I have ever heard of.  I have a total of $65 invested.  Now if I'd had to buy a couple of things that I happened to have it would have been closer to $100.  Here's what I have:

Apollo portable overhead projector - $25 used on CL
Two new bulbs for said projector (50 hours ea and works good with just one on so I could have halved this) $20 total
Old comp speakers that plug into earphone jack of DVD player - originally around $15 or less but I already had
Portable DVD player with tiny 3x4 screen - donated by my stepson but I think they can be had for $30ish
1/4 hardboard - $9
paint - on first iteration I used leftover white housepaint but repainted today.  will retest tonight

new paint was around $10 and is the Behr shade nicknamed 'silverscreen'.  I suspect the qulaity will improve slightly.

Now, I realize the quality of this is far below most of the systems on here, but so is the cost.  Mainly I wanted to see just how cheap I could do it, and if it would work.  Our first movie was 'The Princess Bride' and we watched it for my wifes birthday in our backyard with an audience of 4.  I must admit although it was a tad blurry due to blowing it up probably way more that I should have (around 8 ft wide) and the low resolution of the portable DVD, we had a great time.  Did I mention I also have a kegerator which greatly improves the bakyard theater experience IMO. 

The next upgrade will be in the screen and in doing it this way I am able to start wathing the movies now and have a good time and get better sound, bigger screen, etc. whenever a good deal pops up.


* 1st show.jpg (28.36 KB, 800x600 - viewed 954 times.)
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Rhizzlebop
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« Reply #51 on: May 21, 2009, 11:11:53 am »

Hi, I'm brand new here, and have been reading a lot of threads.  I've been using a projector indoors as my main TV for years.  Now, I'm moving outdoors and have movies around the new deck I'm building.

Heres a question and a suggestion.  I'm attaching a pic of my deck and back yard.  Trying to decide whether to go 14' wide which is 190" diag image, or 16' wide.

Also, trying to decide whether to use 1 1/2" PVC, or 2" PVC.

I'm strongly considering doing rear projection.  I bought a cheap 5 dollar 12'x9ft vinyl painters drop cloth at Lowes the other day, and just did a quick test with my Panasonic AX100U and the image looked better doing rear proj, rather than front. It was brighter, and seemed oddly clearer.

So, my screen idea involves an outer rim frame, and then a top and bottom PVC member, sleeved through two pieces of this vinyl drop cloth.  Supported at both ends and the middle, and tensioned, so I can do either front, or rear projection.

Thoughts?

One screen spot would be directly off the end of the deck, down beyond that fireplace.

The other would be out in the yard, to the left of the picture.  However, with the top of the screen up around 11 or 12ft high, I'm concerned about some limbs blocking the view if you were all the way at the near end of the deck.



* Deck pic1.JPG (1265.58 KB, 2048x1536 - viewed 682 times.)

* Deck pic 2.jpg (1353.34 KB, 2048x1536 - viewed 684 times.)
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OUTBACKMOVIES
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« Reply #52 on: May 27, 2009, 10:27:28 pm »

Hi, I'm brand new here, and have been reading a lot of threads.  I've been using a projector indoors as my main TV for years.  Now, I'm moving outdoors and have movies around the new deck I'm building.

Heres a question and a suggestion.  I'm attaching a pic of my deck and back yard.  Trying to decide whether to go 14' wide which is 190" diag image, or 16' wide.

Also, trying to decide whether to use 1 1/2" PVC, or 2" PVC.

I'm strongly considering doing rear projection.  I bought a cheap 5 dollar 12'x9ft vinyl painters drop cloth at Lowes the other day, and just did a quick test with my Panasonic AX100U and the image looked better doing rear proj, rather than front. It was brighter, and seemed oddly clearer.

So, my screen idea involves an outer rim frame, and then a top and bottom PVC member, sleeved through two pieces of this vinyl drop cloth.  Supported at both ends and the middle, and tensioned, so I can do either front, or rear projection.

Thoughts?

One screen spot would be directly off the end of the deck, down beyond that fireplace.

The other would be out in the yard, to the left of the picture.  However, with the top of the screen up around 11 or 12ft high, I'm concerned about some limbs blocking the view if you were all the way at the near end of the deck.



