A projector in your backyard is the perfect way to simulate a drive-in theater without ever having to leave your home. It makes a refreshing change from watching movies in your living room. As the weather continues to improve, it is the perfect way to spend an evening in.
There is not a one size fits all answer to this question. The type of projector that you need depends on several factors. These include when you are planning to use your outdoor projector (i.e. the sunlight levels), and the size of the screen you are projecting the movie onto.
The power of the projector is measured in lumens. This is a measure of the light that is emitted by the light bulb contained within the projector. The higher the lumen rating, the more light is emitted.
A projector for outdoor movies needs to have a rating of at least 3,000 lumens. This is the minimum requirement. For a good viewing experience in indirect sunlight, you should look for a lumen rating of 4,000 or more. If your screen and projector are located under a lot of shade or are to be used at night, the lumen rating can cope with being a lot lower.
A smaller screen will require a lower lumen rating than a large one. As a good rule of thumb, a screen that is 16 foot by 9 foot will need a projector with at least a 3,000-lumen rating. Ideally though, for daytime use, the projector will have a 4,500-lumen rating. If your screen is 20 feet by 11 feet, you will need a minimum of 4,500 lumens.
You will also need a projector that has integrated technology and good picture quality. The resolution of your image should be as high as possible to ensure a clear picture is projected. This makes a huge difference to your viewing experience.
Can you use a projector outside?
You can use a projector outside during both the day and nighttime. If you wish to use it during the day then you will need to purchase a very bright projector. Outdoor projectors are most commonly used at night when there is much less atmospheric light. This makes the picture much easier to see, particularly if the screen is not very shaded.
It is a good idea to place your projector in a shaded location to give you the best viewing experience. This will make the picture easier to see if you do not have the patience to wait for the world to get dark.
You will need to be able to reach a power source for your projector to work outside. This can be an outdoor power outlet if you have these in your home. If you do not, running a long extension cord is an easy way to get electricity outdoors.
You should not store your projector outdoors, even if it is one that you use in your backyard. They are not designed to be able to withstand the elements such as extreme wind and rain. Excessive temperatures or temperature fluctuations will also cause damage to your projector. This means that when the projector is not in use, you should store it inside where it is protected.
How do I get my projector to work outside?
An easy way to help your projector function more efficiently outdoors is to create some kind of shaded structure. It can be as simple as popping up a gazebo or marquee to create your own outdoor theater. Alternatively, you can use an awning like the ones you would see at a tailgate.
As well as this, you will need some kind of stand for your projector. It will need to be situated around 5 to 20 feet from the screen that you are projecting onto. You should check the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the specific distance for your model of projector.
In the evening particularly, you may notice bugs and insects congregating close to your projector and the beams of light that it is emitting. This is because they are attracted to the light and will draw closer to the lens of your projector. If they get onto the lens then their bodies will block the stream of light, meaning that they massively obstruct your view of the movie. For this reason, we advise keeping a bottle of bug spray to hand to quickly get rid of this nuisance. If you are not a big fan of bug repellent sprays, consider lighting a citronella candle. Bugs are naturally repelled by this scent and it requires no effort on your behalf.
What can I use for an outdoor projector screen?
There are many inexpensive ways to create a screen for your outdoor projector. If you have a large fence in your backyard, you can simply paint it to create a blank canvas for the projection. This is very cheap and easy to do, all you need is space and exterior paint. This method would also work if you have an empty exposed wall on the back of your house. Try and use a wall or surface that is as flat as possible to prevent weird shadows and distortions of your projected image.
You can purchase a lot of outdoor fabrics, such as Tyvek, which make excellent projector screens. They are hardy, waterproof, and durable. They will not break the bank to purchase and can be easily erected and dismantled as you need them. All you would need to do is find somewhere to hang it or drape it to form a solid screen. It is often a good idea to purchase a material that is a lightly tinted color rather than crisp white. This will allow you to appreciate the image colors more fully.
In a similar vein, bedsheets also tend to work quite well. Everyone has spare bedsheets in their home, meaning that you do not need to buy anything.