How to Set Up Your Own Outdoor Movie Theater – Step-by-Step Guide

Indoor movies are what we all always enjoy once in a while. Bringing a change, outdoor theater can be more thrilling than you thought of it. Lying under the star with your loved ones by your side, what can you even ask for? Hey, are you thinking about how to set up your own outdoor movie theater?

Setting your outdoor movie setup doesn’t require any rocket science, but it surely needs effort! Want to know how to do so?

In this article, we have mentioned the detailed complete outdoor home theater setup. Before checking the process, check the list of items you need.

Things You Need Complete Outdoor Home Theater

To make your outdoor movie setup stand out, you need the following items. Each item mentioned in the list is crucial in its shoes. Scroll down to have a sneak peek;

1. Projector


Can a movie night be complete without a projector? Of course, not! Before setting up the inflatable outdoor movie screen and speakers, make sure you have a high-end screening projector.

The choice of the projector depends on the room size, lighting mode, location, contrast ratio, and screen-to-projector distance.

No matter how high the lumen intensity is, you won’t enjoy a high-resolution display if the contrast ratio is low. Since you are setting the theater outdoors, the least contrast ratio you should opt for is 1500:1. Even better is 2000:1.

Talking about the resolution of the projector, never go less than 1920 x 1080 pixels. The last thing to check is the short-throw or long-throw projector. For more details, you can also check out the best picture settings for a projector.

If you want to place the projector near the screen, go with a short-throw projector. On the other hand, if you’re going to set the projector away from the screen, a long throw projector is what you need.

Have a look at the outdoor projector for daytime use to pick the right one according to your room requirements.

2. Screen (Buy or make your own)

Projector Screen

The next thing you need for an outdoor movie projector kit is the screen. Before you think about which size will be the best for screening, figure out how many people will watch the movie.

A small screen is perfect for watching a movie with a family consisting of 4-5 members. On the other hand, if you call your whole bachelor group for the crazy movie night, then prefer a large screen.

Most of the screens for home theater range between 8-12 feet in height. The more people you need for movie night, the increase the screen size, accordingly.

Hey, do you want to save your bucks and DIY a projector screen at home? Check out the following ways;

Plain wall

Suppose your backyard has a plain white wall, then no need to buy an inflatable outdoor movie screen or equipment. Adjust the projector in the direction of the wall and enjoy your movie night.

Hang linen sheet

Who doesn’t hang clothes on the ropes in the backyard to dry them? Don’t you? Instead of drying the clothes, use the strings for screening this time. Bring out a plain linen sheet from your wardrobe and hang it on the ropes using clips. The major drawback about this method is it is not suitable on windy days.

Plan panaflex sheet (PVC backlit banner)

You must be familiar with panaflex sheets or the PVC backlit banners. How about using them for outdoor movie setup? Take a large size banner and paste it on the wall. Make sure there is no gap between the sheet and the wall. Otherwise, you’ll experience a drop in resolution.

A white sheet with PVC pipes

Just the way you make backdrops for birthday parties, make one the same way for an outdoor movie setup. Now it is up to you whether you use a plain linen sheet or PVC backlit banner. Whatever you use, securely mount it with the pipe frame. The best part about this method is you can use the structure whenever you want.

3. Bluetooth Speakers

Bluetooth Speakers

Hey, are you going to watch the movie with no voice recalling the black and white days? For sure, you need a pair of Bluetooth speakers to rock the movie night.

When deciding on the speakers, keep in mind that it’s for an outdoor movie setup. The environment isn’t going to be dead-silent like indoor movie setups. The Bluetooth speakers should be power-pack to cover your whole backyard effortlessly.

4. Chairs or Inflatable Loungers

Chairs or Inflatable Loungers

On the way to set up your own outdoor movie theater, you need chairs for sitting. Obviously, you can’t allow your friends and family to sit on the grass at night, and insects will be roaming around.

Even better if you bring inflatable loungers instead of chairs. The movie is going to last around 3-hours. Sitting continuously on chairs for an extended period will cause pain in the back and neck.

The inflatable loungers will offer the comfort you always enjoy in indoor or cinema movie theaters on the flip side of the coin.

5. Outdoor Popcorn Popper

A movie night without popcorn is like a cake without whip cream (at least, we never prefer it). Going inside the house to microwave the popcorn, again and again, won’t you blackout with this hustle? Place an outdoor popcorn popper to enjoy popcorn on the go the way you want.

6. Utility Wagon

Besides the popcorn, how can you forget about snacks? Again, are you going to distribute the snacks to attendees during the ongoing movie? Definitely, no one will enjoy the film that way.

Bring a utility wagon in the backyard and place all the snacks in it. Now, whenever someone wants a snack, push the wagon towards the person. See? No one will get disturbed that way.

How to Set Up Your Own Outdoor Movie Theater – Step-by-Step Process

So you are done bringing all the necessary items for the outdoor movie setup? Let us finalize things now.

Outdoor movie setup

1. Pick up a Location

Picking a location for an outdoor movie theater system is going to be nerve-racking. Let us make it effortless for you. First, examine your backyard or the place you are placing the screen.

Now place the screen at a point where no one can cross over. In simple words, place the screen near the exterior wall of the house. Don’t have an outer wall? Place the screen in front of the garage door.

We won’t recommend you to place the screen in the driveway as it will suffocate the parking.

2. Set up the Speakers

The indoor movie setup is effortless as you have all facilities nearby. Things sound perplexing outdoors as you have to bring everything. Talking about speakers, the basic sound system is good to go with.

If your projector supports Bluetooth connectivity, then make sure to have Bluetooth speakers as they are super convenient in connection.

You will need at least 3-4 speakers to cover the whole backyard. Make sure to follow HOA regulations related to the noise level in the backyard.

3. Check Connectivity

The projector is all set, the screen is good to go, speakers ready to rock, but how to connect all these with the device? At the back of your projector, check the connectivity ports. The preferred ones are HDMI and USB ports.

Bring an HDMI cable to connect your streaming device (mostly laptop) with your projector. How amazing it would be if your projector had Bluetooth connectivity. If that is the case, then there is no need to be involved in cords mess.

4. Give power to the projector

Hmm, how will you power the projector as there is no electric socket in the backyard? Simple, bring an extension wire, and what?

The extension wire should be one piece with no joints. The attendees will possibly walk around on the ground. If somehow someone steps on it, he can get electric shocks. Or, if you are joining the wire, wrap it securely with electrical tape.

5. Stream

That is how you set up an outdoor movie theater. Since the friends are here and everything is fantastic, make sure to select a movie that creates memories. Keep the content and sound of the film bearable for your neighbors.


With the process for how to set up your own outdoor movie theater mentioned above, make sure to enjoy your movie night fully. Some items in the list are not that crucial, but having them will double up the fun.

Lastly, did you find this article valuable? Share your feedback in the comment section.

Happy movie night!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to watch an outdoor movie without a projector?

Maybe or maybe not! To do this, you will need to DIY a projector at home. The process is time-consuming, with no guarantee that it will work. Better if you stay away from the hurdle.

Is it worth investing in projectors?

A big yes! Not only for the movie screening, but you can use the projector for educational purposes as well. While deciding on the projector, make sure to invest in a reliable brand.

Which one is better? Linen sheet or PVC backlit banner?

We recommend the PVC backlit banner as it is tougher to stand against the wind, while the linen sheet will blow along with the wind.


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