An inflatable outdoor movie screen along with the right video and sound equipment can lead to some very fun nights for not only friends and family but entire communities and organizations throughout the world.
Outdoor movie screens have been around for a long time. The first drive in theater opened in 1933 in New Jersey. These outdoor movie screens were always a permanent fixture and had to endure all of the elements throughout the year. Maintenance for these huge movie screens became difficult as the weather would wear them down over time.
Today, inflatable outdoor movie screens are becoming a huge hit just as the drive in movie theaters were huge hits in their time.
Inflatable screens have many advantages to permanent fixed screens and even screens that can now be assembled and taken apart that are not inflatable. There is a steep learning curve, though, for working with inflatable screens so I want to take a close look at the inflatable outdoor movie screen.
Characteristics of an Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen
Setting up and taking down an inflatable outdoor movie screen is very easy when you know what you’re doing. When we got our first inflatable screen in, we had several issues when trying to set that screen up. Inflatable screens will be rolled up tightly so it’s difficult to understand their orientation when you’re trying to set them up for the first time.
You have to unroll them and take a close look at understand the orientation of the screen. You need to know the front, back, left, and right sides so it’s in the correct orientation after inflating the screen. Depending on the size of the inflatable outdoor movie screen, you may or may not be able to move the screen around after inflating. For the smaller inflatables, they are easy to move around but the large ones are nearly impossible to move around and change positions.
All inflatable movie screens will have air blower ports where the air blowers will be placed to ensure the screen stays inflated. Depending on the size of the outdoor movie screen, you may have 1 or 2 or even more air blower ports. Most smaller screens will only have 1 port while huge screens will have 2 or more. This means you’ll need a source of electricity to power the air blower. And remember that air blowers are powered by motors that create electrical noise on the same power line so be careful using this power for your electronics as electrical noise from the blower can feed back into the electronics which is not good.
Inflatable outdoor movie screens will have air release ports that must be closed during the inflation process and opened during the deflation process. You need to know where those are and ensure they are sealed closed for the inflation process and completely open during the deflation process. During any event, you need to make sure there is no chance of the air release ports opening as the screen could deflate and cause serious issues during your outdoor movie event or other event.
Tie down straps are another very important part of the setup and take down process for any inflatable outdoor movie screen. You must ensure the inflatable screen is safely secured at all times. Wind and other weather conditions can cause serious issues if you don’t have the screen securely fastened. High winds can even rip an inflatable screen to pieces and send it flying through the air.
High quality ground stakes are very important to secure the screen as well as a very high quality inflatable screen manufacturer who does a great job of adding straps in the correct location and ensuring those strap locations are sewed properly into the inflatable screen frame. Large ground stakes should be inserted into the ground in the proper locations and tied with the correct type of knot to the inflatable screen straps.
Securing the inflatable outdoor movie screen is the most important thing you can do to ensure the safety of everyone around. Ensure the screen is always secured even if the screen will stand on its own without straps holding it in place. Weather can change quickly and you don’t want to see your inflatable screen take off like a sailboat and cause havoc in the area.
Inflating the Screen
Every inflatable outdoor movie screen needs to be in the correct position before inflating. If you learn how to get the screen in the correct position before inflating, the inflation process will go very smooth and be very easy for you.
All inflatable screens from different manufacturers will be built differently so you’ll need to learn your inflatable screen and how it needs to be positioned before inflating. Once you get this right, everything will be very easy. If you get it wrong, you’re going to end up frustrated when your huge inflatable screen flips over on you in the wrong direction and the beautiful white screen surface hits the wet grass and leaves you with wet grass all over your screen that you’ll need to carefully clean.
Once the screen is in the right position, simply turn on the air blower or air blowers and watch as your screen inflates in just a couple of minutes or less depending on the size of the screen and the air flow of your air blowers. One thing you want to watch out for is the electrical capacity of the circuit you’re using for the air blower or blowers. Most electrical circuits have a current carrying capacity of either 15 or 20 amps and blowers can take half of that capacity and even more on initial start up. If you have other loads running on the same circuit, you could trip the circuit breaker.
You don’t want to trip the circuit breaker during an event and have your screen deflate on you. Use a dedicated circuit to run each air blower at your event. Be very careful with this and make sure you know your electrical circuit basics. You don’t want to have any issues with losing electricity as this can damage your expensive electronics as well.
If you do everything correctly during the inflation process, you’ll have a beautiful inflatable outdoor movie screen ready for action. Inflating the screen is one of the easiest parts of the outdoor movie process and should go rather quickly.
Deflating the Screen
Once your outdoor movie event is over and you have moved all electronics and other equipment away from the screen area (you don’t want anything puncturing your screen), it’s time to deflate the screen.
The first thing you need to do is remove all the straps from the stakes and get the stakes out of the ground. This can be time consuming if the stakes are tough to remove from the ground. You’ll need some help in holding the straps to ensure the screen doesn’t fly away once you remove the straps from the stakes. You’ll only need help securing the screen for a few minutes before you start deflating the screen.
Next step you’ll want to take is deflating the screen by turning off power to the air blower or blowers. As the inflatable outdoor movie screen deflates, be sure to move the screen as you want with the straps as it deflates. You never want the movie screen surface to fall forward and touch the ground or you’ll have a nasty and dirty screen surface over time. We’ve seen many competitors with very ugly and dirty screens. You’ll always get clean and beautiful screens with our inflatable screen rental packages as we are very detailed when it comes to the setup and take down process.
Once the inflatable outdoor movie screen is down at ground level, it’s time to open all the air ports so air can fully leave the screen structure. We usually open the air ports and start putting all other equipment away while the air continues to leave the inflatable screen. Once we have all other equipment put up, we go back to the screen which is now even further deflated.
We take our shoes off (which can be very uncomfortable in the colder weather with a wet screen especially) and stomp the remaining air out of the screen. This can take some time depending on the size of the inflatable screen.
Once most of the air is out of the inflatable outdoor screen, it’s time to start folding and rolling up the large structure back to its initial much smaller state. This can be the tough part and one that takes experience to get right. The large inflatable screens can take several people to get this right unless you’re really experienced with this part of the process.
A Final Look at the Inflatable Outdoor Movie Screen
Inflatable screens do provide many advantages to those fixed outdoor movie screens that you have seen at your local abandoned drive-in theater, but they do require lots of work to setup and lots of work to take down.
Inflatable screens are very portable and can be used anywhere. They can be used indoors as well as outdoors. They can be used in a backyard or at a huge public event. The possibilities are endless.
As you have seen, though, they do require lots of hard work to install and to remove from an event area. The smaller inflatable screens can be rather easy as many weigh less than 50 pounds, but the larger inflatable screens can pose many challenges once they start getting into the 300 plus pound range.
Heavy inflatable outdoor movie screens can be very tough to haul, move around, and install. You’ll also need a place to store your inflatable screens safely so that nothing can puncture your screens. You’ll need a large area to setup and clean your inflatable screen as needed. Maintenance is required on all inflatable screens especially if they ever get wet. In the Summer, you’ll always get dew on the screen and that will require a drying period in the sun the next day.
If you roll up your inflatable outdoor movie screen while wet and you leave it that way without allowing it to dry out, you will get ugly spots all over your inflatable screen. Here at Super Size Screens, we highly maintain all of our inflatable outdoor movie screens so you always get the best picture on the screen. You’ll find other companies that have nasty spots all over their screens and that leads to a less than desirable picture at your outdoor movie event.