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1  Backyard Theater discussions / Movies you're showing or have shown / Re: Lego Batman on: August 22, 2017, 09:26:20 pm
Tape jockeying - that takes me back!  Many moons ago I worked at a radio station on an as needed basis.  The music was on reels, but commercials and spots were on cassettes (like 8 tracks).  We had to do the same thing - prep player 2 while 1 was going, swap 1 when 2 was going, and so on.  If you're not paying attention you end up with dead air, which doesn't make the bosses happy!  This was the early to mid 90's so the equipment was a bit dated.  I'm glad I got a chance to experience those machines. 

I'll bet you're the type who can feel a bit uneasy or restless just sitting back while things go on.  That's how I am anyway.  It's nice to have a responsibility to fiddle with while the audience enjoys.  Though, I don't envy you having to unjam tapes and players!

It's really cool how taking the movies outside changes the game a bit.  Sometimes I watch a VHS at home on my TV.  The video quality just sucks after everything being HD nowadays.  But you take a VHS outside, and it doesn't really matter.  There's just so much more to the experience outdoors.

Well you nailed me down pretty well lol.  I've never been any good at just sitting there.  When I had the Sit & Vue the most I had to do was sometimes switch between laptop and DVD player, otherwise it was just the laptop.  It was to only way I had ever run movies before.  Oh sure I used VHS in my living room at one time a lot, but it's not the same, it's not a presentation.  At the Sit & Vue I just found other stuff to do.  It was rare for me to actually watch an entire movie.  Now at the Night-Sky I never do.  It is fun for me to run the VHS equipment.  I also wear a set of headphones during tape changes so I can quickly adjust the audio levels if needed.  As far as the unjamming of tapes is concerned it's just worn out equipment.  So far I have managed as best I can.  When Gary decides it has been enough or his place gets developed I'm going to miss the Night-Sky and in some ways I will miss it more than the Sit & Vue.  It's got a lot of flaws, but to me it also has personality.

Your right about differences between VHS and HD.  A little off topic but I have used an older than dirt flip phone for more years than I can remember.  Recently it quite working and I purchased a really nice samsung smart phone.  Besides the fact that I can now text, check my e-mail ect from the phone, the sound quality is really something else.  My wife has had an HD phone for a little while now and I'll tell you the first time I called her from my new phone it really did sound like she was right there.  Truly amazing.  But back to outdoor theaters, my experiance tells me that it is more about the experience the guest have during an outdoor movie rather than best picture, best sound ect. 

Not to hijack your thread but this reminds me, the overnight camping night at the Night-Sky was August 16th.  We had 8 tents in his yard and we played movies from sunset to sunrise.  One of the traditions is showing an interview with the last manager of the Valley Drive in, he managed it in for one year in 1979 and then from 1992 until it closed in 2012, the interview was shot I think in 2007 or 2008.  Sadly he has passed away since the theaters closing, but at his theater they would do Rocky Horror as the third feature one night only every August.  So that's what I started doing at the Sit & Vue and now at the Night-Sky.  His interview followed by Rocky Horror as the third show.  And lets not forget about the pancake breakfast at 11AM after the long night!  I'm hoping that we'll get to go a little bit into September with the movies this year, but I'm not sure, it's really up to Gary and his health isn't so good and even though I do most of the work on the movie nights I think he is ready for a break, so we'll see what he decides.  Another interesting tid bit.  The Valley drive in was the last operating drive in owned by United Theatres.  Gary, the gentile man that owns the Night-Sky retired from that same company.  This year I got Gary to speak live to the audience about his time with United Theaters, and what the Valley Drive in was like in the 60's and 70's before it was plexed and after.  Was really fun to get to hear him talk about that.     
2  Backyard Theater discussions / Movies you're showing or have shown / Re: Lego Batman on: August 08, 2017, 11:59:56 pm
Buzz, At both of the BYT I have been heavily involved in have transmitter their sound and asked attendees to bring a portable radio.  If you ever do a showing somewhere that you need to contain your sound requiring the use of headphones could be an option.  Another option is to broadcast to radios you provide and place in strategic locations.  Just a few of my thoughts there.

