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Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies

Backyard Theater - Outdoor Movies  

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Author Topic: Introducing backyard Bonnie Doon  (Read 8092 times)
Steve302
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« on: November 21, 2012, 06:00:40 pm »

My wife and I have 3 young boys (full of fun and mischief) We are fortunate enough to have a holiday home about an hour away from the city. Im always looking for new ways to keep it interesting for the boys so that they continue to come happily venture into the country each weekend.

I happened upon the idea of screening movies outside however possessing the technical skills of a fiveyear old made this task a tad daunting. What projector do I need, what screen or speakers do I use and all those wires with funny coloured do-dahs on the end what are those???

A favourite movie was The Castle, an Australian movie where the quintessential Aussie family had a holiday home in Bonnie Doon Our theatre name was a done deal so here goes..


Our First Effort (September 2011)


An Acer PJ with 2500 lumens was purchased and hooked up to some 2.1 Edifier computer speakers. For a screen we strung a queen size bed sheet between two tarp poles. I remember the first night we showed the boys the movie Hop and they loved it. Sound was great, picture was great (not too many wrinkles in the sheet), what a great hobby this is!
I looked at improving first the screen and after trying a number of variations settled on a stretch projection screen. Made of a Danzien fabric and gives a great flat image and can be used for front or rear projection. This material is machine washable and copes well with the wind so Im not worried about it sailing away.
We have hosted our sons scout group for a night camping and How to Train Your Dragon was a massive hit with the group of 20, 6 8 year olds and their respective parents.



Scroll forward to September 2012

While I was happy with the set up I wanted a bigger screen (Carls 16 x 9) This  made the old speakers look emaciated so with the help of backyardtheater.com I settled on a pair of Behringer 550 watt active speakers. A Behringer mixer gave a good input source for the DVD and WDTV live and iphone. 50 foot inch cables are so much more robust than speaker cable and make set up a quick and painless process.

In the spirit of continued upgrading I retired the Acer PJ and bought a NEC P420X 4200 lumen unit. This has been a great upgrade and moves start time of the movies significantly earlier, it has multiple inputs and can be switched between them at the flick of the remote.

Our afternoons normally kick off with the speakers being brought out and hooked up to the iphone for some music and then we put the screen up about 30 minutes before sunset. We predominantly watch kids movies given our boys are 8, 6 and 3 but I look forward to many years of enjoying a great way to spend an evening.

While Im sure that there are many ways I could make the system better and Im confident this will happen, as I write this I can tell you all I am totally happy with the setup and recommend this hobby to all. Ive been reading all the posts silently yet gratefully as these have provided an unbiased source or information that has really helped me make this possible, so thanks to you all.

Steve
 
The first image is the early (Mark I) setup and the current is the second pic. We generally sit down on the grass but occassionally sit up on the deck of the house where these pics were taken.


* Bonnie Doon.jpg (171.53 KB, 480x640 - viewed 306 times.)

* bonnie.jpg (628.25 KB, 1224x1632 - viewed 436 times.)
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 06:43:13 pm by Steve302 » Logged
tronn4
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 06:51:10 pm »

Very nice second setup! Can you provide any more details on the audio upgrade? What kind of mixer and such.
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Underdog66
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 07:48:50 pm »

Nice setup!  Can you describe how you made the 2012 frame. Pics if you got em! Grin
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Steve302
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 08:51:39 pm »

Quote
Very nice second setup! Can you provide any more details on the audio upgrade? What kind of mixer and such.

Hi Tronn,

Thanks for your query. As mentioned I chose some Behringer B212D active speakers, they are each 550 watts. I went to a local DJ store and had the opportunity to listen and compare their range. There are certainly far better sounding speakers on the market but this does come at a premium I concluded that these would be outdoors rather than an accoustically designed room and I could cope with a slightly reduced sound quality. Practically they have a great sound when mounted on tripods and they look professional which I kind of like.

The mixer is again a Behringer UB1002FX, which is a 10 channel input. I am quite in awe of the overall power of the setup - I don't perceive that there would be any need to turn the volume up above 40% of maximum. There is no distortion and you can feel the sound waves in the air from where we sit about 25 feet from the screen. I am concious of not disturbing neighbours and the stands tend to allow the sound to travel with minimal impediment quite far ie. our nearest house is about 160 meters away ( a good 7 iron ) and I do check on the fence line which is about 80 mters away and it is clear as a bell, so I hope they like kids movies Cheesy In fact the sales person told me this setup would entertain a crowd of 200 so should be more than able to cover our turnouts.

Overall when buying the gear I avoided purchasing equipment that was going to be overly precious so the Behringer were great and at this time I have no regrets. I do enjoy using them immensely but would never discount buying more stuff in the future ( might need a bigger block though )

If you've got any suggestions I'm up for it.

Steve
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 08:53:19 pm by Steve302 » Logged
Steve302
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 09:38:56 pm »

Quote
Nice setup!  Can you describe how you made the 2012 frame. Pics if you got em!

After scouring the BYT site I was intent on buying EMT and reproducing some of the masterpieces I've observed here. I was able to source 25mm metal tubing but connectors were not available. Creative Shelter and Carls both post to Australia but this was going to cost over $250 in postage alone.

I was able to source aluminium extrusion that comes in a variety of diameters. A product here called Queblock was able to supply 6 meter lengths and the had connectors to fit. When I tried it with 6 foot lengths it seemed really solid so I placed an order with the manufacturer who delivered to me. http://www.capral.com.au/Qubelok-Extrusion and http://www.capral.com.au/Qubelok-Accessories.

