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1  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Mounting projector/sound system near pool on: June 03, 2017, 02:48:55 pm
At the moment, I have to set up and take down my projector and sound system before and after each use. This is a pain, especially when I have guests over and I have to go through all the work when it is dark enough to adjust size, geometry, and focus. One of the biggest reasons I can't leave it out is I install the projector under my pergola, right above the edge of the swimming pool; it could get splashed. What I need is to buy or build a waterproof case that can be opened from both the front and back when needed to hold everything. My thought was a waterproof 19" rack system (24" cube) that could be attached, but they are way too expensive new (well over $1000). I've thought of building one from wood or plastic but wondering how to make it waterproof. Any ideas?
2  Around the campfire - off-topic discussions / General off-topic discussions / Re: Am I the only one who cannot "see" 3d? on: June 20, 2016, 07:52:07 pm
No, you are not alone in not seeing 3D. I too do not see any benefit of 3D films, only annoyance. I dislike wearing the glasses. I get a terrible headache shortly into wearing them and often see blurred images, all bad things. I have no problem with depth perception in real life but I believe much of it has to do with other visual cues and assumptions than a difference between two eye images spaced a certain distance apart. In my case, I believe it goes back to my early childhood. I had very bad crossed-eyes and my parents sent me to surgery to remove some of the muscles behind one of my eyes. Then, for the next couple years, I would have an eye patch moved from right-eye to left-eye and back and forth for a while, trying to even out the strengths of each eye muscle group. Because of this, my eyes stopped really working together. I remain better than 20/20 in each eye but they don' work together. I only really see out of one eye at a time but they both work fine.

The biggest problem with my eye sight the way it is is when I shoot my gun... I have to intentionally close one eye. I'm not sure if this is unique to me or if others have to but if I don't, my target moves back and forth as I automatically shift from one eye to the other.
3  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Ideas for side tensioning on: June 12, 2016, 03:31:28 pm
I have now had my redwood structure in place for several years now. I typically make a few changes each season. Below is a view of it from after last night's viewing of Zootopia. The basic frame is made up of two 16-foot tall 1-foot by 1-foot vertical redwood cores on each side, with two 20-ftt redwood 2-inch by 12-inch boards connecting across the top. I have three 1-foot redwood cubes sandwiched equally-spaced between the two vertical pieces to prevent warpage of the 2 by 12.


I use a 2x8 at both the top and bottom of the screen to pull up and weight-down the screen. I installed three winches that pull up the top board that has a hook for each grommet of my screen (if I were to do it again, I'd only use two winches... the two outside and NOT the middle one). The bottom board also has a hook for each grommet. Now comes my request for ideas... I'd like a better system of pulling sideways tension. I am currently pulling tension with many bunjee cords after the screen is put up. This requires getting a ladder to get the top parts of the screen. I would like something that would eliminate the need for the ladder each time, as well as something to make the sideways tensioning a bit more regular, as some of the bunjees pull the screen tighter in some areas with less tension in others. The top and bottom boards do a fine job of evening tension at both the top and bottom of the screen but sides are just a little irregular.
4  Backyard Theater discussions / Projector specific / Re: Hello and newbie question on: March 27, 2015, 04:08:07 pm
Welcome aboard rallen!

I currently use the "PJ mounted high above everyone's heads" method and I love it. Keeps it out of the way so it doesnt get knocked or kicked AND allows people to walk by without blocking the picture.

HOWEVER, I don't think any PJ will survive being left outside 24/7 unprotected. I know a couple folks here have built "projector booths" in their backyards, but even they bring their PJ's into the house/garage at the end of the night. Perhaps there is a way you can make some sort of quick-release ceiling-mount mechanism so you can mount the PJ under the eve of your house for each showing, then take it down easily and store it indoors when you're not using it?

BTW - Here's a link to my website detailing how I made my own removable on-top-of-my-back-wall PJ mount: http://www.hyltoplex.com/upgrademount.html

This is related to why I had to replace my projector after three years of use. I know that outdoors is not an ideal location for electronics so I have not wanted to buy a high-end projector. My first projector was an Optoma HD20. It served me fairly well for the first couple years. I used the projector both inside the house and outside. I only left it outside over one night, as it was still quite warm out and my plan was another movie the following night. My thought is that was my projector's doom, although not immediately. Last year, when my viewing season began, I found I had white vertical lines every inch or so across the entire picture. I did some research and found that this was not uncommon for this projector and followed directions to fix the problem. Apparently, the problem revolves around the way the DLP board attaches to the imaging board inside the projector. They are connected like an expansion card fits into a computer... copper contacts on the edge of a printed circuit board and springy copper contacts in a socket. The projector gets very hot inside while the projection bulb is on and as it cools, moisture may condense on these copper contacts and they can oxidize. Apparently, this got to a point where poor contact was being made between the two boards. I took the projector apart, having to disconnect many tiny ribbon cables and other tiny wire connectors to remove the imaging board from off the DLP board. I cleaned the contacts both on the edge of the DLP card and the socket on the imaging board. I used a chemical that is supposed to prevent re-oxidation from occurring... unfortunately, that didn't last. I got another month or two out of the projector but ultimately it failed again. My second time trying to fix it, I was not careful enough and broke a ribbon connector off the imaging board, delaminating a portion of the board. I wasn't even using much pressure when that happened but alas, it doomed. I was looking for another similar projector on Craigslist or eBay for a while but couldn't get what I wanted for a price I was was willing to pay for just parts.