As far as playlists are concerned back when I had my own BYT theatre I use to do a fair bit of that, but I also had some stuff that I would pre-make in the winter to use during the summer.  I'd also sometimes show movies from DVDs in which case I would do the preshow on the laptop and switch from the laptop to the dvd player for the movie.  I did that because I felt the DVD player was more reliable than the laptop.   

Where I'm at now helping out at the Night-Sky his "media player" is duel deck VHS machine.  It's really quite an experience in timing, and in some ways it's a lot of fun, but you have to pay attention too.  So lets suppose we are going to play an intro tape, followed by two cartoon shorts and then the movie.  So I'd start the intro tape in slot #1, when that is over start the first cartoon in slot #2, followed by rewinding the intro.  When the first cartoon is over in slot #2 the second cartoon can start right away in slot #1.  Repeat until it's time to start the movie.  So basically just jockeying tapes back and forth between the two player slots.  It's a lot more work during the show but it is fun for me at least, unless a tape gets jammed, and yes I have gotten very good at unjamming VHS tapes and players in the dark Smiley  I brought all that up just because it is different way of doing things today.
3  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: --- === Come join the Facebook Group! === --- on: August 07, 2017, 11:40:15 pm
Someone mentioned the cost of keeping this site operational.  IF we could get new members and some new admins to help get things moving again, I would do a monthly paypal contribution/donation of $15-$20 to help cover costs. 

This place is great! When I was looking for ideas to build a screen, this forum gave me everything I needed, PLUS the courage and motivation to just go for it and put together the entire thing, sound system, video, and of course the screen.

Its sad to see the posting almost nonexistent, and awesome members like old algebra haven't been heard from in over a year. Her Crackerjack theater site has disappeared from the web. :-(

Sadly with any group that is what happens.  Older members sometimes more on to other things or life happens.  Without new members the forums slow down.  On another thread this year I gave numbers but there have been no new member approved here in a few years and we went something like 9 months without Randy even logging into the site.  As Tronn mentioned Randy has been offered free help.  I have personally offered as well to help him and he has turned us all down.  I don't really understand why, it would be lovely if he would at least let his current members know. 

As an outsider to the facebook group (I don't facebook as a matter of personal choice) I'm glad to have a better understanding of their purpose over there.  I remember when I joined the BYT forum which without looking I think was in 2012?  I could hardly keep up with all the new posts during the summer.  Now I'm even finding that I'll go a week or more without logging in just because nothing is happening.  It is saddening for sure. 

Sorry to hear about algebra as well.  She had a link on her website to one of my write ups on sound broadcasting, I thought that was a pretty special thing for her to do. 
4  Backyard Theater discussions / Movies you're showing or have shown / Re: Lego Batman on: August 07, 2017, 11:19:33 pm
Showed Lego Batman to our Cub Scouts last night.  We had to start a little earlier than I would have liked.  This movie starts out a bit dark and I would have liked less ambient light at the beginning.  But it all went very well.

As usual, I had music going for an hour beforehand, with visualizations running.  I had a (cheesy) logo video and a scout pack version of the 20th Century Fox intro.  To keep things simple, I ripped the movie to my laptop and had it all in one playlist.  Ran it in stereo, didn't bother with center channel.

The weather was unbelievable.  Low 70's at the start and in jackets or blankets by the end, which is amazing for August here.

It was a great night!

Buzz, it's good to hear from you!  You know as far as the starting early thing is concerned if folks can't make all the details out then a little something is left for their imagination.  In my opinion and other folks will say differently I think surround sound outside is not worth while.  In a small yard or on someones porch it might work but in a setting like yours where it's a bigger area I doubt that anyone would have even realized there was a center speaker had you run one. 

