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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies  

The Most Watched Projectors on eBay



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Author Topic: New Outdoor Theater in Cary, IL  (Read 111746 times)
comshark
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« on: July 10, 2006, 01:50:56 pm »

Here is another backyard screen story for you all to review.  After seeing the outdoor movie thread resurrected, I decided it was time to have a go.  Last year I tested the waters using an old slide screen, old work presentation LCD projector (600 lumens) and my trusty laptop.  Other than the typical Bill Gates 3 finger salute everything went well and my showing of Pirates of the Caribbean was the talk of the subdivision.  It was late in the year, and we only had time for one additional showing of Godzilla.  Seemed to me that was a must watch outside.

I began planning last month, which helped ease my wife into the idea of a more sizeable screen.  My goals were keeping costs to a minimum, creating a structure I felt was safe and stable, and most importantly east to set-up, take down, and store.  Based on these criteria I selected 1.5” PCV pipe for the frame.  This would be broken into 4 separate stands, and 3 sections for the screen frame.  Each section would be K or cross braced for stability and connected to each other using hitch pins.  To stand the screen I opted to use 60lb tube sand bags which require no tent stakes, or rope.  The screen fabric is 110” black out cloth with ˝” grommets and tied to the screen frame using bungee cords every 24”.

As my project progressed my wife accepted the thought of a new brighter projector and realized there was no talking me out of it.  I selected a new Dell 5.5lb 3000 lumen model which was available for 0% over 30 months.  Of course there was the occasional “it will never work” which just drove me harder and at one point I wondered the same myself.  It always amazes me how you can measure the same length 2 times and still have it off in the end.  My neighbors got an ear full as I let the heat and PVC glue get the best of my temper while assembling the cross braces.

Finally last Wednesday we test fit sections together and placed the screen over the frame.  Everything went flawlessly, other than letting go the bungee without fully hooking the grommet.  Almost took out my friend who was helping on the opposite side of the screen.  OOPS.  Now came the critical moment.  Could this large and heavy structure be lifted into place and withstand the load?  Four of us began to lift and pivot the screen into place with no issues.  It couldn’t have gone any better!  The screen popped into place, and even stood without additional weight placed on the stands.  We moved the sand bags onto the stands, and watched Roger Rabbit.  The entire process took less than 30 min even our first time.  The wife acceptance level, as I have seen it called here, is great now.  She even decided we needed a popcorn cart.


Saturday was our grand opening and we selected Raiders of the lost Ark as the initial title.  I purchased the Elite Drive-In DVDs so I could edit the classic commercials in, added some current Quicktime movie trailers and a Donald Duck cartoon.  It was a great night.  Our friends brought Junior Mints, Hot Tamales and other movie candy.
Now my only problem is deciding what to watch next.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2007, 11:35:28 am by comshark » Logged
tlogan6797
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« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2006, 02:17:46 pm »

comshark -

Welcome!

HOLY COW! THAT IS ONE MASSIVE FRAME!

Great work! I am humbled.

Tom
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Pass_The_Off
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« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2006, 05:12:17 pm »

Howdy

Wow what a build!
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cheftom
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« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2006, 08:57:34 pm »

Cool screen, welcome to the madness.
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rfisk
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« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2006, 01:18:36 pm »

Welcome comshark!  Awesome frame! 

I do see a downside.  The entire neighborhood is going to come to you with their plumbing problems...

Really nice work. 

Does it seem like it's going to be OK in a little breeze or might you end up adding some guy wires?  Just curious.

Thanks for posting.  Hang around and enjoy the fun.

Randy
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comshark
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« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 01:54:29 pm »

Welcome comshark!  Awesome frame! 

I do see a downside.  The entire neighborhood is going to come to you with their plumbing problems...

Really nice work. 

Does it seem like it's going to be OK in a little breeze or might you end up adding some guy wires?  Just curious.

Thanks for posting.  Hang around and enjoy the fun.

Randy

We had a slight bit of rain Saturday and the winds were reported on WeatherBug at between 8 an 11MPH.  The stands were designed with tees on the bottom, so additional 36" supports can be added to the front based on wind speed and direction.  There is a split rail fence behind the screen about 6 feet away that could be used as a safety anchor if necessary.  You'd be surprised how strong the cross braces and hitch pins feel when it is pivoted in place, so it should hold up to any reasonable wind.  It also helps that most winds hit my screen from an angle, not head on, based on exposure. 

