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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

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Author Topic: Opening night at the Cherry Hills Driveway Theater  (Read 3932 times)
Cherry Hills
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« on: May 14, 2005, 01:19:57 am »

Well, it wasn't planned, but tonight we had our season opening at the Cherry Hills Driveway Theater.

Some friends are in town for their daughter's graduation and I was in the garage working when they drove up this evening. I had just hung my screen and was working on a projector mount, so I can put the projector at about 6.5' high and project over the heads of the audience.

Anyway, they were intrigued, so after we went to dinner with them, they said "What are we going to watch at the drive-in tonight?" That was enough for me. We watched "The Iron Giant" and had a great time. It was the first time I'd projected on the new screen, which worked fabulously.

The Espon S1+ is not as contrast impaired as I had thought -- I must have some serious ambient reflection problems in my viewing room, though. I tried the Logitech sub/satellite system from my deskside computer for sound. It was more than enough, with good quality and high portability. I played the DVD on my laptop, rather than unhooking one of the DVD players and dragging it outside. Worked fabulously!

So, it was risky testing the whole system out for the first time with an audience, but it came off beautifully and we all had a great time. It's still unseasonably cool (they're also getting snow in North Dakota, so I'm not complaining), but a sweater took the edge off, and the night sky does something magical for a film.

Here's a shot of the setup, taken after we finished watching. The light by the garage door is on so we can tear down, so you can actually see some of the arrangement.

« Last Edit: May 14, 2005, 09:27:31 am by BusyHands » Logged

Cherry Hills Drive-way Theater
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2005, 11:29:38 am »

Awesome!  Pretty exciting, eh?

That reminds me so much of our opening night.  I hadn't planned to show the first movie that night but things came together really quickly and I figured we'd go for it.  Before I knew it, we had 20 or so guests and I told everyone "We're either going to have a great time, or the biggest fireworks show this county has seen."  We had a great time and everything worked great.

Any additional details you'd like to share about your setup would be appreciated.  What did you end-up using for a screen?

Congratulations.  You have a lot of good times ahead!

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


Cherry Hills
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2005, 04:53:13 pm »

Thanks, Randy!

My setup for the driveway is dead simple: an Epson S1+ projector, an IBM ThinkPad laptop, and a Logitech sub/satellite speaker system. Total setup time for the projection/sound was five minutes or less, including unwinding extension cords, etc. Hanging the screen took maybe another five minutes. This is definitely something we can do on a whim, without great hassle.

The screen is a 6' x 9' double-primed artist's canvas. Gesso primer fills the texture of the canvas nicelyi and contains titanium white, so the colors were incredibly vibrant. The 1-inch selvage of the canvas is unprimed, so it was easy to fold it over and put grommets in it. I screwed hooks into the garage door frame for the top and used bungee cords wrapped around concrete blocks to tension the bottom. (This left a little curl in the vertical edges, but a tap on the PJ's zoom button got the image out of the curled zone.) I roll it up and shove it in a length of PVC pipe for storage or transportation (I'm planning on taking this on the road!).

I set up the PJ and laptop on a couple of sawhorses with some boards on them, which also gave me a handy place to park a Negra Modelo during the show. I have most of the parts cut out for a mounting bracket that will screw to the top of an aluminum stepladder, with the idea that getting the PJ into ceiling-mount position will give more seating flexibility and less fan noise.

Next showing is "Peace One Day" (http://www.peaceoneday.org) for a church group.

-vance-
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Pass_The_Off
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2005, 07:07:38 pm »

After seeing you use your laptop.  I'm looking into a HTPC to fullfill my needs.




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