Having a movie night outdoors is easier than you might think. Today’s projectors aren’t like the ones you’ll find in the movie theatre. These days, you can hook up projectors to a phone, laptop or similar device of your choice.
With that in mind, here are a few simple steps to setting up a projector for your next movie night.
1. Check the Weather
Ideally, you want to host your movie night on an evening that’s clear with no inclement weather. Winter weather can be challenging to predict, so just do your best to keep an eye on the temperature throughout the week so you know if you need to reschedule your holiday movie night.
Additionally, analyze when the sun sets and plan your gathering accordingly. You might want people to show up right before the sun goes down. That way, they can grab a bite to eat and mingle a bit before you begin the show. After all, you’re trying to get through multiple movies in a night — that means you can’t waste any moonlight.
2. Gather Your Materials
You might find it easy to make your very own movie theatre screen at home. How you choose to supplement the holiday movie bash is up to you, but make sure you include these three essential items:
- Clothesline: If you make your screen, a hanging clothesline is a perfect foundation for your DIY theatre.
- White sheet: You might substitute this item with a blanket, but make sure it’s large enough for everyone invited to be able to see the screen. If you have a large crowd, you might consider renting a screen instead.
- Projector: You don’t need a bulky projector, just a small one compatible with whatever media form the movies are in. Find one that works great for your budget and your party.
Make sure to set your clothesline up far enough away from where people will be sitting, so they don’t have to strain their necks. Keep in mind whether people will be sitting on blankets or in chairs. Once you have the clothesline placed, you can drape the sheet or other white item over it. After you smooth it out, you’ve created a movie theatre screen that can be taken down and stored at a moment’s notice.
3. Test Your Projector
Before your guests arrive — or even the day before, if you’re nervous — test out your projector. Learn how it works and make sure you have any additional cords or tidbits you need to ensure the picture shows up on your screen. By preparing ahead of the event, you can squash the feelings of insecurity and anxiety. You’ll already know how the device works, so you won’t have to wrestle with it if something goes wrong.
You should test your projector on the movie screen that you have rented or made for the best results. When you see the picture on the screen, you’ll know whether you need to adjust something or if it’s as perfect as you intended.
4. Pick Out Movies
Since you’re planning to host the movie night outside, remember to limit your queue to family-friendly movies so they don’t bother anyone. Keep the volume at an adequate level, too. While these stipulations may limit the films you can watch, it just means that you — and potentially your guests — will have an easier time deciding what to watch. Knowing which movies to screen ahead of time can also help you test out your projector setup more accurately.
5. Plan Some Snacks
If you want to go even further with your outdoor activities, consider cooking a meal outside for your guests to partake in. Cooking outside requires more attention than simply making s’mores — as you may have to wait up to nearly an hour before the flame is ready to cook on. Furthermore, you shouldn’t just roast food over the fire, but rather put it in something to cook, just as you would over a stove. Your guests will appreciate snacks as they watch the movie from the projector you set up.
6. Set the Mood With Decor
Not every outdoor movie marathon has decorations, but if you want to bring your guests some holiday cheer, consider at least dressing your backyard up in some seasonal colours. The average household spends around $63 per year on holiday decor. Consider moving some of your outside decorations from the front yard to the backyard.
If you don’t have any holiday decorations, settle for finding blankets and pillows in the colour theme you picked out. You could even opt for a DIY balloon arch to set up somewhere near your screen or as your guests enter your backyard. Make sure that none of it gets in the way of the projector or any viewing spot.
7. Don’t Forget the Extras
You have to remember that your outdoor holiday movie night is taking place outside in the winter months, so you should prepare accordingly. If you don’t want people sitting on the ground, consider breaking out some folding chairs or even renting chairs for your guests. Nobody will be able to pay attention to the movie if they can’t keep warm.
Remember that blankets are essential, too. The later it gets, the colder it’ll be outside, and your guests will appreciate having something to cuddle up with. Additionally, space heaters can help keep people warm, but they’re best used when everyone is settled rather than moving around.
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