How to host the ultimate backyard movie night at home

·Shopping Editor
·3 min read

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Friends making movie night at back yard
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We’re just about at the midway point through summer, and after months at home many families are looking for new ways to stay entertained this season.

Without the usual distractions of amusement parks, malls, or movie theatres, it can be tough to find things to do at home that will keep the whole family happy. While you can’t exactly bring the experience of a shopping mall or a thrill ride home, you can certainly recreate a movie night for the family, both indoors and outdoors.

A backyard movie night is a great way to take advantage of the warmer weather, while also taking a break from the couch. Curious about how to put together your own outdoor movie night? It starts with just a few simple steps.

Projectors are your friend

Since it’s not practical to drag a television outside, investing in a projector is the easiest way to set up a movie night outdoors. According to the experts at Dolby, if you’re thinking about buying a projector, you’ll want to check out its lumen output – also known as how much light it will produce and display against a surface.

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As a general rule, the darker the viewing conditions, the less lumens needed. However, if you plan to use the projector before sunset or live in an area with a lot of outdoor lighting, you’ll want to increase the lumen count.

Screen set-up

White sheet ready for a movie night outdoors with food and chairs
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Once you have your projector in place, the next thing you’ll need to consider is a screen to aim it towards. A white surface works best, since light from the projector will be reflected back for the best viewing experience.

If you’re lucky enough to have a white surface on the outside of your home, like a garage door or a blank wall, you can use that as your outdoor screen. If not, an inexpensive alternative to pricey outdoor movie screens is a simple white sheet hung up outside will also do the trick.

Lights, camera, action

Lighting is an important feature to consider when it comes to an outdoor movie night, since too much light can detract from your picture quality. Be sure to turn off all lights inside and outside the house to avoid any potential glare, and to make sure that any motion-detecting sensors have been deactivated.

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To ensure that you also get the best sound outdoors, you can consider setting up a sound bar in addition to your projector’s built-in speakers for cinema-quality audio. Just be sure to keep the volume to a polite noise to avoid disturbing your neighbours, and to centre it beneath your screen for the best viewing experience.

Finishes touches

couple sitting in camp-chairs in city park looking movie outdoors at open air cinema lifestyle
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To complete the movie theatre atmosphere, don’t forget the snacks! Pop some popcorn, gather your favourite chips or candy, and let the whole family enjoy the evening. For an extra-special touch, kids can even build their own backyard concession stand filled with treats that they can “sell” before the movie starts.

Keep blankets, pillows and chairs on hand for warmth and comfort, and you’ve got yourself a cozy outdoor spot to enjoy throughout the night.

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