DIY Screen Section > Using a tarp as a Outdoor Screen?
Cudda_Kine's Avatar Cudda_Kine 11:59 PM 02-23-2010
I'm thinking about getting an 18x24ft White tarp and mount it outside in the front yard. Will this work?

I know it's not going to be as good quality as screens made for projectors but this is a really cheap alternative for a really large screen. I'll be using my Optoma HD66 so it should be able to project an image that big. Please let me know.

airscapes's Avatar airscapes 05:29 AM 02-24-2010
Depends on if you want the image to fill that tarp, if so.. I don't think so. Your projector would need to be 40' back and your FL at the screen would be 4 with a 1.1 gain screen.

You may want to take a look at the screen size calculator on before you decide on the size.. you need to be able to see the image clearly to enjoy it..

NOTE: worst that could happen is you have a really big tarp for the kids to use when building a fort or to cover the floor when you paint.. no harm in trying it out..

Well I just took a peek in there /avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=159
and I guess I am wrong.. seems like folks with nice dark yards can get a giant picture that is good..
Adult Beverage's Avatar Adult Beverage 06:03 AM 02-24-2010
Best information for this is in the Outdoor Theaters section of the forum. Even better source is Backyard Theater . com . Lots of very helpful folks there for any and all outdoor questions.
victor-eyd's Avatar victor-eyd 11:02 AM 02-24-2010
The problem with the white tarp is that it might be extremely reflective, meaning you'll get all sorts of sparklies while watching a movie.

Cudda_Kine's Avatar Cudda_Kine 09:37 PM 02-24-2010
Is it possible to use any color tarp? Like a blue one? I'm not sure if it matters what color the screen is because i tried projecting it on our living room brown wall and the colors came out alright. The blue tarp is only $20 vs the white one which is $60.
MississippiMan's Avatar MississippiMan 07:35 AM 02-25-2010
Originally Posted by Cudda_Kine View Post

Is it possible to use any color tarp? Like a blue one? I'm not sure if it matters what color the screen is because i tried projecting it on our living room brown wall and the colors came out alright. The blue tarp is only $20 vs the white one which is $60.

Well Golly.....

If upon your personal inspection you cannot see anything different between projecting upon a "Blue" surface and a White surface, I'd say you had better just go with whatever is cheapest, since that seems to be the primary goal.

But don't fool yourself. There is a difference. And at 15' w/a 140" Screen. You'll have a 288" x 173" diagonal 16:9 image within the confines of that 24' x 18' Tarp, so the very last thing you need or want to do is rob yourself of any reflectivity.
dbachman's Avatar dbachman 02:54 PM 03-02-2010
I project onto a 10x16 white tarp outside during summer and the picture is fine. You may get some hot spotting but for large outdoor viewing, you are going more for the "big" factor than the perfect picture. You could get a little better picture by going with blackout cloth but you lose the convenience of the tarp which is more durable, cheaper, and includes grommets.
MississippiMan's Avatar MississippiMan 05:21 PM 03-02-2010
As an afterthought, I found it repugnant to suggest that such a huge application must be considered "acceptable" even if it had sparklies, hot spotting, or anything else considered detrimental, and made acceptable on the weight of it's being BIG.

Now I'm all for "Big", as most know, but "Big Ugly" isn't on that list.

Of a certain, the surface needs to start out being very Reflective White as a "Base", but by evenly dulling that just a bit with a flexible dusting of a Matte Glaze there should be results that are decidedly better than "make do". Control and use that reflectivity. It's done just about everyday somewhere using Glossy White Hardboard (Thrifty White) and translucent Gray paint, so doing so with a lightly applied Clear Matte dusting should maximize the potential of a White Tarp.

The real quality will come in the presentation/installation of such a large Screen. If it can be taunt, flat, and unwrinkled, it's gonna be all that it can be.

And at 288" x 162"........that's a LOT!

But it seems to me that at the sizes just discussed, reflectivity isn't so bad if it's evenly applied.'s the PJ that matters. I noted recently that a Online Vendor has a Epson, 2000 lumen Projector - DVD Combo w/Speakers for a sub- $600.00 hit.

Using the Panny AX200u as a guide post, a 288" x 62' surface would have to be of a minimum 2.0 gain just so that the foot lambert off such a screen would be about 6 fl @ 33' throw.

Trying to put a curve on 288" outside is out.....,

Trying one's best to tie / stretch out such a large Tarp and doing that successfully would be enough an accomplishment. Best that such be the first order of importance.

Afterward...and while stretched, one should consider dusting on something like S-I-L-V-E-R over about 5 coats would ramp up such a Tarp into real "OMG" status. S-I-L-V-E-R is flexible enough that if one procured a empty Cardboard Carpet Tube, such a fine example of Overkill could be effectively rolled up & stored and kept in excellent shape for many future viewings.

BIG veiwings

Yeah, by doing it that way...sure it would be a logistical PITA to store for many, but hey...if you think BIG, why stifle or degrade the effort by introducing wrinkles and folds ?

Yessir, "Quality" is all in just how much one is or is not willing to do the minimum required to obtain the maximum results. For so many....the "minimum" is often far removed...and lagging behind what is / should be done.

Buy a Tarp ...........................$60.00
Buy a Wagner CS....................$60.00
Buy S-I-L-V-E-R components...$30.00

Total spent making a 330" diagonal Screen..$150.00 *
Neighbor Envy........................................Priceless

And Guys, just scale back to Screen size to something under "Big Top" size and it all just becomes easier. Dem Dudes on the Outdoor Screen there are some Fellows who want it all.

* Ok...ok. So you also gotta buy some Hardware, Bungees, Cushions and Beer. Waddya ya Want fer 'Nuthin?
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