I ultimately purchased a new projector. Again, it is still a fairly low-end projector but it is already a better projector than the HD20. My new projector is a BenQ MH630. The BenQ is brighter than the Optoma but I still get "rainbow-effect", an extremely annoying side-effect of cheap DLP projectors; I'll just live with it. I will be more careful and make sure it comes in after every use, not leaving it out over night again.
5  Backyard Theater discussions / Media servers, streamers and networking / Streaming to backyard system on: May 22, 2014, 05:29:50 pm
I just wanted to share one of the many projects I’ve been playing with that will improve my backyard movie experience (as well as viewing from anywhere in my house). I recently built a FreeNAS server, a FreeBSD-based file server that allows for add-ons. In my FreeNAS system, I have four 3TB hard drives set up in a RAID-Z array (similar to a RAID 5 setup). FreeBSD has a system of setting up “virtual computers” called “jails”. In one of these jails, I have installed the Plex Media Server. I have then used a program called MakeMKV to rip my Blu-Ray discs. MakeMKV will take the 20-30GB movie and package it all into a single MKV file, including the option to choose to see subtitles. Once the MKV file is added to the Plex library, it will automatically grab the movie metadata from online sources. I have many devices that work with Plex, including my Roku 3 and AppleTV or my iPhone and iPad. When my device connects to the Plex Media Server, Plex will transcode on the fly if needed, for the best quality audio and video possible.

Most of the movies that I watch outside are family-oriented movies. I spent much of yesterday ripping several Blu-Rays in my collection; 14 animated Disney movies, a few non-animated Disney movies including Mary Poppins and Enchanted which combines animation with live-action.  While I can stream from Netflix or Amazon Prime, I find Plex to be both faster and better quality and many of my movies aren’t even on those streaming services.
6  Backyard Theater discussions / Backyard and Outdoor Theater Showcase / Re: New frame and screen on: August 02, 2013, 08:40:04 pm
bigRon is there a Target behind your property too? Cheesy


also any build photos of the pulley system you have in place? im starting to think i want/need a similiar pergola/theater frame. just would like to not have to use a ladder to set it up.

Not exactly sure what you're asking, Target store? No.

As to the pulleys that remain (I used pulleys for construction too that were only temporary), if you open the picture in a new window or download the photo, you can see the pulleys better than in this forum... it is higher resolution, allowing zooming in. There is one pulley in the absolute middle and a pulley four feet to either side. I offset each of these pulleys that direct pull-up to the side just a bit (one a bit forward, one a bit back of the center)  and then have three side-by-side pulleys to direct the ropes from sideways movement to down.

For lifting the horizontal assembly, I didn't take pictures, but I've tried to create how I did it in a little sketch.

I purchased four double pulleys from Harbor Freight and two single pulleys. I placed an eye-bolt at the top of each of the vertical pieces to anchor a double-pulley and a single pulley. I tied off to each side of the horizontal piece along with a double-pulley. In the crude diagram, the circles represent each pulley wheel. This created a 4:1 mechanical advantage, making it relatively easy to raise the entire assembly by myself. I then tied off the ropes and went up on a ladder and screwed in a temporary block to support the horizontal piece on each side. After placing the first temporary block, I went over to the other side and placed a level on top of the horizontal piece. I then was able to raise/lower the side I was on until level, then placed the temporary support block. I then placed large clamps to make sure there couldn't be any movement, then pulled out my auger bit and drill to place the bolts.

In the diagram, the black lines represent the ropes. I pulled down from the spot that looks like a "V". The red are the two vertical 6x6 posts while the green is the 2x12 assembly block (two 2x12's with three 1' 6x6 in between).
7  Backyard Theater discussions / Backyard and Outdoor Theater Showcase / Re: New frame and screen on: July 30, 2013, 12:30:21 am
That is really sharp looking! I'd love watching a movie on that from under the pergola or in the pool.

Sorry about the keystone issue.  Just a couple of outside-the-box thoughts you may or may not have considered:

1) Would your pergola lend itself to some sort of trap door that the projector could pop up through for projection?

