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post #1 of 14 Old 07-14-2017, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Advice on improving outdoor movie event

Hi all,

Every year I put on a themed movie party for our friends. Last year it was Top Gun, this year it was Indiana Jones. Last year we probably had 40 people, this year we had around 50 people. We theme the house, everyone does fancy-dress and we show the film after sunset. They have been very successful but could be better, with some better AV.

The current setup is as follows:
  • Optoma HD141x projector (Full HD, long-throw, 3000 lumens)
  • Denon AVR-1706 AV receiver (around 10 years old) 7.1 channels (but only used in 5.1)
  • Playstation 3, generally playing a Bluray - connected to the projector (HDMI) and to the receiver (optical Toslink).
  • Speakers are connected in 5.1 traditional setup directly to the speaker outputs on the AVR. The speakers are as follows:
  • FL/FR = Q Acoustics 1030 (originals)
  • C = Q Acoustics 1000c (original)
  • SL/SR = Q Acoustics 1010 (originals)
  • Sub = Q Acoustics 1000s (original)
  • Speaker cable runs vary between 10m (for the fronts) and 30-40m (for the rears).
  • Home made rear-projection screen 215" (5 metre x 2 metre) 2.5:1 aspect (made from plastic drafting film).[/INDENT]

This works quite well but there could be some improvements. Issues as follows:
  1. I generally have to turn the AVR up to maximum (+11) for the main event as the background noise from party chatter is quite intrusive. This is probably NOT A GOOD THING for the AVR...
  2. The front l/r (and surround l/r) tend to come across much louder than the centre channel, meaning the speech is not as audible as I would like (as above, there is quite a bit of chatter from some people who are, of course, enjoying the party too). I have considered enabling English subtitles to compensate but would rather just have better levels on the speech.
  3. The projection screen is a little sensitive to moisture. I made it from scratch out of "Polymex® F075DDD 75 micron Drafting Film (Double Matt film with a tough drafting surface suitable for most manual drawings)" which works really well but tends to get water marks if any moisture gets on it.
  4. In an ideal world, I'd have more granular control over the different channel volumes so I could fine tune it on the night.

Some ideas I've thought about:

- Getting a new AV receiver with channel pre-outs, and then pumping those into active PA speakers or at least one active PA speaker for the centre channel (with the speaker outs for the rest).
- Getting a more powerful AV receiver, perhaps with more granular control over the individual levels
- Getting new speakers in general (along with a new amplifier/receiver to match)
- Replacing the home made screen with a more traditional rear-projection screen (but I don't want to settle for smaller).

Anyone got any thoughts or done something similar and have any good experience they can share?
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post #2 of 14 Old 07-14-2017, 06:08 AM
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It seems like people come to your event to socialize, so increasing the sound level of the movie is almost counter productive..
If you really want to drown the talkers out, buy an inexpensive passive PA speaker for the center and hook it to your current receiver.
The Behringer B215XL is highly rated, as well as the Monoprice equivalent.
Good luck with your events.
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post #3 of 14 Old 07-14-2017, 07:34 AM
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That's a big group of people and it sounds like fun!

As far as increasing the volume vs. the crowd noise, that's a dog chasing its tail kind of problem. You might try going in the opposite direction, lower the volume, and see if people try harder to listen. Your speakers seem to be fairly efficient with a 90dB rating so your fairly efficient with regards to amplifier power.

You're on the right track wanting to get more granular control over the individual channels, but you already have that. It's on page 28 of the Denon AVR-1706 manual. What you want to do is refer to the manual and increase the center channel volume by 3-6dB vs. the R/L. That will help the center dialogue tremendously. It's not an uncommon problem with an outdoor set up. I run my R/L and surrounds at 0dB and the center at +4-5dB. Another way to do it is to reduce/decrease the R/L and surrounds level 3-6dB and leave the center at 0dB. Either way will work and the master/main volume control will keep the ratio increasing/decreasing all channels.

You'll get a substantial bump in sound quality, using blu-ray and lossless codecs, by changing out the AVR. A new AVR that supports lossless codecs, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master audio will make a substantial difference to the over all sound quality. It's also an easier set up using two HDMI cables, blu-ray to AVR to Projector. You might want to take a look at Accessories4less and and pick up a refurbished unit, it's what I did for outdoors. Anything around 75-100 watts will do the job. You can double the power output to 200 watts, but you will only get a 3dB gain for the trouble.

http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ceivers/1.html

You can go, or if you go with 2 PA speakers, the audio will have to be down mixed to stereo and 5.1 does add a lot to the fun to the movie. I have a 5.1 out door theater set up using speakers that are about the same size as yours. I live on a 1 acre lot and I have no trouble filling it with sound with an 80 watt AVR.



