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General Event Discussion Planning & organizing events, setup tips and tricks, and any other event related subjects. Please post event specific topics in the corresponding forum below.

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Unread 04-30-2010, 12:42 AM   #1
Doug Miles
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Default Creative/Difficult screen setups

I've had a few "interesting" screen setups since I've been running outdoor movie events. I thought I would start a thread showing some of the hurdles I've had, maybe it will help someone. If anyone has any to add, please do.

Probably the most often encountered problem is hills. Let's face it, not everyone's yard is flat. And, if you've asked the right questions BEFORE showing up, it's not a surprise. But, then again, one person's idea of "flat" is another person's "hill".

The first set up I'm going to show is thankfully one that I checked out before I showed up. So, I knew what to expect. If I had not met with the homeowner before the event, there is NO WAY I would have been prepared for this. It's a retirement/golf community. Not much property with each house, and kind of hilly. Makes for a good golf course, but lousy for inflatable screens.

The homeowner's house has a short steep backyard. This required front projection without a doubt. In the picture below, the house is up the hill to the right. The blower is as far back as I can get it without putting it in the woods. The "structure" I have built is a base, or frame on which the screen (16' x 9') will sit. The projector is on a shelf, up the hill to the right, all the way at the back of the house. There is just enough distance between the projector and screen to allow for this size screen. The "shelves" in the picture are just that, plastic shelves. Notice, since the back of the screen will be off the ground by a foot and a half, the blower needs to raised as well.

movie_screen_on_hill1.jpg

And, here is a similar shot but with the screen stretched out across the makeshift frame.

movie_screen_on_hill2.jpg

And here is the screen inflated, resting on the frame. Projector is up the hill to the right, front-projecting. I made a few adjustments after this picture was taken. You can see, it wasn't resting squarely on the frame, and was leaning forward ever so slightly. I remember that I also told the homeowner that if there was even the slightest wind, that I probably couldn't do it. Wind blowing a screen is one thing, but perched up like this is, well, dangerous. Thankfully, no wind.

movie_screen_on_hill3.jpg
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Unread 04-30-2010, 10:24 AM   #2
Mackinac Movies
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Very creative. I suppose each new location is an adventure!

Question: Does a forward / backward tilting screen look very undesirable? I am sure tilting side-side would look strange, but I am not sure how much forward/backward tilting would bug the audience.
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Unread 04-30-2010, 03:19 PM   #3
Doug Miles
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I should also mention, take a look at the downward facing leg of the speaker stands. I have a couple small pieces of wood with short legs attached that I use for leveling speakers stands on hills. It's actually more stable than it looks. But, I'm also using the 10" EONs here. I wouldn't want to use a bigger speaker like this.

How do DJ's handle speaker stands on hills?


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Originally Posted by Mackinac Movies View Post
Question: Does a forward / backward tilting screen look very undesirable? I am sure tilting side-side would look strange, but I am not sure how much forward/backward tilting would bug the audience.
I've always tried to get screens standing straight, basically making the base level (but not necessarily level with the ground). If the screen was leaning forward or backward, I don't think it would look good from the audience's perspective.

Here are a few pictures from another party I did. Here the hill was not as steep, and I probably could have just let the screen lean backwards. But, I decided to make it level. I used a few 2x4's and some cinder blocks to support the rear of the screen, but this overkill. The screens don't need very much to support them like this. The air pressure from the blower makes the frame fairly rigid:

movie_screen_on_hill4.jpg

movie_screen_on_hill5.jpg

movie_screen_on_hill6.jpg
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Unread 05-02-2010, 01:06 AM   #4
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Here's another interesting setup. In fact, I really liked this setup. This seemed like an incredible position for the screen, high over the pool, and easily visible from the entire backyard.

I only have one decent picture, so it will have to do, but I'll try to explain what's going on. Directly behind the diving board (in the picture below) is a wall, about 5 feet high. On top of the wall is a wrought iron fence, about 4 feet tall. Behind the fence, where the screen is located, is a hill (sloping up and away from the pool).

The challenge here, which isn't clear from the picture, was that rain was expected. It was raining when we showed up, and rained during our setup. We waited about a half hour past the agreed start time, and the rain stopped. But, in order to begin setting up the equipment (in the rain) we needed to setup a canopy. So, in the picture below, the canopy is up the hill,behind the screen. It is covering the projector. I used a few shelves and 2x4's to make a level base to rest the screen on. We were using the 12' Sima screen.

movie_screen_pool_party1.jpg
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Unread 05-02-2010, 02:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Miles View Post
How do DJ's handle speaker stands on hills?
I don't. Pretty selective about where I will setup. But, DJs are a bit of a different situation then movies. DJs will generally play to a dancfloor, where it would usually be level. Being a wedding jock, outdoors, I will always have a mobile dancfloor provided, gotta keep those dresses nice!

