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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies  




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Author Topic: Our 12th Annual Outdoor Movie Party  (Read 10533 times)
Paul16mm
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« on: August 26, 2006, 01:30:10 am »

Outdoor movie report, 2006

Last Saturday we had our 12th annual outdoor movie party in our backyard.  It was a nice sunny day.  In the late afternoon I put together the screen frame (EMT conduit with craft fair booth. / party tent fittings).  I unrolled the screen and attached it with bungee cords.  The screen I have been using is a 16 x 10 ft. painted plastic tarp.  The tarp is too glossy, so I painted it with flat white paint.  Unfortunately, the paint doesn't stick very well to the plastic tarp, especially if it gets bent.  I store it rolled around a piece of 3 inch plastic drain pipe.  This helps a lot in keeping the paint on.  I still had to touch up a few spots.  Someday I may change to a better material.  I then borrowed some neighbors to help set up the screen.  It really takes 4 people to do the job.  To keep the screen upright, it is supported by 4 ropes, one to my garage, one to the neighbor's garage, one to my fence, one to the neighbor's fence.  I set up the screen on my parking space next to the alley in the back.  We live in an older neighborhood where the yards are small, so the backyard theater is a tight squeeze. 

I put the projector in the second story window, so it's protected from the weather, most of the projector noise is kept inside and it's up where no one can walk in front of it.  My projector is an old Hokushin X-500 16mm xenon with a heavy old Kniesley power supply for the lamp.  These old power supplies are virtually indestructible, but are inefficient, and I need to run it on a 30 Amp. circuit.  This projector saw a lot of use in its former life, but after a bit of repair, runs very well.  I bypassed the amplifier in the projector, connecting the photocell directly to an XLR connector.  I run this out the window to a microphone mixer, connected to an audio power amplifier and a pair of ordinary home stereo speakers placed near the screen.  This provided plenty of sound. 

I started at about 8:10 with a reel of Soundies (music shorts from the 1940s), mainly to get the sound adjusted.  It wasn't dark enough for a good picture, but it provided music while people were arriving.  After that, I put on my prepared shorts reel consisting of an old educational social guidance film and 2 beautiful color cartoons.  When we began the feature, it was still a pleasant 62 degrees F.  The sharp black and white feature looked resplendent on the big bright screen.  We finished about 10:20, and I announced over the microphone for everyone to help putting things away and taking down the screen.  Everything got taken down and put away quickly.



* outdoor_06.jpg (112.08 KB, 800x1866 - viewed 924 times.)
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movieman
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2006, 07:26:24 am »

I didn't see a second projector to go from reel to reel.  Back when I showed 16mm B&H units. The 185 was a work horse. One year my gave me a set of scope lens. 16mm was a fun time, but those days are gone.   rg     www.skyvueoutdoortheatre.com
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Paul16mm
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2006, 12:38:07 am »

I don't have a second matching xenon projector, so I just have a couple of intermissions.  One at the end of the shorts and cartoons (after the drive-in snack bar promo), and another in the middle of the feature.  The audience doesn't really mind.  I have an old B&H 185 also, but it really isn't bright enough for outdoor movies, except maybe on a 6 foot screen.  Built to last, though.  It's been running great since 1949.
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movieman
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2006, 06:41:33 am »

Yes the 185 is a great projector. Do you have scope lens and a 16mm film collection. Back in the 60's to late 70 I had a good size collection, Feature, cartoons, shorts and of course soundies.      rg
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Paul16mm
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« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2006, 12:40:13 am »

I haven't shown any scope films as outdoor movies, my back yard isn't wide enough :-), and the few that I have are too long for outdoor shows.  I've been collecting 16mm for many years, It's a fun challenge trying to find good movies without spending a fortune.  Not as simple as going to the local video store and plunking down $20.

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movieman
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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2006, 05:49:46 am »

That was one of the reasons I gave up on 16mm, just to hard to find good prints at a fair price. When VHS came along you could get title for $20.00.  I was offered a very nice price for my collection and with VHS titles getting better and better it was the thing to do.   When video projectors came along things only got better. I miss the sound of 16mm. Coming from the hardtop/D-I business it was tough.  But now with my indoor theatre and the outside theatre I sometime feel I'm back in the business.  rg      www.skyvueoutdoortheatre.com
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memphisdrivein
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« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2006, 06:57:53 am »

Back in the 70's we did one projector 16mm (the favorite was Night of the Living Dead) and even 35mm. We put the head and lamphouse on a 4" steal post in the ground.  When my last print in '78 cost $450, it was time to look into Betamax ! Now, it's 5k DLP's and a pair od Sony decks.

Here are some pics of this past weekends portable show.

Drive-In Dave



* relax-and-enjoy.jpg (9.01 KB, 400x267 - viewed 730 times.)

* big-event.jpg (19.44 KB, 300x177 - viewed 741 times.)
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movieman
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« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2006, 10:30:30 am »

Drive-indave: What screen are you using and the size. The picture doesn't really show the screeb. Give us some details.  rg
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