Backyard Theater Forum

Backyard Theater discussions => Screen specific => Topic started by: DigiMark on May 21, 2006, 12:47:13 pm



Title: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: DigiMark on May 21, 2006, 12:47:13 pm
It was a long haul but we finally got the screen built in time for our first screening last night.

Here are the pictures I know you'll want to see:

http://gallery.digimark.net/v/og/backyard-drive-in/ (http://gallery.digimark.net/v/og/backyard-drive-in/)

The screen size is 8' by 14' and is made with 1" square aluminum tubing that has a channel along the outside edge. (More on that in a moment.)

We buried two 4"x4" square aluminum sleeves 2 1/2' down in concrete to support the 14' 4"x4" wooden posts. The posts have galvanized "Z" brackets to hold and secure the screen. The posts are topped with solar-powered post lights. I did this partly for the look but mostly because it provides a ready excuse to the local HOA board why there are 12' posts mounted in my backyard. (We needed the lights for safety reasons, yeah.)

If you recall from a previous post I have a friend who builds billboards and awnings for a living. He arranged for an aluminum welder friend of his to cut and weld (2) 4'x14' frames and then, on a subsequent pass, to weld (2) 6' piano hinges between them, so the screen can fold out to its full height. (If we hadn't done this it would have been impossible to move, store and use it -- too big.)

Once the frame was complete, my friend used a commercial stapler and PVC zipstrip hammer to secure a "sandwich" of Dazian projection material and (also Dazian) blackout cloth to the screen. See http://www.steelstitch.com/Stapleinsystem.htm (http://www.steelstitch.com/Stapleinsystem.htm) to view a diagram.

Last night we had our first event of the year. It was combined with my older son's 7th birthday, and in addition to cake and ice cream, we had hotdogs with chili, nachos and cheese sauce, chips,  popcorn, candy, soda and water. The weather was clear but windy, with 10-15 mph gusts. I was really worried about that, but it turns out I shouldn't have, because we *way* overbuilt the screen. It didn't even flex in the wind. I cracked the base of the left solar light when we were putting the screen up, so I will have to re-secure it today.

We watched Warner Brothers cartoons and then "Sky High" with Kurt Russell. The movie was fun, if predictable.

What do you think? -Gary


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: cheftom on May 21, 2006, 01:13:48 pm
Looks cool, a great place to watch a movie!


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: rfisk on May 21, 2006, 01:36:19 pm
Congrats, Gary.  Wow, your screen came out great!

Looks like the kids are having a ball.

Drop a couple of your favorite pics in here if you want and I'll add you to the main page.  I plan to do a few of those soon.

Really nice work.  Have fun!

Randy


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: hiredpower on May 21, 2006, 09:21:52 pm
Gary,

  Very Cool! I like how that steel stitch system works. The whole project looks very professional. You should be very proud of your accomplishment. I wish I had a dad like you when I was seven.

I would like to make a suggestion as it pertains to your Eons. Put them on stands(don't skimp on the brand here, I recommend the K&M 21300). I could get into a long explanation of sound theory, but the gist is this: sound should come from above the audience's head.

You could build two boxes that follow the contour of you landscape on the bottom and be level on the top. Be sure to allow for the footprint of the stand in determining the top surface area.

Because the Eon10G2's tend to be a little "tinny" an Eon Sub would also be the perfect compliment to your set-up.  

You've got a great place to show movies!


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: DigiMark on May 21, 2006, 10:00:50 pm
Thank you, I will ASAP. (Add some pictures for the front page...)

A few more notes:

I'm having a canvas bag stitched with a velcro closure ($275) to protect the screen and keep it clean when not in use.

Including the bag, the total cost for this project was just under $1500 -- $500 for the welder to source, make and hinge the frame, $180 for the Dazian Trapeze and blackout cloth, $80 for the two 6' hinges, $65 for the two posts and concrete mix (5 bags), some amount for the (3) square aluminum sleeves (we ended up using two instead of three), and an unknown amount that I didn't pay for lag bolts, Z brackets, staples, PVC stripping, etc. Plus (2) 1GB memory stick cards for my friend's PSP playing kids, several lunches and soda/beer, but that was just being friendly! Oh yeah, and the solar lights were $22 each at Lowe's.

If you don't have a friend to do the hard work, you'd have to add a bunch for someone to attach the screen to the frame.

The two frames are piano-hinged in the middle. The blackout cloth is stretched individually over each frame half and secured with staples. Then the Trapeze materal was stretched over both frames and secured to the outside edges. Since the frame folds in half, and I didn't want to see the hinge on the screen side when open -- I had to have the hinge on the backside, which means the Trapeze material has to stretch over the hinge when folded. I was worried that it would rip this way, but this is where the stretchiness of the fabric helped.

Maybe this should be the subject of a second post, but since hiredpower mentioned it...

