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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies  

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Author Topic: The Hungry Mosquito  (Read 8122 times)
Bogey
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« on: August 26, 2012, 06:13:54 pm »

MY FIRST BACKYARD THEATER EXPERIENCE

I have toyed with the idea of a dive-in theater since I first set up my home theater back in 2004, but never got serious about it. In my mind, it would be a one-off party with family and friends and that would be the end of that.

I have a Panasonic AE700U projector that first served as my home theater projector, but has been retired for a couple years. I also have a collection of relatively small speakers that could be used for up to 7.1 surround and a spare 5.1 capable Yamaha receiver. With a MacBook available to use as an AV source, the only thing missing…

...the screen.

So I used 2 pro photographers remote flash stands connected by a 10 ft long, 1 1/4" diameter bar and attached some lightweight lycra spandex material with some ball bungees and tarp clips (a la DJ screen). The end result - a 110" rear projection screen. In the test of the set-up, the 3.1 audio was good and the photo equipment frame performed well. The RP test was pretty good as well. Although the Panny only puts out 1000 lumens and light control in my neighborhood is limited, the image was bright and sharp. It was a relatively calm night and the fabric was not stretched very tight. A light breeze would cause to fabric to move a bit. It was better with the fabric stretched tighter, so I decided it would be OK.

Dive-in Theater Party

My first backyard theater experience was a Dive-in Theater showing in late July and was interesting to say the least. The '80's themed party was set to start ~2 hours before sunset and I set up the AV equipment well before the party began (less the PJ and screen). The day was hot as expected here in central Texas with a slight breeze. Good food, good company, good music and the sparkling pool were a great start with the promise of a nice finish - a screening of 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' at dusk, which came right on schedule...

    ...along with increased breezes...

        ...which, to my dismay, proved that the lightweight screen fabric was just too stretchy.

Valiant efforts to tighten the screen against the 8-10 mph breezes were unsuccessful, so I hatched a new plan. I scrapped the RP and moved the entire set-up close to the back of the house and switched to FP. This presented a new issue in that the fabric I chose for RP was thin mesh and the image passed easily thru the screen onto the house, creating a visible double image. So I ended up stretching a bed sheet on the frame for the show.


There were a some comments about a few mosquitos buzzing around. We treated the area in advance of the party, but those pesky buggers wanted to get in on the action too.

Despite the delay, less than stellar FP set-up and the skeeters, it was a good party and we all enjoyed the Bill and Ted's (slightly wavy) antics while lazing around the pool.
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cecilb
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2012, 06:43:20 pm »

Sounds like a cool setup.....pics!!! Congrats.
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seating for 1,000........... 12 at a time
Bogey
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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012, 09:12:35 pm »

Sorry. This was the first BYT experience for us, and once the breeze kicked up, there was no chance to think about pics. I was just happy we were able to show the movie at all.
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Bogey
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2012, 09:33:46 pm »

After my first BYT experience, I knew I wanted more.

SO BACK TO THE INTERNETS...

I guess my initial search criteria was off the mark, because I was primarily getting hits for DJ screens, which fed right into my oh-so-frugal mentality. It wasn't until I happened on the BYT forum that I was introduced to the myriad of outdoor screen options available. If only I had found the BYT forum sooner.

BTW, The name for our BYT was decided when I registered with this forum. When I came to the space for the name, the very first thought that came to my head was - I kid you not - The Hungry Mosquito. I actually laughed out loud.

I've got a disease...
 
It seems that no matter what interests me, I just will not be satisfied with OK. I have to at least make it pretty damn good, but usually I take it to the next level. While perusing the BYT forum, I found so much interesting information. Screens, sound, even building multimedia shows for the complete theater presentation, feeding my obsessive nature.

The Screen
An inflatable 16' screen would be pretty cool, but my wife and I "agreed" that between the storage and cost issues, it was not to be. On to a fixed screen solution. I really wanted a RP set-up to keep the screen closer to the pool and the PJ out of the way. I seriously looked at building an EMT frame and using BOC for the screen, but after a few hours trolling around the nets (including this forum), I found the 132" Camp Chef Super Screen (OS132) for $200 at Costco and ordered it. The frame goes together easily and the screen attaches with no fuss. It comes with a nice storage case and the price is right. The black backside, which attaches with velcro at the top and sides, can be detached for rear projection. Test results to be the subject of a future post.

