How to Use a Projector Outside During The Day

Coronavirus may have brought to us a new reality or a new normal where we can’t fly to exotic locations or go to various destinations in the outdoors. However, as people make the most out of their indoor life, there’s a way for you to enjoy the outdoors with your projector as well.

Yes, even during the daytime, you can watch movies with your projector in the comfort of your backyard. It’s the next best thing to going out to the cinema to watch movies.

With that in mind, you need to know how to use a projector outside during the day, with the most important thing to note is the fact that it is possible to watch projected movies unto a screen in the daytime without the assistance of a dark indoor home theater.

How to Use a Projector Outside During the Day

The amount of lumens your projector has is probably the most important feature you should scope out prior to buying a “daylight” projector for the sake of daytime viewings of movies in your yard. Increased brightness is needed to stand out from the brightness of the yard. Meanwhile, one lumen equals the brightness of the light emitted by a light source.

What Are Lumens?

The brightness of the light is measured in lumens. With that said, you can’t really project a movie in direct sunlight. The “lumens” or “lux” required to make a movie stand out in the sunlight is so great no existing projector can reproduce that.

You can do the next best thing and project a movie in the shade or with proper positioning away from daylight in order to be able to project during the day.

In the past, “watts” were used to measure light, but bulbs became more energy-efficient, leading to brightness measurement being done in “lumens” instead.

What Is Ambient Light?

You need at least 3,000 to 5,000 lumens of projector brightness in order to use a projector during the daytime. Why? It’s because of ambient light.

Ambient light from sunlight or daylight as well as light fixtures and lamps in your home rob the intensity and contrast from a projector’s light and image. This is why projectors work best in a darkened room or theater with a reflective screen.

In order to be able to use a projector in your yard, it should have enough lumens to counteract ambient light such as daylight.

 Read more: How Many Lumens for Outdoor Projector Do You Need?

What Happens If the Projector Isn’t Bright Enough?

Any projector that’s less than 3,000 to 5,000 lumens will result in faint or hard-to-see images. The projection will look too weak, too faint, or too gray to discern what’s going on.

Also, because direct sunlight is too bright to counteract the highest-lumen projectors, you also need to create shade and the right screen/projector angles in order to be able to view your movie in the middle of all that ambient light.

A sufficiently bright projector projecting in the shade is ideal for backyard or garden movie viewings.

• What Happens If the Projector Isn't Bright Enough

Full Shade, Part-Shade, and Full Sun

Full shade, part-shade, and full sun naturally influence how much lumens you need from your projector for it to work. The brighter the sun and the more direct sunlight (not too much though) is involved the more lumens you should work with.

We recommend partial or full shade since even then there’s plenty of daylight or ambient light to go around that would normally render dimmer projectors moot. A part-shade projector is good for wider spaces and a full sun projector is the most expensive option.

Build a Shaded Area If You Must

If you lack built-in shaded areas that can house your screen then you might need to build the structure or gazebo yourself.

Otherwise, you might have to wait till the afternoon but before twilight in order to watch movies like The Twilight Saga and whatnot. A structure with limited cover to prevent too much ambient light from robbing the brightness or stealing the thunder of your (presumably short-throw projector) might be required. A square awning can work out too, like the ones you see at football games.

Short-Throw Projectors versus Standard-Throw:

Standard throw projectors can work if you have a particularly large screen for a, particularly huge yard. Otherwise, you’ll have to settle for a miniature compact pocket projector with an under-five-foot throw or even an ultra-short-throw projector with a throw distance of mere inches or under afoot.

The reason for this is that long-throw or standard-throw projectors have to be placed quite a distance away from the screen, leaving it susceptible to ambient light or daylight.

Check If Your Projector Has a Strong Reflective Display

Take a good look at the big screen you’ve chosen after you’ve bought the right kind of projector to project the images and videos of your favorite films.

A strong reflective display or screen is a must not only to maximize the brightness of your projection to high-fidelity.

It’s also useful in making sure the colors of the video you’re watching remains vibrant.

It also ensures that the fine details of the movie are completely apparent. There are many state-of-the-art screens to choose from.

The Importance of The Screen’s Reflective Properties

In order to make sure your 5,000-lumen projector is projecting an image bright enough for people at the far back of your seating arrangement to see, you need a reflective display that reflects completely all 5,000 lumens of your projector. A white screen ensures picture and color fidelity, a gray screen is good for better contrast, while a black screen assists in counteracting the ambient light a bit so that you can see the picture better like in a darkened room.

• Check If Your Projector Has a Strong Reflective Display

Inflatable Projector Screens are Made for the Outdoors

Many a drive-in theater or cinema makes use of inflatable projector screens. Therefore, it makes sense for you to invest in them in case you want to watch movies in your own backyard or front yard as well as various other areas in your property where the sunlight will naturally seep in.

Inflatable screens, obviously, require you to inflate them like a balloon or a raft. They’re preferred by many outdoorsy movie viewers due to their ability to stand on their own base like a table, desk, or lawn chair.

Weather Conditions Should Not Be Adverse

Obviously, in order to ensure your backyard movie viewing marathon works, you should do your viewing during a fair-weather day.

Don’t go out while the summer heat is unbearable or when there’s inclement weather full of rain, snow, or even hail. Snow is particularly terrible since it reflects sunlight and can make the outside brighter than usual.

That’s a lot of ambient light to deal with. You should view your videos, TV shows, or movies outdoors in areas like the veranda, garden lawn, or patio.

The Problem with Moody Weather

You can’t view your movies while it’s too hot or too cold because they could damage your (presumably) mobile or compact projector. The device could overheat altogether due to excessive summer sunshine.

Furthermore, windy or rainy days should be avoided since they could affect your projector or projector screen. A strong wind can blow your inflatable screen away or at least make it tip over its own weight. The rain can short-circuit your projector or any extension cords you might be using.

The Perfect Weather Conditions

Slightly cloudy with cumulus clouds but not so cloudy the sky goes dark is the perfect weather conditions for viewing your movie. The sun shouldn’t be shining too strongly and avoid viewing something during noon.

Go eat lunch instead first then have your viewing party in the afternoon for the best results. Otherwise, you should set up a shelter or gazebo that will allow you to safely watch your movie outdoors rain or shine. A gazebo is open up to allow sunlight while not necessarily being an indoor structure.

• Weather Conditions Should Not Be Adverse

Add an Adequate Sound System

Last but not least, you should have an adequate sound system. it can be speakers hidden inside your inflatable screen or amplifiers beside your projector. You can even place the sound system nearer to the viewers sitting on their plastic chairs, folding chairs,  or lawn chairs while watching the complete James Bond series from a distance (R.I.P. Sean Connery, by the way). Usually, most homeowners use a Bluetooth soundbar or speaker for the job. Make sure the ones that need batteries have them fully charged, by the way!

In Summary

Why not set up the ultimate daylight outdoor home theater in the middle of the pandemic? This is especially true for those under lockdown or quarantine. You can still enjoy the outdoors without leaving your house after all!

Why limit yourself to indoor movie viewings with the curtains drawn when you can use certain high-lumen “daylight” projectors outside the house and in your yard during the day? It’s just your yard anyway, so it’s safe from coronavirus infection. What’s more, you’d still be in lockdown regardless.

Have a movie marathon for Harry Potter or the Marvel movies. Your kids will certainly love it. Indulge yourself by going outside your home without going out of and away from your home. Your staycation will benefit from a daylight projector movie viewing.

James Core
I write dozens of helpful informational articles based on topics that I have identified again and again throughout my research and work experience. I am here to help you find the right projector.

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