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post #1 of 282 Old 03-22-2006, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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With thoughts of spring entering my mind (not that it feels like Spring yet here in Chicago), I thought I would resurrect the following thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...utdoor+theater

Anyone preparing for their outdoor screenings yet?

My wife and I are talking about it--and we have started planning for it.

Don't know if it will be warm enough in May around here, but June I believe we have slated "Finding Nemo"--in honor of Father's day (after I get back from the World Cup in Germany)--and we have tentative plans to show a "game of the day" in the backyard for all of my soccer-obsessed friends (don't laugh, there are actually a large pocket of them around where I live...)

Of the pixars, we haven't shown Monster's Inc, yet, so we'll probably try to throw that one in there as well. (By the way, the trailer to Cars it out now--it looks pretty darn good, and my four year old made me play it about a dozen times on our computer last week...)

Any other ideas for movies for this summer? We got into Madagascar this winter a bit--it's a very funny movie, even if it drags slightly in the middle.

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post #2 of 282 Old 03-22-2006, 09:52 AM
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Hey Steve.

"Curse of the Were Rabbit". We're having a fundraiser at the elementary school school this weekend, but it's going to be cold. It's for two kids. One has a rare cancer and the other was injured in a school bus accident and was in a coma for a while. One school bus rear ended the other, he was in the back one. My son was in the bus up front, but was ok.

I think my first one will be towards the end of April or beginning of May. The time is right down here about then where the son still goes down reasonably early and its warm enough. During the summer, it's still light out past 9:00 PM, so its real late for the little ones when the movie is over.

Our kids enjoy the other short Wallace and Grommit movies as well. Chicken little just came out and Narnia will be out next month.

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post #3 of 282 Old 03-23-2006, 05:57 AM
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We're starting to think about the films we'll run this year. I like to try to stay away from the things that little kids have seen a gazillion times (Nemo, etc) as then they start to act like they are at home instead of out in public.

I also like to plan one or two nights that are not necessarily just for little kids. On those nights, maybe a couple of cartoons or shorts, and then an intermission to let parents get their kids home and then something a little more adult.

Still thinking about it, we'll see how it goes.

We had a great time last year, looking forward to it again this year!

Tom

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post #4 of 282 Old 04-03-2006, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

We're starting to think about the films we'll run this year. I like to try to stay away from the things that little kids have seen a gazillion times (Nemo, etc) as then they start to act like they are at home instead of out in public.

I also like to plan one or two nights that are not necessarily just for little kids. On those nights, maybe a couple of cartoons or shorts, and then an intermission to let parents get their kids home and then something a little more adult.

Still thinking about it, we'll see how it goes.

We had a great time last year, looking forward to it again this year!

Tom

Not a bad idea. I love showing the movies for the kids, but wouldn't mind something a little more adult. We showed a double feature last year of Toy Story followed by Raiders of the Lost Ark, and while most stayed for Toy Story, the place noticeably cleared out for Raiders. By the end, we had only about 6 people left for the credits. Of course, a double feature in the summer time means the movie isn't over until about 11:30pm--frankly, is just a little bit too late, methinks.

I think if I did a short movie first, followed by an intermission and something more adult, I wouldn't get anyone back for the follow-up movie.

As it is, our neighborhood is just absolutely chock full of 2-8 year olds. It will probably be kids movies for a hile, unfortunately.

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post #5 of 282 Old 04-03-2006, 02:22 PM
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The start of our outdoor season begins the first weekend in May with King Kong. So far the response has been very favorable and I could see us having about 100 people there.

Roger
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post #6 of 282 Old 04-03-2006, 03:37 PM
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King Kong? Start that movie early 'cause it'll be 10-11pm by the time its over.

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post #7 of 282 Old 04-03-2006, 07:32 PM
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we're starting it at 8, that'll put it over at just past 11. that's when most of our summer movies end, since we have to start most of them at 9 later in the summer.

