Everything You Need for a Backyard Movie Screening Party

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One of my favorite things about the warmer weather in Southern California is being able to enjoy movies outdoors. Fortunately in LA, there are a lot of outdoor screenings in public parks, museums, and unusual settings like Hollywood Forever Cemetery. But if you're more about entertaining at home, and have the space, there are a plentitude of options for creating an outdoor movie screening setup...


Outdoor Projection Screen: The Open Air Pro Screen is a freestanding projection screen that is one of the more easily manageable options. The frame unzips and inflates so that you can manage the setup with one person. The white projection surface is 16 x 9 feet, plenty large for most backyard screenings. 

Another recommended screen designed specifically for outdoor screenings is the Yard Master Series by Elite (above), an affordable option which ranges in 100", 120", and 150" 16x9 sizes, double-sided, and packs away in its own carrying case.

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Epson MegaPlex MG-50 Easy Home Theater 3LCD Projector: This is one of my favorite choices for a home theater projector because the model has built-in speakers and can connect to an iPhone or tablet. Since a lot of people have movie files on these portable devices, it’s pretty handy to have that functionality. Just note the 2200 lumens brightness is just about where you want to start when looking for an outdoor projector.

Panasonic PT-AR100U Projector isn't cheap, but it also pumps out a full 1080p at 1920x1080 resolution, with a rated 50000:1 contrast, and most importantly for outdoors a very bright 2800 lumens.

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Sonos Sub: If you only want one speaker but a really good one for handling the bass, the Sonos Sub is one to look into. It features solid deep bass sound reproduction, wireless, and requires an easy one button setup. You can control the system using portable devices including your iPhone or Android, iPad or Sonos Control. Just note, you'll need this sub to be paired with a Sonos player, otherwise a system like the Sonos Play:3 can wirelessly fill-in for movie audio duties when paired with the PLAYBAR.

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Popcorn Maker: You’ve got to make some popcorn for your guests, right? And this Cuisinart popcorn maker can pop 10 cups at a time, with built-in ventilation and a bowl cover. Cleanup should be easy too with the removable nonstick cooking plate. 

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Outdoor Seating: In terms of seating, it’s probably easiest to mix and match between a great lounge sofa and some individual chairs. I’d choose West Elm’s Tillary Outdoor sofa and pair it with a couple of bright Marais A Side Chairs

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Additional helpful tips about setting up an outdoor home theater over at ProjectorPeople's Outdoor Movie Theater Projector Guide, with several projector model and screen recommendations to get you started. And check out BackyardTheater.com for the real world inspiration of what people have already created outdoors.


(Images: Elite, products as credited and linked above, Julienne Lin)

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