Outdoor Movies: Finding The Right Equipment Provider So You Can Have a Successful Movie Event

Outdoor movie events on inflatable movie screens re-create the experience of the old drive-in movie. With today’s new technology of inflatable movie screens and portable high-powered projectors, an open air cinema event can be hosted at any outdoor venue. Movie night events are becoming popular for organizations such as schools, churches, businesses and cities. Finding the right equipment provider to produce your movie night event is essential so that your organization produces an event that it is well received by your audience and is stress free to organize.

Before you hire an audio/visual company for your movie night event, you need to know that there are two kinds of companies that produce outdoor movie events:

1.) The first kind of company that produces events are: DJ, Bounce House rental companies, and people who think it showing flicks outdoors is fun as a side businesses to their actual full-time employment.

  • Typically these kind of outdoor movie providers carry no insurance, or say they have insurance, but it does not cover outdoor movie event productions.
  • These kind of companies typically hire people with NO particular skill set to work their outdoor movie events.
  • Equipment from these kind of providers are inexpensive, usually is not commercial grade (but rather equipment meant for personal use) or that is under-powered for an outdoor movie setting. Their equipment is really ment for indoor movie events.

2.) The second type of company that produces outdoor movie events are full-time businesses that specialize only in outdoor cinema productions.

  • Professional companies that produce movie events outdoors will use theatrical grade screen surfaces, professional grade video and audio sound systems. Cinema production companies equipment include HD digital projectors and high-definition sound systems.
  • Employees of professional cinema companies typically have background in working with stage and audio-visual equipment and often work in the film industry.
  • Full time outdoor cinema productions companies will carry General Liability Insurance for exactly what they do which is outdoor movie events.

HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR HIRING A COMPANY TO PRODUCE YOUR MOVIE EVENT OUTDOORS.

Ask the following questions to the company you are looking to hire:

Do you carry insurance and how much insurance do you carry?

Request a copy of the provider’s insurance and call the insurance agency listed on the paper. Find out if the business is covered for outdoor movie events or is the provider list as something else.

How do I obtain a movie license?

Beware of a companies that tell you do NOT need a movie license for outdoor movie events in public. These providers are asking you to break copyright laws. Via copyright laws all outdoor movie showings require a public performance license to be purchased, except for events shown in your backyard for personal use.

What brand of screen do you use?

Currently there are only three professional manufacturers of inflatable movie screens: AIRSCREEN, Open Air Cinema and EPIC. If a provider can not name their equipment then they do not know a lot about what they are doing. The brand of screen that is being used will both effect the presentation of your movie and safety of your event.

What type of screen surface are you using?

Professional grade screen surfaces will use theatrical grade surfaces, just like in the movie theater. Quality of the screen is measured in gain. Screen surfaces should be highly reflective so to produce a bright and colorful picture image. Big-box store and inexpensive screens will have a cloth or plastic surface that is see-through and not very reflective which will produce a dull or poor image quality.

What type of sound and projection are you using?

Most companies will claim they are using state-of-the-art audio or video, but when was it state-of-the-art? Equipment that was top quality 5 years ago, is not top quality today.

Do you maintaining your projectors? Are you changing the projector bulbs regularly?

Bulbs that are not changed in projectors will get dull over time and effect the image quality at your show.

How do you measure your screen size?

Is one companies 50′ inflatable screen the same as another companies 35′ inflatable screen? Do they measure the screen surface or frame? Are they measuring their inflatable movie screen on the diagonal, width or height? These are important questions to ask when comparing screen systems.

Can you provide references for the last 3 events you produced?

Professional outdoor movie providers should be able to provide references of the last three shows that they produce, not just a select list of references that may be old. Also ask to see pictures of actual events that company has produced.

Movie Crazy

Are you movie crazy? No, I don’t mean crazy for Harold Lloyd’s comedy Movie Crazy from 1932 about a young man with little or no acting ability, desperately trying to be in the movies. I mean, are you crazy for movies period? I must admit I’m a cracker for movies. So, all those who consider themselves movie crazy raise your hands. Yup, that’s almost everybody. Why are we movie crazy? Why do we live in a movie crazed society? Hey, what are movies anyway?

Movies are ideas and/or stories brought to an audience through emotion by sound and a sequence of seamless images. Thanks to Google Search.

How popular are movies? Well, the keyword “movies” boasts a mind boggling 1.1 billion and growing number of searches on Google’s search engine alone. And the keyword “movie trailers” has collected a whopping 127 million plus searches. Watching movie trailers on the internet has become a popular past time for many. I know my husband’s one of them. He loves to watch his movie trailers.

