So you want to know where to start? We can't actually tell you how to do everything as every event is unique, but we can give you a checklist of what you'll need to consider.
This is a very important factor when planning your event. Be on the lookout for any lighting within 300 feet radius. Street lights and/or business lights need the ability to be turned off.
Find a place where you can grow. You'll need space for hundreds, if not thousands of people; concessions and vending areas; space for live entertainment; and any sponsors that may set up. This can be simple or complex depending on how much you're willing to build around the movie.
Just like any other movie theater, this can be part of the fun! Plus, you should be looking at several revenue streams to support your venture. Concessions, merchandising and sponsorships are just a few.
Pick a Venue
Outdoor cinemas are being hosted everywhere imaginable. If you have an inflatable airscreen, the possibilities are endless. Find a venue where you can build some roots in the community. Form alliances with other local businesses.
It's best to find multiple 120 amp circuits. If you're running a popcorn machine, make sure this is on a separate circuit as the rest of your equipment. If necessary, generators can work very well. Keep in mind the distance of these to the audience as they can be loud. Silent generators are also available.
Ah, the weather. The outdoor event planner's biggest variable. There's not much you can do to change the weather, but there are ways to plan for it. For example, we get the weather radar on our cell phones. That gives us the ability to plan for the evening. Sometimes having a rain date works, but it can complicate the schedule. Some times we reserve the last two weekends of the summer to make up any canceled shows from the season. It works pretty well and is easy to manage.
What time should the movie begin? Usually 20 minutes after sunset is good timing; the audience doesn't want to sit long in the dark, so we tend to start the movie as soon as the light levels permit it. Sunset times for your city are available at www.weather.com. Enter your zip code and look for "Averages & Records". Next, click on the month and look for the Sunset column. Remember, June has the longest daytimes.
If you're showing a bright film such as Toy Story (animated films are typically brighter), you can start earlier than if you show Ghostbusters, which is darker.
How far must the projector be from the screen? Projection is front projection, which means from the viewer's side. For our screen, the projector will end up between 40-60 ft. away.
The projector is usually in the middle of the audience, about 4 ft off the ground. This typically has not been a problem at any previous venues. If you need the projector to be elevated more, or projected from a greater or lesser distance, this can be arranged if discussed well in advance of the movie date.
How heavy are your screens, will they damage the grass? The screens vary from 50 lbs to 440 lbs. The screen equally distributes the weight over its' large surface areas. It will not damage or leave ruts in your grass. If you choose to have the AirScreen standing for a few days, the prolonged exposure to the pressure and the heat from the sun may dry out/brown the grass.
- Headlights from nearby vehicles shining across the screen can be annoying; try to avoid parking situations that will distract from the show.
Typical Event Time Line
- 1-2 hrs. before: arrive and setup
- 30 min. before: all systems are checked and screen up
- 20 minutes before: music, your sponsors ads, games, etc.
- 10 min. before: announcements & host greeting
- Movie begins
- 1 hr. after movie ends: Equipment is removed