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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Venue Lighting For Your Outdoor Movie

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jul 4, 2012 Under Tips

Today I want to talk to you about lighting your outdoor movie area.

Number One: if you’re using a rear projection screen, that is the projector is behind the screen, set them in front. Then you’ll want to make sure you do not have any light sources directly behind the screen as they will come through the screen as well as the projection.

Number Two: never place a screen directly under a street light or flood lights. Any light that hits a screen will reflect back including streetlights and bulb lights as well as the projection itself.

Number Three: attention to where there is ambient light where the screen and the audience will be. Ambient light is just a bright area that’s caused by street lights or floodlights lights. Oftentimes your audience doesn’t need to be sitting in pitch black dark. That’s fine if there’s some ambient street light around or something like that. But you don’t want it directly on them, they don’t want to be sitting in a very bright area. As well as you don’t want the screen in a very bright area as it’ll wash out the screen.

Number Four: make sure you do have lights for your bathrooms. If you’re in an area that needs port-a-potties, make sure you have lights inside the port-a-potties, it can be as simple as a glow stick, or push light, or something else, but people have to see what they’re doing when it’s dark outside in a port-a-potty.

Number Five: make sure that you have lights in a concession area. Now, people can’t see that you have a concession area or that they’re at the concession area and they can’t see the products, they’re less likely to actually buy something. So make sure you have a well lit area, something that’s Always possibly an issue is that lights attract bugs so make sure that you consider that as well. Broke lights work well, sometimes you can get the yellow lights instead of the white lights that will attract bugs less. And sometimes it’s not an issue at all, but it’s at least something you should be considering.

Number six: if you have it available, make sure that you are turning lights on at the conclusion of the movie so that as people are getting up and they’re getting ready to leave that they can find their wallets, and their cellphones, and their children. And definitely, if you don’t have field lights in the area, make sure you rent or buy some floodlights that you can turn on so that people can see what they’re doing.

Number Seven: Make sure you have lights near the parking area. Normally, it’s easy if you have a parking lot where there are overhead parking lights, but if you are in a field or somewhere where there’s not lights for somebody whose parked, make sure have some general lights up in the area so that people can make their way to their car in safety.

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Copyright 2002-2012
Southern Outdoor Cinema


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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Keeping your Audience Entertained Before an Outdoor Movie Event

Posted by Paul Murray on Wednesday Jun 27, 2012 Under Event Productions

Today, I want to talk to you about keeping your audience entertained before the start of your outdoor movie. One of the things you want to do is have a nice environment for your participants to attend.

Number one: consider having some music playing while people are filtering into your location. Obviously you’re going to want it to be at a relatively good volume level but not too overpowering so people can actually talk in the audience. Also the music selection is important. You don’t want it super blaring, hip-hop, or something if your crowd is sort of a laid-back crowd, or vice versa.

Number two: create an environment for the participants of your movie. You can go ahead and create some signage that tells what kind of movie it is or you can even theme the event with certain signage. Maybe consider having some balloons. Definitely want to consider possibly having greeters welcoming somebody into your event.

Number three: if this is a child or family-friendly event, consider having some activities for the children so that they’re not just sitting around for over an hour with nothing to do. Consider having some inflatables, possibly renting a local clown for a clown show or a walk around. Consider having maybe some bubble machines, or some spin art machines at your event and definitely have something for them to be doing so they’re not just sitting there. If you’re on a tight budget, consider doing some cost effective things such as maybe having games outdoor games such as tug-of-war or sack races. Those are definitely still a lot of fun when you’re trying to pinch some pennies.

If you’ve got more of an adult-themed environment that’s not as a kid-friendly film or kid-friendly environment, consider some of the things that’ll keep the adults active as well such as, you could do something like a cakewalk, or you could have up displays that they could go and peruse through the different vendors or different things for them to actually look at at the event. You could also do some silent auctions. You could do some raffles before the event. And you could also, of course, have some door prizes as well.

Number four, go ahead and consider having some sort of items on the screen before the movie starts. This could include on-screen slides, and the slides could have things like trivia. You could go ahead have some of the rules of the location up such as if you’re going to smoke, please smoke outside of the crowd where the crowd’s actually sitting. You could have trivia up you could have messages about making sure you have your cell phones turned off, things like that, as it’s getting dark, you can go ahead and display those messages up on the screen.

If you like these tips, post a comment, like it, or share it. If you’re not receiving these weekly emails with videos give me a call or send me an e-mail and I’ll make sure you receive them. My weekly newsletters are all high value, high content tips to help you host an awesome outdoor outdoor movie event.

Until next week, I’m Paul with southernoutdoorcinema.com

All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2002-2012
Southern Outdoor Cinema


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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Fall Festival Kicks Off With Outdoor Movie Event

Posted by Paul Murray on Tuesday Oct 18, 2011 Under Event Productions

Fall Festivals are a great way to bring families and the community together. Great food, contests, children’s games and music all make a fall festival a great family experience. In order to get things started right you will want to choose a special kick off event that all attendees will enjoy. A unique opening event will attract crowds and help set the tone for a great festival.

An outdoor movie event is the perfect way to get things started and set the stage for a great family festival. An outdoor movie ties in perfectly with the purpose of a fall festival; which is to provide a fun event for families to come together and enjoy the crisp weather and good food that make fall such a great time of year. Children and adults of all ages will enjoy coming together under the stars, cuddling under a blanket and enjoying a unique outdoor cinema event as a family.

A well chosen movie will help set the tone for the event. Whether you choose a farm themed movie for your “Flick on the farm” or a favorite family or children’s movie; it will be a memorable and enjoyable event for all who attend.

To add an outdoor movie event to your fall festival, contact Southern Outdoor Cinema at www.SouthernOutdoorCinema.com

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

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