The Sound
I'm OK with the sound equipment I have - a Yamaha 5.1 receiver driving a Yamaha sub and L/R speakers and an Eosone center channel for a decent 3.1 sound field. I have additional speakers available if I decide to take it to 5.1 later.

The Projector
The AE700 will have to do the job. I do not intend to invest additional $$ at this time for a brighter image. I hope the RP on the Super Screen is at least close to as bright as was the RP on the lightweight lycra spandex material.

The Video Source
A MacBook laptop will be the source for all outdoor audio and video entertainment unless I decide to present Blu-ray discs.

THE NEXT LEVEL

I played around a little over the last week with XBMC Media Center using the Cinema Experience add-on. I haven't figured out how to use it to automatically start a DVD movie from the disc, but it's pretty cool with AV content stored on the hard drive or network. I can rip most DVD movies to the hard drive in the meantime. So far, I have managed to get the Mac to perform most of the Cinema Experience sequences:

1. Trivia Intro Video(s)
2. Trivia Slides w/ music playlist
3. Trivia Outro Video(s)
4. Movie Theater Intro Video(s)
5. Coming Attractions Intro Video(s)
6. Trailer(s)
7. Coming Attractions Outro Video(s)
8. Feature Presentation Intro Video(s)
9. Rating
10. Audio (DD/DTS/THX etc)
11. Countdown Video
12. Movie Starts
13. Intermission Video(s) - If selected
14. Rating Video - if selected
15. Audio Format Video - if selected
16. Next Movie Starts
.
. The last three can repeat up to 3 more times
.
17. Feature Presentation Outro Video(s)
18. Movie Theatre Outro Video(s)

...like I said, I have a disease.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 11:38:04 pm by Bogey » Logged

Bogey
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« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2012, 11:26:33 pm »

THE HUNGRY MOSQUITO DIVE-IN THEATER
...a test run...

With just a marginal chance of rain and unseasonably cool weather (sorta - the high was only 95), we decided to give the new outdoor screen a test run this past weekend. I had the screen and audio equipment set-up by early evening with the intent to add the projector just prior to dusk. Before taking pictures, I came inside for cool drink. I almost had it finished when the Beagle parks herself against my legs... not a good sign. She only does this when she's nervous.

So I take a look out back and notice it's a bit dark (it shouldn't be). Then I see that there are a few sprinkles starting to fall. Fortunately, I had the audio equipment on an all-terrain wagon, so I hurried out and quickly moved it under cover. Since I didn't want to worry about drying it out later, I took the screen down from the frame. Just as I was stepping under cover with it, WHOOSH - it was as if the clouds had suddenly been unzipped. I think it may have soaked the trailing shoe just before I made cover. The deluge continued for about 30 minutes, then wained and stopped altogether within 45 minutes.



I decided to take a picture in case this was the end result, but...

The show must go on!

Semi-confident the rain was gone for the evening, I set up again and just after dusk, we were ready to roll. There were three of us, my wife, daughter, and myself.

Using the Cinema Experience software, I was able to launch and it was hands off from that point.


The Pre-Show

The video started with an intro to the Hungry Mosquito Dive-in Theater.



...followed by a welcome using an opening text crawl (a la Star Wars) complete with customized knock-off graphics similar to the 20th Century Fox fanfare and Lucasfilm Ltd. logo. Thanks to Darel Rex Finley).
Note: I did a search for an earlier version of the Star Wars TSG and found version 1.2.2. I won't say where I found it except that it was a site in a foreign language found using the search string Star Wars "tsg.zip".





...then a couple minutes of movie trivia with musical accompaniment, a trailer for an October release movie in the theaters, a cartoon short (Pixar's For the Birds) and a movie montage/countdown clip.



The Feature Presentation

My wife requested Sleepless in Seattle, so the feature presentation was Lethal WeaponGrin

Actually, Laura requested Galaxy Quest and we all like it, so Galaxy Quest it was!





The dive-in theater was pretty cool - literally! Floating or lounging around the pool while giggling at the quirky crew of the NSEA Protector and the "termites" was a new and fun experience for all of us.


Set-up Notes

The Projector Central calculator indicates my PJ is marginal for this screen size assuming screen gain is 1.3, which is likely pretty close since the nylon is slightly off-white. So I was a bit concerned going in that the Panasonic AE700U projector didn't have enough oomph to put a bright enough rear projected image on the Camp Chef Super Screen (OS132). I am most pleased to say that it worked out great! The light control in my area is not very good, but as long as my neighbors don't turn their back yard lights on directly behind the screen, the image is bright with the PJ set to high lamp power and the dynamic picture mode.