My outside screen is 2.9m wide and can be viewed from 12m away on my deck and it is large enough.Even playing Wii thu a 2000lm short throw projector it is fine. Obviosly if you wack a more powerful projector up you can get a brighter picture but it is even fine with a 1400lm panasonic out there but that is used inside and again is fine on that screen which is 2.4m wide.
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jerryc
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« Reply #53 on: June 02, 2009, 04:40:44 pm »

I got My Projector on craigslist brand new 4 hrs on the bulb for $280
reciver i have speakers i have i think my back yard theater with projector and screen will cost me $500 if i was you id shop look on ebay craigs list i took me a year to find a good deal on the projector.With the econemy the way it is the guy needed money.Just look and keep looking deals are out there
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jerry c
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« Reply #54 on: June 09, 2009, 03:16:08 pm »

Well, it is rainy outside and I don't have school or work today, so I thought I would tell about my setup in hopes it might help someone.  Here it goes:

Projector-
I was able to pick up an InFocus LP70+ DLP projector for $249 from a company named NPS (National Product Sales).  NPS is a freight recovery company that is near us, but I noticed they are on eBay too.  The projector had less than 50 hours on it, but it was used, so I was a bit nervous.  Turned out I had nothing to be afraid of, and my sister bought an identical one that had 50 hours on it for the same price.  It came with a hard case with custom foam for traveling with the projector and all the standard cables.   The unit weighs 2.5 lbs and is very portable.  People have been so impressed with the projector, that they have asked to rent it from me.  I only rent it to people I know and tell them $50/night with the understanding if any damage is done they will be responsible for replacement. So far I've made $150 of the price back with more to come this summer I'm sure.

Screen-
My first screen was made of some fabric that our new leather couches were covered in when we picked them up from the store.  We cut it into a nice size, then double layered it and safety-pinned it.  The screen is roughly 12' X 9' and I just attached it to the rain gutter on the house. I'll have to add a picture so you can see the fabric.  It worked nicely for both front and rear projection.

The second screen I got for myself for Christmas  Smiley It is an indoor motorized screen that I got for $116 from "Serious-Sounds" on eBay. It is a 100" diagonal screen 4:3 format. Since it is for indoors, I won't go into detail.

My newest screen is a 12' widescreen Gemmy screen that I bought off of Walmart.com for $180 after taxes. I setup the other night just to see how easy it was (very easy, about 20 min. the first time by myself.  I'm confident I could do it in 5 with someones help). This weekend will be its first use, but it looks like a great value so far, plus my son seems to love how big it is(me too).  Grin

Video Source-
I mainly use my laptop (that I bought for school purposes, so I don't count that as a BYT expense) for portability, quality, and ease.  I also occassionally use the DVR for sporting events.

Audio-
This is the next area that will be upgraded, but probably not this season.  Currently I run computer speakers that were given to me for free.  They actually sound pretty good because they have a little sub and two satellite speakers.

Remember when you are going cheap, I've yet to have anyone complain about the sound or any aspect of my setup~ We are our own toughest judges.  Kids/adults don't care if you have the fanciest setup or how many gigawatts your speakers put out, they just enjoy an outdoor movie.  My first movie showing, l was into my system less than $250, and even now I am still under $450 for my outdoor equipment.

Hope that gives someone some ideas!
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stingrayracing
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« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2010, 07:07:45 pm »

Like some here I am new to BYT and to this forum.  My wife and I got the idea a couple of years ago while floating in the pool.  She said "wouldn't it be nice to watch a movie at night while in the pool".  Well, that's all she needed to say and the rest is history.  I am finally getting my stuff together for this summer.  I bought an Epson MovieMate 60 off of Ebay new for $520.  It is 2000 lumen, built in DVD, speakers and plenty of outputs/inputs for additional sources and sound.  It has a good warranty and the replacement bulb is only $150.  The one that came with it is rated for 5000 hours.  For my taste I think it is great!  Very bright and good picture resolution.  I made the 48"x96" screen out of 1x3 pine and BOC.  It is hinged in the center for portability.  I have plenty of old speakers and I just bought a AV receiver on Ebay for $4.25 that I think will do the trick.  Can't wait to get things going in nice weather.  We have already set it up in the family room and watched Netflix movies streamed through the laptop.  I have to thank the many members on this forum for all the good ideas I have capitalized on!  This place rocks!

Rocky
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RecycledCinema
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« Reply #56 on: July 07, 2010, 04:40:39 pm »

Thanx for all the advise. I'm new here and trying to do this on no budget. I got lucky and got my projector as a lost and found item at my work Grin. Currently using a Dell projector, laptop, and my old surround speakers. We do rear projection onto a twin size bed sheet. Thanks again and keep it up. This is a great site that has shown me a lot of good info.
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Cherry Hills
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« Reply #57 on: July 09, 2010, 04:41:19 pm »

And you'll find that you have as much fun as the people with the $7000 projectors and 7.1 surround systems. They're more refined, but the fun level hits maximum right after you get the first picture on the wall, and it never quits.