Roger
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post #8 of 282 Old 04-04-2006, 06:38 AM
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Glad to see more people doing the outdoor thing!

You can check out my setup at

http://members.cavtel.net/thomaslogan

click on "outdoor theater"


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post #9 of 282 Old 04-04-2006, 07:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victor-eyd View Post

King Kong? Start that movie early 'cause it'll be 10-11pm by the time its over.

Victor

True, but I wouldn't start it too early, because that flick is definitely not for young kids' eyes.

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post #10 of 282 Old 04-04-2006, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Markito View Post

True, but I wouldn't start it too early, because that flick is definitely not for young kids' eyes.

Well, nothing scary happens in the first hour anyway. It isn't until hours 5-6 that the movie really gets scary.

I kid! Seriously the first 5 hours of the movie should be fine for young eyes.



I am reconfiguring my set up this year, and was thinking about buying unprimed painters canvas at 84" x 6yds for the screen material (12oz) from Dick Blicks. Anyone use this for a movie screen?

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post #11 of 282 Old 04-04-2006, 09:45 AM
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I use a painters drop cloth for my screen. if you look in my signature you'll see a link to my outdoor theater, as well as a page on the creation of the screen.

We've put on the invites that due to the run time and frightening images, no small kids. If they bring them anyway they will have to deal with the aftermath of the nightmares and judgements placed upon them as bad parents!

Roger
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post #12 of 282 Old 04-04-2006, 11:46 AM
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Well, in case anyone is interested, I have finally posted photos from my big outdoor bash last November! It only took me 5 months to get around to it.

They are in the original thread (scroll to the bottom):

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...utdoor+theater

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post #13 of 282 Old 04-05-2006, 08:21 PM
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In Phoenix we never stopped doing the outdoor movies.

Christmas Eve we did Polar Express
In January we did Sky High
February we did National Treasure
March we showed Goblet of Fire
Later this month we are showing Spider-Man and The Longest Yard (two different nights)
We have one scheduled for May (movie is still being debated)
June we are taking the whole show up to the mountains to a ranch for a Friday night flick under the ponderosa pines.

You can check out my screen and equipment at Cheftom
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post #14 of 282 Old 04-07-2006, 05:04 PM
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I use a 6x8' gessoed canvas for my screen and like it a lot. It's about a year old now and starting to show some wrinkles and sags (I keep it rolled on a piece of 4-inch PVC drain pipe), but the gesso gives a bright image - it's pigmented with titanium oxide, which has a reflectance of something like .99999. The canvas stays pretty flat and it can be ironed to get out the bad wrinkles.

We had a good season last year and are hoping to start up again at the end of April. Here's the tentative lineup:

Apr 28: Howl's Moving Castle
May 26-27: The Wizard of Oz
June 17: March of the Penguins
July 21-22: Johnny Bagpipes / Help!
Aug 25-26: Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

We show these for friends and neighbors on the driveway, with the screen hung in front of the double garage door.

We also do some films that aren't so kid friendly (e.g. "Dr. Strangelove") out back, on the patio. Here are some possibilities for the Patio Theater art film series:

Parineeta (Hindi)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Shall We Dance? (original Japanese version)
The Triplets of Belleville

I wish there were more months in the summer, or that I had more time to do this. Five films just doesn't seem like enough!

There's a web site dedicated to the addictive hobby of digital outdoor theater at http://backyardtheater.com. Check it out, if you're doing this or thinking about it.


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post #15 of 282 Old 04-08-2006, 07:36 AM
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I am planning on doing this with family members. i just don't know what speakers to use...
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post #16 of 282 Old 04-08-2006, 09:23 AM
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Believe it or not, just about anything will do. Remember the lousy little speakers that hung on the car window at drive-ins back in the '60s?

But you can do better, of course. I have tried several things, including dismantling the stereo system in the den and moving it to the driveway, but the best result for the effort was when I unplugged the speakers from my computer and used them. I have a Logitech Z340 three-way system (subwoofer plus two satellites) and the sound produced is very good. It has enough power to give a good, loud sound outdoors and enough bass power to do justice to a film with big thuds or explosions.

