My outdoor theater plans - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-19-2007, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been thinking about this a little bit because I have kids and want my kids to be able to have parties and watch movies, but don't necessarily want 20 kids in my house all the time.

I also want to be able to have neighbors over to watch movies, but my theater seats 6 very comfortably and can seat 10 somewhat comfortably. I figure outdoors I can seat a whole lot more without worrying about people destroying my theater room. I think our theater room is best used for immediate family, close friends and small get togethers.

Last night I realized I had the perfect spot for an outdoor theater. After reading threads here yesterday, I also realized I have almost everything I need to make this a reality. The missing pieces are relatively inexpensive.

I have an extra 106" graywolf II screen. I don't like it for my main screen, but for the outdoor theater, it should be fine.
I have a covered carport in front of my garage (20x20 covered area). I can mount the screen above the garage door and not worry about any elements really. I'll probably keep it in the garage out of the humidity when not using it, but I'll have the mounts up there ready to go at a moments notice.

I have my projector currently ceiling mounted in my theater. Just need to turn one thumbscrew to release the projector from the mount.
I know one of the biggest obstacles to an outdoor theater is keeping the projector safe from kids (and adults). Putting a projector on an outside table can be dangerous (IMO). But I can ceiling mount mine on the carport ceiling.
I just need to buy an identical mount like the one in my theater and it'll be as simple as unscrew one thumbscrew, unplug projector and remove cables, bring projector downstairs, screw in one thumbscrew, plug in and ready to go.

I've got cable already running to my theater room above the garage. I have a tiny crawlspace in the theater room with some conduit from the front wall to the crawlspace.

I can run some coax from the front wall through the conduit into the crawlspace. Then, drill a small hole from the crawlspace (non-climate controlled area) through the ceiling in the garage. I'll simply get a wall plate and terminate the coax in the garage ceiling.

I'll need to get 50 feet of hdmi to connect the cable box to the projector. Relatively cheap at monoprice.

I've got an old (but good) hitachi bookshelf stereo system that's currently unused. It definitely gets loud enough. Granted, just stereo, but for an outside theater, I think I'm OK. I've only got one power outlet in my garage, so I'll have to connect a decent powerstrip to that outlet to plug in my stereo, cable box, and run a heavy duty extension cord from that powerstrip to my projector.

I figure I can easily clip the extension cord and hdmi cable along the wall in the garage to the ceiling in the carport. I'll get some nice, small, permanent clips, painted to match the ceiling and should get wife approval to keep those clips up all the time. Obviously I'll need to remove cables when not in use.

With the above, I think I'm set for any HBO HD events, and major sporting events.

For DVD, I'll initially just carry my DVD player from the media room and connect it via the hdmi to the projector. Eventually I'll probably replace my sony dvd player (upconverting) in my media room with an oppo and just keep the sony at the ready in the garage.

Since I've got the covered carport, light control at night will be easier.
My grill is very close to the carport, so I can keep it on and have hotdogs, brats, etc very handy. I won't freak out if folks spill ketchup all over the driveway (well, not as much as I would if they spilled it all over my coasters anyway!)

I can also entertain a crowd a lot easier. I've got one old sofa in the garage that will be easy to pull out (my wife and I gotta be comfortable!) Everyone else has to bring their own lawnchairs.

I'm hoping to get this setup in time for the boxing fight on May 5th.

Another good thing about all this too.... I've got concrete all the way around the car port to the house. No grass anywhere around this area. Meaning if folks do need to go inside for any reason, I don't need to worry about folks tracking grass/mud into the house.

I'm going to try to take some pics of the space as it looks now so you can all critique my space.

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post #2 of 16 Old 04-19-2007, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Current space.

I plan to put the screen under the car port above the garage door.
The covered space is 20x20.
I'll mount the projector in the ceiling there. I've got a very powerful compact fan I can place next to the projector. The fan is extremely noisy, but outdoors it should be ok. And it will produce fantastic airflow.

I've got amble space for folks to setup lawn chairs and such.
Since the screen will be under cover, as long as I don't have direct sunlight, I can probably start at dusk or possibly a little before.

This pic was taken around 2 in the afternoon. Granted, it's a very cloudy day but still nice and dark under cover.

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post #3 of 16 Old 04-19-2007, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Reserved for pictures of equipment installed.
(don't hold breath for these pics. They'll be done when they're done!)

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post #4 of 16 Old 04-19-2007, 04:07 PM
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Sounds like lots of fun. I look forward to your pics!

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post #5 of 16 Old 04-26-2007, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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bump. One (bad) pic of current space uploaded. I will get more (promise).

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post #6 of 16 Old 04-27-2007, 08:28 AM
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a 106" screen outside will look like a 36" screen inside. Best to double that to around 200". Peel thru some of the other threads here - you'll find plenty of $60-ish dollar options to get you to that size.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-27-2007, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I do understand that, however....

My carport is 20 feet wide, but only about 10 feet high.

I really like the location under the carport. I have a very small backyard and don't have a good location to put a projector or screen back there. I feel comfortable having the projector hung from the carport ceiling away from kids and inebriated adults. I don't necessarily feel comfortable having my projector on a table where people can mess with it.

So that's the space I have to work with. IF I could find a good screen/material to use and put the projector behind the screen, that would open up more possibilities, but this is really an occasional use theater. I'm planning the fight next weekend (de la hoya/merriweather). I also plan to do the superbowl. No other immediate plans yet, but maybe the all-star game and world series. There will be other times, but they'll be rare.