As for screens, I would recommend you replace yours with a Carl's 214" Flexiwhite. You'll love it and it will end your water spot problems.

http://www.carlofet.com/finished-edg...l#.WWjT6ITyvIU


If you want to switch to rear projection, Carl's has these two.

http://www.carlofet.com/finished-edg...l#.WWjU3oTyvIU

http://www.carlofet.com/finished-edg...l#.WWjU9oTyvIU


EDIT: Are you located in the UK? I ask because of the speakers as they're not so common in the USA.

Last edited by b curry; 07-14-2017 at 08:52 AM.
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post #4 of 14 Old 07-15-2017, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidK442 View Post
It seems like people come to your event to socialize, so increasing the sound level of the movie is almost counter productive..
If you really want to drown the talkers out, buy an inexpensive passive PA speaker for the center and hook it to your current receiver.
The Behringer B215XL is highly rated, as well as the Monoprice equivalent.
Good luck with your events.
You're right, many people do come just to socialise. Generally they retire back to the kitchen but some stay on the patio and are within earshot of the surrounds which probably cause them to talk louder. It might just be easier to remove the surrounds altogether but it does make a massive difference (particularly the jet engines in Top Gun! That was amazing). I'll look into the Behringer, looks pretty cost effective.

Thanks for the advice!
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post #5 of 14 Old 07-15-2017, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post
That's a big group of people and it sounds like fun!

As far as increasing the volume vs. the crowd noise, that's a dog chasing its tail kind of problem. You might try going in the opposite direction, lower the volume, and see if people try harder to listen.
I'm thinking I should probably do a couple of "previews" before the main event to test the sound. It's always difficult to test it before the event as the conditions are so different.

Quote:
You're on the right track wanting to get more granular control over the individual channels, but you already have that.
LOL, I've had it for years and never saw that in the manual... awesome! I tested this last night and it made a big difference to the vocals (in my living room) so hopefully this will help when I go big scale...

Quote:
You'll get a substantial bump in sound quality, using blu-ray and lossless codecs, by changing out the AVR. A new AVR that supports lossless codecs, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, and DTS-HD Master audio will make a substantial difference to the over all sound quality.
Yeah, I definitely need a new AVR. There is much to be gained for not too much money!

Quote:
If you want to switch to rear projection, Carl's has these two.
Actually, I'm already on rear projection but it is completely home-made. Works a treat though, image-wise, but not as durable. Does tend to get marked. I'll check out Carl's screens. Not sure whether the grey or white is more appropriate for my situation. The prices are surprisingly low...

Quote:
EDIT: Are you located in the UK? I ask because of the speakers as they're not so common in the USA.
Yep, London. It's funny because there is a UK forum that is very similar to this but doesn't seem to have a section for outdoor cinema... weird... must be our lovely weather!

Thanks so much for getting back to me!
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post #6 of 14 Old 07-15-2017, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhscord View Post
LOL, I've had it for years and never saw that in the manual... awesome! I tested this last night and it made a big difference to the vocals (in my living room) so hopefully this will help when I go big scale...
Trust me, it will make the same big difference out doors as well.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dhscord View Post
Yeah, I definitely need a new AVR. There is much to be gained for not too much money!
Yes, if you can support the lossless codec's available on blu-ray, the overall sound/dynamics will be improved including the dialogue.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dhscord View Post
Actually, I'm already on rear projection but it is completely home-made. Works a treat though, image-wise, but not as durable. Does tend to get marked. I'll check out Carl's screens. Not sure whether the grey or white is more appropriate for my situation. The prices are surprisingly low...
I would suggest using Carl's white as it has a wider viewing angle. The gray material will give you a small improvement with black levels but a slightly smaller viewing angle. If you poke around on his web site you'll see instructions for building a frame from EMT conduit. They sell fittings for frame construction as well. You're probably able to find the fittings in the UK as well though. Either way, the quality/customer service from Carl's is top notch as a bonus to the price point and they will ship to the UK and Bob's your uncle. Sorry, I don't know of a similar manufacturer near you.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dhscord View Post
Yep, London. It's funny because there is a UK forum that is very similar to this but doesn't seem to have a section for outdoor cinema... weird... must be our lovely weather!

Thanks so much for getting back to me!
Been in your lovely city many times, usually stay somewhere in the Knightsbridge area. I know your UK forum.

Here is another backyard movie forum you might look at:

http://backyardtheater.com/forums/
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post #7 of 14 Old 07-18-2017, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Why do I have to wait 5 posts to post a URL?
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post #8 of 14 Old 07-18-2017, 01:00 AM - Thread Starter
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That means I have to create two dummy posts to get to that magic figure...
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post #9 of 14 Old 07-18-2017, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by b curry View Post
I would suggest using Carl's white as it has a wider viewing angle. The gray material will give you a small improvement with black levels but a slightly smaller viewing angle. If you poke around on his web site you'll see instructions for building a frame from EMT conduit. They sell fittings for frame construction as well. You're probably able to find the fittings in the UK as well though. Either way, the quality/customer service from Carl's is top notch as a bonus to the price point and they will ship to the UK and Bob's your uncle. Sorry, I don't know of a similar manufacturer near you.
Thanks, good to know. I'm almost always projecting when the sun has gone down so white is probably the best idea.

