Summers are filled with adventure. From exploring a hiking trail to backyard BBQs, summer schedules are usually packed with stuff to do. But there is a time and place for everything, and evenings are the time to chill out, unwind with friends, family, or just by yourself.
Having an outdoor cinema night is simple to put together, and a fun, entertaining way to relax. Between the innovative technology in projections, it’s easy to be mesmerized for hours watching your favorite movies while relaxing in the breeze of a cool summer’s evening.
Most people love movies and adore the comfort of summer nights. Why not combine the two for an awesome outdoor movie party? With the rise in demand for this activity, more products are showing up at affordable prices that make it convenient and easy to enjoy a home movie night, right in your backyard.
You don’t need much to get this party started. However, it’s worth noting what separates the best projectors for a backyard movie night will be whether your projector is a smart device or not. This allows you to stream your movies and shows with a simple Wi-Fi connection. Cheaper is not always better. If your projector does not have smart features, you will need to run HDMI cables from a data source. A low-cost projector is fine if it’s a one- or two-time event, let’s say for a larger family reunion weekend party as an example. But if you plan to use your projector often enough, you’re going to want it to be extremely convenient to setup and have better specs. Look for a smart projector. Remember, you can use a projector in other places besides your backyard.
- A projector or projector bundle
- A projector screen
- Mount hooks to hold the screen (usually included with projector screens)
- Home theater or Bluetooth speakers – Most projectors have built in speakers like your tv, but just like your television, external speakers are always better
- Laptop or device as a data source if your projector does not have smart features for streaming
What to look for in a projector
Like any type of products, there’s going to be a range of qualities that distinguish one brand from the next. If your shopping brands like LG or Hisense, you’re going to get a great product no matter what. But it’s still good to know some things to be considering when buying a projector.
- Full HD – You’re going to at minimum want fill High-Definition or you’re going to be enjoying a cropped movie. Feel free to explore into an Ultra High-Definition projector that you can use in your home and outdoors. These are so good that they can replace your actual television and are amazing for gaming too.
- Throw – This is the measurement of distance between the projector and the screen. This makes a big difference in the size of picture and power necessary for a sharp image. Needing a short or long throw will also depend on the size of your room or backyard.
- Lumens – Brightness is a key factor when choosing the right projector. Most good projectors will be measured in ANSI lumens which is a better measurement for brightness. Even though you’re outside in the dark, you will still want a bright display, especially if you plan on using it inside as well. For a secondary projector that you don’t want to invest a lot into a 600 lumens brightness will get the job done well, even indoors. The projectors start getting much better at 1000 Lumens, and for Ultra High-Definition models you can see them go to even 5000 lumens and above, which is brilliantly bright and better than many new televisions.
- Other factors such as power supply, battery life, and controls may be things to consider as well.
Movie night ideas at home
It’s not hard to have a movie night at home. Its about the comfort and the movie, so all you need is a place to sit and some food and drinks. There are also some fun ideas you can do if you are having a party or really into movies.
Adding a theme to the party can add extra pizzaz to the vibe, especially for kids. You also want to make sure you support your movie night with the right snacks and drinks. Know your guests and cater to them. You can also be creative, since it’s summer, why not serve things like homemade ice cream. With an ice cream maker, it’s very easy to make for just two people or a larger group. Your kids and their friends will love it. For a more sophisticated group, you may want cheese, crackers, and wine. Most outdoor movie nights will require popcorn.
- Top off a weekend BBQ with a movie night. Between the food, drinks, friends, and music speakers, you already have everything you need to chill out in your backyard.
- Not for a movie, but for sports. Invite your friends over to watch the big game. You won’t need much to make this special, most likely just beer and chips. If you want to show team spirit, you can decorate the area or serve sports inspired themed snacks.
- Have your favorite trilogy or series of movies that you and your friends obsess about? Make an event out of it. It can be a marathon, or something you want to do for a couple weekends in a row. Whether you divide it up into multiple sessions or if it’s just a one-time thing, layer on a trivia game to the movie afterwards, or have a discussion panel about the movie.
- For the more educationally entertained groups, do a documentary showing and discussion. There are thousands of compelling topics that you can have a documentary movie night with your friends, with snacks and wine of course.
- Make a romantic date night with a candle lit dinner, wine, music, dancing, and a movie. Decorate the area for a romantic aesthetic. Do use lots of pillows and blankets, especially if you’re creating a place to relax on the grass or patio. If you have a hammock or outdoor love seat, those would be the most intimate place to watch a movie with someone you love.
- I discovered outdoor movie night when I was on vacation in Florida about 20 years ago. They hotel had a projector by the pool. Me and my friends hung out on inflatable floating recliners with some drinks, BBQ, and just watched movies one night. I’ll never forget it. So, if you have a pool, have a pool party with a movie! It’s one of the most fun and relaxing times I had while watching a movie.
- People watch movies all the time by themselves. You don’t need any special reason to enjoy a movie night in your own backyard. If you like being outside and enjoy movies, do it for yourself.
- Outdoor movie Comic-Con or renaissance fair. This can be for kids or adults. Dress up in fun outfits to watch your favorite superheroes or renaissance movies.
You know your kids better than anyone. What they like, what they don’t. No one can tell you what your kids will enjoy most, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Decorate your backyard with your kids favorite Disney theme and play their favorite movies. It doesn’t cost much to use your imagination and kids have huge imaginations. Sometimes you can just rearrange some household or backyard items to build a fort or castle. If you have a garden or lots of flowers, you can really set the scene for a Disney princess movie.
- Create a Drive-In movie theater with arts and crafts. This imaginative idea is a great activity for kids. All you need is a bunch of empty cardboard boxes to get started (cheap moving boxes work great). Have the kids decorate and craft them into cars for the drive-in. Easy and fun.
- An outdoor movie is a great activity to layer onto any birthday party. From a carnival style party to pirate themed mayhem, it’s an easy way to add to any theme, and a great way to get kids to settle down when necessary.
- Backyard camping is excellent for educating your kids about nature and camping while still appreciating the benefits of living with modern technology. Plus, it’s just fun.
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