While California, the US and the world start opening after 3 months in self-isolation, we are likely still looking at a summer spent mostly at home with limited travel – both due to options and personal choice. So what are you going to do with your kids, your friends and yourself this summer?

Well, how about hosting a series of backyard movie nights?

This might give you a chance to still socialize responsibly (small groups), include all ages (depends on your movie choice), update the drive-in experience of years past (serve gourmet grub and themed cocktails instead of chemical cheese nachos and canned beer), and become your kids and your neighborhood’s hero (bonus!).

You can approach this project one of two ways:

Solution #1 – Order on Amazon a Backyard Theater Projection System

Level of difficulty: Easy

Price Tag: High, ~$1,500 - $4,000

Time to implementation: Depends if available on Prime

Solution #2 – DIY: cobble together your own movie theater

Level of difficulty: Easy to Medium depending on the choices you make

Price Tag: Low to Medium, ~$300 - $2,000, depends on your choice of projector

Time to implementation: Depends on how handy you are, should be no more than one day

For the DIY solution, you will need:

  1. A silver screen – this can be either a blank wall in your backyard, a sheet strung up between the trees, or you can build one using PVC pipes and white stretch fabric – multiple YouTube videos on the subject
  2. A projector – while you there are many options and price ranges in this space (see recommendations from PC Magazine here , you can get away with a mini projector like this one that will not take up much room, easily hook up to your computer, and with its size, you can take it to the office or anywhere it is needed.
  3. Bluetooth speaker – bet your kids have one or two already.

Pro Tips:

  • Unless you are using a rear projector – it is best to screen at dusk
  • Set the speakers in front of the screen or right beside it, not necessarily besides the projector in the back
  • Citronella candles – keep the bugs away to enjoy the movie fun


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