I'm using a Behringer UB802 mixer to feed iPod/mic/PowerBook output to the speakers. (I use an InFocus X2 projector and a 12" PowerBook G4 for the movies). I have 25' balanced 1/4" phone cables going to the speakers (they're not long enough either) and I'm running heavy gauge 25' power extension cords to the speakers. All the power cords come back to a powerstrip near the source equipment and the powerstrip runs to wall power through a heavy gauge 50' extension cord.

There's got to be an easier way to manage all these cables. Kids are tripping over them. I was thinking of wrapping together 2 sets of 50' balanced speaker cable and power cord, so that they would unroll as one piece. Is it just a given that it takes a while to setup and takedown each night we do this?

Also, I was thinking of getting some Ultimate TS80B or TS90B stands ($80-100 each, rather than the JBL SS2BK stands which are $160 each!). Can I put speakers & stands on grass, or are the stands for hard surfaces only? I'd also like to get the subwoofer. Thanks for giving me more justification for buying it! Of course that will be two more cables to manage... 8-)

It's almost a letdown that the project is done. I know we'll enjoy it, but it was fun to plan and build it too. -Gary


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: hiredpower on May 21, 2006, 10:30:13 pm
Maybe this should be the subject of a second post, but since hiredpower mentioned it...

I have 25' balanced 1/4" phone cables going to the speakers (they're not long enough either) and I'm running heavy gauge 25' power extension cords to the speakers. All the power cords come back to a powerstrip near the source equipment and the powerstrip runs to wall power through a heavy gauge 50' extension cord.

There's got to be an easier way to manage all these cables. Kids are tripping over them. I was thinking of wrapping together 2 sets of 50' balanced speaker cable and power cord, so that they would unroll as one piece. Is it just a given that it takes a while to setup and takedown each night we do this?


Gary,

  I wouldn't be taping these together, this will cause AC hum.

There is a solution, but it's not cheap.

Go here: http://www.csnl.com/

Scroll down on the left in blue to new products and click. Scroll down a ways...it's called the CSL XLR Cable System 
You need the 50' cables and there $129 each. Then just get some yellow plastic tent stakes and no more tripping hazard.




Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: hiredpower on May 21, 2006, 10:45:48 pm
Also, I was thinking of getting some Ultimate TS80B or TS90B stands ($80-100 each, rather than the JBL SS2BK stands which are $160 each!). Can I put speakers & stands on grass, or are the stands for hard surfaces only? I'd also like to get the subwoofer. Thanks for giving me more justification for buying it! Of course that will be two more cables to manage... 8-)

I have been in the DJ business for 9 years and have purchased stands by several manufacturers. After having to buy new ones every couple of years, I found the "ultimate" stand. These are steel, not aluminum and will last you a lifetime. This is precision German engineering at it's finest.

http://www.ultimatesupport.com/s.nl/sc.14/category.78/it.A/id.418/.f

I paid $180 each with free shipping just two weeks ago. I had previously bought my first pair two years ago and decided to replace my other failing aluminum backup stands recently.

If your yard was flat you could put them on grass, but since it's not, I would recommend the box idea.


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: Cherry Hills on May 22, 2006, 01:46:02 am
Man, that is a sweet screen!

Regarding the sound cables, I would suggest just running one wire from your Powerbook to the amp situated under the screen. Then, you just have a couple of 8-foot lengths of zip cord to the speakers. I do this with a 20-foot shielded cable with 1/8" plugs and an 1/8"-to-twin-RCA splitter on the amp end. A cart, storage box or black drape will make the amp disappear, once you've done the sound check and don't need to see the lights on it.


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: DigiMark on May 22, 2006, 09:38:07 pm
HiredPower -- thanks for the additional information. Those CSNL cables look like the perfect solution, if they weren't so expensive...

Also thank you for the advice about the speaker stands. I'll get one or the other in place for next movie night. -Gary


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: rrg on May 24, 2006, 11:48:58 am
Digimark,
What was your idea behind the floating solar lights? Do you have low flying planes? (he, he)

I admit they do look cool. But don't they pull your eye away from the screen?

Just wondering.

I also have wire tripping issues. I am looking into using something like this.
http://www.cable-safe.com/products/covers_hide.htm

My cables run on the driveway in the back yard.


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: Emperor PalpaTim on May 24, 2006, 03:15:57 pm
I used to have the same problem. All of my audio cables run through a system of 1/2" plastic conduit that I fold up.   The whole system covers a 60' x 50' area and has connections for 18 surround sound speakers. 


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: cheftom on May 24, 2006, 03:39:12 pm
When I run my cables if they are on a floor, sidewalk or driveway, I use duct tape and tape then down really good, if I am on grass, I run them straight to the sub and if it ends up being a high traffic area, I have some cable staples that I found that are a cross between a tent peg and a u-bolt. this keeps the wires from getting pulled up into a trip hazard.


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: Pass_The_Off on May 25, 2006, 02:09:47 pm
Nice work



Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: Cherry Hills on May 25, 2006, 03:05:04 pm
Tom, where do you get the cable staples? Thanks!


