How to Choose Your Screen Size

When you find yourself craving a movie on the big screen, stay home from the cinema and set one up in your yard instead. With a straightforward setup process and minimal supplies, you and a group of friends can enjoy your very outdoor theater viewing experience.

Even if you need to accommodate more people, your own setup can still work. Why waste beautifully warm evenings inside watching a movie when you could take advantage of the weather and do this outside? Grab some blankets and popcorn, follow some basic guidelines, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your favorite movie right in the comfort of your yard.

If you’re looking for simple options for family viewing our guide to backyard screens will help you choose a lot easier.

Depending on the number of viewers and size space you’re working with, there will be different screen requirements.

Let’s cover some setup basics first, then get to which screen size you’ll need for your outdoor movie theater.

Basic Setup Guidelines:

  • Pick your Space: A film is impossible with a power source, so first choose an area that has outlet access. Make sure you are designing the setup space while taking lighting into account, too, including passing headlights from cars, street lights, and your neighbor’s porch light. Obviously, for larger screens, you will need more space.
  • What you’ll Need: An outdoor theater involves connecting a video signal from a DVD player to a projector, and hooking up the accompanying audio signal from the player to your speakers. It’s possible to use surround sound (which you might want, depending on your viewing audience), but in most cases, typical computer speakers will work fine and are easier to set up.

Your Outdoor Screen Size Guide:

Although adjusting your projection size can be as easy as bringing the projector closer to the screen, or farther from it, having the right size screen is a must. For a small home viewing party with your closest friends, buying a much bigger screen is unnecessary (but can still be done if you prefer that).

For larger groups or viewings related to an outdoor movie business, however, bigger may be better. Let’s look at the difference sizes available and how many viewers they’re suited for.

  • 10 Feet by 5.6 Feet: This size is suited for 50 viewers or less.
  • 16 Feet by 9 Feet: If you want to have 100 viewers, go with a screen this size.
  • 20 Feet by 11.25 Feet: This is necessary for 200 viewers or less.
  • 24 Feet by 13.5 Feet: If you are planning for 400 viewers or less, go with a screen this size.
  • 30 Feet by 17 Feet: If you need to accommodate 800 viewers or less, use a screen this size.

As you can see, unless you’re running your own drive-in movie business, a smaller-sized screen should be more than enough. Also, keep in mind that only moving the projector might be all you need for a bigger or smaller picture.

To get the crispest possible viewing experience, however, using the right size screen is recommended. Now you should be ready to go, so have fun with your outdoor theater!

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