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1  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Woot! screen deal (March 30, 2015) on: March 30, 2015, 11:59:36 am

Woot! gets into the screen business (for today, anyway). Good price, compared to themanufacturers's sitr (
2  Backyard Theater discussions / Drive-in Theater discussion / We're not the only ones that miss drive-ins! on: August 02, 2012, 06:08:06 pm
3  Backyard Theater discussions / Projector specific / Re: Can you please help a newbie out? on: February 08, 2012, 03:36:39 pm
That is a great technique, rawod! Thanks for sharing it!
4  Backyard Theater discussions / Backyard and Outdoor Theater Showcase / Re: Elaborately casual on: October 10, 2011, 10:25:36 am
Yes it is, Randy. Could you tell by the design of the valence?
5  Backyard Theater discussions / Projector specific / Re: Can you please help a newbie out? on: October 09, 2011, 11:22:22 pm
Could be you're out of focus range, but since Underdog has projected a 102-foot diagonal image, I think "infinity" really means "infinity". "Too far" shouldn't be the issue, unless Acer has done something really stupid with that projector.

My next suspect would be the low resolution of the projector. When you go big, the pixels do, too. If you have a low-res projector, you're going to end up with pixels the size of your thumbnail, which means an image that looked really great at 40" diag. is going to look terrible at 120". So, get the highest-res projector you can afford.

But that Acer is a 1024x768 projector, which is what I use. I don't find the images unacceptable, so my final question is "how are you connecting the projector to the player?" If you use the yellow single-cable "video" connection, you'll get the worst possible image -- essentially, downgrading your HD projector to analog TV resolution, with as much video noise as possible. S-video will get a slightly sharper, but still very low-def, image.

If your projector and player have HDMI, use it. If not, use the component RGB video connectors. If your pj has DVI input, but no HDMI, you can get a converter cable that will give full HD signal. If your pj only has VGA input, get a component-to-VGA cable. Those methods will get the best picture possible.
6  Backyard Theater discussions / Backyard and Outdoor Theater Showcase / Elaborately casual on: October 09, 2011, 11:02:46 pm
My friend Mark got the BYT bug a couple of years ago and, in his typical fashion, went all-out. Here are some pics of his setup.  The screen is sign vinyl. A friend helped him build the 15-foot-wide frame, with an attractive valence box to shelter the screen when it's rolled up. Mark found somebody on eBay who laser-cuts metal wall decorations and he had them scale the tragedy and comedy masks bigger, for use as a decoration over the screen. There's a red spotlight behind the masks after dark.

The speakers are all-weather, permanently attached, and the wiring is run through a conduit to a covered junction box where the pj is set up. He uses an Epson all-in-one unit, so setup is fast: unbox, plug in power, plug in speakers, aim.

The pics were taken from the deck, and there's an intermediate level of sidewalk, so the theater effectively has stadium seating. Additional ambience is provided by the firepit and the adjacent koi pond, which is also home to some really LOUD bullfrogs.

Photo 1: The frame

Photo2: Rolling down the screen

Photo 3: Ready for the show
7  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Re: Vinyl screen, how to remoVe creases?? on: August 23, 2011, 01:46:55 am
I use a Da-Lite FastFold screen (like they have in hotel meeting rooms or convention centers). It has an 8x8-foot vinyl screen that comes out of the box totally wrinkled, but which goes dead flat when it's snapped down all around the frame. There's enough tension there that the last few snaps are a bit difficult to get connected.

If you don't/can't have a rectangular frame, I'd suggest leaving it out in the sun all afternoon before your show. That's what's recommended for softening up vinyl auto seat covers before installation.

Let us know what you try, and what works!
8  Backyard Theater discussions / Drive-in Theater discussion / Things to Avoid: #255 Marquee Gaffes on: July 16, 2011, 01:11:17 pm

9  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Re: New to BYT, having hard time deciding target screen size on: March 11, 2011, 02:49:12 pm
One thing I have found is that people won't sit close to a big screen. The bigger the screen, the farther away they sit. I don't know if this has to do with what they're used to seeing at home, or in a big movie theater, or if the visual sensation is too much.

