Over the past two weekends my buddy and I spent about 5 hours installing and constructing my new outdoor aquatheater.
Living in Florida, allows almost year round use of my outdoor pool/lanai area. I wanted something to complement the pool area so guests can watch movies, TV, etc. while floating in the pool this summer on their favorite raft or noodle with a drink in hand during the night hours.
I also want to use the space during the "winter" months for dryland entertainment activities, wii, xbox, PS3 with the golf launch pad etc... You'll see several shots in the background that I'm also in the middle of constructing an outdoor kitchen. I'm hoping this will eventually be the ultimate man-cave(albeit outdoors) / party venue in my neighborhood.
I started looking around on ebay for projectors and there were some pretty good deals out there. However, when I got to choosing a screen the deifficulties began. Given the size screen I thought would be appropriate for this space (200"), forced me to select a projector that would reach the brightness level needed and the throw distance and screen diagonal. I settled on a used Sanyo PLC-XF10N that had the perfect lens combination and lumen output for my application based on previous reserach in the forums. I hung this with some 4" PVC pipe and an upside down IKEA table, nuts and bolts. I still have to run conduit for electrical and video connections but that will probably have to come after the upcoming superbowl weekend.
For the screen material, I went with a recycled billboard vinyl tarp. The guys at www.billboardtarps.com have a great product. I wanted something that would hold up to the elements, saltwater splashes from the pool, and the hot Florida sun. The vinyl needs cleaning and ironing when it arrives but it does the trick for the price and my application. I ordered a 10'x22' for $20 plus $25 S&H. speaking of price, that was the main reason for going the cheap route. The cost of a 200" screen is way too much for the manner in which I'm going to be using it in. If I forget to leave it out over night and it gets wrecked, well you get the point.
I first unfolded the screen and washed it with comet mildew gel with bleach. I used a scrub brush, elbow grease, and a table to work on a 4ft raised circle patch one at a time until the entire thing was done. It took about an hour.
Next my buddy and I went to Lowes, bought some cheap pine 1"x3" 8ft long lumber and made the frame 8'x14 total. Its actually like 195.5" diagonal but who's gonna argue over 4.5 inches? (that's what she said). The cross members firm the thing right up so two people can carry it into my garage and hang it on the ceiling. We stapled one side (long side) starting in the middle working towards the corners making sure things were tight and even at the ends. Then we stapled the opposite long side placing staples about every 4-5 inches. We then cut and folded the corners and repeated along the shorter sides one at a time. The framing and stapling only took about 45min with two people. Once the vinyl was on, I used an iron with shop cloth on it to steam out the wrinkles. It worked surprisingly well. I still have a couple problem areas I want to go back and re-iron.
Hanging the screen was pretty simple. I propped it up on a couple of concrete blocks and shimmed it to where it was centered. Marked a couple holes in my pool screen cage and drilled. I used eye bolts through the frame and in the pool cage. I used S-hooks to join the two together. This helped with pulling the screen assembly against the cross members in the pool cage.
As for the picture, well its pretty awesome, and for composite video its not too bad. I kept saying to my buddy it looks just slightly out of focus, but given the specs on this projector, and screen material I'd say its pretty good. Not the best, but it does the trick.
Enjoy the pics, if you have any questions let me know!
[Edited by floridian151 on Jan 31, 2011 at 10:57 AM]