How Do You Show a Movie Outside?

Outside movie parties in the backyard are gaining popularity for a good reason. It’s fun for family and friends, and outdoor parties are always great when the weather is on your side.

There is a wealth of helpful information online. But, I like things straightforward so let’s look at how you show a movie in your backyard with good results.

We will look at the equipment needed and maybe some things you have not considered in your planning.

First Step

Let’s go right down to basics and plan your outdoor movie night with precision.

You need to have an adequate power supply and enough extension wiring to deliver the power to where it is needed.

You will need a power cord for the projector and think about ambient lighting for your guests. The last thing you need is guests stumbling in the dark.

Running power cables is easy. However, making these cables safe and not a trip hazard can be a bigger job and needs to be thought through. Run the cables wherever possible where the least foot traffic is likely to be or better still where there is no foot traffic.

If you can connect your power cords to a residual current circuit, that will be even better. In the unfortunate event, there is a problem with the electrical connections, and the circuit breaker will trip and cut off the power supply. Always be safe and try to expect the unexpected in these situations.

Decide the best place to show the movie. Where will your guests be seated? Keep in mind there is a formula for how far your projector needs to be away from your screen to get sharp, crisp images easily viewable.

Most home market outdoor movie screens are a minimum of 8 feet wide so, if space is at a premium workout, how the screen will fit. Don’t consider arcing the screen; this will not work as a cinematic screen.

Second Step

Build your screen. There are options for you to choose from when selecting a screen; choose the best option that fits your outdoor needs. There are inflatable screens, very easy to erect.

If you think your outdoor movie nights will be regular, invest in a decent screen even then. You can pick up a decent screen for under 150 bucks. The screen will be complete with a special viewing fabric to give the image clarity when viewing outdoors.

The screen is an investment and, if stored correctly, will last for some considerable time.

I previously mentioned the inflatable screen. The other options to consider are a hanging screen or a screen with a frame. All the screens are simple to erect in an ad store. It’s a personal choice for you to consider.

The other option is to build your screen, yes you read right, build your own. Most of us know how to build a simple frame. You can use a bedding sheet. I don’t recommend this option. The image will not be as clear.

The problem with using bedding sheets is they move around and ripple in the breeze. They also let light through and become somewhat transparent.

In all honesty, the screens are so cheap and readily available it is easier just to buy one and release yourself from the stress of building a screen.

Third Step

Selecting an outdoor projector. Unless you are a tech geek and want to know how an outdoor projector works, choose a recommended projector from a reputable retailer.

Choose one that suits your budget, give some specifications to the retailer, so he understands the parameters of your intended outdoor movie.

There are some technical things about outdoor projectors, but most new projectors have most eventualities covered to give you a good viewing experience.

The reality is backyard movies are fun, and there is no need to get bogged down in calculations and technical terminology.

This is a fun event and should be fun from the outset.

Fourth Step

Media storage, you need to have your movies stored on a device to play through the projector. You can use your laptop. This is as good as any other media storage device and prevents another expensive purchase.

You can also use flash drives if you wish. Any suitable and compatible media storage system will suffice.

You will connect to a media port on the projector, and away you go. Your image is ready for viewing.

Fifth Step

Adding decent audio, Your projector will have inbuilt speakers, but they are not the best for outdoor viewing. Quality sound makes the difference. You can make the movie come to life and be exciting with a quality sound system.

By far, the easiest option for a quality speaker experience is to invest in Bluetooth connectable speakers. No wires to run, just simplicity itself and a great sound.

Soundbars work well but the better the speaker system, the better the experience for your guests.


It’s time to invite your guests and neighbors for a movie night to remember.

The setup of an outdoor movie theater in your backyard does not have to be complex. There are a few simple guidelines to follow when setting up the theater in your backyard.

Follow the basics and take the advice of the retailer. They should have a wealth of knowledge to make your viewing experience exceptional.

Unfortunately, if you want a matinee preview for some young children in the family, the projector will not work well until the sunsets. There needs to be a level of darkness to view clear, crisp images on an outdoor screen.

If the weather is overcast, it is possible to alter the Lumens of the projector by changing the projector bulb. This will give a brighter image and overcome some ambient light to some extent.