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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies  




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Author Topic: How to build a backyard theater on the cheap  (Read 345119 times)
turnerx5
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2006, 02:43:55 pm »


If you are looking for components on the cheap and live near a medium size or bigger city, try Craig's List, a free online classified:

http://sfbay.craigslist.org/  (State and city listings are on the right side of the page)

I bought a used 5.1 surround receiver for $20 from a local college kid who was upgrading his system. Likewise, there are lots of projectors and speakers, etc. for sale there. Standard be careful on the web rules apply, but for me Craig's List worked out great.  I'm sure you could also find an old receiver from a reputable eBay seller for very little.

Good luck.
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victor-eyd
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« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2006, 03:09:38 pm »

or a projector Grin
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Big Screen Outdoors
hiredpower
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« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2006, 01:19:58 pm »

- Dazian stretch fabric. Pros: durable, lightweight, easy to store, light transmission (see bedsheets). Cons: expense, light transmission (see bedsheets), not widely available.

I respectfully disagree with the above statement. The Dazian Heavyweight fabric does not have this problem!

Thanks for all your hard work pulling this info together guys.

This should be required reading for first timers.


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Cherry Hills
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« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2006, 03:40:07 pm »


I respectfully disagree with the above statement. The Dazian Heavyweight fabric does not have this problem!


That's great information. Thanks for adding it! I'll insert that into the first post, so people will see it right away.
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Cherry Hills Drive-way Theater
JonesCinema
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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2006, 10:30:32 pm »


Inflatables:
There is only one type of inflatable screen that we consider affordable (under $500) if diy is not an option.

Victor

I agree that an inflatable needs to be under or around $500 to be a viable option for the average back yard.  However, I think it is always important to know what we are missing out on when we do it for cheap (relatively).  The Gemmy Screens all seem to have really saggy projection surfaces.  I have yet to see a good (non doctored) picture of a gemmy screen.  It seems like that is too much quality to give up in exchange for fast setup. 

As far as the more expensive Sima screens, I don't think they work either. I actually got a Sima screen.  I used it about 5 times then it would not stay inflated.  For the first few times it was amazing except for the fact that it took a while to inflate and deflate.  The fourth time I used it, I had to pause the movie twice and re-inflate the screen because it began to sag at the top.  The fifth movie I watched was a complete disaster.  I had to inflate the screen every 12 minutes!  The next day I searched all over the screen looking for a hole but could not find one anywhere.  I believe that the glue holding the seams together simply melted in the heat of my car or something, making it impossible to hold air.  That is the real problem with any screen that does not have a blower constantly on.  I returned the screen.

I have seen really good inflatable screens however.  Open Air Cinema has screens in all sizes from 9'x5' to over 40' wide. www.openaircinema.us.  The projection surface is like a spandex material so it is always completely smooth with no wrinkles.  It uses big zippers to zip on or off, so you can wash it if it gets dirty.  They say the 16 foot by 9 foot screen inflates in less than one minute, and deflates in much less.  And it is constant air, so even if it gets a big rip, the screen will stay up just fine.  It is also self standing, but comes with tethers and stakes in case it is windy.

Of course they are out of the price range of most of us.  You would have to have a pretty sweet yard by itself to be able to afford one of these screens.  I just wanted to share what I have learned so that we all know what we are giving up by going less expensive. Here is a picture from their site.


* CineBox Screen.jpg (166.08 KB, 500x333 - viewed 1335 times.)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2006, 10:39:24 pm by JonesCinema » Logged
Cherry Hills
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2006, 11:04:22 pm »

It's sad, but true, Mr. Jones, that you get what you pay for.

The main idea of "do it cheap" is to get people started so they can learn while they enjoy the theater. In the long run, there probably is no "cheap" backyard theater that you will enjoy for years.

But when you start cheap, you learn where the weakest link is, and you upgrade it. Then, another weak link becomes evident and you upgrade that. These are smaller costs then investing in a top-of-the-line theater from the first. And they are spread out over the course of many months or years, so they don't hurt as much.

And some of the things you got at the first will turn out to be just fine. You don't have to buy professional quality everything, so this way, you find out as you go what needs to be changed and what can stay like it is.

To my mind, this is the way to absolutely optimize your theater investment - you will get exactly the quality you want, while spending exactly the minimum required to get it. It's slower, to be sure, and you may have some surplus equipment you have to donate to your in-laws or someone, but you'll be right where you want and won't sit around wondering if you really had to spend so much on the _________.