Not sure about the EMT conduit. A number of websites have mentioned that it is not common in the UK but I will look it up. How rigid would it be across a 16ft span? I would assume there would be some sag in the middle? I was contemplating getting aluminium scaffold pole, as this should be rigid enough at this length.

However, for the last two years, I have used stainless steel rope suspended between two trees on either side of the garden (luckily they are pretty much the same distance down the garden). I then tighten this until it is completely taut, using turnbuckles on both sides. Basically it becomes tight enough to play a tune on!

I then have 9ft tall uprights on each side of the screen and a 17ft length at the bottom of the screen.

The screen is attached to each element (using keyring loops and paracord) and the whole thing becomes taut. This has worked really well up to now.

You can see some pictures of the setup in these albums. Note, I didn't tighten the wire as tight last year but this year the whole setup was much more solid!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhscor...57683135533842

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhscor...57683373105714

Quote:
Originally Posted by b curry View Post
Been in your lovely city many times, usually stay somewhere in the Knightsbridge area.
Well, if you're in the UK around the first/second week of July, let me know and I'll hook you up with an invite to the party!

Thanks again.
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post #10 of 14 Old 07-18-2017, 08:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhscord View Post
Not sure about the EMT conduit. A number of websites have mentioned that it is not common in the UK but I will look it up. How rigid would it be across a 16ft span? I would assume there would be some sag in the middle? I was contemplating getting aluminium scaffold pole, as this should be rigid enough at this length.
Had not thought about that. It's quite common here, used as a protective cover for mains electricity wire in certain building construction. It's normally sold in 10ft lengths and can be bought in 20ft lengths. It's thin wall (1.45mm) galvanized steel and actually quite rigid. A 10ft section sells for around $6.50.

For a 16ft span you would have a truss frame if you use Carl's design and there would be no sag. The screen is secured to the frame with bungees but you could also lace it with paracord as well if you like. I don't see why 1" aluminium tubing would not work. Carl's has great customer service. If you send them an email, they will help/suggest a frame design for you if you need something that is not a default size.

http://www.carlofet.com/ts-whk-assembly-instructions

http://www.carlofet.com/accessories/...l#.WW4mSITyvIU

http://www.carlofet.com/kit-fittings-information


Quote:
Originally Posted by dhscord View Post
However, for the last two years, I have used stainless steel rope suspended between two trees on either side of the garden (luckily they are pretty much the same distance down the garden). I then tighten this until it is completely taut, using turnbuckles on both sides. Basically it becomes tight enough to play a tune on!

I then have 9ft tall uprights on each side of the screen and a 17ft length at the bottom of the screen.

The screen is attached to each element (using keyring loops and paracord) and the whole thing becomes taut. This has worked really well up to now.

You can see some pictures of the setup in these albums. Note, I didn't tighten the wire as tight last year but this year the whole setup was much more solid!
Carl's screens come with grommets in place on the edges. You could continue to use this method.

Great pictures, looks like you know how to throw a party! Thanks for the invitation but I will have to take a rain check this time.
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post #11 of 14 Old 07-18-2017, 08:28 AM
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any pictures of your setup

Projects:
NOT STARTED - Theater (Sim2 HT380, CIH 13ft wide).
IN PROGRESS (10%) - Home LAN (4 PCs).

Game room:
Epson 5040UBE, Denon S920W, Philips BDP7501, NVidia Shield TV, PS4 Pro, SI 110"
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post #12 of 14 Old 07-19-2017, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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any pictures of your setup
Not really, only photos like this...

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhscor...7683373105714/

The back-end setup is nothing special, just a PS3 source connected to an Optoma projector and Denon AVR which is in turn connected to the 5.1 speakers mentioned further up the post.
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post #13 of 14 Old 07-19-2017, 08:23 AM
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That is awesome! I still use my PS3 as well, it's pretty damn good. I also used an Optoma projector for a while. I like the large towel sitting area, how did you do that? A huge bolt of fabric?

How are you doing 2.35 with your projector (no lens)? I'm thinking of doing 2.4 AR (carl's place), with a 21ft wide x 9 ft tall screen but I'm worried about lighting it up.

Those movie party pictures are hilarious - so many beautiful people!

Thanks!

Projects:
NOT STARTED - Theater (Sim2 HT380, CIH 13ft wide).
IN PROGRESS (10%) - Home LAN (4 PCs).

Game room:
Epson 5040UBE, Denon S920W, Philips BDP7501, NVidia Shield TV, PS4 Pro, SI 110"
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post #14 of 14 Old 07-20-2017, 05:13 AM
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I went through your photo gallery. Phenomenal! Now that's a movie party.
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