Why It’s Important to Start an Outdoor Movie Before Dark

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Aug 7, 2013 Under Tips

SOC-Outdoor-Movie-Before-dark Enjoying a free outdoor movie is a great end to a full day of summer activities. Since we’ve been at this for a long time, we show our movies around dusk, which is up to 60 minutes earlier than other companies.


There’s just enough ambient light to get settled with snacks and not trip over anyone. The surrounding environment is still visible enough to be enjoyed.

Plus, the movie is done earlier so you and your family can get to bed in time to sleep off an awesome day at the movies. After all, summer days are long! On the East Coast, you may not see sunset until nearly 9 p.m.!

Do you really want to wait that long to start an outdoor movie?

Yeah, we didn’t think so.

We try to think of every little detail to create a fabulous outdoor movie experience. Have you ever thought of the following reasons why an early start time is best?

A Better Bang For Your Buck

If you’re planning the event, an early start time means more time for sponsor ads to be shown! We get set up right away so that advertisers can have a good 20 minutes of screen time, ensuring they are getting the most value out of working with you.

Volunteers who are helping with concessions or other activities aren’t up too late and can get some much deserved rest! This may also save you money on venue and labor costs. You won’t have to pay any one overtime for having a late night event.

Did you realize that outdoor movie providers who have a late start time may be using inexpensive equipment?

Think about it! If their equipment can’t achieve a crisp, colorful image before it’s fully dark, you may be using an unprofessional provider. Remember to wow moviegoers with the best audiovisual equipment available.

These same results can be achieved when you are showing a movie indoors as well.

An Experience That’s Bigger than the Movie

If you’re attending the event, it can be tough to not get bored (in the dark, no less) when you’re waiting an hour or two before the movie starts.

We’ve all been to events like that. The kids are running around, because all of the toys and games you’ve brought no longer capture their attention.

It seems to be getting hotter and hotter as time passes so, so slowly. Nobody wants a summer outing to end on a sour note like that. We want attendees to be entertained as much as you do!

Ever have the little ones (or you) fall asleep during the movie and miss it? Even if it’s a movie we’ve seen before, the experience is lost when you doze off.

We know the cutest summer photos are of the little ones tuckered out after a great event. But we want that to happen after the movie is over!

Check it out: You’ll find even more tips on why outdoor movie start times are important on our blog.


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Southern Outdoor Cinema
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound.”

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Avoid A Four-Legged Fiasco & Other Movie Event Flubs

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jul 24, 2013 Under Event Productions, Tips

Pets at outdoor movie events Don’t let Fido and friends cause an outdoor movie fiasco.

Forgetting the details can cause a big problem for movie events, particularly when they are held outdoors.

Learn from the cautionary tale of the Fulton River Park movie series in Chicago. Dog feces has become such a problem at the park, not only were movie attendees offended, so were the event sponsors. In fact, one of them pulled their advertising and the movie series had to be cut back.

Leash law enforcement at this park has been lax, and it is turning people away from the park. This in turn means lack of funding for the movie series’ event planners. It’s the worst possible scenario for a problem that may have been avoided.

Heed the following do’s and don’ts about the details in your movie event planning.

Before Booking the Venue

Do some research! Check for reviews, news stories (like the unfortunate one in Chicago), anything you can find. If the particular venue or its owners have been investigated before or have been the defendants in a lawsuit, these are red flags.

Don’t forget about safety. What is the crime rate like near these venues? Most newspapers and local law enforcement agencies provide a report of crimes happening in the area. Consider alternative venues if anything seems suspicious.

Do ask around. Contact the planners of other events at the venue and ask about their experiences. Some venues may offer references before booking.

After Booking the Venue

Don’t skim over the fine print. Reading the contract terms, rules and regulations (such as leash laws!) several times is another important factor before the movie event begins. Do not miss a single detail and ask as many questions as possible.  Write down any questions or concerns and make notes as they are addressed.

Do remember to keep everyone abreast of the details. If vendors or advertisers involved, go over your findings with them or have representatives do a walkthrough (more on that later). If Southern Outdoor Cinema has used the venue before, we would be happy to give you tips on what to expect.

Do a site visit and a run-through of the event. Depending on the movie event, more than one walkthrough may be required. Check to see if the area is well lit, and there is nothing obstructing the view. The Fulton River Park movie series folks had to move trees so folks could see the movie. This is something that can be avoided if planned in advance.

