Inspired in part by rfisk on this forum, the Lighning Rod Theater has been operational since June 15th 2007. Since then we have shared the following movies with family and friends:
Star Wars (The original)
Gone in 60 seconds
The rundown (Better that I thought it would be)
Mission to Mars (another great one outside)
Ghost rider (Yawn)
I think theres a few more I cant remember . . .
We are also able to watch TV (Live Earth concert, Star Trek Voyager, SpongBob, etc.) and listen to the radio over our system so it has been getting a great deal of use. My husband hooked everything from the home system so we have three locations from which to watch the movie: The lower deck (where you have wet and dry seating), the upper deck, and inside the house on the plasma.
The frame is made of galvanized pipe from home depot and is extremely sturdy. It took 5 people to put up and has never wobbled - even in 40 mph winds. Pipes one larger size than the frame are cemented deep into the ground and the upright frame fits right into them. Bolts keep it level. The screen frame is made of spray painted wood and holds a laminated projection screen (7x12) that we bought of e-bay for appx. $170.00 and is stapled to the wood. The whole screen is held in the air with high tension rope and eyebolts.
Sound is not my thing - so I cant go into great detail on this like my husband could but we have four outdoor polk-45 speakers - two mounted on the upper deck - two on the lower and it sounds great.
The projector is an Optoma EP770 we bought from Amazon.com for under $1,000.00, DLP, 3,000 lumens of brightness; 2000:1 contrast ratio. We are very happy with it. My husband built it a mount under the upper deck - so we always get the position spot on - plus ts out of the way were we dont have to worry about someone dumping a drink on it or anything. To break down - all we do is disconnect the projector - shut off the bug zapper (essential for watching movies outdoor - in my opinion) and we are good to go.
We have a number of changes in mind for next year including:
- Bar height tables and chairs for the upper deck so people seated up top can see the screen more comfortably.
- More outdoor sound equipment - subwoofer, amplifier, etc.
- A trapeze fabric screen The quality of the screen off e-bay is great but it has gravity wrinkles in it - that bother me during the day when its not in use. You cant see them at all during use. The other option we are thinking is to glue the screen to some kind of Sintra backing and re-mount to a modified wood frame.
- We are gioing to purchase something so the remote for the home system will work from the lower deck.
- Stair lighting. The pool lights up which gives enough light for now without interfering with the movie but Im paranoid about someone tripping on the stairs to the lower deck if they get up to get a snack
So thats it - I dont think its bad for our first try - thanks to everyone for posting their set up - there were so many good ideas to choose from. Elaine and Dave