This past year alone has brought in an astonishing box office revenue of 29.2 billion dollars worldwide just for 2009. Movies are watched and made worldwide. The language gap has been dissolved due to the addition of subtitles. Now we can all share in the universal movie experience. As well as being universal, movies are made for everyone young and old. Why you can even see generations at most Disney or kid movie showings. There is something out there for everyone no matter what your age.

We celebrate movies and we celebrate the stars in our movies. We bring them into our homes by way of TV shows dedicated to stars like ET, ET Canada, Access Hollywood and TMZ to name a few. We grab supermarket tabloids like The National Enquirer and Star scanning the latest celebrity gossip and stuff them into our shopping carts when no one is looking.

We have Oscar parties like we do Superbowl parties and even bet or at least announce our opinions on who the winners of the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, MTV Awards, etc. will be. Then there’s the classic TV shows like ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ that we turned on faithfully oohing and aahing over the content like it was fine wine. The show ran for over 10 years (March 1984 – September 1995). What a run! What a concept! We actually got to tag along and drool over the extravagant homes, lifestyles and dream vacations spots of the stars. Today, you can watch similar shows like MTV’s ‘Cribs’ and VH1’s ‘The Fabulous Life of….’

If you’re more of a home body you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to see a movie. You can literally channel movies through your TV’s regular cable or on specialty movie channels like Thrill, The Movie Network, HBO, Movie Central, Showtime, Turner Classic Movies, etc. And that’s after you’ve clicked through the TV movies of the week, recorded movies on your PVR or sent your kids to the video store to rent one of this week’s new releases. Oh, and not to mention you can buy movies from your brick and mortar video store down the street or even online on eBay or Amazon.

How do we get our golden tickets to these grand palaces? We buy cereal boxes and cut out cardboard vouchers, we use our air miles points or exchange reward points to turn cash into movie tickets. We fill out contest forms in hopes to be chosen as the lucky few to attend pre-screenings to our favourite movies before they even hit theatres. We also line red carpets around the world and tune into celebrity interviews on our favourite daytime and night-time shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, Oprah and Regis & Kelly.

What beats the movie experience? Nothing. We cue up for our tickets, purchase our favourite goodies, grab the latest Famous or Tribute magazine for casual light reading before our movie (while devouring our real buttered popcorn or bag of liquorice). The lights go dim, the screen widens and the picture and sound arrive simultaneously. We anticipate the movie previews while watching the nuisance commercials and then there they are. Those big beautiful coming attractions in all their glory. We whisper yeas or nays or give a thumbs up to our pals seated beside us for the next movie adventure we’ll be planning. Then if we’re lucky, that is, the guys will get to hear the bellow of the THX sound effect that roars around the theatre. (Hey, guys you can hear it on YouTube or download it as a free mp3 or ring tone). Then the wait is over. Whoopee! And the adventure begins…

Again, why are we movie crazy? Could it be because movies are inexpensive; a cheap date; or an economical family outing. Is it that the encounter can be even more enhanced through the Imax or 3-D experience. Or does it go deeper. A chance to escape the real world if only for a few hours. Movies evoke emotion whether it’s excitement, laughter, terror, sadness, inspiration, faith, love, etc. Maybe you’re on an unpredictable adventure, figuring out a mystery or watching a family deal with loss. Movie’s take us away; anywhere we want to go. Even the theatre itself is an experience as we’ve discovered. The lights, sound, feel, big screen, comfy oversized fabric chairs, convenient cup holders, popcorn and munchies from the snack stand, etc. The movie experience really touches on all our senses. What movies have stirred you emotionally lately?

The movies are one place where you can choose what you want to see and feel. If I want to be happy I’ll go see a light hearted comedy. If I want to be thrilled I’ll go see a thriller or horror. And if I want to entertain my little niece and nephew I’ll go see the latest animated movie, etc. Then there’s the rest of the genres that fill out the movie experience: action and adventure, crime and gangster, drama, epics/historical, musicals/dance, science-fiction, war, documentary, westerns, biopics, chick-flicks, detective and mystery, disaster, fantasy, film noir, guy films, melodramas/weepers, road films, romance, sports, supernatural, etc.

Movies bring people together. They are something to talk about at the watering hole at your 9 to 5 job, chat amongst your Facebook friends or discuss in forums. We can talk about the worst movies we’ve seen or our all time favourites. We can quiz each other on movie trivia, quotes and songs. We can read or write reviews on movies, look up movie ratings and purchase books on movies. We can even get the latest Hollywood gossip sent to our email boxes or go online to peruse blogs such as Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy blog.