P.S.
The Hungry Mosquito is happy to report that the skeeters were pretty scarce. They have been pretty bad this year, so we got our mosquito misting system functional a few weeks back and have been misting cedar oil 4X daily, plus an extra cycle or two prior to showtime. I usually suffer the most with the little pests, but I had only one bite in over 5 hours I was out there. A huge improvement over the experience a month ago.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 04:40:57 pm by Bogey » Logged

bdwalker1
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« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2012, 09:54:29 am »

Way to save the evening, Bogey!  Looks like a great show.  Was it pretty breezy?  Even in the movie shots looks like your pool is rippling pretty good.
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tronn4
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« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2012, 02:13:45 pm »

love the dive-in! in talks with the wifey to dig ourselves a pool within the next 2 years.

sorry to hear about the 'squitos. i know there is a very good thread on skeeters and how to best deal with them 'round here. i believe one thread was called "Mosquitos the nuclear option". perhaps you'd find some new treatment or add in your own to the conversation.
The "Nuclear Option" thread: http://backyardtheater.com/forums/index.php?topic=5879.0

on the picture with the Hungry Mosquito logo, is it some projector hot-spotting in the bottom center area? or perhaps just the angle you took the picture of the screen. just FYI, carls place (awesome BOC screen manufacturer) is having a sale on finished screens (with an outer webbing plus bungee holes) starting today.
http://www.carlofet.com/finished-projector-screens.html

you dont happen to have the projector aimed directly at the screen do you? a slight adjustment of the projector either down (preferred) or up would take care of any hot spotting.

you mentioned you had the audio on a all-terrain cart. we also have a thread where you can share a pic or two of the "tech rack". again its more for informational purposes and to get new ideas and put new ideas into the mix.
heres the "Show Me Your Tech Rack" thread: http://backyardtheater.com/forums/index.php?topic=7340.0
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Bogey
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« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2012, 03:52:58 pm »

Way to save the evening, Bogey!  Looks like a great show.  Was it pretty breezy?  Even in the movie shots looks like your pool is rippling pretty good.

Thank you!

It was a bit breezy, but the pool has a feature that creates a river effect from under the surface causing ripples. That and the fact that there were people in the pool can result in a less glassy surface.
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Bogey
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2012, 06:46:20 pm »

love the dive-in! in talks with the wifey to dig ourselves a pool within the next 2 years.

sorry to hear about the 'squitos. i know there is a very good thread on skeeters and how to best deal with them 'round here. i believe one thread was called "Mosquitos the nuclear option". perhaps you'd find some new treatment or add in your own to the conversation.
The "Nuclear Option" thread: http://backyardtheater.com/forums/index.php?topic=5879.0

THx Tronn,
Here at The Hungry Mosquito, we have made it our quest to ensure the skeeters go hungry or die tryin' ...the skeeters, not us.  Wink

We got our Skeeter Beater misting system running a while back and have been misting cedar oil 4X daily, plus an extra cycle or two prior to showtime to improve the perimeter defenses. The cedar oil is so safe and non-toxic, I let the mist from one of the nozzles fall over me for added measure. Works better than any spray I've tried. Those little buggers really don't like cedar oil!

The Skeeter Beater has allowed us to retake the back yard, but I am very curious to try nuclear option #4 (dry ice in a bucket wrapped with a "sticky trap") to complement the misting for showtimes. If it works as well as advertised, I'll add this Skeeter Seducer to the arsenal. My goal is a summer showing sans skeeters!

on the picture with the Hungry Mosquito logo, is it some projector hot-spotting in the bottom center area? or perhaps just the angle you took the picture of the screen. just FYI, carls place (awesome BOC screen manufacturer) is having a sale on finished screens (with an outer webbing plus bungee holes) starting today.
http://www.carlofet.com/finished-projector-screens.html

you dont happen to have the projector aimed directly at the screen do you? a slight adjustment of the projector either down (preferred) or up would take care of any hot spotting.

The PJ is actually low and out of the line-of-sight to the screen. The camera accentuates the appearance of hot-spotting, but it is actually not noticeable to the eye. I intend to build a small PJ deck that will sit on the ground placing the PJ even lower (<10" high) so that it will be even less noticeable.

