Let’s set the scene. It’s a warm summer’s night. The sun is setting over the hill and you’re enjoying some drinks with your family and friends. The popcorn rustles in your hands as the wind gently breezes by, and you soak up the magic of the silver screen in your back garden. It’s pure bliss, and you don’t want the movie to ever end.
Setting up your own outdoor cinema can be a fantastic treat – whatever the time of year may be. Whether you combine your love of movies with a BBQ or party of some kind, watching your favourite flicks on a homemade big screen can be a great way of enjoying your garden while making memories with your family and friends. So, how do you get started?
Before you get going with recreating the magic of cinema in your own back garden, there are a few essential things that you’re going to need. From the projector to the fairy lights, let’s take a detailed look at what you need to do to get started.
Step 1: The Tech.
First things first, you’re not going to be able to watch a film without having the right equipment. It should go without saying too but, to set up your own big screen experience, you’re going to need a big screen of some kind.
If you’re thinking of hosting outdoor cinema events more than once, you can pick up a decent projector online without breaking the bank. However, if you don’t think you’re going to use it regularly enough, there’s always the option to hire one instead.
Having a decent projector is vital though – there’s nothing worse than sitting down to enjoy a good movie only to find that the resolution and screen quality is terrible. You want your guests to feel truly immersed in their viewing experience, and that starts with the screen.
The sound system you use is also incredibly important. Say you choose to watch a big action flick, for instance. You’re going to want to hear each and every adrenaline-pumping moment as clearly as possible, so it could be worth investing in a great set of speakers as well.
Step 2: The Screen.
OK, so you’ve got the projector and the sound system – now what? It’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to set up your back garden.
However, before you get started with hanging fairy lights up everywhere, you need to think about where to put the most important aspect of an outdoor cinema: the screen itself.
Whether you go down the simple route – hanging a large white sheet over a washing line – or choose to project the film onto a large blank wall instead, you need to think carefully about where the film is going to be shown. Once you’ve pinpointed your ideal location, you can then start setting the rest of the garden up around it.
Step 3: The Setting.
Whether you have a huge back garden or a small courtyard area, you can always make your outside space feel cosy and inviting – regardless of how big or small it might be.
If your garden is on the slightly smaller side, you may need to think about your seating arrangements. Maybe instead of giving each of your guests a predefined seat, you could set up a few blankets and bean bags to utilise the space as much as possible.
Likewise, if you’re hosting an event during the day, you need to think about the lighting situation. Watching a film with a glare on the screen is no fun for anyone, so think about how you can shade-proof the screen appropriately. Investing in a patio awning or large garden parasol could be a great place to start.
Plus, don’t forget to leave room for a few table and resting areas. Your guests are going to need to put their food and drink down somewhere, after all, and the last thing you want is for it to end up all over your back garden.
Step 4: The Food.
While on the subject of food, a true cinematic experience wouldn’t be complete without some pre-prepared grub. Whether you go down the traditional route, opting for popcorn and fizzy drinks, or choose to set up your own outdoor cocktail picnic party, the choice is really down to you.
If you’re hosting an outdoor cinema party in one of the colder months of the year, it could be worth investing in some hot chocolate and marshmallows to warm you and your guests up. Pizzas and BBQs are always good food options to have as well, while crisps, chocolate and other nibble-based snacks always go down a treat.
Step 5: The Extras.
Once you’ve got the equipment, setting, screen and food set up and ready to go, it’s time to get creative and think about all the extra little touches you can make. Whether it be fairy lights, blankets, candles, bunting, glass lanterns, or other film-related ornaments and memorabilia, there are a number of subtle little things you can do to really add to your guests’ viewing experience.
You could even think about printing VIP, vintage-style tickets for each attendee, or hiring a retro popcorn cart for the night. Oh, don’t forget to make sure the film you choose is a good one as well!