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TOPIC: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant

Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 02 Jul 2012 22:34 #38792

  • fr378417
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Hi,

I am extremely new to this industry but am interested in starting a drive in movie theater in a marina parking lot with ample space. I would say the lot space is about 200 x 300 ft and can fit at least 120 cars. The lot is rarely used for the restaurant because there another lot with plenty of space. I am looking into inflatable screens and have found some very good prices. The only thing that is really restricting the size of the screen is the lumens rating on most projectors. I was told that I would need about 16 sq ft per lumens. I was thinking about a screen that is 32.5 by 60 ft, but at 1950 sq ft that would require a projector that that has at least 31200 lumens. These projectors go for a ton of money. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions as to what my screen size should be and if that much lumens is really necessary per sq ft. I am open to any suggestion and I thank you in advance.

Frank
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 03 Jul 2012 00:48 #38794

  • revrobor
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Without ramping that parking lot you are going to have sightline problems. It sounds as if you want to make this DI a temporary or portable operation. With presentation and convenience being the two major goals in a DI you might want to re-think your location. I am aware of a number of inflatable screens but I don't think they yet make the type of screen you'd need for a digital presentation.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 03 Jul 2012 11:52 #38796

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revrobor,

Thank for your reply. I will have to look into what kind of line of sight there will be, but I believe the ground level is slightly lower where the screen will be located. I have already gotten a few quotes for this type of inflatable screen. Are you saying that the quality of the screen is not going to suffice, or are you saying that these size screens simply do not exist? Thanks again for the help.

Frank
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 03 Jul 2012 16:07 #38797

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A special screen is needed to run digital. I don't know if any are made inflatable yet.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 01:04 #38799

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revrobor wrote:
A special screen is needed to run digital. I don't know if any are made inflatable yet.

?????????

What kind of special screen is that, Bob?

All of us drive-ins are shooting on white-painted steel or plywood surfaces. Nothing much special about that. Seems an inflatable ought to be fine... even better if it's built with a bit of gain.
Last Edit: 04 Jul 2012 01:17 by rodeojack.
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 02:01 #38800

  • Bob Nash
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rodeojack wrote:
revrobor wrote:
A special screen is needed to run digital. I don't know if any are made inflatable yet.

?????????

What kind of special screen is that, Bob?

All of us drive-ins are shooting on white-painted steel or plywood surfaces. Nothing much special about that. Seems an inflatable ought to be fine... even better if it's built with a bit of gain.

Rodeojack is right. No special screen is needed for a digital drive in. Bob Allen may be thinking about some 3D digital set ups that require a silver screen. Inflatable screens, metal screens and plywood screens will all work.

Bob Nash
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 02:25 #38801

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Frank, I have two 60-foot screens and one 86-footer at my place. I'm installing a Barco 32B on the big one and 23Bs on the smaller two. Those projectors are rated at 24,500 lumens.

One owner, who just installed a 32B on a screen about my size, says he had to turn his lamp down... something that we all like to hear, because the early machines were said to be inadequate for the non-gain screens we have.

I'm also going with the Barco projectors because of the sealed light engine. My place is pretty dusty and even with the upgraded air handling I'm putting in, I like the idea that this part of the projector is "dust-proof". Washable air filters is also a plus. I hear the disposables for one company's machines cost around $200 a shot.

As for your screen, one thing you might consider is raising it up to some degree. There was a multi-screen drive-in that was built in the seldom-used parking lot of a sports stadium. It also had a flat lot. They used billboard-type structures, erected along the perimeter, painted white and raised high enough to improve sightlines for all but the really big vehicles... those, you just have to put in the back & the sides.

This place also built portable projection booths, complete with a generator. When the parking lot was needed for a stadium event, they'd just forklift the booths to a storage area.

Some, or none of this might work for you, but it does show there aren't a lot of hard and fast rules about building these things.

Good luck!

Jack
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 06:10 #38802

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rodeojack wrote:
revrobor wrote:
A special screen is needed to run digital. I don't know if any are made inflatable yet.

?????????

What kind of special screen is that, Bob?

