The latest trend in cinema? Forget about sticky floors and overcrowded theaters. Families can now watch movies in the backyard, no tickets required.
You’ll need a dvd player, screen, projector and sound system, but don’t worry – you won’t have to start from scratch. According to Mike Morper, owner of backyardtheaterinabox.com, your regular home dvd player works fine – you’ll just have to disconnect it and haul it outdoors. If you don’t want to sort through all those wires, a laptop with dvd player also works. As for the screen, he suggests using a white garage door or the side of a white house. If your house is too dark, hang a large white sheet from an awning and use that. For sound, a regular boom box works fine.
Your biggest and most important purchase? The projector. “This single piece of equipment will make or break the experience,” says Morper. “A projector that is not bright enough will mean you have to wait until it is completely dark outside. Projectors start in the $600 range and shoot up from there.” Yes, that’s a large investment, so check if your office has one you can borrow over the weekend. If you are purchasing one, check how the video connects to the projector; older projectors may not work with your dvd player. Some newer models include a built-in dvd player. Alternatively, sites like www.backyardtheaterinabox.com rent and sell complete packages.
There is one hazard to be aware of. “Please be very, very careful of speaker wires and extension cords on the ground at night,” warns Morper. “They are very hard to see and it is no fun when someone trips over one and takes down the projector, speakers or anything else connected to them.”
Now that you have your theater set up, plan a feast to complement your movie. Who needs stale popcorn and overpriced soda when you can slurp spaghetti and meatballs with Lady and the Tramp and lick icy homemade popsicles while watching Happy Feet.
With no worries about bathroom breaks and cell phones that ring during suspenseful moments, this is one theater you’ll want to return to again and again.