I don't know how well you have followed things on the forms here but I have transmitted my sound expecting attendees to bring a radio.  In the end at the Sit & Vue we were transmitting in FM stereo, but before that is was AM stereo, and at my current outdoor theatre it's AM mono!  No one complains about it either.  It's clear and you can understand the dialog your good to go outside in my opinion. 

I think that's one thing that I actually like about BYT, compromises usually end up having to be made, it's part of what gives it personality I think.  It looks like an awesome showing and I bet the kids and adults enjoyed the heck out of it!
5  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / SR's Ramblings on: July 19, 2017, 11:18:24 pm
Once again I found myself at work this morning with just one project.  A project that was done before noon.  So there I sat at my desk all afternoon hoping that the phone would ring at least, which it did not.  So I did a few other things.  I was planning to copy the cancellation update blog that the Night-Sky and the Sit & Vue theatre shared from the Sit & Vue website to the Night-Sky website but I discovered in order to do that I would have to go from the free web platform I'm using to a paid one.  That's not going to happen so I backed up the Sit & Vue's website and removed everything except the home page and the update blog.  Then I went over to the Night-Sky website and improved the link to the update blog so it no longer looks like your switch websites.  Other than the web address changing from Night-Sky to the Sit & Vue when you click on the update page it's much more seemless now. 

While I was there backing up the Sit & Vue website before shutting parts of it down I was reading over the equipment page and it occurred to me that the only part of the Sit & Vue that has been reused at this point is AM transmitter, which we brought over to the Night-Sky as the under ground wiring for the fence speakers are no longer usable.  The plywood screen is still standing in Jake's old yard along with the 2 foot tall grass.  Frankly I'm surprised something hasn't happened there, no for sale signs or anything as of yet. 

Just got word a few weeks ago that the developers have told Gary he will be able to stay in his house until the end of this year at least.  So that's good news as far as we are concerned.  I will be spending much of the afternoon on Friday at his place doing things like mowing the lawn.  There is also a seem on his plywood screen that appears to be getting wider in gap.  I noticed it last Saturday during the movies that there appeared to be spot on the screen where no image was showing up vertically.  At the top this spot is much wider than at the bottom where the plywood is still flush.  I haven't seen it in the daylight yet, but I did shine a flashlight on it after the movie and I'd guess the gap at the top is a couple inches wide.   I need to establish what has caused this, make sure it is still safe and patch it up as best I can hopefully without spending much if any money.
6  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: --- === Come join the Facebook Group! === --- on: July 19, 2017, 12:43:42 am
Point taken from both of you.  I don't disagree with any of your points at all and since I am not on facebook I will take your word that folks are pointed to the forums as well.  And I appreciate you mentioning that.  Sometimes it appears as an outsider to the facebook group that threads of this nature have a different purpose than they really do. 

What it comes down to for me, and it appears for you as well, we are just disappointed that the creator and sole admin of this forum is letting it die, do to no longer approving new members.  I wish Randy would just let someone have enough power here to approve new members, but it has been made clear to me that he is not going to do that and since he is present here less and less I guess we are lucky that the forums continue to exist at all, and I am glad that folks can at least use them for a reference. 

And just for the record I do very much miss helping new people, and I miss posting something and getting 1/2 dozen or more new ideas. 

Thank you guys again for clarifying your intentions I will get off your back.   Smiley
7  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: --- === Come join the Facebook Group! === --- on: July 18, 2017, 08:29:32 pm
Ok, so I understand the condition of this forum is not good.  And what I'm about to say you may not like, but I think it needs to be said.  I understand that no new members have been approved since 2016 and there were only 2 approved that year.  I understand that the person in charge just recently went 9 months without logging into the site.  It sucks.  It really sucks.  I hate the fact that no new members are coming in and that the forum admin won't let someone help him out, but it is what it is I can't fix that. 