The end product looks good from far but the connectors are the weak point and as such I've undertaken some reinforcing using the spare aluminium. It came powder coated black and this looks good against the edging of the Carl's screen. It is moved in between screenings as a whole ( weighs less than 15 kg ) and placed in a less visible spot. As such set up involves just attatching the screen and lifting it into position.

I am concious of the wind and as such it is put up late afternoon when it is more still, the legs are only 2 foot tall so it doesn't protrude above the garage to the left. I also have a star picket each side sunk to a depth of 600mm to give it support at the bottom.

Overall I like the aluminium, I have some concerns that it is under engineered but we live and learn and if anything unforseen happens to it I think a more perminent frame will be designed.
I'll get some more photo's next time I get it ll up and going if you want - let me know what you would like to see and I'll happily oblige?

Steve




* screen1.JPG (915.49 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 178 times.)
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satch
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 11:18:43 pm »

Steve

Welcomce to the club , you will find you always be looking to add to your new found passion ,am sure your 3 boys
are more popular with their new freinds, and you will have many more years to come and upgrade,it is a never ending passion.

Have you tried any concerts on your system yet?


Congratulations...

Satch


Satch
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Steve302
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 11:44:11 pm »

You are spot on about the desire to upgrade and improve. Clearly it is only the person who builds the BYT that detects that the sound quality is not quite what it could be or the screen has a couple of wrinkles in that top left corner.

I keep recalling the fact that I thought a bedsheet and computer speakers were in my mind cinematic quality 1 year ago and now the BYT has evolved substantially. If I'm entirely honest I want to keep the sense of wonderment I saw when I first setup a BYT. Where this leads is going to be interesting and I shall approach upgrades with a open mind.

As for concerts I'm big fan of Queen at Wembley Stadium, 1986. We had a New Years party and this was extremely well received. I'm always on the look out for a good concert (Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense is also a favourite)

We will be having a group out for New Years again this year so if you could make some suggestions that would be great.

Steve
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satch
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2012, 08:53:14 am »



Steve

I sent you a personal message with my Top 12 concerts ...



Satch
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Steve302
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2012, 04:38:39 pm »

Thanks Satch,

Quote
5)    Music For Montserrat
        Starring Featured  Eric Clapton, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Sting, Phil Collins, Mark Knopfler, Carl Perkins

        The lineup of talent speaks for itself

I am looking to increase my concert DVD collection and your recommendations are much appreciated. I think this may get the gong for new year eve.

Steve

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Steve302
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 05:14:33 pm »

Saturday marked the first day of Summer for us and proved another perfect evening for some BYT action. Generally before setting up I like to run the mower over the area where we sit - it tends to collect a few leaves during the week and looks much better when freshly mowed. We went into town in the mid afternoon for the local Christmas fair which is put on each year by the local council. Our boys loved the ride and were particularly taken by the lolly drop from a low flying plane as Santa went overhead.

Returning home I got things set up and as customary some music clips were played as the sun set prior to out feature film. These pictures were taken about 30 minutes before sunset, the weather on Saturday was very warm and we don't tend to get many creepy crawlies at night.

The second picture is taken near our fence line about 70 meters from the action. Its a small house with a big screen!! The boys don't tend to enjoy the music quite as much as my wife seen dancing on the deck.




* boo.JPG (642.34 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 181 times.)

* bonnie2.JPG (599.39 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 139 times.)

* b.JPG (840.46 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 188 times.)

* photo.JPG (92.47 KB, 640x480 - viewed 155 times.)
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Steve302
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2012, 05:28:48 pm »

Here is my tech rack. There is definitely room for improvement on this one, more like table stack than tech rack Smiley


* bonn3.JPG (714.9 KB, 1224x1632 - viewed 171 times.)
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Steve302
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2012, 08:34:30 pm »

We watched Ice Age 4 when the sun went down. Not a cloud in the sky, a full moon gave us a beautiful evening. I read with some jealousy members who are able to stay up and watch 3 or movies as I tend to fade by about 10.30pm before drifting off to bed.

Apologies for the picture quality, my family is not very understanding when it come to pausing for a photo.


* bon4.JPG (544.21 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 121 times.)

* bon9.JPG (601.54 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 104 times.)
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Steve302
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 06:37:07 pm »

Quote
Nice setup!  Can you describe how you made the 2012 frame. Pics if you got em! Grin

You can see from the back of the screen that I have utilised a screen spreader. Although the frame which is made aluminum is rigid this gives some central support and adds some structural strength. I felt this would work better than having a central brace in the frame which may protrude and give a noticable line that would be visible from the front. The attachment joins only came in 90 degree increments so I was limited to the shape of the rear supports unlike the EMT frames that I have seen on the site. As mentioned earlier the frame is basically tied down when in use to two star pickets either side and roped then from the top.


* bon1.JPG (561.39 KB, 1632x1224 - viewed 135 times.)
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pistolero56
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 07:54:39 pm »

cool setup. as far as the rack goes... we start with what we have right?! if your like myself, you will upgrade soon.
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The Rusty Trax Theater
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Steve302
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« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 09:43:58 pm »

In the spirit of clear and transparent disclsure I am airing the dirty linen for you all to see. I thought twice before posting ones that showed the tech rack aka table stack. Yes there will be some updates in the future and the more I read on this site the closer that future becomes.

Glad you liked the setup, it gives alot of enjoyment. Our seasons in full swing here but I imagine it's the opposite your end.

Steve
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