Is there any other advantage from movies other than the whole entertainment experience? Actually, there is. Many professional therapists are using movies to help people in crisis. There is a therapeutic movement using—you guessed it—movies. It’s called Cinema Therapy. Cinema therapy is used because it’s readily available (there’s a movie theatre in every city pretty much) and the subject matter of most films are familiar to everyone. It also enhances the rapport between both the client and the therapist. Who doesn’t want to talk movies.

Other benefits include the release of emotions such as when we laugh during a comedy our laughter releases stress, tension and/or pain. A tear jerker that makes us cry releases built-up/blocked emotions. How about movies that touch on relationships or parenting. These observations and/or lessons can bring us closer together with people, make us analyze our current situations/relationships or make us realize we’ve got work to do.

And if there’s one last thing that solidifies our movie crazy mentality it’s our want or longing to actually be in a movie and/or meet a movie star. Well, this just in—you can do both. Have you heard the term TV or movie extra? If you want a better than bird’s eye view of making of a movie and to encounter a movie star or two sign-up to be an extra. You’ll get paid, fed, be on set and maybe bump elbows with your favourite movie star.

Movie Review: Saving Mr Banks

Generations of moviegoers have watched Mary Poppins and her famous umbrella soar across the sky, but few viewers are aware of just how much effort it took to bring the literary character to the big screen. “Saving Mr. Banks” remedies that by telling the backstory of the famous movie about a nanny who has magical abilities and a soft spot for children. “Saving Mr. Banks,” named for the father in the Mary Poppins book series, details how Walt Disney worked for more than two decades to turn the books into a motion picture. The film shows how musicians and writers collaborated to produce famous lyrics and groundbreaking animation scenes. Watching the creative process behind this classic work leaves the audience cheering for the project’s success.

At the heart of “Saving Mr. Banks” was P.L. Travers, the Australian author of eight books about the fictional Mary Poppins. The movie depicted how Travers was affected by her father, a dreamer who told elaborate stories but who suffered from a drinking problem. Travers used both the good and bad experiences of her childhood in the Mary Poppins character, and her books have been a favorite read for children around the world. She declined to allow the stories to be made into a film, although Walt Disney personally sought the movie rights for more than 20 years. Facing financial difficulty, Travers finally agreed to discuss the possibility of a movie. “Saving Mr. Banks” is focused on a two-week stretch in 1961 when Travers, played by Emma Thompson, visited California to work with the Disney creative team.

In trying to obtain the movie rights, Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, gave Travers more control over the movie than he normally allowed authors. Disney told Travers that she had the ability to veto anything she did not like about the screenplay, and she immediately found much to dislike. “Saving Mr. Banks” derived much of its humor from the conflicts that Travers experiences with the writers and musicians. For instance, the lyricists enjoyed making up whimsical words such as “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” Travers, a prim and proper lady who insisted that no one use her first name, had little patience for such poetic license. Travers required that her work sessions at Disney be taped, and the writers and cast of “Saving Mr. Banks” used those audiotapes to recreate the arguments Travers had with the creative team.

While Travers nearly comes to blows with the writers, the movie shows her developing a sweet and lasting friendship with her chauffeur, a gentleman named Ralph who is played by Paul Giamatti. He is the one character in the movie that does not pressure her about the Mary Poppins character, and she takes refuge in the time she spends with him.

Ralph drives Travers back and forth from her hotel to Walt Disney Studios, where much of the movie was filmed. A scene not to be missed is when Ralph drives Travers through the gates of Disneyland, where Walt Disney awaits by the iconic Mickey Mouse head at the front of the park. Disney shows Travers around his theme park, and the two go for a ride on the carousel, with Disney hoping that some of the park’s magical feelings rub off on Travers.

Part of the charm of “Saving Mr. Banks” was watching a bond develop between Disney and Travers. Both of them endured less-than-perfect childhoods, and both of them used their experiences to create fictional characters that delighted children. Disney understood how difficult it is for Travers to give up control of a character that she considered family. It was touching to watch Travers wrestle with the dilemma of allowing the Disney creative team to bend her stories into a commercially viable movie. She had a specific vision of how everything should look, from the Banks’ home to Mr. Banks’ mustache. Giving her vision over to someone else caused her many sleepless nights, and Thompson’s skillful portrayal made it easy to understand why the decision was so difficult.

Like all historical pieces, the outcome of “Saving Mr. Banks” is a foregone conclusion. Everyone knows that “Mary Poppins” eventually becomes a blockbuster movie, but watching the process of the movie’s creation leaves the audience holding a collective breath, wondering if Travers ever sees eye-to-eye with Disney. It is difficult not to cry right along with Travers when she finally attends the opening night of “Mary Poppins” three years after her visit to California. These are tears of joy, as moviegoers celebrate the creation of the “Mary Poppins” film and realize how close they came to never seeing it at all.