However I also hate it when someone on the forums actively tries to drive people away from this forum.  I get that people are not being approved and you may have posted the facebook link for those people, however there is another thread where another member directs people who cannot get approved to this forum, to a BYT facebook group.  It has been around for sometime and he bumped the thread less than 30 minutes after you posted this thread.

Personally if I was an admin on this forum I would delete threads of this nature.  So I'm going to kindly ask can we please maybe just maybe limit the facebook group advertisement on this forum to just one thread?  Preferably the other thread as it specifically is directed at folks who cannot get approved as opposed to current members.  Is that to much to ask? 

Thank you,
From this Backyard Theater Forum User
8  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: Backyard Theater Host/Hostess Poll on: July 03, 2017, 12:00:45 am
I'm a child of the sixties that enjoyed drive-ins growing up.  Picture quality was not the greatest and those nasty metal speaker boxes that sound like drive thru speakers.  I find people respond most to the sound quality.  If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor surround system that's awesome.  I find two channel amps do the trick and no one seems to mind.  The folks I have shown for are just happy to have a nostalgic outdoor experience.  Quick set-up and take-down are important to me.  I try to keep my system mobile.
I think I'm a little younger than you because I missed the hay day of the drive in, but your thoughts are similar to mine, especially the "folks are just happy to have the experience" (pardon the paraphrasing).  My setup has never been cutting edge technologically, but I've had everything from a perfect screen surface to crystal clear FM stereo sound, to what I have now.  Someone elses backyard equipped with a badly worn out screen that effects the picture quality and a mono-AM system that includes humming during quiet scenes at no extra charge.  I can't pretend that other folks don't notice, the issues are to great they have too, but at the end of each and every night folks come up to me and thank me for keeping Gary's BYT going for him.  They still seem to love it.  Which is why when I voted back in 2012 I voted for party, although truly I would have voted for atmosphere had it been a choice in the poll. 
9  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: new screen on: July 02, 2017, 10:46:39 pm
RG, what do you think the durability will be like long term and what did it cost you?
10  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: 4th of July plans on: July 02, 2017, 10:44:58 pm
Gosh I've been so out to lunch I totally missed this thread.  So all of the annual events we use to hold at the Sit & Vue are transferring over to the Night-Sky.  including the 4th of July show and the camp over night in August.  The traditional show starts with showing a live stream of a local fireworks display that is shown on TV, the only trouble is that there is no way to pipe in live TV at the Night-Sky due to the technical limitations of the equipment, so I think that will show a classic firework display since I found one on VHS.  After that the traditional movie is 1776, and I have a copy of that on VHS now too.  So we should be good to go for the night and we should get finished before midnight since it will be just one movie which is a good thing since it's a work night for most folks. 
11  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Re: Gemmy Screen cleaning UPDATE I NEED ANSWERS..Thanks on: July 02, 2017, 01:51:51 am
G76, It'll be fine.  While I have no experience with gemmy screens, I definitely have a lot of experience with less than perfect screens.  And I'm talking about the plywood ones.  If it is generally dirty all over it'll equate to a slightly dimmer picture.  If there are stains on it about the size a dead mouse would leave or from the droppings of a mouse I doubt you'd see any of that with the movie rolling. 

The screen at the night-sky is so weather worn that it has dark green streaks running up and down all over it.  And yes it's bad enough you can see them during the movie less so in the dimmer scenes, much more so in the brighter scenes, but you can still see the movie and folks still have a good time, and this is after years and years of the thing standing in the northwest weather without any maintenance. 

One of the BOC screens that we had at the Sit & Vue we bought with black mildew stains spotted all over the screen.  These weren't streaks they were little tiny black dots, never saw those stains at all during the movies, but you could see them during the day. 

