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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies  

The Most Watched Projectors on eBay



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Author Topic: Valley of the Sun Backyard Cinema  (Read 16603 times)
Dunvegan
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« on: February 17, 2009, 01:34:49 pm »

Hi All,

A couple of weeks ago I was looking at the backyard of the house we moved into last month, and suggested to my wife that we should set up a backyard theater. I'll post some pictures later, but there is a huge retaining wall in the back, about 15-20 feet high... The perfect spot for a screen. I then found this web site, and scoured through it for some ideas. last week I bought an Optoma EP739 with a 100' screen on craigslist for $400. Love the projector, and the screen is the perfect size for our family room when we want to bring the fun inside.

After much deliberation, I finally built the screen this past week-end. The screen size is approximately 164" x 123" (4:3), with a frame made of 1" x 3" Furring Strips, glued and braced with zinc L brackets and flat brackets, with a horizontal and vertical cross support. The screen itself is simply a 12' x 15' 8mil canvas drop cloth from Lowes.

The screen is semi-permanent in nature - It will stay up most of the time (seeing how we live in Phoenix...), but can easily be removed if a nasty wind storm arrives. It is simply hung on the wall with 4 L-Hooks - Two along the top that the frame hooks onto, and two along the bottom that the frame sits on. The 1" x 3" frame is a little wobbly for that size, but when attached to the wall it works fine. Someday I may upgrade the frame to 2" x 4" and add a hinge or two for easier moving, but that is not at the top of my list. During the day, you notice the seams and creases on the tarp, but at night time, you don't really notice them at all on the image.

Since the screen is about 7 or 8 feet from the ground, I have the perfect spot for my projector. The back patio area has an overhang that was just begging for a projector mount. So, I built a hanging shelf that hooks over the overhang, and allows the projector to sit approximately 7 feet from the ground, out of harms way, and allowing full use of the backyard without worry of someone being in the line of sight. On the oposite side of the patio area is a power and cable outlet, so my equipment will sit in a rack over in that area, with all cabling sent up the wall, over the overhang, then down to the projector.

I haven't set up a rack yet, but this is my thoughts for it. I have a Clearplay DVD player to make all showings family friendly, an old 5.1 JVC stereo that is currently collecting dust, an older Panasonic DVD recorder with HDD that will provide cable tuning when desired, and my kids have an XBOX 360 and a WII. I will set up a rack with a 4 input component switch to hook all components to, and the single output will be fed to the projector via a 50 foot component-to-VGA cable purchased from monoprice.com for a song and a dance.

We haven't had any official showings yet, but just my own experimenting, and I must say, things are working out pretty good so far. I'm hoping to have the rack etc completed for my daughters 13th birthday party in two weeks time.

I'll try to get some pics up soon, and let you know how things are going. Thanks for all the good information on this site, it has been a great help.
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RoseRanch
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2009, 11:44:53 am »

Awesome!  Sounds like an ideal set up.  Kind of hard to visualize your screen construction, so let's see the pics!  Cool that you moved ahead so quickly and have a good head start on your daughter's birthday.  Have fun!
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Dunvegan
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2009, 02:11:38 pm »

Well, I have some pictures of my setup, but none showing the bare frame. I thought my daughter was taking some pictures of it as it was being built, but when I went to look for them on the memory card, it was obvious her attention was elsewhere  Cheesy Anyhoo, here is what I have:

As you can see, that wall was screaming "Big Screen"!

The projector mount is easily removable AND moveable, so I can adjust the picture to the center of the screen with ease. The back wall isn't quite perpendicular with the back of the house, so the projector sits in the housing at a little bit of an angle.

The screen is easily viewed from all areas of the backyard, so whether we are swimming, sitting or manning the grill, no action will be missed.

Now I just need to work on setting up some speakers. I'll probably just run some wires under the gravel to the lower part of the wall for the front 3 speakers, and maybe hang one rear off the overhang, and the other on the house. We'll see. This weekend we hope to watch a movie prior to my daughters birthday next week, so I'll take some pictures then and post them. Grin



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mamadada
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2009, 02:41:45 pm »

Just curious...what does a movie look like without a screen?  Would you see the brick lines?  Stucco that area.  Then you never have to worry about windstorms either.

P.S.  Love the firepit furniture.
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If all he wanted was shadow puppets, you should have bought a flashlight.
Dunvegan
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2009, 02:49:29 pm »

Thanks, we actually bought that new this year at good ol' Wal-Mart  Smiley Unfortunately, we only rent this home, so I couldn't really stucco the wall. Also, the wall part way up is set back about 2 inches. We tried projecting without a screen, and it worked, but the picture was darker, and you could see some of the brick lines. Also, for whatever reason, the picture looked better below the 2-inch setback than above it...
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movielover
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2009, 03:00:13 pm »

i love the house and patio furniture and the screen looks good also and i like the projector "stand".

i never saw a wall that high, you must have some tall neighbors  Grin

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Kladder Station Classic Movies - Drive-In & Outdoor Theater
Dunvegan
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2009, 12:12:36 pm »

I didn't even realize we HAD any neighbours back there until I saw him peeping over the top one day  Cheesy I guess since our community is built on the side of a hill, our house was blessed with the "amphitheater" backyard. At first we thought there would be lots of privacy, and there is, but kids tend to walk along the fence at the top of the right hand wall by the hill and can see right into the backyard. In fact, yesterday, a couple of the neighbourhood kids stopped my son, and inquired about the "drive-in" screen in the back yard  Grin Like my wife said, wait until we get the popcorn machine, and the our kids will be the most popular in the neighbourhood! I can just see it now... We'll have a movie playing, and the smell of fresh popped popcorn will waft through the neighbourhood, and, like the Pied Piper of Hamlin, we'll see kids start to line up along the fence with puppy dog eyes Cheesy
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Prescott Productions
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2009, 11:53:02 pm »

Wonderful use of your environment. Wait til you put in surround sound back there !
Robert
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