Hosting an Outdoor Cinema At Home: Steps and Suggestions

ideas for outdoor cinema

As early as 1900s, open air cinemas have been around. As a matter of fact, the world’s oldest running open air cinema, Sun Pictures, was established in the year 1916 in Australia. In the USA, drive-in and open air cinemas became booming during the 1950s and from then onwards, it never really died out.

Today, there are thousands of outdoor cinemas all over the world competing with the creativity and services they offer. The fact that this type of cinema is still alive and kicking today truly tells us that there is something about outdoor cinemas that continue to stimulate people’s interest. This becomes even more apparent with the rise of homeowners who are determined to create their very own version of outdoor cinemas.

Perhaps, you are one of those who are interested in putting up your very own front or backyard cinema for the entertainment of your family or friends. It’s great to know that because this article intends to serve as your guide. Without further ado, here are the steps you need to take.


  • Spot and prepare the location

First and foremost, this outdoor home cinema is only possible if you have an available area outside and within the bounds of your house. No, you cannot set up your outdoor theater in your neighbor’s garden just because you don’t have enough space in your place.

After you determine the perfect location for this cinema project, you must proceed to preparing the area. Preparations may include mowing the tall grasses, sweeping the area, installing tents, and the like.

  • Purchase the necessary equipment.

For this project, you will need a projector, sound system, disc player, a laptop, extension wires, and a movie screen. The projector may be the one that costs the most and so, if you can find used projectors for sale, that would be fine as long as they still work correctly. You may use your own speakers for the sound system, your own DVD player or your laptop. As for the movie screen, you can make your own or purchase from

  • Set up the area.

Once you have all necessary equipment, you’re ready to set them up in your preferred location. You will be needing the extension wires if the area is far from sockets. The distance between the screen and the seats will depend on the size of your screen. For instance if you have a 16:9 screen that is 109 inches, you’ll have to place it around 10 feet away from the seats. Place the laptop and the projector in the center a couple of feet away from the screen; you may adjust according to your preference. As for the speakers, if it isn’t surround sound system, you’ll have to place in front and facing the audience.

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  • Test drive the cinema.

Before inviting people over, test drive your very own outdoor cinema. Check if the distance of the projector is perfect, listen to how the movie sounds like, arrange the seats properly, etc. Do the necessary adjustments until you are satisfied.

  • Prepare list of movies.

Of course, don’t forget to prepare the DVDs or if you’re relying on a laptop, don’t forget to download the soft copies of the movies you want to watch.


  • Inform your neighbors

Don’t be an insensitive neighbor. Inform your neighbor if you’re about to host an outdoor movie night. Furthermore, be sensitive with the volume as well especially if it’s night time.

  • Debug the area

To prevent insects and bugs from joining your movie marathon, debug the location. In addition, use sprays or lotions that are insect or bug repellent. If you’re gonna be watching in your outdoor cinema with your baby in a carrier or with kids, you might as well bathe them in bug and insect repellent lotion.

  • Do it at night

Host a movie night, not a movie day. Using your outdoor cinema during the afternoon will mean you and the rest of the audience will be under the heat of the scorching sun; the movie screen as well won’t be able to show the right colors of the movie due to the rays of the sun.

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