How to Set Up a Projector Outside

Beth Huston Profile image

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Updated December 6, 2022

Figuring out how to set up a projector outside can lead to almost as many arguments as setting up a tent. This technical process may seem daunting, but you’ll find that the steps are straightforward. All projectors will come with directions for operating their hardware, including how to focus the projector lens. However, you need to take a few other steps before thinking about powering up. The best projectors require appropriately sized screens, great speakers, and the correct setting to work correctly.


  • Make sure that you have an appropriately sized screen that will work with the technical requirements of your projector.
  • Set up your projector on level ground without obstructions, and ensure that ambient light sources are kept to a minimum when it’s in use.
  • Follow the directions on your model’s instruction manual to link the projector up with other equipment, and follow them closely during operation. If you’re able, make the projector wireless, so you don’t have to worry about cables.

Setting Up a Projector Outside

Learning how to set up a projector outside can make even the dullest summer nights far more enjoyable. This is also a life skill for those who give presentations or even host events. Having a projector set up outside opens you up to far more opportunities. Of course, you’ll also need to know how to use a projector screen to use your projector successfully.

Insider Tip

Invest in a great set of external speakers to get the full effect you enjoy from a movie theater.

STEP 1 Measure for an Outdoor Movie Screen

The first step is ensuring you have space to accommodate your screen size. A huge backyard cinema screen is off the table if you don’t have much room to work with. However, inflatable screens or even a bedsheet work just as well. Learning how to set up a home theater projector will give you far more information.

STEP 2 Set Up Your Portable Projector

Portable projectors, like the Dr. J Professional HI-04 mini outdoor projector, are a fantastic way to bring your outdoor movie theater to life. You should set it up a few feet away from the outdoor projection screen. Make sure it stays clear of obstructions like chairs or tables for uninterrupted family movie nights.

STEP 3 Choose Between an External or Built-In Speaker

Compare the characteristics between speakers and decide which option is best for you. In this step, you’ll want to test-run your set-up. Modern projectors typically have a built-in audio system. If there is no built-in system, or it’s sub-par, look for a place to plug in audio cables, such as an analog audio output port.

STEP 4 Consider the Light Sources Near You

Ambient light can temper the effects of your projector. This causes poor image quality and can ruin your outdoor movie theater experience. Make sure to place your projector so that it isn’t competing with lamp posts, glowing signage, or anything else that could interfere with the display on your dedicated projector screen. Move your projector if necessary.

STEP 5 Plan for Your Power Supply

Most projectors will require some sort of wired connection. Many of them will need a few different wires. Make sure you have somewhere to plug in the power supply and open outlets for related equipment. Watching a movie indoors is easier because power outlets are plentiful. Outside, you have to plan to make sure your projector gets plugged in.

STEP 6 Enjoy Your Backyard Movie Party

Even if it’s a party of one, you’re still in for a great time. Test run the projector set-up a couple of times to ensure your movie time isn’t interrupted. Once your projector is ready, your maximum screen size has been met, and your speakers are on, you’re prepared to enjoy something way better than a movie indoors.


Ensure that you do not violate noise ordinances or disturb your neighbors by having a late-night movie outside.


How do you build outdoor movie theaters?

You’ll need to find suitable outdoor screens for your projector and a DVD or Blu-Ray Player. External speakers can be a great addition.

Are backyard movie nights a good idea?

Backyard movie nights are a huge upgrade to mundane family movie nights. However, always ensure the brightness level won’t cause light pollution that upsets your neighbors.

Will my backyard work for movies?

A backyard movie night can be lots of fun, but you’ll want to consider how big your backyard is. A huge backyard cinema screen is excellent in theory but may not fit space constraints. Projector screen sizes are dependent on the size of your area.

What equipment do I need for outdoor movie nights?

There are a few things you should have for successful movie parties:

  • Outdoor Projector Screen
  • Extension Cord
  • Wireless Speaker
  • Power Strip

STAT: In July 2021, consumer spending on movie theaters increased by over 80,000% in the United States. (source)

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