Outdoor Movie Night Done Right

Are you looking to host an outdoor movie night? Here are a few best practices to keep in mind.

Daktronics Control Panel on 6/2/2021

Categories: High School Sports, Pro Sports and Colleges

As summertime gets started, what’s an exciting and fun way to use your outdoor display? Movie nights, of course! We’ve been getting a lot of questions submitted to our Technical Support team asking how to use your display for an outdoor or drive-in movie night, so here’s the answer. Most Daktronics video displays are capable of being converted into a movie screen!

To help clarify, here are a few things to consider as you plan an outdoor movie night at your site.

Choose a movie. Keep in mind that you will need to obtain the right to play the movie.

Communicate with the grounds crew. If attendees will be sitting on turf, there may be restrictions of certain items from being brought onto the turf, such as lawn chairs, food or beverages. Each facility is different, but other considerations might include medical, security and housekeeping personnel.

Set-up for the movie. If you already have a DVD or Blu-ray disc player connected to your system, you’re ready to go! If not, bring in a DVD or Blu-ray player and convert the output to a usable format for your system. If connecting directly into a Daktronics video processor or video switcher, this is likely an SDI input. Alternatively, a laptop which commonly include an HDMI output may be used. Keep in mind, you will most likely need to convert the HDMI to SDI for it to be compatible with the video switcher or Daktronics system. Lastly, connect the audio of the player or laptop into your house mixer.

Test the movie. Play through the movie a couple of times to make sure there are no hiccups.

Promote the event. Social media is a great way to promote movie nights and communicate any changes to the event. You may also want to consider a back-up plan or date in the event of inclement weather. Nobody likes to get rained out, but it’s better to be prepared!

Katie Windham, Daktronics Event Producer at James Madison University, has implemented a movie night in the past and provides the following tips to consider:

  • If your display is zoned out and you have your in-game window (such as an L-bar), you need to decide what you will be playing there. Will you display normal graphics or black graphics so they know it’s supposed to be offset?
  • Make sure the display is appropriately dimmed for nighttime viewing if applicable.
  • Test your playback method and audio prior to the event. If your site hasn’t done a video audio lip sync, be sure to do this beforehand so you can adjust the delay so they match up. In most cases, the audio is a bit delayed and that delay needs to be accounted for.
  • If your audio amps are in power save mode, they need to be reset up to a day prior to the event to make sure they’re working properly.