How to Set Up a Backyard Cinema in Under an Hour

Organizing a backyard cinema is a great outdoor event idea – nothing says fun like having a backyard movie night. You don’t have to do too much or spend too much to create a cinema by yourself. You can easily do this in less than an hour to host your friends and family for a great night outside.

This article will show you what you need and how to set up a backyard cinema in under an hour. 

What You Need To Set Up a Backyard Cinema

To set up a backyard cinema in under an hour, here are the basic things you need. Some are DIY, and some you will have to purchase. Don’t worry; we selected the best options for you.


To set up a backyard cinema, you need a projector. While you might already have a laptop, you need a projector to watch a movie outdoors and create the full cinema experience. The BenQ HT2150ST 1080P Short Throw Projector is a good choice, ideal for outdoor entertainment.

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Projector Screen

Another item you will need is a projector screen. You can buy one or make an outdoor movie screen yourself. If you don’t want to go through the stress of making one, you can choose between an inflatable or standing/hanging screen. We recommend a standing outdoor screen because it doesn’t require electricity. 

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People usually overlook the speaker, but it is an essential part of an outdoor cinema. Since you will be showing the movie outside, you want everyone to hear the sound clearly despite the background noise. Some factors you need to consider before choosing a speaker are how often you will use it and how much you are willing to spend.

Media Player

You can download the latest movies to your USB drive for better flexibility instead of hauling out the old DVD player. You can also connect Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire Stick to your device’s HDMI port and use them as extensions.

Alternatively, you may use the smart projector’s WiFi capabilities to watch videos on the internet in real-time.

How to Set Up a Backyard Cinema By Yourself in Under an Hour

Now that you know what you need to set up a cinema in your backyard, you can gather your supplies and follow these steps to create a backyard cinema yourself.

Find a Suitable Location

First, you need to find a place in your backyard to set up the outdoor cinema. Two factors that influence this decision are where you plan to put the screen and how you will set up the seating. When using a wall as the screen, you have limited options. Using a portable projector screen gives you enough flexibility to decide on the arrangement. Where you set it up must be spacious enough to ensure your guests are comfortable.

Set the Projector Screen

After selecting a suitable location for your movie night, it’s time to set the projector screen. Assemble a framed projector screen if you’re using one, or use a makeshift screen like bedsheets hung from trees or other objects with ropes to keep them wrinkle-free.

Regardless of the type of projector screen you use, ensure that it’s far enough from the seating so that everyone has a good view.

Install the Projector

The projector is the most important piece of equipment in a backyard cinema. Without it, you can’t project the movie on the screen. 

A pro tip is to install the projector at the back of the seats so that it doesn’t cast a shadow. If the screen is higher than the projector, you can raise the projector using a table.

Also, place the projector so that the image fits within the bounds of the projector screens. If there are no power outlets near the projector, you will need an extension cord. Turn on the projector and line up the images. Use lens shift, lens zoom, or keystone correction to get it right. Because your outdoor movie theater is temporary, it does not have to be flawless.

Connect the Speakers

Connecting a speaker helps enhance the sound quality. If you are using a wired speaker, connect the audio cable to one of the audio outputs available on the projector. We recommend a Bluetooth speaker so you can place it anywhere you want.

Get the Chairs

After setting up the projector and speakers, it is time to figure out how to arrange the seating. For a more comfortable experience, try folding seats, sling chairs, recliners, or even beds and pillows. If there are children or youngsters, having a space to lie down is a good idea since they may get sleepy if the movie goes late into the night. It is usually nice to have additional chairs in case more people show up than planned.

Consider Decorating

Decorating is optional. If your movie night has a theme, you can add some decorations to showcase it and bring life to the venue. A few flowers and scented candles won’t hurt, either. 

Finishing Touches and Testing

Check that everything you have put together works perfectly. Go over your setup and check that the arrangement is okay. Plug the devices into a power source and test them. If it’s possible to get backups for the devices you plan to use, do so, just in case. The type of movie you plan to show matters, too. Don’t play something scary if many little kids are there. Also, you should provide snacks and beverages to make the evening as memorable as possible.