2) (Not that you want to do more timber work, but...) You could get a couple of long 4x4s and create angled supports behind your 6x6 posts (not sure from your picture how much room between your posts and fence) then anchor the bottom 2x6 and the sides of your screen to the 4x4s so your screen is at an angle.  Since you are projecting up at your screen having the screen angled down toward the viewing area by even 5-10 degrees should eliminate a lot of the key stoning.


There isn't a lot of space behind the posts, but maybe if I pulled the screen back towards the fence, it would cause the opposite keystone effect, hoping to have the two offset each other; I'd have to say I had not thought of that before.
8  Backyard Theater discussions / Backyard and Outdoor Theater Showcase / New frame and screen on: July 29, 2013, 03:04:32 pm

I first built my backyard theater a few years ago using 1" EMT (electrical conduit) and guywires with my 16'x9' BOC from Carl's Place. It was a royal pain working with the metal pipe and guywires but I enjoyed the experience of watching movies in the backyard. A few months ago I came up with a new concept, building the framework to be permanent and use ropes and pulleys for the screen. I have an embankment a few feet higher than my pool deck between the pool and the back fence to my property. I drilled two 4 foot holes on this embankment with an 2-person auger than sank 16 foot rough-cut 6"x6" redwood cores in the holes with concrete. I then took three 1 foot sections of the same 6"x6" redwood and placed them between two 20 foot, dog-eared cut, rough-cut 2"x12" redwood planks. I raised this 2"x12" to the top of the 6"x6" posts and after leveling, bolted it all together. I'm using a foot long ½" hot-dipped galvanized steel lag bolts with malleable washers on each face side of boards. I placed pulleys underneath each of the three 6"x6" that you can't really see (between the two vertical posts) as well as three pulleys on one of those vertical posts, allowing me to route ropes down one side; there are three rope cleats near the base of that vertical post to tie-off ropes. I have attached a 16-foot 2"x6" to ropes with hooks on the face to attach the screen to; I used cheap Douglas fir for the 2"x6" as I figure that would be relatively easy to replace if it goes bad. I have another 16-foot 2"x6" with hooks on the bottom to weigh down the screen. I have used a few bungees to pull sideways tension on the screen.

When I initially finished the framework, I went to put up my old 16x9 BOC and found that somehow, the rubber coating had stuck to itself and the screen was deteriorating. I went back to Carl's Place and this time ordered a new 16x9 screen, this time the PVC Flexi-White screen. First off, this new screen comes with a bag to store the screen in, which impressed me. It also is easier to clean than the old BOC, wiping clean easier with a moistened towel. The new screen arrived Friday and I put it up for the first time Saturday night. I had not yet got the hooks, so I used bungees to hold the screen to the 2x6 boards... this caused a few wrinkles in the screen. On Sunday, I had time to put the hooks in and pulled proper tension, providing the screen you see in the picture above.

In case people want to know what I watched, on Saturday night, when I had my sister and her family over, we watched Meet the Robinsons. Last night, I watched Thor. There was a good breeze all throughout my movie watching time but with the tension, there was no rippling in the screen. There are a few issues I'm needing to work out still though, primarily with the projector. I suspend my projector from the top of my backyard pergola but it still needs to aim upwards at the screen, causing a top-heavy keystone. I have used the maximum internal correction for keystone but it is still a little top-heavy (wider at top than bottom). It will be extremely difficult to mount projector on top of pergola because it extends over the pool edge. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to climb on top of pergola to mount projector as the pergola is made with thin-walled aluminum and I don't know what kind of weight it can hold.

I plan to eventually put a few bushes around the concrete bases to my vertical posts to hide the ugliness with that.
9  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Re: Grey vs. White on: July 21, 2013, 07:26:44 pm
Stay with white. I have a gray screen. Used it once, packed it away and never used it a gain.

OK, Done! I was leaning towards the white but wanted something to push me over the edge. Had the first reply been grey, it would have had me pondering it much longer and I WANTED to make the decision quickly.
10  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Grey vs. White on: July 21, 2013, 06:13:03 pm
Apparently, the price has dropped slightly on the FlexiWhite screen from Carl's Place as well as the addition of a FlexiGrey version. I like that there is a price drop, but I now question what is better for my given situation. To my understanding, grey has a lower gain but higher contrast compared to white. Is there some sort of brightness capability of a projector an ambient light measurement I could take of my projection screen area that would tell me what would be better for me? I know that the specifications of my projector are rated at "1700 ANSI Lumens". I don't currently having any light-measuring equipment to measure ambient lighting at night. Any one with experience in the matter that can help guide my decision?
11  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Re: BOC vs. FlexiWhite on: July 16, 2013, 04:58:45 pm
Here are a couple images of my framework for my screen.




