Monday, June 18, 2012

Dive-In Theater

Summer is in full swing and we could NOT wait to start the pool party season.  This year we decided to put a huge twist on our pool party...our very own dive-in movie theater.  This project got my husband very excited and before I knew it, he had hit the hardware store for all of the supplies.

The beauty of this fun addition to our backyard...it was under $40!!!!  A few PVC pipes, connectors, grommets, zip ties and a simple canvas drop cloth.  We were in business.


Now, the process was quite simple but the design could use some fine tuning.  As you can see from the photo, we placed a few grommets around the edge of the canvas painters tarp and created a frame using PVC pipe.  We placed a support down the middle to help with stability.  The bottom of the legs has a T-bar connector.  Since we placed it against the wall, we only used one pipe pointing away from the wall.

This screen and design is most definitely a work in progress.  It works and we are having a blast but it is amateur for sure.  Here is what we have learned (so far)...

It must be almost completely dark before we start the movie.  We have a pretty good, professional projector but it still needs to be dark.  You also do not want bright light behind your screen.  It is probably best against the house or a large wall or hedge.

Stability is a concern with our design.  With even the slightest wind, the screen is not self supporting and would likely take flight with a strong gust.  To deal with this, we placed the screen against our back wall and used cement pavers to hold the base.  We also utilized bungee cords to hold the screen against the wall.

The bungee cords have created another issue due to the flexibility of the 3/4" PVC pipe.  We are still working to address this issue.  Our plan is to put a metal pipe "inside" the PVC pike to create more stability.  As the bungee pulled on the PVC pipe, it began to rip the canvas where the grommets were placed.  I will update following our next dive-in movie to see if this added stability worked.


The movie set-up is quite easy as long as you have access to a projector.  Our set-up includes a projector, a DVD player, and a stereo receiver with speakers.  The projector is something that my husband purchased several years ago to do seminars for work - he normally is using it attached to his computer for PowerPoint presentations.  Eventually, we would like to place permanent wires/speakers around our pool but for now, we run wires and place speakers on each side of the pool.


We have had a couple of parties so far and are having a blast.  With guests watching the movie both in the water and on deck, everyone has had a blast.  So far all of our movies have been family friendly but we look forward to a few action films too!

What are your movie suggestions for our Dive-In Movie Theater?

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7 comments:

  1. I have been wanting to do this. Looks so fun! I would love for you to share on my linky party!
    http://www.igottatrythat.com/p/blog-hop-linky-colde.html
    Thanks,
    Marcie @ www.IGottaTryThat.com

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  2. We did this last summer and had an "80's themed party" . everyone dressed in that style and we had a rubic-cube cake, played 80's music and watched Back to the Future. It was a great night.
    We also had another event where we watched the movie "Grown Ups" That was great too because we watched with other families that kinda remind us of the people in the movie. I like watching movies outside in the summer that are kind of summer or camp themed. We roasted marshmallows too!

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  3. That is SUCH a cool idea! I'm hoping to build a similar screen in my backyard but don't have a pool - you have a fancy resort-style feature for your family!

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  4. Fun! Fun! Fun! I would go retro and get the original Flubber movie - The Absent Minded Professor or The Shaggy Dog :o)

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  5. big screen, summer, movies and a pool...wow! you are going to have a fun summer!!!

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  6. This is so great! I'm trying to convince my hubby that we soooo need a projector! Thanks for the inspiration and the tips!

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