One side of our yard is bordered with a nice tall 6′ fence which could not have been more perfect for our “screen.” I didn’t even bother to iron the sheet but if you really wanted to go for perfection, you definitely could. I threw the longer end of the sheet over the top of the fence and secured it with a couple of clamps. The side of a garage or a shed with a sheet pinned up would work well, too.
1. The projector: We have been eyeing a couple of projectors on Amazon but lucky for us, a friend had one we could borrow for our test run. It was the Epson PowerLite X12 Business Projector and the day we borrowed it, it was on sale from Amazon for $399. I was shocked that the price was so “low,” remembering my early days in academic technology when we (really, the school where I worked) paid thousands of dollars for much lower quality projectors. As I am writing this post, the price of this Epson has gone up again. Bummer! But do not despair, Amazon offers a huge array of home projectors that start under $100! Just make sure you check the reviews. Not ready to BUY a projector yet? Post something on Facebook to see if a friend has one you can borrow or check to see if you can rent one locally (check out SnapGoods.com. It’s like an AirBnB for stuff!)
2. Laptop: Any old laptop will do. Just make sure that you have a cord that will connect from YOUR laptop to YOUR projector. Most of the new projectors have an HDMI port but your laptop might not. If you have a Mac laptop, you may need an adapter. If you have any questions on this, please feel free to ask them in the comments below. Also, we were planning to stream a movie from Netflix. The wireless signal in our backyard was not strong enough so we went to Plan B: a good old-fashioned DVD. If you are planning to play something wirelessly, definitely test it out ahead of time!
3. Everything else. We just used our speakers from our home desktop computer which also plug into the headphone jack of the laptop. Our speakers are probably 10 years old now and are still awesome. (These are a newer version of the speakers we have.) Many of the projectors have a built-in speaker but I promise you, this will NOT be loud enough for an outdoor movie night. Again, leave any questions about this in the comments. The extension cord was a super long one that we bought for our generator. It had three plugs on one end which was perfect for the speakers, the laptop, and the projector!
You definitely can’t tell from this photo but the picture was crystal clear. And thanks to our speakers, everyone could hear the movie no matter where they were on the lawn. We threw down blankets and pillows and sheets (to cover bare legs from mosquitoes!) and had a FABulous night watching National Treasure, a family fave.
And after the show, we didn’t have to go very far to get to bed, allowing us to check off TWO items from our Summer Bucket List in one night! XO, ellie