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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

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The Most Watched Projectors on eBay



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Author Topic: Kevin and Dee's Backyard Theater  (Read 55323 times)
Backyard Paradise
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« on: April 07, 2007, 12:20:36 am »

Hello fellow maniacs,

 I’ve been around this site for some time now without posting. I'm a lousy speller and a slow typer so please bear with me. Last year I built a backyard home theater over my pool and spa. I have to say it’s the coolest thing I ever did. Our parties are not just parties anymore, there events! We had about 5 showings beginning sometime in august. We had the cops out twice due to a neighbor’s (aka Satan) complaints. I’ve been working on improvements ever since.

First the sound.
 My solution is an fm transmitter mainly to be used during the 2nd feature. I built a Ramsey fm100b that we also use as a neighborhood radio station. I’ve added several amps (vintage stuff) that allows me to individually tune the sound with separate volume controls. Last year I had only one amp with a speaker selector. The one volume knob turned up the entire system and it sounded on the lame side (I was the only one who thought so). Now I have 12 channels of sound including surround on the deck with a sub and center channel. The front and rear channels will be vintage drive-in speakers that I am currently restoring.

The screen.
  I bought 16’ x 9’ screen material off eBay without really having a frame design thought out. That’s when I first saw this site and got the idea to use 1.5” pvc. I built the frame in the garage and stretched the screen material over it using bungee cords and grommets. I installed two 2” pvc poles (removable) on the other side of the fence. There are two hangers on the screen frame that fit into the top of the poles. On movie night, we carry the screen to the back and slip it onto the top of the poles (1.5” fits inside the 2”). I then tape the screen frame to the poles with packing tape and attach two guy lines in the back. It works and looks great. The problem is I don’t want to dedicate my garage as hanger anymore. Also it’s a huge screen and I have some not so tall friends. So I’m redesigning it to be retractable and to stay outside. Hopefully it will be a one man operation.



The projector.
  I have an infocus sp4805 that I’m retiring as a back-up. I used this for the past 3 years or so as a bedroom theater, taking it down for movie nights last summer. I’m on the 3rd lamp at $300+ a pop. I now have the new evo from lumenlab http://www.lumenlab.com/ with a $30 lamp for the bedroom. I’m looking for a new projector exclusively for movie night. I want something bright so I can start the intro’s earlier. I would like it to be HD and be able to throw a 16' horizontal image at 30 feet. I would love to get a Panny PT-AX100. Any suggestions?

Anyway, as I write this I am on vacation. I recently started a blog mainly about the movie nights. I plan on using it to keep our friends, family and neighbors notified on upcoming parties, post pictures, and get feedback for future movies. Internet posting is new to me and I am still learning the ropes. Here’s a link to the blog. http://backyardtheater.blogspot.com/ There are some pictures in the photo album and other stuff too.
K.


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* back.JPG (733.47 KB, 2288x1712 - viewed 6583 times.)

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« Last Edit: April 15, 2007, 06:24:46 pm by Backyard Paradise » Logged

Kevin & Deeís Backyard Theater
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2007, 08:36:35 am »

Wow. Looks like a really great setup.  You should have a great time with all that going on.
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victor-eyd
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2007, 10:42:28 am »

How are you liking the evo? I've read alot about its quality issues but most noticeably the noise.

Also, can try it outside to see how it compares in brightness to the 4805?

Thanks

Victor
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its2loud
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2007, 11:35:52 am »

Great setup!  Any chance you can share the details on your screen frame.  I'd love to make one up like that.
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2007, 01:26:14 pm »

Well done, Kevin -- and welcome aboard!

I love the neighborhood radio station.  You guys remind me every spring... I STILL don't have a pool.

I like the PT-AX100 too.  Might be my next PJ.

Thanks for introducing yourself and sharing some info and pics.  Enjoy!!

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


Backyard Paradise
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2007, 11:04:04 pm »

Thanks for the warm welcome. I wish I could say the same about the weather here in South Carolina. Well then again I could be back in Michigan.

Victor, your right about the evo. The fan is almost unbearable. Itís not as bad ceiling mounted and it does have a low setting, but mine only stays low for a few minutes. It seems bright enough, about the same as the 4805 on high lamp. The evoís throw is close to 1:1, so you get a big image in a small space, but the larger the image, the greater the ďscreen door effectĒ. I had to move it to the middle of the room in order to fill my 72Ē screen. It also isnít 16:9 itís more like 15:9. The reason I went for it was the cheap lamp. The folks at lumenlab have a strong community of DIYerís who arenít afraid to crack the case and poke around inside. Down the road it is possible to swap out parts like the lcd panel and fans. Having a projector as a main TV I go thru lamps often. The picture it projects is more than expectable.  Iíll be opening the case when I get back to clean up some dust on the inside. I donít mind tinkering with things a bit, and with this projector it is simple enough.

Its2loud, (great name) if your near S.E. Michigan Iíll sell you that one. I donít plan on setting it up again. My new screen will be retractable with the spool at the bottom. Iíll try and document it the best I can. As for the hanging pvc frame it is built with two fixed or cemented sections. The cross members are held together with carriage bolts and wing nuts, so the whole thing breaks down into a 9íx3íx1í bundle that I can store above my garage door. Itís more than a pain to break down and set-up so it stayed in one piece using my garage as a hanger. I broke it down in the fall.

