During these troubling times, we all need to unwind. Many of us have a lot more time on our hands but we don’t have the ability to fill that time with the things we are used to. No more hanging out in bars or going to the movie theater with friends and family. Still, you do not have to give up on everything that gave you joy – you just have to be more creative with it.
This pandemic is primarily spread through the air, so social distancing is a must right now. This makes sitting in a movie theater with the same air being circulated a really bad idea. Still, that does not mean we have to go without the communal experience of enjoying a good movie together. You might be wondering how that is possible, well what if I told you that it is possible to project movies onto your garage door for you and your Dayton, Ohio neighbors to safely watch? Sounds strange but it is totally doable with the right equipment and six feet of space between all the movie watchers.
Finding the Space…
So, most people won’t have access to a very large exterior wall that has no obstructions, is white, and is smooth. If your garage door is a single panel with a totally flat surface and basic light colored paint, congratulations! You have a garage door perfectly suited for projecting an image onto. Most people will only have one or two of those attributes with their garage door so you will have to make due.
It may seem counterintuitive but a grey colored garage door may be the very best for projecting images since black colors will show up at their darkest. This will be great for showing horror movies! A matte white paint on the garage door is very good for projecting an image. After that, regular white would be the next best option. After that, a light colored beige color is acceptable.
This is even harder to control because buying a can of paint and applying it is easy; changing the construction of your garage door, not so much! If your garage door is not a smooth flat panel or a series of smooth flat panels then you will have to kinda ignore that. Same for if you have a visible handle on the garage door. Sadly, if you have windows on your garage door, you can pretty much forget about projecting movies onto it. Any flaws in the garage door, such as holes, rust, clusters of dents, etc. need to be taken care of as well. Short of having a new garage door installation in Dayton, OH, you are just going to have to choose a wall to project your movies on instead.
I did say that there were some garage doors that simply cannot be used, but let me add a caveat; if you can place a light colored (white or grey) sheet that is not shiny and has no pattern, over the garage door, that will minimize the flaws of the garage door itself. Make sure the sheet is taught – pin it to the door tightly so it doesn’t sway with the wind or have any wrinkles. If you are totally hardcore about your garage door theater, you can buy projector paint and paint the garage door with it. This paint is weather-safe so you can use it outdoors! It is designed to boost clarity and prevent reflections.
You will want to have control of the lights in the immediate area. You can make your home a “smart home” and have your outdoor lighting controlled by an app on your mobile device. This way you can put on some lighting dim enough to not drown out the movie or turn the lights off altogether.
If it is just your family, you can bring out the best quality outdoor chairs available and set them close together, but with a cool outdoor setup like this, you are probably going to attract some friendly neighbors who would like to join in on the movie. In this case, they should bring over some lawn chairs and make sure they are at least six feet away from your family’s chairs. A clear enough projection can even be seen from across the street, so the neighbors may even be able to stay in their own front yard.
You will need to decide what resolution your projector will be. For the most part, most content is going to max out at 1080p, however 4k is very popular and much 4k content is available through ultra-hd discs and premium streaming services. There is quite a price jump between standard hi-def and ultra hi-def, so you do not need to buy a 4k projector if you are just showing DVDs and regular Blu Rays. Another thing to consider is how large the image will be. The larger the image, the more important the resolution. If you are projecting onto a small, single car garage, for instance, a DVD may look fine. A blu-ray will be preferred as the minimum standard, but some projectors or disc players can “upscale” a standard definition image nicely. For a really large garage door, a 4k image will be most appreciated. This will be the most immersive way to watch a film. There are 8k projectors but that is overkill at this point. You won’t even find much compelling content that will help you take advantage of that. It is simply not worth the money.
Once you have taken care of the projector, the screen, the audio and the seating, all you have to do is tell everyone to bring their own snacks and you can safely enjoy some movies and socializing while social distancing.