Projector Blog: Backyard outdoor projection for a movie night and sport
Projecting outdoors is a great way to get the whole family together to watch a movie on the big screens. Increasingly popular for watching finals and big sporting events or just movies with kids while toasting some marshmallows. Backyard movies can range in scale from a small gathering to the whole extended family. There are some things to consider to get the best out of your outdoor experience.
No projector can compete with the Sun so it is best to wait for sunset. Ideally it would be fairly dark before throwing on a movie but if you get a fairly powerful projector 4000 plus lumens they can handle a bit of light that is still hanging about at dusk. The brighter the projector the more light it will be able to cope with ideally 5000 lumens and above when dealing with a large image size.
Throw distance can be a consideration while most people will have it as a temporary installation and can be moved some people prefer it to be projecting from a fixed position. Most projectors will need a certain distance to achieve a given image size commonly between 3-4metres; best to measure everything up. When shooting long distances for instance across a pool it would push you up into the large venue models with a long throw lens costing around the $7k mark.
Media Player / Input
Most projectors require some sort of player to play the disc or movie file you would like to show. The best way to connect these is a HDMI cable. This can be done with a Blu-ray player, Laptop, iPad/tablet or even some modern phones. For streaming Netflix, Stan, Disney, Kayo etc we find a laptop iPad or smart Blu-ray player is the easiest way to connect (with a HDMI cable).
For wireless connectivity we would recommend a third party device like a Chrome Cast or Apple TV to plug into the projector. You might have to add on an audio extractor to get the audio to a speaker.
Most projectors offer a speaker but they will range from a basic 2watt speaker to a 10watt which can do the job in a small enclosed environment but outdoors we would recommend something more powerful. Most people add on a party speaker or sound bar to get a bit more volume. Sony and JBL both have some good party speakers that are portable and easy to connect.
The sound would usually connect to the source whether it is a laptop iPad etc.
Weather / Bugs
Projectors need quite a bit of air flow for cooling so are not water proof. We would recommend keeping it under cover or easily packed away if it starts to rain.
They are also not insect proof so after use it would be best to keep them indoors. A wasp nest or creepy crawlies can do a lot of damage to any electronics.
There is a wide variety of portable screens that can be easily erected. If there is a white wall available that can do quite a good job as well but dark walls or brick work would absorb the image so it would appear dark. Elite screens has some fast fold screens that can be erected in a yard that also feature tie down ropes so can withstand a breeze. Of course with a big wind it would act like a sail so best to have a look at the forecast.