Whilst the domestic football season may be done and dusted until late August, there’s the small matter of not one, not two, but three stellar matches coming up in the not too distant. This Saturday sees Watford take on newly crowned Premier League champions Manchester City in the FA Cup Final, whilst this season’s European competitions come to a head with the all-English affairs between Chelsea and Arsenal in the UEFA Europa League decider on Wednesday 29 May, closely followed by Spurs vs Liverpool in the Champions League Final on Saturday 1 June.
If you’re a fan of the beautiful game, DIY, and alfresco socialising (and let’s face it, who isn’t?) then what better way to catch the big games whilst the weather is nice than in your very own outdoor cinema? Creating one is a lot easier than you’d think, as we’re about to tell you right here…
Express Yourself, Create The Space…
Properties within our green and pleasant land come in all guises, from two-up two down terraces, right through to the palatial des res country pile. Regardless of where you call home, when planning a location for your outdoor cinema you should always try to situate it in an area that’s dry and sheltered from the wind. After all, nobody wants to go chasing a screen down the street deep into extra time now, do they?
It’s also a good idea to try and position your outdoor screening area away from strong light sources such as street lighting and where bright interior light spills out through doors and windows as this might reflect on the screen and hinder your viewing.
If you have an enclosed back garden, you can give the area a modern, sleek feel by painting exterior walls and/or fences in a neutral colours such as the bang on-trend Dulux Weathershield Pewter Matt or bolder shade like Sandtex Purple Frenzy. The latter will not only provide the right ambience for outdoor screenings by eliminating reflective surfaces but shows off great contrast between plants and greenery set against it.
Do The Groundwork
If you want to go the whole hog and really watch these showcase finals in style then how about creating a brand new patio/outdoor entertaining area specifically for the purpose? Exterior flooring in the form of our wide range of 20mm thick outdoor slab tiles looks the business and is guaranteed to stand up to the elements for years to come, meaning that you’ll be able to watch all the big games alfresco, season after season after season.
Whilst it might sound like a huge undertaking, installing outdoor slab tiles such as our Surface Outdoor, Dakota, Axis, and Maverick slab tiles really isn’t thanks in part to their huge 600x600mm size which means you won’t need that many. The key thing to remember when installing outdoor tiles is to ensure that you have a level, concrete base on which to lay them and that you choose weatherproof adhesive – we recommend Mapei Adesilex P4 – and weatherproof grout such as Mapei Ultracolor.
Sound like a plan? If so, then check out our comprehensive Large Format Porcelain Outdoor Tile Installation Guide to easy step-by-step instructions on how to lay this type of porcelain tile. We’ve also got a handy article that tells you Which Adhesive & Grout To Use With Outdoor Tiles, and if you don’t want to go down the permanent installation route then you can always fit your outdoor slab tiles using Adjustable Support Pedestals. This method is useful for temporary installations and means that you can easily hide sound system and projector cables in the void that’s created beneath the slab tiles. Check out our Installing Outdoor Slab Tiles Using Adjustable Support Pedestals Guide for further info.
Choose A Projector
The most important element of building your own outdoor cinema is undoubtedly the projector. Back in the day these were prohibitively expensive and could only be used in near blackout situations but both the technology and pricing has come a long way in recent years. The latest models are incredibly compact and energy efficient and are even bright enough to use with the lights on.
When choosing a projector for outdoor use, you’ll want to consider playback resolution, image quality, and most importantly, brightness (measured in lumens). For a projector to offer decent image quality outdoors it will need to have a minimum of 2000 lumens, and whilst most projectors at all price points are capable of Full HD playback, its this brightness factor that is the most important element to bear in mind ahead of making a buying decision.
If money is no object the we recommend the Optoma UHD60 4K Projector – it’s a top-of-the-range piece of kit with a price tag to match (a cool £1,853.39 on Amazon!) but the 4K resolution, 3000 lumens brightness and image quality offered is out of this world. For the more budget conscious there’s the Epsom EB-S41 SVGA 3300 Lumens Projector, which retails at under £300 and although not offering HD output, packs in more lumens of brightness than many of its more expensive counterparts.