Next I’ll be working on a better place to place the projector.  For this showing I placed the Dell on top of my hot tub cover. Although people waling in front of the lens make the whole experience feel authentic, I’d rather see the movie.  I thought of placing the LCD in a room directly above the current PJ location, but that would increase the throw more than 10 feet and put the image outside of the focus range.  Might just have get a taller stand to keep things simple, or deal with the kids walking in front.

As for the plumbing help, I hope not.  I'd much rather do just about anything!
I also noticed I didn't put any screen size in the initial post.  It has a viewable image size of 20'x8.5' @2.35:1.
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kelemvor
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« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2006, 02:24:42 pm »

Wow.  That frame is quite intricate.  I don't even think they sell those kinds of connectors at the place I got mine.  heh.

We've had rain the past few days so I'm still waiting for a night I can actually try to put my screen together for a test.

Looks great though!
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comshark
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« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2006, 02:56:44 pm »

Wow.  That frame is quite intricate.  I don't even think they sell those kinds of connectors at the place I got mine.  heh.

We've had rain the past few days so I'm still waiting for a night I can actually try to put my screen together for a test.

Looks great though!

Everything in the construction was standard Home Depot plumbing.  For the K and Cross braces I used a 45 Degree Wye fitting.
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comshark
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« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2007, 08:43:44 am »

So here we are another season deeper into my outdoor theater mania and I thought I would update you on the pros and cons of this design.

This year the first show was National Lampoon's Vacation.  I gave myself an extra 60 minutes for setup just in case I forgot how to setup the screen or any problems crept up over the long Chicago winter storage.  Good thing I did.  Apparently a bug of some type likes to feast on black out cloth, enough so that one screen grommets fell out.  Also I now have the signature bullet-hole effect in my movie screen.  Guess moth balls would be a good idea for next winter.

As far as the structure goes, I can't imagine it working any better.  Setup is about 20 min and tear down even less.  We found one PVC glue joint to be weak, so I added a small self tapping screw for extra support in four places.   The sand bags are still intact, and all the bungee cords (including a few extras I added after the corners sagged) are fine.  This year I may install a marker of some sort in the ground so I know exactly where to line up the screen.  We would also like to add rock speakers in front to even out the sound.  Nothing surround related since I don't think that would be very effective outside, just old fashioned stereo.

What a great way to make friends!  I seem to know the whole subdivision now!  Attendance averages 75 including 30 kids.  The swing set looks like the 17 year Cicada's have landed.  For those of you on the edge deciding if this is for you, I vote that it is.  Just by reading this post I know it’s just a matter of when, not if you join the rest of us.  For those of you who inspired me, thanks!
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tlogan6797
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2007, 09:07:19 am »

Quote
Nothing surround related since I don't think that would be very effective outside, just old fashioned stereo.


Don't knock it until you tried it! You will find that unless you are spacing the rears VERY far back, you can can great results with surround.

Glad everything held up. I'm in Northern VA and this will be my third year with a BOC screen. So far, I haven't seen any bug issues. Apparently there are no bugs toddlin' around THIS town!

Tom
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2007, 03:16:00 pm »

I get LOTS of comments on my surround sound in the yard.  Granted, some movies do not have the amount of it to maybe justify it, but when you watch something like King Kong or Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith it is VERY worth it.  My main speakers are 20 feet away from each other and the rear surround speakers are spaced the same width but about 50 feet from the screen.  It is truly awesome.  I wish everyone who is a skeptic about it on here would come hear it.  For that matter, I wish everyone on here would come hear it anyway!

Dano
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Cherry Hills
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2007, 05:38:46 pm »

I wish I could hear it, too! And I wish I could justify getting a sound system like that! But neither is likely to happen soon, so I'll just have to keep dreaming. Still, you have planted the seed and I am constantly thinking of how I can get 5.1 out of my low-end system. Someday, someday....
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Cherry Hills Drive-way Theater
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2007, 07:21:28 pm »

Cherry Hills,

Someday you may be in Indy.  I will set it up for you to hear.  Also, let me know how I can help you get you to your dream....other than sending you a check.

Dano
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comshark
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2007, 01:26:06 pm »

OK, OK I get it.  Surround outside might not be everything it is inside, but it is worth it.  That said I just found a one time buy at Sam's Club for BOSE 151's outdoor speakers.  I will be adding them to the setup by hanging them on the screen this week.  I'll let you all know how it turns out.  Should be interesting to balance the sound with all the background noise from birds, and loud golfers.
I'll let you know what I think after next weekends showing of Men in Black.

For the record, the speakers were about $100 lower than I could find them anywhere else if you were interested and your local store has them. $161 per pair!
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cheftom
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2007, 02:41:12 pm »

Are birds and loud golfers a big issue after dark in your area?  Grin Grin
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