This kind of system is extremely easy to set up (connect woofer to satellites, connect input to DVD player, plug in power) and can be bought for $50 or so (or you can have 5.1 surround for a little more). You can buy them in any computer store or electronics store, or on Amazon.com. You will probably need a 25-foot extension cord to run the 1/8" stereo signal from the player to the screen.

That's the simplest and cheapest. Other people have carts or racks with 200-watt receivers and graphic equalizers driving professional quality PA speakers. Personally, I'd start with the three-way computer speakers and work your way up.

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post #17 of 282 Old 04-08-2006, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lmunz22 View Post

I am planning on doing this with family members. i just don't know what speakers to use...

I agree with Busy Hands. Just about anything will be fine. Last year, I ran the sound through a very old Kenwood receiver I had from college (stereo only) and used very old Kenwood speakers (massive 100W). I had no subwoofer (except the speakers had woofers and tweeters together). The sound was pretty darn good. Once you get outside, without walls bouncing sound around, just about anything sounds good. And you don't need very powerful speakers to get a pretty good sound.

Having said that, though, I always have a bad case of upgrade-itis. I am going to pick up a very cheap 5.1 receiver off ebay and run some other speakers I have laying around that I had wall-mounted in my previous house--they're now collecting dust in the basement. But I'll be able to get some pretty decent surround out of it, I hope.

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post #18 of 282 Old 04-10-2006, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BusyHands View Post

Other people have carts or racks with 200-watt receivers and graphic equalizers driving professional quality PA speakers.

And there's always gonna be the ocassional whacko with an antique JBL sub and pair of Buttkickers mounted under the deck... : )

How ya doin' Busy!

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post #19 of 282 Old 04-11-2006, 09:00 AM
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Agreed...almost anything will work.

For sound, I found a $149 600W 5.1 TIB on the discount floor samples table at CC. Even the little tiny speakers sound great outdoors. I have some old ratshack speakers that I tried but they are only rated at 40w, so I use the little ones rated for 100w.

Again, people don't go to outdoor movies for the PQ (or SQ)...they go to have a good time.

Tom

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post #20 of 282 Old 04-12-2006, 08:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post


Again, people don't go to outdoor movies for the PQ (or SQ)...they go to have a good time.

Tom

But, interestingly, even with the SVGA projector and almost antique speakers, I received many compliments about how good the picture looked and how great it all sounded.

But there is a communal experience with the movie that can't be discounted. As tlogan said, people go to have a good time--it's absolutely true.

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post #21 of 282 Old 04-12-2006, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
I received many compliments about how good the picture looked and how great it all sounded.

Same here, which leads to my observation about PQ and SQ. People are generally just wowed by the size of the screen. Everything else is just icing on the cake!

Tom

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post #22 of 282 Old 04-12-2006, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Guys--I need some collective brainpower here.

Roger Sante: I like your set up--it's very similar to what I would like to achieve. My new screen will be attached to my fence like yours, but my question is, how do you store your screen when you are done with it?

I am really looking for a way to do what you did, but make it as easy as possible to take down at the end of the night.

My thoughts are to use Metal conduit for legs that are clamped down onto my fence posts to form a screen 16 feet wide. The screen would be attached somehow to each leg so that, when finished, I can just pull the legs out of the clamps and simply roll the whole screen up. The problem is--I need somethings to hold the screen up from the top of the screen across the whole screen. A buddy thought to use a line, like a clothesline across the top, with some kind of crank to make the line extremely taut. The screen would be attached to the line (possible folded over and stitched to form a pocket?). Anyone think this will work? Anyone have any other ideas?

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post #23 of 282 Old 04-12-2006, 02:04 PM
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Steve,

Mine stands up and rests against the wall in the garage when it's not being used. That eats up a lot of useful wall space that could be used for other things, but it's worth it.