In the pictures, you can see that I have a 2x6 hanging by three ropes attached to pulleys. This is where the screen will attach to. I'll have a similar board at the bottom of the screen and if needed, I'll use bungees or something to pull some side-to-side tension. I also am thinking of maybe some shrubbery around the bases of each of the vertical pieces... just enough to cover the above-the-ground extension of the foundation. The posts are buried a little over 3 feet in the ground with concrete extending up about another foot; that is about 800 pounds of concrete. I hope that is enough. It seems fairly rock steady.
12  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / BOC vs. FlexiWhite on: July 16, 2013, 04:07:19 pm
I had my 16x9 BOC from Carl's Place now for 2 years. I just finished building my new permanent redwood structure for my screen and pulling out the screen to put it up. That is when I realized, my BOC screen was disintegrating. First, I was seeing that the white rubber coating was peeling off, then the screen ripped along the border, where the black edging meets the white screen. My screen is completely ruined. It had been folded up carefully and stored in a closet. When I bought my screen two years ago, BOC was the only option, but I now see they have the FlexiWhite PVC screen. The FlexiWhite is nearly twice the price of the BOC but I'm wondering if it is more durable.
13  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / Re: Backyard Theater Host/Hostess Poll on: June 16, 2013, 04:50:36 pm
I agree that it is the sheer novelty of watching a movie under the stars, especially in a swimming pool or spa. I live in a neighborhood with neighbors on either side of us. For that reason, I keep the volume relatively low. The projector is normally mounted upstairs in my media room, but for backyard movies, I have a second mount attached to the bottom of a pergola. I have a 20 ft power cord and 20 ft HDMI cable to run to the projector and bring my Blu-Ray player outside. I take the stereo output of the Blu-Ray player into a portable shelf-stereo system. It all works fairly well. As people walking behind my house can hear and neighbors on either side can see, I tend to only watch G-rated movies, PG at worst. I also try to invite the neighbors over but only one neighbor has accepted the offer.
14  Backyard Theater discussions / General discussion / After two years... Designing new frame for theater screen on: June 16, 2013, 04:37:13 pm
Two years ago, I started with my first backyard theater setup. I purchased a 9'x16' finished screen from Carl's Place 2 years ago and it has become the envy and exaggeration of many of my friends.

I originally built my screen out of 1" EMT, which was a pain to work with. My original design used two 1" PVC pipe that was buried several feet in the ground that would accept two 1" EMT pipes that went into a "T" fitting. The PVC pipe would get caps over the top if the frame was not in place but served as an anchor for the screen when caps removed. From there, I had created an 17x10 frame made out of 1" EMT with a vertical support halfway in the middle. It sagged a bit and required 6 guy wires; from each corner, one pulling outward and forward, one pulling outward and one pulling back and to the center. It was an ordeal to put it up and take it down each time, but it worked well.

I am now about to build a new, more permanent structure for my screen. It will have two 16 foot 6"x6" redwood rough-cut timbers buried 3-4 feet into concrete and extending up 12-13 feet. Across the top, there will be two 20 foot 2"x12" rough-cut redwood boards with a fancy end cut (like a pergola) that will be bolted to each of the 6x6s (with a few 1' 6x6 placed between for added support). I will place 3-4 pulleys underneath the horizontal boards and rope extending over to one of the vertical timbers and another 3-4 pulleys to route ropes downward. A 16 foot 2x4 will have eyebolts on the top and carriage bolts extending forward along the face, correlating with the grommets of the screen.  When putting up the screen, fender washers and wingnuts will secure the screen to the top board and then be pulled up using the 3-4 ropes. Once at the top, I have not fully decided how to secure the sides and bottom. I am thinking of taking another similar 16 foot 2x4 that will both weight the screen down and likely be pulled to eye bolts near the bottom of the vertical timbers. I'm thinking that this design will mostly eliminate the need for sideways pulling, but I may be wrong; I might need a couple bungees or something pulling to the sides.

I know this frame will cost quite a bit more than the old frame, but should be much easier to put up and take down the screen. I'd imagine I could put it up and take it down in much less time and could be done just by myself if I had to. We may also use the frame to anchor some sail shades to block heat from the pool. The projector sits on one side of our pool and projects across the pool, allowing the watching of movies from in the pool or spa.
15  Backyard Theater discussions / Screen specific / Re: Progress on my BYT on: June 14, 2011, 01:02:51 am
I plugged it all in and set up the projector. I had one slight issue with mounting the projector... it was an awkward position to mount projector with short little stub that came with the mount, so I made an extension for the projector. It made mounting the projector easier, but it gave me keystone issues. I adjusted the keystone to it's maximum setting and it almost looks OK. As I thought, I'm not completely filling the screen, but it is not that much smaller than the screen. For testing purposes, instead of hooking up the Blu-Ray player I plan on using, I just used my laptop computer and using Hulu, I just selected something at random to play... I chose Alton Brown's Good Eats.

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