What’s Needed For An Outdoor Movie Night?

Watching a movie under the stars is a great way to enjoy a warm summer evening. An outdoor movie night is a creative way to have an intimate yet fun time with friends and family. Imagine lying on a cozy cushion or blanket on a starry night, surrounded by the people you love, watching a thrilling movie while munching on delicious snacks. You get to pick the film, invite who you want, and choose the snacks. A million times better than the overpriced stale popcorn they serve at your local cinema. You can even set up the grill and serve burgers and dogs if you’d like. You and your guests will definitely enjoy your movie under the stars.

The fact is, there’s just something magical about outdoor movie nights. Proper planning will allow you to work with the space available at home and make the best of it.

To start with, here are the necessities you’ll need to host your own top-quality outdoor movie night.


An integral part of your outdoor movie experience is the equipment you use. Getting the electronics in order is step one. 

Below is a list of the equipment you’re going to need:


While moving your TV outside is a possibility, it’s not the best option.  If you’re hoping for a quality experience, invest in a projector. There are options available in every budget range that will work well. The following factors are important when considering a projector for use in outdoor movie viewing:

  • Lumens: The lumen rating of a projector determines its brightness output. Projector models with a lumen range between 2,500 to 4,000 work well.  The more light a projector outputs, the sooner your movie night can begin. A brighter projector makes it possible to start the movie right after sunset instead of needing to wait an additional 30 minutes for it to get darker.
  • Matching Input: The projector you choose must have a connection input that fits your laptop, Apple TV, Blu-ray player, or whichever other media player you opt to use. 
  • Resolution: It is vital to get a projector with a resolution well-suited for your purposes. A projector with 1080p resolution or a 4K projector is acceptable.
  • Size: When buying a projector, keep in mind how big your screen is and how far away the projector will need to be to project to the size of your choice.

Media Player

You will need a disc-based system like a laptop, Apple TV, DVD, or Blu-ray player to play a movie. If you have a good Wi-Fi connection, you can use a streaming device. Whichever video source you opt for, don’t overlook sound quality. You don’t want to select a media player that will be too complex to connect with a sound system. Streaming devices, like the Fire Stick, connect directly to the HDMI input on your projector and are designed to draw power from the projector’s USB to stream movies via Wi-Fi.


Outdoor screens come in different shapes and sizes. Among the options are inflatables and stand-mounted screens. Your environment will determine the screen size and type you should get. For instance, if you are setting up in a windy area, it is advisable to get screen support anchors to keep your screen in place. You can also easily cut corners with the screen by hanging a white sheet or projecting the movie on a wall of your home. However, with this approach, you sacrifice viewing quality.

Sound System

Usually, projectors come with built-in speakers but don’t expect them to provide the deep, rich sound needed for an outdoor movie. Only an external powered speaker system can do that. And the variety of options when it comes to sound systems for outdoor movies is extensive. The key to achieving a robust and high-quality sound is to match your speaker input to your projector. The size of the speaker you will need might depend on the space you have.  In some instances, you can also have the audio play through outdoor speakers and/or your landscape speakers.

Suitable Location

Where you set up your outdoor cinema depends on how your home is built and situated and the geography of your yard or property. You should also make sure the location you choose for movie night is sheltered from the wind if possible.

Comfy Seats

An essential element of an outdoor movie night is the seating. So when you’re planning yours,  pay attention to the seating arrangement. There is a wide array of seating options from which you can choose. Lawn chairs, loungers, bean bags, sling chairs are popular options. 

If you don’t want to stress over seating, however, you can always spread a large blanket over the ground. 


If you’re going to be inviting people to your home for an open-air movie night, you have to make the experience as enjoyable as it can be. Make the area warm and cozy. Incorporating warm lighting if you can. Hurricane candles create an ambiance that’s perfect for watching movies. And if there are trees nearby, you can string lights through them.

Having an outdoor moving night is a great addition to your outdoor living.  As part of your existing home renovation or new custom home we can help you determine a potential location where an outdoor movie night would be best suited based on your land.

For more information, call us or click here to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.