Roger
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post #24 of 282 Old 04-12-2006, 03:07 PM
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Here's an outdoor screen option. Might be a bit expensive ($250), but looks pretty cool.

http://www.skymall.com/webapp/skysto...odSrch&action=


Direct links don't seem to work, but look for item 301209

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post #25 of 282 Old 04-12-2006, 10:13 PM
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I thought I would post some info about my "backyard theater".

I have a Crestron home automation system for control.

Here you can see the screen up... in a motorized enclosure above the bay window:



This picture shows the screen down. The screen is a 100% opaque white sunshade... made to withstand the weather.



The projector is a Sanyo high definition model. I needed a projector that was very bright (3000 lumens), had a good throw distance, and good keystoning (since the angle is about 35 degrees). I have been very impressed with the picture quality as well as the viewing angle. People on the upper deck and in the hot tub can see a very clear picture. The projector sits on top of a rolling metal shelf that was intended for kitchen use. I keep it in the basement control room when it's not in use.



This is how the projector is connected to the control system. The following video sources are available:
DVDs from an Escient DVD server - 800 disc capacity
High definition DirecTV and OTA locals from 1 of 2 HD DirecTivos
PC access using wireless keyboard/mouse (1776X1000 or 1152X648 resolution)
Modified XBOX - can play games using wireless controllers and also use it as a network connected media server with XBMC
Security camera display... If the doorbell rings, I get an audio alert through the outdoor speakers. I can switch to the front door camera to see who is at the door, and talk to them through an intercom.



There are 3 audio zones that can be used, independently or together, depending on where people are located. Each zone has a local volume control knob.
Zone 1 is the main zone which has 2 12" Rockustics planter speakers. The arrow is pointing to one of them. These can be moved anywhere on the lower deck.
Zone 2 is on the upper deck. It has 2 8" planter speakers.
Zone 3 is the hot tub zone. There is 1 Niles dual speaker mounted under the deck directly facing the hot tub.
In addition to the audio that goes with the above video sources, FM radio is available as well as CDs in the Escient server and mp3s on the network.
In this picture you can also see a natural gas firepit, locted to the right of the projector... for those chilly nights.



This shows the HD Tivo source from the firepit area:



Here is a DVD image from behind the pool:



I got everything up and running last October, so I didn't have too many chances to use it last year... other than a few Monday Night Football get togethers.
I'm looking forward to many outdoor viewing events this year.
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post #26 of 282 Old 04-13-2006, 07:12 AM
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Roger,

You are correct in the the Iron Giant is a great movie to show - it's one of my kids favorites (and I like it too). Also recommended is Spirited Away, however watch it before showing! While my children and I find it fascinating, it is very quirky and at times makes you think "what the ....?" But, once people start watching it they won't turn away.

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post #27 of 282 Old 04-20-2006, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Just thought I would bump this up.

I have been toying around with a new design for my screen that will hopefully work. I think I detailed it in a previous post, but in general:

Two metal posts (3/4" steel gas line) will be fixed to my fence posts 16 feet apart. The screen, when not in use, will be wrapped up on the posts, and unroll like a scroll. There will be a pocket across the top of the screen to run a line that will span the two metal side posts. The line will be attached to one pole, and run over a pulley, to a ratchet on the other. The poles will be tied from the top down to the fence at a 45 deg. angle.

The screen will work thusly: Once the poles are unrolled from each and attached to the fence posts the poles will be tied down (to ensure they stay pulling apart on the top, especially when the tension of the rope/line is added across the top of the screen.) Once the poles are tied down, the rope ratched will be tightened to keep the screen from sagging in the middle:



Hopefully this shows what I am planning to do. I guess, before I really get going, anyone see any downside to this?

The benefit is that once removed from the fence posts, the poles (which are ten feet total) can merely be rolled up--so I will have a screen "package" that is ten feet long--easily storable in my garage. I'm just hoping any breeze doesn't push the thing down, or sway too easily.