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: cheftom on May 25, 2006, 05:11:17 pm
The phone company came and re-ran the line into my house a couple of years ago and the technicians don't bury the wire, that is someone elses job, so they stapled them down, when the guy came to bury it I asked him for them and he gave them to me. 


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: victor-eyd on May 27, 2006, 10:48:53 am
Very cool screen. I especially like the fact that you can fold it and store it by the side of the garage with minimal seams (one horizontal line across the screen instead multiple vertical lines)

Victor


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: DigiMark on May 28, 2006, 09:43:42 am
rrg -- I was worried that the HOA would kill me for having two semi-permanent 13' posts sticking out of the ground, so I figured posting the lights up there would provide some cover. The light is so weak (being solar LEDs) that they don't interfere with the movie (your eyes don't notice them vs. the image). They are pretty neat floating up there in the dark when you look out the window though.

I'm not sure the Cable-Safe strips would work across grass, but its the right idea.

Victor -- I'm proud of this but there is no seam in the middle -- the hinge is on the other side and the Trapeze material spans over both halves of the frame, so when it is deployed it is one flat seamless surface.

A few more questions for everyone please:

1. For those who are using Trapeze (or in my case a sandwich of Trapeze and Dazian blackout cloth) -- what happens to the material if it inadvertantly gets caught in a squall and gets wet? Will it dry OK without long term damage?

(Insecurities showing in the next two points)

2. How often do you show movies without grating on your friends' and families' nerves? I don't want this to be a one-time thing, but I'm worried if we do this too often it will wear on people who have other things to do. Also, with weather being capricious around here, even if we schedule once a month there's no guarantee that the weather won't ruin each attempt. How often do you guys do this? Given the work to set it up, how many people have to come over to justify the effort?

3. Nachos and popcorn are easy to do, but I shouldn't feel compelled to feed everyone full meals when we host a movie night, yes?

Randy -- I've attached a picture if you want to put it into your gallery of screens, thanks.

-Gary


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: rfisk on May 28, 2006, 10:28:34 am
I donít know how their blackout cloth will handle weather, but I put my Trapeze screen up in the spring and take it down in the fall.  Itís probably not recommended but mine gets rained on all the time.  So I wouldnít be too concerned about the Trapeze getting wet now and then.  But I donít know about the blackout cloth.  I had a situation once where some apparently ill big bird flew by and splashed the screen.  I lowered it, hosed it off and amazingly it didnít leave a spot.  Then once, I threw the whole thing in the washer and it looked like brand new.

We donít do the big showings much anymore.  We did the first few years but now itís just become more of a normal way to watch movies in the summer.  Sometimes itís just my wife and I.  Sometimes we decide to watch a movie outdoors and call a couple people last minute.  Weíll have a big graduation party here next weekend and everyone asks if weíll have a movie.  Which we will.  It just sort of works out like that.  Iíll also make a slide show of our son over the years and weíll show that.

Once school is out weíll watch more movies outdoors.  Generally 3-4/month.  We run into friends at various places and just schedule something.  Itís not a big production for us now Ė more casual.  But still a lot of fun!!

Weíve generally done the pot-luck thing if weíre having a big crowd and starting early.  But now I seldom get the popcorn machine out unless weíre having guests outside our family.  We just make it in a pan in the kitchen.

I remember that a few years ago I thought I was burning people out.  Weíd occasionally call and someone couldnít come.  But itís just that everyone is busy or simply wants to relax at home.  So either they come or they donít.  We pass on a lot of things too.  Itís just part of this busy period in life, I think.

The screen looks great Gary!!  Do you have another thread in here with more photos and detail that I could link your photo to? 


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: Cherry Hills on May 28, 2006, 10:48:56 am
The screen looks great and I, too, like the "disguise" of the solar lights.

You guys are also making me rethink my screen material. The canvas gives a very nice picture, but it's pretty fragile. I'm going to look into Dazian.

Regarding burnout, my experience matches Randy's. People will come if they're invited, they don't have something conflicting and they want to see the film. If one of those doesn't work for them, they'll stay home (or go to the concert or whatever). You can't please everyone every time. We invite 70 or 80 people (friends, neighbors, coworkers) and generalliy get 25-30 at a show. That's a full house on our driveway, though, so it works out fine.


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: rrg on May 28, 2006, 01:29:13 pm
How many times. About every 4 to 6 weeks in the summer time for large groups and sometimes more often if we do an xbox game night for only kids.

The parents are starting to let the kids come over for the night.

In the fall we have more all guys nights for those cool football night games. It's more of a tailgate party.
 
In order to keep the neighbors happy I use small computer speakers on a table to keep it more quiet during the xbox nights or smaller groups with 6 people. Like someone said here a few times, it's about the outside screen that makes it cool.


Title: Re: Finally finished. What do you think?
Post by: Cinema BBQ on July 04, 2006, 10:46:58 am
Gary,

That's a nice set up. Your frame looks sweet. You put alot of thought and it shows.

Have a great summe!

Cinema BBQ -Kevin