The reason I say all this is so if your freaking out about the stains you'll stop.  Clean them up as best you can then enjoy the movie.  IF the stains are even visible at all during the movie, your probably going to be the only one that notices.
12  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: New items for our D-I package on: June 14, 2017, 11:59:49 pm
RG, I hope you don't mind me asking how much the FM radios cost you? 
13  Backyard Theater discussions / Projector specific / Re: time to upgrade on: June 09, 2017, 01:17:00 am
Hello all, not sure how many are still using this site but I am looking for a decent PJ for about 300 bucks. Better to go used or new? Hope it will be a great movie season!!

I'm not sure what your experience level is with BYT so please don't be offended if this is all stuff you know.  I was just looking at Optima PJ's on E-bay and many of them are around 1,500 - 1,700 lumens.  Depending on the size of your screen and ambient light you may or may not be happy with that amount of light output. 

I cannot attest to the optima brand as I have never owned one but there are many folks on the forum that do so I'm sure it would be a great choice however I should give you my experience with a used Epson.  I bought it used in 2007 I believe it's a powershot 81 so technically it's a business projector, but I used it at the Sit & Vue.  We would start the season usually in May and end in September.  Double features both Friday and Saturday nights.  That's ruffly 200 hours a year.  All I have ever done is cleaned the thing once every spring, and replaced the bulb as needed.  So I have put total of over 2,000 hours on this unit without it letting me down I think that's pretty good for $100. 
14  Backyard Theater discussions / Movies you're showing or have shown / Re: Do I give away Hot Dogs @ Movie Night? on: June 08, 2017, 01:06:27 am

Keep the lights on my friends! No matter how hard things are people depend on us!


Thanks Carl those are really good words of advise.  This spring when I had to let everyone on my E-mail list know that the Sit & Vue would not be coming back, it was really eye opening how many folks responded to that E-mail.  Including folks that wanted to offer up their backyard for me to setup in.  It was so hard for me to say no to those offers, but as long as the Night-Sky is around I really just want to concentrate on that rather than trying to run two BYTs again.  So I've invited everyone that went to the Sit & Vue to drive a few extra miles and join us at the Night-Sky.  It has been even more eye opening how many of the Sit & Vue regulars are making the drive to the Night-Sky regularly.  Besides the drive I know that the picture and sound is not as good at the Night-Sky, but yet they still come out and have fun.

What currently has me kicking myself is at the Sit & Vue we used to serve concessions, for a suggested donation with the understanding that any money made was put back into the theatre.  Popcorn, soda, & pizza, which was really just frozen pizza we cooked on a gas BBQ grill.  We never served hot dogs.  What the heck was I thinking.  We talked about it, but we wanted to get a hot dog machine and never did.  I've done hot dogs on the grill a million times but never thought to do it at the Sit & Vue.  Oh well another boat missed.  I'd really like to do the concessions for donation thing at the Night-Sky so there could be some money for maintenance at the Night-Sky but Gary doesn't like it, he wants to just keep giving away popcorn.  I understand the free popcorn is his tradition and he could keep giving that away and offer other stuff for donation.   Oh, well either way I'm going to enjoy the Night-Sky for as long as possible. 
15  Backyard Theater discussions / Movies you're showing or have shown / Re: Star Wars 40th Anniversary on: June 06, 2017, 12:23:36 am
A great source for VHS is half.com. once you type that it comes up as half.ebay.com

Here is an item for sale: $9.99 for 6 original Disney Classic VHS tapes.


I used them for the Star Wars on VHS.

As a side note, VHS is brighter than DVD or Blu-Ray. So your movies can start earlier!


Thanks for the pictures Carl.  I always loved seeing your wonderful setup.  So I started helping Gary with his BYT three years ago, in addition to my own.  During that year I bought a few tapes off E-bay that were simply in awful condition so I'm a little hesitant.  I'll probably try half.com, even though they are an e-bay company.  Your last picture shows hot dogs on the grill, do you give those away at your movie nights, or sell them or ask for donation?  Just curious.   
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