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post #28 of 282 Old 04-20-2006, 10:22 AM
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How do you intend to attach the poles to the fence? It appears to me that once attached, you will be able to tighten up across the top of the screen, but will you be able to get the bottom of the screen tight enough? Will you be able to unroll the screen, pull it taught and then attach it to the fence? How many people will it take to do this? I'm thinking the screen WILL get wrinkles when it's rolled up.

As I see it, to install you unroll (unscroll?) the screen and pull the two poles far enough to attach to the fence. Do you have to lift the poles up and into some tubes or something? Or will they be set into the ground. I'm thinking it would be easier if they are low to or in the ground. Do you require one person to hold each end and mount the poles or can you set one and then go to the other side and attach it? See what I'm getting at with how many people are REQUIRED to set it up. I CAN do mine alone. It's easier with help, but it can be done alone.

My frame comes completely apart and I fold up the Black Out cloth screen. As I'm putting the frame to gether and threading the sections through the screen pockets, the last one or two connections are pretty tight and it takes a little effort to pull it together, but it pretty much removes all of the wrinkles. And tightens up all the way around.

Just some questions to think about, since you asked.

Good luck,
Tom

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post #29 of 282 Old 04-20-2006, 10:52 AM
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Very nice setup Funky. I'd be there in a heartbeat for some MNF
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post #30 of 282 Old 04-20-2006, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tlogan6797 View Post

How do you intend to attach the poles to the fence? It appears to me that once attached, you will be able to tighten up across the top of the screen, but will you be able to get the bottom of the screen tight enough? Will you be able to unroll the screen, pull it taught and then attach it to the fence? How many people will it take to do this? I'm thinking the screen WILL get wrinkles when it's rolled up.

We are thinking about using eyebolts, where the pole can slide down the eye. We found some at the local hardware store that are just about wide enough, but will have to be opened a little bit. The eyebolt will go all the way through the 4x4 fence post, and tightened on the other side. To get the screen taut enough across the face, I figured I would have the ability to tighten it by turning the poles, once in the eyebolts (thereby wrapping the screen every so slightly up to eliminate wrinkles). I will need something to keep the poles from turning, once it is in place--I'll think about this. Across the bottom, we have toyed with the idea of putting in a sleeve for a solid rod, or periodically attaching the screen to drawstrings that are then attached to the fence.

Quote:


As I see it, to install you unroll (unscroll?) the screen and pull the two poles far enough to attach to the fence. Do you have to lift the poles up and into some tubes or something? Or will they be set into the ground. I'm thinking it would be easier if they are low to or in the ground. Do you require one person to hold each end and mount the poles or can you set one and then go to the other side and attach it? See what I'm getting at with how many people are REQUIRED to set it up. I CAN do mine alone. It's easier with help, but it can be done alone.

I don't think I will be able to do this without two people. I suppose I could unroll the one side of the pole, and lean the other pole up against the fence, attached the pole to the fence post, and unroll the other side and do the same thing. This may be do-able by myself. The screen poles will actually be off the ground--I plan to have a step (like an L bracket) under each pole keeping it off the ground. I'm not concerned if I need another person, as my wife can help.

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My frame comes completely apart and I fold up the Black Out cloth screen. As I'm putting the frame to gether and threading the sections through the screen pockets, the last one or two connections are pretty tight and it takes a little effort to pull it together, but it pretty much removes all of the wrinkles. And tightens up all the way around.

The funny thing is--unless the wrinkles are really bad, they don't really pose that much of a problem for the outdoor screen. My screen last year (see my signature) actually had a lot of wrinkles, but were hardly noticeable, and then not at all when the movie started.

Quote:


Just some questions to think about, since you asked.

Good luck,
Tom

Thanks so much for your help--it has given me a lot to think about. I will at least try this and see how it goes.

Registered U.S. Patent and Trademark Attorney
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