Randy, the radio station thing is WAY COOL, thus the name waycool radio. My kids play dj with their friends and we played Christmas music 24-7 during the holidays. The range is not bad, about ľ mile and with an external antenna and maybe a mod or 2 you can get a couple miles. This of course is not legal and can only be done outside the U.S. Last time I checked the air was free. The pool makes a huge difference. It keeps them home and away from the video games. Watching the movie from the spa with a cold one is priceless.

We also have a popcorn machine. We set up a griddle to make hot dogs and have plenty of pop on hand. The older girls like to run the SNACK BAR. They made a menu from an  old chalk board. We try and keep the movies a clean PG maybe PG 13. I donít recommend Larry the cable guy. We stopped it 15 minutes into the film cause of the adult humor. The kidís favorite is the bench warmers. Our opening night will be memorial weekend, maybe 2 nights if the weather is good. I tried to detail the screen a bit more. Hereís a few pics.

K.



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* Slide1.JPG (60.14 KB, 960x720 - viewed 2374 times.)

* Slide3.JPG (35.39 KB, 960x720 - viewed 1946 times.)
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Kevin & Deeís Backyard Theater
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2007, 11:39:22 pm »

My oh My that thing is a MONSTER.  I have to say it looks like you have an awesome setup.  I potentially could be jealous.....with the screen :-)  It does look like you have done some enginnering on it and I think it looks really good.  I like the whole setup.

Kudos!

Dano
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Ronaz
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2007, 03:57:04 pm »

You have a great setup. I would like to know more info on your screen material. You mentioned you got it from E-bay. Please let me know what you have. Thanks
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2007, 06:22:36 pm »

You have a great setup. I would like to know more info on your screen material. You mentioned you got it from E-bay. Please let me know what you have. Thanks
The screen material is a rubberized canvas with a gain of 1.3. It is very lightweight and stretches over a frame very nicely. It comes 4” larger in both directions to allow for wrapping or hemming. The seller (b-a) will also cut custom pieces. The only downfall is it is not 100% weatherproof. This was OK for me because I don’t leave it up all the time. It survived about 5 raisings and a lot of bumping around in the garage and is still in great shape. If I get a couple more years out of it I ‘ll be happy. If you are looking for this type of screen material I highly recommend this seller. Here’s a link to one of their auctions.
http://cgi.ebay.com/FREE-SHIP-9x16-PROJECTOR-PROJECTION-SCREEN-MATERIAL_W0QQitemZ250100864089QQihZ015QQcategoryZ79876QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

K.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 06:28:23 pm by Backyard Paradise » Logged

Kevin & Deeís Backyard Theater
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2007, 10:00:13 pm »

Thanks for screen frame instructions.  That thing really is a monster.  Probably capable of withstanding a hurricane.  Unfortunately I am in Southern Cali so I don't think you'd really want to pack it up and ship it.  Nor would i want to pay the shipping costs.  Thanks for the offer though.  I'm still tossing around a few ideas and I saw that screen material up on Ebay.  I'm glad I found someone who's used it in the field.  I'm also considering just getting the blow-up screen made by Gemmy.
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« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2007, 08:19:00 am »

Welcome!

Looks like a great set up! I may have to start thinking about modifying my screen to use the grommets/bungee cords instaed of the sewn pockets. I wonder if the BO cloth will stretch out the way your material does? Hmmmm....wheels turning....

Tom
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2007, 09:30:22 pm »

That's a great setup.  I also enjoy watching movies from my hot tub with an adult beverage in my hand.  I bought plastic (hard to break) wine glasses to make that possible!  I'm looking forward to this summer when I will be able to sit in my pool and watch movies.
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Backyard Paradise
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2007, 10:22:49 pm »

We just ordered one of these.
http://www.gadgetsgalorestore.com/product_details.php?product_name=Chrome%20BrewTender%20Portable%20Beer%20Beverage%20Dispenser
It lights up, it swivels, it has an ice chamber, Margarita anyone?

I hope to build the new screen this weekend. I also need to decide on a projector. It needs to be bright so I can start earlier. I keep coming back to the PT-AX100U. I would like to keep it under $1000 or so. Samís has a SHARP model that fits the bill. Itís native 4:3 but Iím not sure about the scaling. My sp4805 is 16:9 and looked great, just not bright enough. Is there a recommended projector that has at least 2000 lumens, and is 16:9? Maybe Iím hung up on aspect ratios. I just donít want everything to look stretched. I guess I can buy the one at Samís and take it back if I donít like it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I need to put this all together by memorial weekend. I will document the screen design and build with lots of pictures. Thanks Kevin
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« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2007, 06:34:26 am »

Kevin,

You can use a 4:3 easily.  When you show the movie, just "crop" the actual 16:9 image to fit the screen.  The black bars on the top and bottom can shoot over and under the screen and you will not even notice.  I do this and DO NOT change the aspect ratio or stretch the picture on mine.  It looks just fine!

Dano
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« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2007, 07:35:30 am »

You can use a 4:3 easily.  When you show the movie, just "crop" the actual 16:9 image to fit the screen.  The black bars on the top and bottom can shoot over and under the screen and you will not even notice.  I do this and DO NOT change the aspect ratio or stretch the picture on mine.  It looks just fine!

Ditto.  I would add: If the bars are on your screen, check your brightness setting on the projector so your not brighter than you need to be.  I like to "adjust on black" and get the blacks as close to black as possible, then stop.   Your overall picture (not just the black bars) will probably look better too if you're not set too hot.  (Assuming your contrast and color settings are correct.)

Randy
« Last Edit: May 08, 2007, 07:37:40 am by rfisk » Logged

"Instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle for where we're going.  There's something ahead worth looking for." -- Neil Young





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