I want the screen as high as possible so folks can see as much of the pic as possible. In my space, the max height screen I could probably use would be 9 feet high. In a 16x9 format, I'm looking at a max 16 feet wide. Or roughly the size of a standard garage door.
And now that I'm typing that, I'm thinking - that's about twice as wide as my 106" screen, so that's close to 200 inches.

I think for the inaugural night, I'll put the106" screen I have outside and see how it looks. I may try to project on the garage door, but the door's surface will probably get in the way too much. I hope/expect to have a bigger setup for the superbowl, but I'm working with a non-existent budget so we'll see.

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-02-2007, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Sound Check... OK.

I've got an old Hitachi bookshelf system that I'll be using. It's a highend bookshelf system in that it has 4 components - tuner, cd player, dual cassette deck and amp. The components hook together first via some custom cables (2 cables - one cable has connectors for all 4 components, one cable has connectors for all but the amp).
then there are control cables that need to be attached. These are regular composite type connections. total of 3 cables needed. This allows the remote to control the different components. Without that, buttons on the front of the bookshelf will work, but remote won't.

Had that all hooked up last night, and remote was controlling all functions, but couldn't get any sound when I hooked up the speakers. Drove me crazy for awhile. Finally realized I was still missing one connection. There's a preout from the Tuner/receiver component that needs to connect to audio-in on the amp.
Found a stereo cable to connect it and voila! Sound check is complete. I need to buy some longer speaker cables, but only need 16 guage (at best - the connectors on this thing are pretty small) so it should be cheap.

I haven't run the coax cable for the DVR to the right location yet. I might start that tonight.

I'm hoping to have most of this done by Friday night. I don't want to sweat technical issues 5 minutes before the fight starts (Saturday de la hoya/mayweather).

So far, so good.

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post #9 of 16 Old 05-02-2007, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bqmeister View Post

I hope/expect to have a bigger setup for the superbowl, but I'm working with a non-existent budget so we'll see.

I also had a non-existent budget when i created my outdoor theater. And just like you I have a very long driveway and a garage. Ultimately, I chose the outside setup because there is just so much more room to move around.

Remember, the reason the 106" looks big is becasue its indoors, and you're surrounded by walls which give the largess impression. Once outside, the vastness simply swallows up this size and yes, it will look like you're watching tv on a 36".

Besides, if the weather is lousy for the projector , it's also lousy for the viewers also.

Here is my driveway. it is about 100ft long and about 30ft wide. This shot was taken from the 80ft distance and the screen is 165" diagonal.



Here's a low cost solution to your setup. If you have a electric staplegun, you could staple taut white painters tarp on the inner wood lining of the garage and hang it down. alternatively, you could also staple it to the back wall of the carport, much like a canvas frame, and still project from the inside.

Victor

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post #10 of 16 Old 05-02-2007, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll probably get a 14-15' wide screen by the next event I do. because of the columns in front of the garage, 16 foot is the max width. But because of the car port height, 8 foot or so is the max height I could do.

I will go bigger though next time.

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post #11 of 16 Old 05-06-2007, 03:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I tell ya what, 106" outside under the carport was a huge success.

I also learned I can't hold my liquor like I could 15 years ago.
And mixing drinks is bad.
Real bad.

But the fight was good, the rockets loss was a shame, and the screen/projector combo was a hit. everyone thinks i'm crazy for wanting to go bigger. I may just decide to stay @ 106"

This will remain an occasional thing (outdoor theater) but it was still a great success.

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post #12 of 16 Old 05-06-2007, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bqmeister View Post

I tell ya what, 106" outside under the carport was a huge success.

I also learned I can't hold my liquor like I could 15 years ago.
And mixing drinks is bad.
Real bad.

But the fight was good, the rockets loss was a shame, and the screen/projector combo was a hit. everyone thinks i'm crazy for wanting to go bigger. I may just decide to stay @ 106"

This will remain an occasional thing (outdoor theater) but it was still a great success.

Hmm. 106" outdoor just seems really small to me. I mean, it's not much bigger than what I am running indoors.

Outdoors, we run at 16 feet wide (for 2.35:1 material), but we are running constant height, so the other aspect ratios are proportionally smaller.

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post #13 of 16 Old 05-06-2007, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I can certainly see the appeal of larger. But my guests were all impressed with the size and the quality. No one could understand me wanting to go any larger.

I'm undecided about screen sizes for future events, but 106 is big enough outdoors
(although it was too small indoors. Funny that!)

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post #14 of 16 Old 05-10-2007, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bqmeister View Post

... No one could understand me wanting to go any larger.
...

Clearly, you need new friends!

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post #15 of 16 Old 05-20-2007, 11:37 AM
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Something to remember that as you get larger, the more lumens you need to fill the screen. I try to not go below 15 footlamberts (1 footlambert = 1 lumen on a 1.0 gain screen) You could certainly see the picture with less light, but the contrast starts to go especially if you have to contend with streetlamps and houselights on the screen. A 12x16 foot screen is 192 square feet which means a 3000 lumen projector. This is what I use and it works great.
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-20-2007, 09:23 PM - Thread Starter
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what 3000 lumen projector are you using? and isn't a 3000 lumens projector properly calibrated closer to an 800 lumens pj?

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