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Outdoor Cinema – Flicks in the woods!

OK, this isn’t really a step by step guide as the thing is built but I thought it might make an interesting post. We are lucky in that we own a small piece of woodland next to the house; I initially made a large clearing and, over time, got power there through an armoured cable. The clearing is approx. 100 metres from the house so I can’t have electric fires running up there but I do own a projector. I used to project on to a white tarpaulin and have a large tarp as shelter held up by a myriad of blue poly rope festooned everywhere.

The ropes kept stretching when the wind / storms hit the tarpaulin and it was a real pain to keep the thing properly adjusted and the whole rats nest of blue ropes looked a mess. Anyway one day a good friend of mine Ray Hatley,  who is a man of quite amazing talents suggested that I construct  a structure from natural materials. He outlined the basic idea of the construction and gave me invaluable help in planning and setting the uprights.

I bought the trees from the local estate (our property is in the middle of a large estate with hundreds of acres of managed woodland). I was astonished to discover that the estate would deliver the cut larch trees for just £9.80 each! Each upright is buried four feet into the ground in a very tight hole dug by hand. Ray showed me how to carefully pack all the excavated soil back around the trees when stood upright into the holes.

The entire construction was completed with just two of us with ropes and a couple of ladders. The trees when freshly cut weighed a tremendous amount and were very difficult (and dangerous) to manoeuvre into position. The roof went on last and was the most expensive part of the project. The timber supports cost around £120 and the roofing sheets were £210. I put the first half of the roof on my own; sliding 16ft lengths of corrugated roofing sheets up a ladder until the ‘tipping point’ was reached while all the time the whole sheet threatened to slide back on me and cut me in two!

The screen frame was made of some old timber lengths I had lying around and the screen itself was some double width fabric from Dunelm stretched and stable gunned into place. The screen was then painted to make it opaque.

I added a logitech 5.1 surround sound system with the speakers tucked up under the eaves. Despite some really foul weather over the last few years and some hard winters the speakers are still in tip top condition. When the whole thing is going the sound quality is amazing and we’ve had some great evenings watching films and playing on the xbox on the big screen..


About Andy

Husband, father, teacher, web developer, psychiatric nurse, sarcastic bastard..


One thought on “Outdoor Cinema – Flicks in the woods!

  1. There you go my friend – tha best location to have the greatest of get togethers AND you create objects of great desire that re-emerge from items that would otherwise be lost – all hail the manof the future (lol) x

    Posted by Eve Barratt | July 26, 2011, 7:12 pm

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July 2011
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