Outdoor Movie Night

Shane Cooper

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Now that it’s summer, there’s usually not much on television. While some networks have tried to change their summer programming, many of us still tend to look to other avenues of entertainment. Movie rentals flourish during the warm season and gives us the opportunity to catch up on the movies we missed during the school year and winter activities of academia. Large movie venues offer us the first run summer block-busters we all crave and for variety, a number of drive-ins around the country have started to make a come-back. However, what other options do we have?

Outdoor movie nights in your own backyard can be a way to watch a great movie while enjoying the great outdoors. The best part is, it’s close to home. Sort of like a drive in at home without wasting gas, wading through crowds and lines which is the attraction of movie rentals. So, how do you go about making your backyard your own private movie house? Well, you have a couple of options to consider. Here are a few ideas to turn your back-yard into your own place to view that favorite movie or just released DVD.

Option/Idea One: Simply take an extra T. V. and move it to the backyard in a suitable location for sitting or laying on a blanket. Now that summer days are longer and the ability to watch the movie is better as it gets darker, you should have plenty of time to get setup and moving one of the TV’s you may have is a first option. If you have a small portable DVD player or an old VHS player, this will of course have to go out with the T. V.

If you have a set of speakers to go along with the T. V. that will make the experience even better. However, remember that not all of your neighbors may agree, so make sure the audio portion is appropriate. Think, this isn’t about how loud you can make it or if the THX is going to blow the windows out, the goal of getting outside is for a change of pace and venue without loading the kids into the mini-van.

Option/Idea Two: If like most who have a computer, you can simply relocate a computer that plays DVDs. With the proliferation of flat-screen monitors they tend to be light and easy to move, so it’s pretty easy to relocate a system to a table or stand out-of-doors. A good solid table or stand are probably the main considerations so as to limit the exposure of your pricey computer system to the elements. Plus, you’re probably not going to want that expensive system hitting the dirt during the movie.

For those that have a laptop, consider simply locating the laptop and a decent viewable screen to the desired place in the backyard as laptops are portable and offer much more flexibility. Flat screen or standard T. V. may work depending on your laptops monitor output capabilities. Most modern laptops offer several options to put the screen on T. V. ’s for photo viewing and that can be extended to allow DVD player software to be viewed as well.

Option/Idea Three: for those fortunate enough to have access to an overhead projector, this may be the ultimate option. Using a laptop or portable DVD player, connect it to the projector system on a table and prepare a surface for projecting the image. The best and quickest way to get the movie projected is to either shoot it onto the side of the house or strategically place a large white sheet in an appropriate place.

For a screen, here’s where you can get creative. A white or light surface is the desired area for any projection. Using a white sheet gives you limitless options. Throw a rope between two trees and drape the sheet or if your house is of a darker color, tape or secure the white sheet to the side of the house. A number of possibilities are available, so put on your thinking cap to get a good place to view your movie and project it from the over-head system.

These are just a few ideas for you to take movie watching to a new place and to change the pace a little. An outdoor venue is perfect for offering different viewing ability. Blankets and grass are a favorite, if you have outdoor furniture and lounges, everyone will clamor for those. Even an outdoor swing can become the perfect sitting spot for enjoying a movie. Comfort is the key.

If it’s just you and your spouse, a nice romantic comedy can be viewed using any of the above options. Sometimes simply sitting on an outdoor swing watching the movie from a laptop on a table can be just as much fun and again offers a change of pace.

Add popcorn and other snacks and the night is complete. The best part is, once the movie is over, simply pack up your stuff and head home through the back door. What could be more convenient and easy?

Outdoor movie night can add excitement and make the ordinary a little more extra-ordinary. Kids love being outside and an outdoor movie could top off any movie night as well as make it special.

Shane Cooper runs theBackYard Retreat and offers advice in theBackyard Blog on the site. He and his wife have 20 plus years advice on successfully preparing a great backyard environment.


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