Create A Screen & Connect Your Video Source
The simplest way to fashion an outdoor cinema screen is to use a white sheet and hang it from a wall or even your washing line. You might want to weigh the ends down to stop it flapping in the breeze however. Alternatively, you could project onto a whitewashed wall or garage door. If you want to take things up a level you could invest in a specialist outdoor cinema screen – these are available in various sizes and specifications at various price points. Our favoured option is the EasyGo Inflatable Mega Movie Screen.
Once you’ve set up your screen it’s time to connect your video source. Most projectors have HDMI, USB, or microUSB ports, meaning you shouldn’t struggle to connect whatever device (smartphone, tablet, FireStick, Chromecast etc) you’re using as a media centre to stream the match from. Some projectors even feature Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, meaning you can dispense with wired connections entirely and wirelessly send the live stream to the projector itself. The optional ELPAP10 adapter for the Epson EB-S41 SVGA 3300 Lumens Projector allows you to share content from a smart device using the iProjection app.
The final thing to consider when configuring your set-up is audio output. Some projectors feature in-built speakers but given that you’ll be viewing outdoors and the assembled throng you’ve invited to watch along with you might get a tad boisterous, these can easily be drowned out. As such, we’d advise investing in a separate speaker system for audio output. If your projector has Wi-Fi connectivity them connecting to a soundbar or 5:1 surround sound speaker system is pretty straightforward, or if not, most projectors have 3.5mm jacks to accommodate wired connections to external audio peripherals.
Now your audio/visual kit is all sorted, the next thing to do is prepare for the turnstiles to open and the crowd (or just maybe just a few mates) to come flooding in. A few cushions scattered around on the floor will suffice if you want to keep things decidedly lo-fi but if you really want to lay on the full executive suite treatment then go can do worse than investing in some cool outdoor furniture. MADE do a nifty line of modular garden seating that can be combined to create an outdoor sofa, whereas Fatboy’s awesome beanbags are great for lounging around on hazy summer evenings.
If you don’t want to break the bank then it might be worth constructing your own pallet furniture, especially if you’ve ordered some Portico Outdoor Slab Tiles from us and are left wondering how to dispose of the pallet they arrived on. Check out our Top 5 Ways To Recycle A Pallet feature for details on how to make a sofa frame and table.
Finally, make sure you offer some matchday hospitality for your guests in the form of suitable snacks and beverages. You can’t go wrong with a few barbecue bits and bobs such as mini-burgers and chicken wings – check out the Tower Health Grill for a quick and easy cooking apparatus solution – whereas nobody will complain if you lay on a few ice cold beers ahead of the big kick-off. The Subcold Super50 LED Mini-Fridge is great for keeping those bottles and cans chilled to perfection but if you want the full pub beer garden experience then we recommend The Sub from Heineken/Krups.
Where To Watch
The 2019 FA Cup final between Watford and Manchester City is live on BBC1, BBC iPlayer, and BT Sport on Saturday 18 May. Coverage of the final starts at 4pm on BT Sport and at 3.55pm on BBC1 & BBC iPlayer with kick-off at 5pm.
Wednesday 29 May sees the UEFA Europa League Final played out between Chelsea and Arsenal and is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm. The game will be made free-to-air by BT Sport even for non-subscribers and fans can live stream the game via the BT Sport website and mobile app. It will also be screened in 4K, HD or SD via the BT Sport YouTube channel.
The Champions League Final sees Mauricio Pochettino’s Totrtenham take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in Madrid on Saturday 1 June. The game kicks off at 8pm and will be shown live on BT Sport 2, with coverage starting at 6pm. As with the Europa League Final, the game is avaiable free-to-air for non-subscribers and via the BT Sport website, mobile app and BT Sport YouTube channel.
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