In your case, the first try didn't work out with the screen, so you're moving on to something better. I hope you were able to return the obviously defective Sima.
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Cherry Hills Drive-way Theater
JonesCinema
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2006, 11:39:18 pm »

Cherry Hills,
Those are all great points.  You have made a very useful and accurate summary of the "do it for cheap" mentality we all share.  I just wanted to add a little more info from my experiences.  It seems to me that whether it is a sheet, board, wall or what ever, a top priority for all of us is to have a smooth surface without ripples, wrinkles etc.  Maybe the perfectionist in me demands a smooth screen surface while it is not as big a deal to everyone.  I want some gemmy screen owners to prove me wrong.  I really wish they were made better, because that would be such a great solution to portable cinema.
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hiredpower
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« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2006, 03:55:17 am »

As far as the more expensive Sima screens, I don't think they work either. I actually got a Sima screen.  I used it about 5 times then it would not stay inflated.  For the first few times it was amazing except for the fact that it took a while to inflate and deflate.  The fourth time I used it, I had to pause the movie twice and re-inflate the screen because it began to sag at the top.  The fifth movie I watched was a complete disaster.  I had to inflate the screen every 12 minutes!  The next day I searched all over the screen looking for a hole but could not find one anywhere.  I believe that the glue holding the seams together simply melted in the heat of my car or something, making it impossible to hold air.  That is the real problem with any screen that does not have a blower constantly on.  I returned the screen.

Wow! My 12' Sima only takes 4 minutes to inflate or deflate and no sagging ploblems. Sorry to hear you had a dud.

I am in the same camp as you when it comes to a smooth surface.
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movieguy
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« Reply #23 on: November 02, 2006, 10:55:41 am »

Like many on this board, I'm new to backyard movies.  I definitely have a strong interest since both of my sons are bidding filmmakers (one graduates from fiim school in May, the other starts film school in Sept. 2007).

I constructing the screen, I have benefitted from several posts.  I have two closely grown trees to which I will mount brackets.  I have made 2X4 top and bottom supports that will slide into the supprts on the trees.  The question that I have is about the screen material.  As someone suggested, I went to Lowes and bought a white heavy duty 9X12 rubberized canvas painters tarp.  I intend to attach it to the top support via either staples, screws and furnture tacks, then drap it down and attach it to the bottom support via a similar procedure.  This will be a temporary installation so I will need to take it apart. 

Any advise as to which attaching method would be the best based on your experience?

I will be putting it together tomorrow so you thoughts will be appreciated.

 

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Gadget
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« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2007, 10:17:58 pm »

I just ran across this thread.  Before I was doing outdoor movies, we had a big screen setup in the house.  I try to be as frugle as possible, so my screen solution was a white roll-up window shade mounted to the ceiling.  If you go this route, make sure you get the blackout version.  The biggest one I found was 72" across, perfectly reasonable for a living room or other area.
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chriscross
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« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2007, 11:49:58 am »

Great forum! Thanks for the help but I bought a screen from thebackyarddrivein.com I've only had this screen for the weekend but I love it!!! Its so much fun being outside again!
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wirebiter
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« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2007, 03:39:08 pm »

Great forum! Thanks for the help but I bought a screen from freeadvertising.com I've only had this screen for the weekend but I love it!!! Its so much fun being outside again!


Not exactly cheap.


Ya know, I don't think you've mentioned the website enough, perhaps you could mention it a few more times Roll Eyes



Maybe the owners of that site would be interested in contacting backyardtheater.com and see about advertising on this site. Or even better for me...give a BIG discount to backyardtheater.com posters.
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rfisk
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« Reply #27 on: March 30, 2007, 04:09:37 pm »

Maybe the owners of that site would be interested in contacting backyardtheater.com and see about advertising on this site. Or even better for me...give a BIG discount to backyardtheater.com posters.

I vote BOTH! Smiley

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


Danoplex II
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« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2007, 05:32:38 pm »

Criss?  Are you one of thos bots like on a dating site..?  You seem to be trying to lead us to another website fom here...lol

Dano
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ImUhMess
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2007, 02:05:25 pm »

Hi Guys, I am back with some pictures this time.  I am having so much fun with this !  I have a gemmy inflatable for outdoor use, but I also have a barn. Sooo  . .  I made my system mobile by putting it on a wagon to use in my barn or in the yard with the gemmy. My wagon holds everything I need and with 2 portable dvd players and an old game monitor I can see what is being projected at any time. I purchased a switching unit at radioshack and a heavy duty power strip witch I also attached to the wagon. For outside sound and mobility I use a JVC Kaboom box, witch works well.
In the barn I used curtain backing from walmart and framed it with cheap door trim. I am using a cheap surround sound system from walmart in the barn with the center speaker mounted behind the screen. Screen size in barn is 12'6" x 8. WORKS WELL !
I am including a few designs I created and use with old drive-in adds. Using windows movie maker I can create some cool stuff for before and after movie. The game monitor on my gear-wagon allows me to cue up the movie so it all blends nicely.   AND I LOVE THIS SITE !!
P.S. (The Fruit Stand Thing is a joke !)


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* RJlogo.jpg (132.24 KB, 900x759 - viewed 937 times.)
« Last Edit: April 27, 2007, 03:33:02 pm by ImUhMess » Logged
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