Have fun, and welcome to the nuthouse!
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« Reply #58 on: August 17, 2011, 07:48:24 am »

I got lucky. I have 2 pine trees in my backyard that are 12' apart. So with a 9'x12' canvas tarp from Home Depot, a gallon of white paint (from the returns) and a grommet kit I'm on my way! I screwed a 12' long 2x4 horizontally between the trees at about 10' off the ground. Then I put 4 bolts in it to match the grommets. A few bungie cords around the top middle and bottom and I'm done. Total set up time - about 10 minutes. I store the tarp on a 4" dia. 12' length of PVC.

For a projector I got a NEC refurbished online for around $500 with a brand new bulb and it puts out about 2600 lumens! I picked up 4 floor speakers at different garage sales for around $20 and they sound awesome. A roll of speaker wire and I can run wire from the cabinet (more on that to follow) to the front and around one side to the rear. (Running around one side means that people can walk across the yard and not trip on wires)

Then it was off to Walmart to get a $30 dvd player. It works great. I hook an S-video cable from it to the projector and sound connections out to the receiver and that part's done!

I had an older (70's) Pioneer receiver that has dual speaker connections (A&B) so for "on the cheap" outdoor sound I run the fronts to A side and the rears to B side.

I had one of those monster indoor wall unit that my neighbor and I cut down to hold the new LCD tv's. So with all the extra wood from the sides I built a cabinet to hold the receiver, the dvd player and the projector.

All in all I can be totally set up in under 30 minutes and get everything put away and the yard back to normal in 20.

The last movie we did was Eric Clapton's concert for Antigue. Well with the sound cranked I swear we had lawn seats to one of the best shows around.

I'll have to get some pics of the set up and post them here for everyone to see.
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« Reply #59 on: August 01, 2012, 01:26:26 am »

This is my first post.  I am new to the forum but not to backyard theatre.  We have had ours for a few years now.  And it is defiantly done on the cheap, but it is a good kind of cheap... I think at least.  I also wanted it to have a drive-in kind of feel.  So I thought I would share my setup here.  I hope to become an active contributing member to the forum.
 
Our projector is a older Epson I picked up at a garage sale for $50.00.  It is LCD and 2000 Lumen and had about 75% bulb life at the time.  Since it is an older projector it is a 4:3 unit as such so is the screen.

For a screen I went with wood.  Why, mostly because I had a ton of used 12 foot 2X4s, so that helps keep costs down.  I bought 3 sheets of plywood for the project on sale for $15 each for a total of $45.00.  I used white roofing seam sealant on the joints of the plywood, then a quick coat of primer, and a few coats of Flat white paint (craigslist free so no cost primer and paint).  Maybe not the ideal surface, but I've never had any complaints.  There are no visible seams or distortions in the image, and the 2000 lumen projector produces a image that is plenty bright enough.  The best part about the permanent screen install is I don't have to mess with it before the movie.  A quick pressure washing in the spring and a coat of paint if needed and it's good to go. BTW it is about 10X12 feet.

For a Media player I just use my laptop, nothing I bought for the theatre, it was what I already had.

Sound.  I have to admit the first time we watched a movie outside this was my biggest short coming.  Standard desktop style computer speakers won't cut it.  They just don't get loud enough, we could hear the movie if we were close enough to the speakers but it was definitely not satisfactory, we used the theatre twice before I figured out my next move.  I had nothing else to use, and didn't want to invest in a $100 + in speakers and amps, then I remembered that we have a broadcast unit for our holiday light show.  So people can pull up to the front of the house tune their radio in and see a light show sincro'ed to music (built that setup back when I had money but thats a different story).  So we took the AM C-quam stereo transmitter from that for the theatre.  The broadcast antenna is attached to the side of the screen.  That way we could just bring a radio outside and listen to it on that.  Initially I thought that was going to be a temporary solution, but we are still using it that way to this day.  It has worked out well, especially for my friend that is hard of hearing.  He just brings his walkman and tunes in.  Could it be better, sure.  FM would be better, but that would be a $300.00 upgrade, maybe one day.  And if someone is looking to broadcast their sound on the cheap, used talking house transmitters can be found on E-bay for less than $50.00 it is just that those aren't stereo. 

So my setup cost.  $95.00 and two weekends of screen building and painting.  Add $50.00 for the cheap transmitter, if someone is looking to do something like I have.  Yes, the projector was a lucky find, but they are out there.  The rest you can find on Craigslist free, for the wood and paint.  No my $95.00 theatre isn't perfect, but it works for us, and I have never had a complaint. 

Rob
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