All of us drive-ins are shooting on white-painted steel or plywood surfaces. Nothing much special about that. Seems an inflatable ought to be fine... even better if it's built with a bit of gain.

Oops! I was thinking of digital 3D. Sorry. :blush:
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
Last Edit: 04 Jul 2012 10:08 by revrobor.
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 14:33 #38803

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Thanks gor chiming in guys, i was starting to worry about the screen.

Rodeojack,

This barco projector seems like it could very well be the right fit for me as long as that lumens rating is high enough. It costs significantly less than the christie projector I was looking at.

As far as the line of sight. I did a little practice run yesterday when the lot was partially full. There is a fence that is about 10 feet high right behind where the screen would go. I was able to see the top of the fence from all spots, even with some suvs in the lot. So i figure, as long as the viewable screen(white part) starts at above 10 ft, everyone in the lot will be able to see the screen.

Another note, I will be doing rear projection, so the "projection booth" will not interfere with the line of sight.

thanks again guys,

Frank
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 17:17 #38804

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That's an interesting concept Frank. I have not done rear projection since running 16mm at Sea-Tac Airport some years ago. I wonder if they make a rear projection screen that big. I suppose the screen manufacturers could tell you. Keep us informed.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 20:25 #38805

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Rear projection would be my only major concern here.

Be sure to speak with a qualified service tech about this. Your plan does change the dynamics of what we've discussed here.

You may also find it difficult to locate an inflatable that can be shot from behind. Think of a balloon. You can't very well shoot from the back and expect an image to show up on the other side without distortion. I'm not sure how you figure this one.

There's also the fact that a rear projection scenario will require enough space behind the screen to accommodate the projection throw. That will translate to wasted space... where you could instead shoot from the front and use that space for additional cars.

A rear-projection screen would likely have to be solidly framed. Stretching a 60-foot screen in an outdoor setting would be a challenge, as applies to weather & windproofing.... and what material have you found that can be stretched tightly at that width and display an image from behind without huge light losses?

If you actually have all of this figured out, I'm sure everyone here would love to hear how you plan to do it.
Last Edit: 04 Jul 2012 20:27 by rodeojack.
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 04 Jul 2012 20:35 #38806

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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 05 Jul 2012 15:13 #38807

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rodeojack,
the screens i already have quotes for are for rear projection although im not aure how much light loss there would be. Do most rear projection screens cause significant light loss? I belive the material is .6 mm pvc. There is going to be plenty of space behind the screen that oterwise would not be used because there is a few boats back there. This means I will actually be saving space for cars to park and it wouldnt mess with anyones line of sight. Thanks.
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 05 Jul 2012 18:10 #38810

  • Barry Floyd
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One thing to keep in mind, especially when dealing with a flat surface without ramps like a parking lot. Many, if not most customers will show up in either a mini-van or SUV, and most will more than likely whip out the folding lawn chairs and set them up on the ground BEHIND their vehicle. First thing they will do is complain that they can't see over the top of the SUV in front of them when sitting in their lawn chair. Happens all of the time at my place, and I have to kindly remind them that the DRIVE-IN wasn't designed to view the movie by sitting on the ground behind an Escalade or Hummer. Get your screen up as high as you practically can.
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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Re: Large Drive in theater at marina/ restaurant 11 Jul 2012 16:57 #38826

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I researched using the PVC blow-up screens in a drive-in type venue. Every venue I've seen try to do this on a regular basis has failed, including one in the Orange County Fairgrounds near Los Angeles.

First, the screens are too low to the ground. The bottom of the screen needs to be at least 17 feet above grade, and these screens don't even come close to that.

Next, if you get any type of breeze in the evening, the screen waves back and forth, throwing off your focus and making the viewing experience a headache. That's provided you don't get a big gust of wind, and have the screen take off into orbit.

The wear-and-tear of taking the screen down and putting it up every day will eventually leave visible marks on the screen. These things are not easy to move around, either.

Nothing beats a permanently installed steel screen tower. These blow-up screens are good for one-time only events, if you want to be in business for the long-haul, build a permanent structure.

Rick
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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