Before the Event

Don’t forget to check the weather. It’s not just about checking for rain! Make sure the temperature and humidity will be comfortable for guests. If it’s going to be a scorcher, make plans to provide refreshments such as bottled water or a sno-cone machine.

Do provide back-up plans well in advance of the event. Utilize social media and on-site volunteers to make sure everything goes smoothly.

After the Event

Do leave the area better than you found it. That’s a mantra for any situation involving the clean-up process. This will please your guests, those in charge of the venue and your sponsors.

Do not forget to include everyone in future planning. The Fulton River Park folks may have benefited from polling their guests and sponsors every year after the event. If dog feces was a recurring problem, changes could have been made, and they would still have their movie series intact.

What are some other details to remember when planning an outdoor movie event? Let us know in the comments.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound.”

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Tips on Hosting a Smooth Downtown Movie Event

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Apr 17, 2013 Under Tips

outdoor movie downtown movie

“Outside of downtown, yes. But not outside and downtown!”

This was one funny response when we posed this question via social media: “Have you attended movies downtown?”

Chambers of Commerce and downtown development districts typically host outdoor movies during the summer months, so it’s time to start prepping!

Though we did find a few folks who have never attended a movie downtown, we also found a lot of folks who have.

Are you thinking about hosting a movie at a downtown location?

Here are tips from attendees to make sure you have a successful event and how we can help.

“I’m not really an outdoorsy kind of gal so as a reader, I’d like to read something that would convince me to give it a try.”

That’s right. Print media can assist in getting your event known. Contact local newspapers (along with radio and TV stations) to get the word out about your event. SOC is always a phone call away to assist with your event marketing.

“Be weather prepared and bug proof. Can you bring a picnic?”

Make sure you suggest bringing comfy chairs, blankets and bug spray for the summer. Have food and water available or allow moviegoers to bring some sustenance for the warm summer movie showing.

“I’d say set up early and do a dry run of playing the movie to be sure everything is okay before the set movie time.”

No problem! We always set up during the day where there’s still ambient light. This allows for any technical difficulties to be hashed out, and folks can get comfy without worrying about the dark.

Another awesome benefit: if you get sponsors, their ads can be shown on the screens before the movie starts.

Here are some of our tips and benefits to putting together a downtown movie event.

1) If you’re a shop owner, you can work together with other businesses to pool together for funds. Then you can advertise on our screens before the event!

2) Smaller screens are utilized well here. This allows more space for seating and makes the event ever so cozy.

3) If space is an issue, consider setting up in a store parking lot. Careful! Asphalt can get hot during the summer months. Also be sure to hash out proper permission to use parking lots.

4) So your downtown area tends to clear out after 5 p.m.? This is the best way to keep folks in town after work. Get the word out early and organize outdoor store sales or other special activities before and after the movie to keep the people flowing.

For other ideas and tips for hosting downtown-area outdoor movies, check out our other blog posts related to these events.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema


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Winter Cinema: Show A Holiday Themed Movie Downtown

Posted by Paul Murray on Monday Nov 26, 2012 Under Event Productions, Tips

As winter approaches, it is sometimes hard to let go of the beautiful summer weather and the outdoor fun that comes along with it, but winter offers equally wonderful ways to enjoy fun times and create special memories with family and friends. Beautiful snow and winter holidays offer opportunities for family fun. Winter cinema is a great way to turn a festive holiday event, like a tree lighting ceremony, into a complete holiday experience.

Many towns host annual holiday events like a tree lighting or holiday parade for community members to enjoy. After the holiday parade downtown or proceeding the tree lighting ceremony in the square, continue the festivities with a winter cinema. A family movie will add to the holiday cheer at the event and provide a full evening of family friendly fun. Show a movie like Elf, Arthur Christmas or Polar Express, or consider showing short cartoons like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. The winter cinema event might be hosted by a downtown business or redevelopment district, a shopping or retail center, or a school.

Here are some additional tips for making a winter cinema event a success.


The right food will add a festive touch to your holiday themed event. Try gingerbread cookies and hot cocoa, and perhaps set up a campfire for making s’mores. The warm treats and the campfire will provide warmth during the winter event and add to the holiday cheer.


Decorations create a festive atmosphere. Christmas lights will add to the cheerful mood and provide necessary lighting, and a snow machine is a great way to add ambiance. Inflatable decorations such as a reindeer or snowman will also add a fun touch.

