How to Host Your Own Backyard Moonlight Cinema

We’re always looking for a reason to get our friends and family together, and with a love of movies and all things outdoors, a moonlight cinema is one of our new favourite ways to do so!

Creating your own backyard cinema isn’t anywhere near as tricky as it might sound, all you’ll need is a thick piece of white material or cloth, a projector, a laptop, some speakers and plenty of cushions and blankets for comfort! Here is our simple step by step guide to getting everything set up and ready for a great night out with friends and family!

1. Set up your screen

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This is perhaps the trickiest part of getting your moonlight cinema ready, but with some forward planning it shouldn’t be too difficult. Firstly, you’ll need to pick the right spot in your backyard to hang your screen. If you’ve got two conveniently placed trees, then pull your fabric taught and tie it to the trees with some sturdy rope. The edge of your verandah to a tree, or hanging your screen from the rim of your verandah and pulling it taught with ropes at the bottom are also great options.

If you need to create your own supports for the screen, plug two tall wooden posts into the ground and either staple or tie your fabric to them.

When picking a spot to set up, make sure there is plenty of floor space in front of your screen for sitting on (synthetic turf is the perfect floor for your moonlight cinema! Click here for our range), and ensure that your extension cord will reach the projector.

2. Set up your laptop and projector

This is pretty simple: plug your projector in, facing your screen, and connect your laptop using a HMDI or USB cable, whichever is supported by your laptop and projector, and change your screen setting to broadcast to the projector.

You may need to have a little play around with the angle of the projector, the focus and the resolution. You can generally do this by physically tilting the projector and twisting the lens until it looks crisp and clear. You may need to change resolution settings through your laptop. On a PC you can do this through the control panel, and on a Mac you can do this in the settings tab.

To keep the sound nice and crisp, invest in a pair of speakers from your local electronics store. JB Hi-Fi have plenty of great options for under $50, and a good pair of speakers will always come in handy for use later down the track!

3. Choose your movie

This is by far the most important step in setting up your moonlight cinema, in fact we’d expect that you’d probably think about what movie you’d like to watch before even beginning the set up!

Make sure you consider you audience when picking a movie, if you’ve got lots of children coming over you can never go past classics like Finding Nemo or Toy Story, and if you haven’t already seen it a thousand times – everyone knows kids love Frozen!

If you’re having a bit of a girl’s night we can never go past classic Hugh Grant in Notting Hill or Love Actually. If you’re looking for a film to suit everyone, check out Time Out Magazine’s Top 100 Comedies of all Time for some inspiration!

4. Cosy up

AOL-Artficial-Lawn-Grass-Cosy-Backyard-SceneMake all your guests comfortable by investing in some soft furnishings such as big cushions, bean bags and blankets so everyone can get nice and cosy while they’re watching the movie. Kmart, Target or Ikea are great places to go and pick up everything you need for a very low price.

Alternatively, ask your guests to bring their own fold down chairs or beanbags. Just make sure you’ve got some spare blankets on hand in case an evening chill sets in.

5. Snacks, snacks, and some more snacks!

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Last, but certainly not least, make sure you’ve got plenty of snacks on hand. A couple of platters with chips, crackers, dips, fresh fruit and raw veggies will ensure there’s something for everyone – and make sure you’ve got a few bowls of popcorn to go around too.

If you’ve recently built your own DIY earth oven (read here for our instructions), load up on marshmallows and even give making your own s’mores a go!

Now you’ve got everything ready to go, pick a night (check the weather first!) and invite everyone around for a great night out without leaving the house!

If you’re looking to make your outdoor space more inviting, check out our popular outdoor renovations and contact us for a FREE measure and quote today.

For more inspiration on great Spring makeover ideas, check out our 27 page DIY and design e-book, which is packed full of great ideas and fun activities for the whole family, including:

  • Create your own backyard getaway
  • Green living ideas this spring
  • Growing your own groceries
  • … And much, much more!

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About Alex Kuchel

This is Alex. Alex is the National Brand Manager at Australian Outdoor Living (AOL). By day, she’s a member of AOL’s marketing team. She helps to conjure up ideas on how best to promote Australian Outdoor Living and enjoys working with a pretty awesome team of clever cookies. By night (and weekends), she enjoys the company of her family and friends. She’s a big believer in sun shine and does her best to enjoy it with those she loves most.”

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