Jumping on the Outdoor Movie Bandwagon| This WONDERfilled Life

It's June 2020 and the weather in Chicago has gotten nice again...and since we're all still under a "Stay at Home" (SAH) order we're taking full advantage of our back yard and I'm taking advantage of the relative quiet (kids are playing with each other instead of constantly calling my name) to catch up on more blog post from last fall!

One of the latest crazes in the back yard living is the "outdoor" movie experience.  Last summer we decided to jump on the band wagon.  We had a really cheap projector that crapped out on us so we upgraded to this View Sonic during Prime Days last summer. Once we saw what this projector could do we got to work on figuring out how to enjoy the warm summer nights in our urban oasis.

We originally had a white Ikea sheet hung on two tension rods (also Ikea) between two of the support columns on our patio.



But the screen was too small, HA! We just kept thinking...what's the point...if we're doing this we're going big.  So we dragged the screen from downstairs outside and played around with the projector placement and screen size.


The downstairs screen looks puny out here! But this was definitely closer!


I mean who doesn't want to see their team larger than life?




So after playing around with the size of the screen and the placement of the projector we realized a few things...we would need a bigger screen and we'd have to figure out a better place to mount the projector. We had been trying to set the projector in the back window of the house and it wasn't centered right and the scale was off so we started brain storming, and measuring...and testing...and viola!

We figured the best place to "hang" the projector was off of the back deck.  It would be close to power, could easily hook up to my computer from there and essentially behind the back door so off the beaten path so to speak.  We had a great projector mount downstairs and ordered another just for the outside set up and we had a nice piece of oak that we had used as a table top that we cut apart to make the mount.  We used our KREG Rip-Cut to rip the boards we needed.  A little set up is required but it makes really great, clean and precise cuts.






With all the pieces cut we used the KREG Pocket Jig K4 system to make strong screw joints.  




I love the right angle clamp...so helpful for things like this.


We knew with the weight of the projector (even thought it's light compared to most) that we would need to secure it "around" the deck railing.  This set up practically ensures that the projector and mount cannot fall off at all.  We added the pool noodle as a shock absorber.



We measured for the precise place to install the mount.


And then decided on some extra security...we drilled holes through the "saddle" of the mount and threaded three carriage bolts.  This keeps everything nice and snug and guarantees the mount cannot be bumped off in any circumstance.  



The entire mount system works really well.  My only complaint would be it's rather large when we store it (which is all the time unless we're showing a movie).  I like that it's removable and it didn't require us to clutter up our deck railing with stuff and when it's out of sight it's truly out of mind and I really love how sturdy it is. 

With the projector mount figured out we wracked our brains on getting the screen to be perfect.  We tossed around different ideas, most which required some sort of permanent set up (which neither of us were keen on) until one day it literally dawned on us...painters canvas and some clamps...done.  It was the perfect, non permanent, easy enough for one person to set up on their own, solution. We were concerned the seams would show but using the clamps it is easy to make the whole screen taut and any seams and wrinkles were pretty imperceptible.  The screen is HUGE. Trust me....and check back soon for how our inaugural back yard movie event went (spoiler, it was awesome!).




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