Activities for Kids

Offering activities for kids is a great touch at family oriented events. Face painting is always a great choice; a selection of Christmas or holiday themed designs would be perfect for this type of event. Holiday or winter themed crafts are another excellent choice. Crafts are fun, keep children busy and provide something special for kids to take home and help them remember the special event. Provide the materials for children to build a snowman with marshmallows or cotton balls, or have children create reindeer head pieces. Children will stay occupied and have fun, while parents enjoy a chance to relax and socialize.


Embrace the spirit of giving by including an opportunity to help a charity at the winter cinema event. There are many charities to consider; perhaps choose a local charity with ties to the community. Consider having a “Toys for Tots” drop box or collecting coats to donate to those in need. A non-perishable food drive to collect food for holiday meals is another excellent option.

Local holiday traditions are important in communities. Adding winter cinema to an annual holiday event is a great way to take a favorite local tradition, like the annual tree lighting, and turn it into an even more memorable community experience.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema


Want to use this article on your website or your own blog? Here’s what you MUST include:
Southern Outdoor Cinema is the largest producer of high quality outdoor movie events in the country. We don’t just rent inflatable movie screens. Instead SOC shares nearly a decade of expertise with our clients so that they have an EXTRAORDINARY outdoor movie event which is EASY and STRESS-FREE to organize. To begin planning your outdoor movie event contact Southern Outdoor Cinema at www.SouthernOutdoorCinema.com or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SouthernOutdoorCinema for daily outdoor movie tips.

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Urban Renewal With Outdoor Movies

Posted by Paul Murray on Thursday Feb 23, 2012 Under Event Productions, Movie Articles

The idea behind urban renewal efforts is to breathe new life into downtown areas that have seen neglect over the years, and to bring people back into these areas. Goals typically include drawing crowds into downtown areas, supporting local business and fostering a connection to the community and its success. Those in charge of planning events as part of redevelopment plans have been turning to outdoor movie events as a creative and effective way to help reach these goals.

Outdoor Movie in a Downtown Setting

In the early 90’s, city planners looking for a way to bring crowds into neglected downtown areas became intrigued with the idea of hosting outdoor movie events. Portable, inflatable movie screens and cinema equipment became available for rent, making these events practical and more affordable.

Outdoor movie events can be funded in a variety of ways. Some areas receive redevelopment grants to aid in urban renewal efforts that can be put toward movie event production costs, or local businesses might be willing to sponsor the event. Local businesses that agree to sponsor this type of event will benefit in a couple of ways; advertising as part of the sponsorship agreement will get their business name out there, and crowds that come into the area might decide to make purchases from some of the local businesses. Vendors can sell movie snacks like popcorn to bring in revenue and create a better cinema experiene.

With smart advertising, both residents of the immediate area and residents of surrounding areas will be drawn to an outdoor movie event. Young families will look forward to an evening of affordable, family friendly fun, and the older crowd will be drawn in by the nostalgic aspect of this type of an event. With the decline in the popularity and success of traditional drive-in movie theatres comes a desire to re-create the fond memories created when drive-in movies were so popular.

After a successful event, local residents will leave with a positive feeling about their community, hopefully feeling more connected to the city and its successful redevelopment. Residents of surrounding areas who attended the event might decide to come back and check out the area again, hopefully bringing sales to local businesses.

Movie screenings can be a one time event , or a series of movie nights can be put on. Summer is a great time for an outdoor movie series since the weather is usually warm, and children are typically out of school. Local residents will enjoy fun summer nights spent under the stars with friends and family, and visitors traveling during the summer months might pass by and decide to see what’s going on, bringing new business to the area.

The keys to success when hosting an event or events aimed at assisting in the redevelopment of an urban area are to attract crowds including locals and those from surrounding areas; and to create a good vibe about the area that will leave locals feeling connected to their community and draw in more business from surrounding areas. An outdoor movie or series of movie nights make a great addition to a city’s urban renewal plans.

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Southern Outdoor Cinema
“Bigger Screens. Brighter Images. Crisper Sound.”


Want to use this article on your website or your own blog? No problem! But here’s what you MUST include:
Southern Outdoor Cinema is the largest producer of PREMIUM outdoor movie events in the country. They are leading the industry with NEW & UNIQUE outdoor movie events. To begin planning your outdoor movie event contact Southern Outdoor Cinema at www.SouthernOutdoorCinema.com or visit their online photo gallery at www.facebook.com/SouthernOutdoorCinema for event ideas.

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