Check out this outside setup

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Glenise, Oct 7, 2002.

  1. Glenise

    Glenise Supporting Actor

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  2. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    wow, great idea! I dont think id ever get that good of a picture outside with my projector!

    what are the dimensions of the screen?
     
  3. Glenise

    Glenise Supporting Actor

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    I think the guy who built it says it's 24 feet wide.
    (I think).
     
  4. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    Mine is 20X10...guess next year..I gotta get bigger...size DOES matter!!!!!
     
  5. wally

    wally Second Unit

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    Wonderful Glenise,

    Would you fill us in on the details. Projector used, materials used to build screen, distance from projector to screen etc.

    What audio did you use outdoors?
     
  6. Glenise

    Glenise Supporting Actor

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    This is another user's work.
     
  7. Robert McClanahan

    Robert McClanahan Stunt Coordinator

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    Dont let the Disney thugs see those pictures.They will sue you for copyright infingement.Just kidding.[​IMG]
     
  8. JosephMoore

    JosephMoore Stunt Coordinator

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  9. JosephMoore

    JosephMoore Stunt Coordinator

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    For quite awhile I've been looking for a good excuse to have a movie party. My wife and I decided that the DVD release of Pixar's Monsters Inc. was a good opportunity.

    So about a month ago invitations went out. Now, all of our friends know what a A/V freak I am, and many of them had experienced our home theater so the bar was set quite high from the outset ... even if I hadn't bragged about a "giant" screen on the invitation.

    Over the next month I had two major projects: construct the screen, and transform our backyard into Monstropolis. (My wife was responsible for the food, goody bags and general hospitality.)

    My first test was to see just how big I could project from my Studio Experience 12SF. I honestly didn't have big expectations -- I had made an attempt a few years ago with an early SharpVision LCD projector which couldn't really focus at a size big enough to be impressive. I dragged the PJ and my PowerBook into the backyard and flipped the switch. I was hoping to get maybe 12 feet wide but my first attempt yielded over 30 feet wide, in perfect focus! Even though I was only projecting onto my brown fence and the treeline beyond, the picture was still bright enough to be recognizable! (I got the image to over 50' wide before I ran out of fence.) So, it turns out my limiting factor wasn't the 12SF, but how big I could reasonably construct a screen. Because I wanted to rely on my existing fence to support the structure, and was a bit worried about wind toppling it, I decided that 14' high 2"x4"s would be the tallest I could safely go (nobody likes it when your screen topples over and smooshes their kids.) The screen had to be up off the ground a bit, so 12' high became my final height. Because most types of panel materials come as 4'x8' sheets, my final width was 24'.

    Now, I had to pick a material for the screen. My ideal choice would have been melamine ... the stuff countertops are laminated with. It is very thin and light, quite rigid, and slightly rough so as to avoid hotspots. Unfortunately, it was also $30-40 a sheet and I didn't want to spend $360 just on the screen surface. I also didn't want to deal with sewing, and pulling taught cloth (a seamstress I'm not) so I ended up using nine sheets of standard shower-board, which is masonite with a glossy white coating (think "dry erase board.") It is heavier than I would have preferred, but a few screws and quick coat of Kilz primer (to cut out the glare) and I'd be done.

    The actual construction was very simple. I screwed the supporting 2"x4"s into the existing fence's supporting 4"x4"s. I screwed on the bottom two rows of shower-board ahead of time, and the morning of the party (important, I'll tell you why later) I put up the top row, taped the seams and rolled on a coat of Kilz. Total construction time was under 3 hours.

    The day of the party was also the first time I drug my speakers and a receiver out onto the lawn and could test what kind of volume I'd be able to get. I didn't want to go through the hassle of unhooking either of my house's two systems because their components are installed in a closet and an attic respectively, so I scrounged an older Yamaha receiver I use in my office. It only offers Dolby Surround (not digital 5.1) but it has a great DSP for recreating distinct channels, and it offered a full 100 watts to all channels in one package. I didn't think that in an outdoor environment anyone would really miss the true 5.1 surround, and I was right. I did unhook my set of THX certified Klipsch speaker from my main HT and set everything up in the backyard. Once again, I was once again happily surprised to find that the volume level was more than acceptable ... in fact about half way up the dial was neighbor annoying loud! My only guess why is that the fence around my yard contained the sound, otherwise 500 watts just shouldn't have been enough. Go figure. The audio portion took about 2 hours, including tidying up the cables.

    In prior weeks I had made a scavenger hunt, movie tickets, popcorn bags and designed and cut-out about 10 monsters from the movie (I used the PJ to project my drawings onto 4'x8' masonite boards.) I needed the day before the party to paint them, but as luck would have it, the effects of hurricane Lily were due to hit Nashville that very day. You should have seen me trying to crowd them all into my basement with my three year old daughter "helping" me paint. What should have been a half day job took two full days! But the storm blew through quickly and the night before the party we were able to string Christmas lights around the yard. The day of the party I erected the Monsters in key locations (including the door to "Boo's" room, complete with a working red light.) My wife filled the popcorn bags, made "Mike" cookies (round green cookies with one eye each) and a "Sulley" cake as well as a bunch of adult food and beverages. All that was left was to set up the tables and chairs, flip on the lights, turn on a bubble machine, play the movie soundtrack for ambience and wait for the guests.

    In the end about 20 kids and 40 or so adults showed up. The party was a huge success ... everyone was completely blown away. It was a tremendous amount of work over a month, but it was worth it to see everyone glued to the movie for an hour and a half. I swear no one blinked. It will probably be another year until we go all out with another "theme" party, but we'll be doing outdoor screenings as long as weather permits (BYOB this time!) "Beatuty and the Beast," "So I Married an Axe Murderer" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas" are on the marquee for the rest of October.

    BTW, I really hate having to navigate DVD menus. Couple this with the fact that the two shorts and the outtakes included with Monsters Inc. are on a separate disc, and I decided to rip everything onto my hard-drive and assemble it into one movie file. The result was a perfectly smooth presentation of trailers, shorts and then the feature, just like at the movies.
     
  10. Felipe S

    Felipe S Stunt Coordinator

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  11. Geno

    Geno Supporting Actor

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    What a great thing to do for the kids [​IMG]
     
  12. Steve Adams

    Steve Adams Second Unit

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    when I get the projector, im doing this for the kids in the neighborhood....that is sooooooooooooooooo cool!
     
  13. phil hinton

    phil hinton Agent

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    Looks very nice indeed.
     
  14. Todd_B

    Todd_B Second Unit

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    Joseph is my new hero [​IMG]
    Great job [​IMG]
    Todd B
     
  15. David Broome

    David Broome Stunt Coordinator

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    There is nothing more fun than an outdoor movie party. I had one a month ago for some old college pals, and then a HUGE one with people from church (60+ people) the next weekend. My screen isn't as fancy (drop cloth over PVC), but it works great and evryone always has fun.

    We watched The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and then Shackiest Gun in the West...
     
  16. KurtFa

    KurtFa Auditioning

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    What's a good projector for outside use would a panasonic be up to the job of say a 20ft screen?
     
  17. David Broome

    David Broome Stunt Coordinator

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    I have used a Panasonic 711XU on mine to a 20+ft screen. I can't speak for the newer Panasonic's though...
     

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