In any case, if you're not planning on showing to a huge crowd, don't give in to the "bigger is better" temptation. In the optimal viewing spot, the screen should take up about 30 degrees of the field of vision. If you draw a triangle with a 30-deg. angle at the top and then figure how far from the screen your front row will be, you can then measure that far down the middle of the angle, then measure across the base of the triangle at that point to see how wide your screen should be.

Then, build or buy what you need, but no more.
10  Backyard Theater discussions / Projector specific / Woot! deal on pocket projector (11 Mar 2011) on: March 11, 2011, 02:24:40 pm
Today, is offering a pocket DLP projector for $139. It's an Optoma, with 2000:1 contrast ratio, with component video connections -- pretty good sounding so far. The resolution is only 320x480, though, and there is no brightness rating. So, it may be useful for showing movies on the inside of your tent, or the back of the seat in front of you on the airplane, but probably not for your 200" backyard screen.

Still, someone is going to find a use for this thing....
11  Backyard Theater discussions / Pre-show reels, stills, clips, tools and discussion / Re: Blender "20th Century Fox" clip on: February 28, 2011, 09:25:26 pm
That looks pretty cool, Hawkes. Signing up is free, but creating a video is not. A DVD quality vid costs $2, 720p HD is $5.

Have you made anything with it yet? It looks much, much easier than fiddling with Blender, but it also appears to be somewhat limited, so I guess you get what you pay for (in time and fiddling, in this case).
12  Backyard Theater discussions / Pre-show reels, stills, clips, tools and discussion / Re: Blender "20th Century Fox" clip on: February 28, 2011, 03:58:17 pm
There's now a Blender source file that has fixed the flicker problem. Search the web for "FOX_Logo_by_Matt_Hoecker-flickerfixed.blend". (Disclaimer: I haven't tried it yet. Just got a new 4-core computer and am running my first Blender rendering to see how it goes. I may or may not mess with modifying this new source, if it comes out OK.)

13  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Make Magazine high-gain DIY screen tests on: February 18, 2011, 12:03:16 pm
Make Magazine has an article that does some fairly rigorous testing of different screen paint formulations using glass beads. If you are going to make a rigid screen and want to get the most bounce, check it out:

Though the author focuses on the terrific effect of sample Q, he can't reproduce that one. My eye went next to sample R, which is clearly brighter than plain paint, has a smoother texture than the other samples made with the same technique, and is dead simple to create. That one looks like the optimal mix of simplicity, consistency and performance.
14  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: Wild West Party - could use some ideas on: August 02, 2010, 01:48:24 am
Well, I also think "Blazing Saddles" is at the top of the list. I would put "Paint Your Wagon" right behind it, though. The problem with "Paint" is that it's 2 1/2 hours long, which can be a problem in the summer, depending on where you are in the time zone and therefore when the sun goes down.
15  Backyard Theater discussions / Backyard and Outdoor Theater Showcase / Re: Cherry Hills Driveway Theater on: July 19, 2010, 11:55:26 am
It's a piece of 3/4" plywood, with holes drilled to match the mounting screw locations on the bottom of the projector. It's elevated above the ladder top by four pieces of 3/4" aluminum angle. The two pieces at the back are just screwed into the sides of the ladder. The front two pieces have slots which allow them to slide up and down to adjust the projector angle. The attachments are made with screws that stick out (heads on the inside of the legs) and thumbscrew nuts that allow easy loosening/tightening. The aluminum parts are pop-riveted together, and wood screws attach them to the sides of the plywood piece.

I don't have a plan. It was all done ad hoc, as I had to experiment with where the screws would be located, how long to make the slots, etc. I knew about how high the projector would have to be, then started working from there. You'll just have to wing it in figuring out the rest, depending on how high your ladder is, how high your screen is, how far above/below the screen edge your projector needs to be, etc.

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