BUT, if presses, I would probably use cinder blocks like you did. I don't usually use speaker stands, my tops are pole mounted, on top of the 18" subs.
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Unread 05-02-2010, 03:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mackinac Movies View Post
DJs will generally play to a dancfloor, where it would usually be level. Being a wedding jock, outdoors, I will always have a mobile dancfloor provided, gotta keep those dresses nice!
Duh! I never even thought about that (the dance floor).

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Originally Posted by Mackinac Movies View Post
I don't usually use speaker stands, my tops are pole mounted, on top of the 18" subs.
Probably another topic by itself, but what do think about using subs for movies? I had an 18" sub and used it at a few movie events. I also used it at any music or music video events. But I eventually sold it. It did help with the really low parts, but the added trouble of carting that thing around, combined with the fact that my 15" EONs sound really good by themselves, I just couldn't see holding onto it. I haven't regretted selling it, but I figured I would ask you since you have a better "sound" background.

Maybe the better question, are you going to use subs for movies?
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Unread 05-05-2010, 05:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Miles View Post
Duh! I never even thought about that (the dance floor).



Probably another topic by itself, but what do think about using subs for movies? I had an 18" sub and used it at a few movie events. I also used it at any music or music video events. But I eventually sold it. It did help with the really low parts, but the added trouble of carting that thing around, combined with the fact that my 15" EONs sound really good by themselves, I just couldn't see holding onto it. I haven't regretted selling it, but I figured I would ask you since you have a better "sound" background.

Maybe the better question, are you going to use subs for movies?
Right now, yes I plan on using subs for movies. I have the EV SX500 15" tops (750 watts per side) and they sound fantastic outdoors, BUT I really am used to the heavy punch of the 18" subs (3000 watts bridged mono). I have my rack, crossovers, and wires all setup for this config, so it will really be just a matter of unloading the subs, and plugging them in. I may experiment to see if the subs are needed. I can easily deactivate them, and change my crossover so that the 15" get more sub frequencies. Sometimes I will do short jobs, or ones where full sound is not needed, and I will use a tripod instead of the subs, but the funny thing is, my full size SB180 EV sub takes up less floor space then my tripod, so generally I just setup the sub.

Always remember, if you are sending the low frequencies into a sub, (which are the hardest to re-produce) you can run your tops hotter - at a lower overall power, and they will generally sound more clear. Of course that means that you have to have a sub - and amp - and crossover. Since I am using my outdoor DJ rig duel use for movies, I think I am just going to go with what I have.

All that said, in my research on the Internet just looking at as many pro movie setups that I could, I don't ever really recall seeing any subs at all. They may still be there, but I did not notice any. So my setup may be the exception to the rule for sure.
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Unread 05-05-2010, 09:24 PM   #8
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Dang, your system must THUMP!!! If you're already using the setup sounds like a good idea to stick with it. You're going to be hard to beat in the sound area!

I agree, I don't see many set ups using subs. I've seen (and used myself) 2 left front and 2 right front speakers (just spread apart further). And I've also seen set ups using a center channel. But I could never seem to find a good dedicated powered center channel speaker.
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Unread 05-06-2010, 02:56 PM   #9
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It can thump, and it is also very very loud. Thing is, we usually run it right around 50-60% power. I get more compliments about the moderate volume, then anything else. Thing is, I don't like it when it is too loud - hell I even ware earplugs when i go to concerts! Having the capability to go louder is important. The more headroom you have, the better it will sound. If you are running right on the ragged edge all the time, you run the risk of burning something up. I used to run my old system wide open to do a party. When I compiled my new system (back in 99) I swore I would never have the problem again. We have only opened it all the way up on a very few occasions, I will grant you this: it will bring down ceiling tiles (indoors). Outdoors is a whole separate animal, you need 2 to 3 times the power, and folded horn subs work the best from my experience. Just like where a DJ can use 500 watts for a given party, and a band may need 3-4000 for the same experience, outdoor and indoor are completely different. Another reason I have a 36 band EQ. You can shape the output to match the location. Is your backdrop open/ a building / woods - all different settings because the reflection and absorption rates are different.

Sorry this kinda morphed into a sound thread, but it is the knowledge I can share at this point. Maybe in a year or so I can share some more movie type info - I am going to have a trial by fire soon!
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Unread 05-06-2010, 04:00 PM   #10
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Well, it kind of fits in this thread. Sound setups can be creative and or difficult like you mentioned (backdrops, etc.).

But maybe I'll start a new thread. I have a few sound questions maybe you can answer.
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