The Camp Chef screen (aka Skeeter Screen) is great! I'm not sure any screen material would improve the hot-spotting without diminishing the PQ for rear projection. But if you know otherwise, please elaborate.

you mentioned you had the audio on a all-terrain cart. we also have a thread where you can share a pic or two of the "tech rack". again its more for informational purposes and to get new ideas and put new ideas into the mix.
heres the "Show Me Your Tech Rack" thread: http://backyardtheater.com/forums/index.php?topic=7340.0

Basically, the Skeeter Scooter tech wagon a drop-side crate wagon like this:



The receiver, center channel speaker and sub-woofer stay on the wagon, which I park under the screen. There's room for the rest of the equipment for storage. I just put the PJ and the front L/R speakers in place and connect the MacBook. I only need to plug in the AC power strip and the laptop connections (HDMI and optical audio) and it's good to go!

I'll get some pics next time.

The rain shower scuttled my Skeeter Scooter shot success last showing.
 
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tronn4
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 02:11:27 pm »

lol, skeeter screen, skeeter scooter, skeeter seducer, and skeeter beater!

im noticing a trend...
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Bogey
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 06:57:32 pm »

We decided that since the weather for Halloween was so mild this year (~73° at dusk), we would set up the Skeeter Screen out front on the driveway for some kid-friendly entertainment.



Laura got her witch on for the evening!




A shot of me setting up just before sundown.




For a quick set, I downloaded a few cartoon shorts and some Hallowindow offerings from YouTube to cover the first hour. Then we showed "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" followed by "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial".




We parked ourselves on the driveway and watched while passing out the treats. ~100-125 kids came out - a pretty decent turn-out. Some of them would linger for a bit to check out the video. We area at the top of the cul-de-sac and we noticed the adults standing in the middle watching the video while the kiddos made the round.

A great time - we really liked seeing the little ones in their costumes!
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Oldalgebra
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 06:23:04 am »

This looks like so much fun. We didn't get very many treaters this year. I'm going to line my walkway with liGhts like you did next year.
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satch
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 09:25:56 am »



Wow Impressive set-up for your first round at this.

Welcome to the group , you will find you will always looking for ways to improve.

Its like marriage your in it for the long haul.


Good Job

Satch

And yea we have lots of skeeters way up here ,,,,,,,
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Bogey
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« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 07:54:20 pm »

I didn't really get good pictures my set-up last year as I had intended. The 2nd and last time it was set up was for Halloween and that was a rush job done in the small window of time between getting off work and dusk. There just wasn't enough daylight left to get good shots.

The The Hungry Mosquito Dive-in Theater is a compactly stored portable outdoor theater. With the exception of the PJ and laptop which are stored inside the house, the entire set-up is stored on the Skeeter Scooter drop-side tech wagon. Even the Skeeter Screen (stored in its bag) fits on the Skeeter Scooter for storage.



The receiver, front L/R speakers, center channel speaker and sub-woofer comprise the Skeeter Sounder, which mostly stays on the Skeeter Scooter and gets parked under the Skeeter Screen.



The front L/R speakers hang on the Skeeter Screen frame. A screw was driven into the back of each speaker and ball bungees were attached. The bungees are wrapped around the frame at the bottom corners.



The Skeeter Shiner (projector) is mounted the Skeeter Swivel which is attached to the Skeeter Shiner Sled. This set-up is very low profile, keeping it out of the line-of-sight to the screen for rear projection.


click image for larger view

I simply set it in place on the ground, connect to the Skeeter Source (MacBook Pro) via HDMI, power up, adjust the image on the Skeeter Screen and it's good to go! The Skeeter Swivel system makes adjusting for variable ground slopes a snap!

The Skeeter Screen is a great portable 11' diagonal screen! It's made by Camp Chef and the price is right. I got mine at Costco for $200.
Set-up is an easy 20-30 minute job. When detached from the back, the blackout material serves oh-so-conveniently as a Skeeter Skirt below the screen to block the line of sight to the PJ used for rear projection. A couple mini-clamps hold it just barely off the ground.


view from the rear


view from the front

Overall, I am very pleased with this outdoor theater. The relative ease of set-up and take-down along with the compact storage make for a very manageable back yard theater that doesn't require any permanent elements. With access to AC power and a good area to set it up,The Hungry Mosquito is ready to go places!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 12:20:02 am by Bogey » Logged

bdwalker1
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« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2013, 11:16:49 pm »

Really nice job! Quick & efficient setup.
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