How to host your outdoor cinema event?

An outdoor movie screening is a great community activity, fundraiser, or even a marketing event. But due to its size and location, an outdoor cinema can be challenging to host.

It takes a lot of work to put together an outdoor movie event. You must know the essentials to ensure the best viewing experience for all your attendees. 

1. Pick the right venue

Outdoor movies can be screened at a park, garden, beachfront, football field, and more. Each venue serves a different audience group.

For example, a laidback venue like a park or lakeside would be more suitable for older age groups. Meanwhile, younger attendees would surely like movies by the beach.

Aside from that, you must consider the size of the crowd. A large number of attendees require an equally bigger venue.

On the same note, you have to consider your budget. Rooftop terraces and exclusive beachfront tend to be more expensive. So if you want a more pocket-friendly venue for you and your audience, consider a park or a local garden.

Lastly, you have to consider the current season. Spring and fall are usually the best seasons for outdoor movies since the temperature isn’t too hot or too cold. 

2. Choose a date

Most of the time, the date of your outdoor screening will affect your choice of venue and vice versa. Many outdoor venues are fully booked during peak season, so you should plan your event as early as possible.

Moreover, weekends tend to yield the highest attendance across age groups. You can also consider weekday nights, though you may not achieve your target attendance. Nevertheless, venues usually have cheaper rates on weekdays. 

3. Organize the attendance system

Most outdoor movie screenings are ticketed to control the number of attendees. In this case, you need a way to sell your tickets properly.

The best way is to use a ticketing service online for convenient booking. You can also set up a ticketing booth days before the screening. And if you still have available slots, you can encourage walk-ins during the date of the event.

Overall, the number of tickets you will release should correspond to the capacity of your chosen venue. You should also set the right price to ensure that you’ll recoup all expenses and still earn profits.

Aside from that, you should start selling tickets at least a week before the screening date. This will allow movie-goers to include your event in their plans. 

4. Set up comfortable seating

Fold-out chairs are the common choice for movie screenings. But if you want a cozier vibe, you can set up loungers, bean bags, and cushions.

In fact, you can incorporate the type of seating on the ticket your attendee can purchase. For example, a standard ticket includes a free picnic blanket. Meanwhile, a luxury ticket will give them access to loungers or bean bags.

Whatever seating system you choose, it must be comfortable. There should also be ample space between seats to allow the movie-goers to move around without bumping each other. 

5. Rent the best movie equipment

The quality of your audience’s movie experience highly depends on the movie equipment. With this, you have to set up the best projector screen, sound system, and even additional lighting.

You can use a large projector screen or rent a LED wall. For movie screenings held during the day, LED walls are ideal since it provides excellent image quality from all angles.

Meanwhile, projector screens are best for dark settings. This will guarantee clear image quality for all your attendees.

Instead of buying your equipment, you can rent them from a professional AV company like Rent For Event. We have been providing complete audiovisual equipment for outdoor cinemas in Los Angeles. Whether it’s a private screening or a massive movie night in a park, we have all your AV needs covered. 

6. Select a movie

Your choice of movie to screen should depend on your target audience. You can also host themed movie nights for a change.

However, you should remember that showing films outside of movie theaters require licensing. Depending on your location, you’ll need to secure a public performance license and/or a copyright license. Make sure that you get all this paperwork done before you even start selling tickets.

For this part, you can contact the copyright holder or hire a company to do it for you. In general, you have to pay based on the audience size and the specific movie you’re planning to show. 

7. Don’t forget about security

Outdoor movie nights are fun, but you shouldn’t be complacent about security. This is especially important for large screenings that involve hundreds of attendees. First, make sure that you secure general liability insurance. If you’re planning to sell or serve alcoholic beverages during the screening, you should also consider liquor liability insurance. Since the weather largely affects outdoor movie nights, hosts often get cancellation insurance as well. This will allow you to cover the costs of the event in case it gets canceled due to unforeseen reasons. Aside from that, you should consider hiring on-duty guards or bouncers. This will keep attendees safe in case someone behaves rudely during the event.

8. Provide snacks

An outdoor movie experience won’t be complete without some good snacks. You can either provide complimentary snacks as part of the ticket purchase or set up food kiosks inside the venue.

Make sure that you have a couple of popcorn kiosks to serve your guests. You can also offer hot dogs, chips, pizza, and more.

Meanwhile, other movie screenings with an upscale venue and audience target will have full catering. Others will hire food trucks and mobile vendors to keep the crowd fed. 

Summary

Knowing how to set up an outdoor cinema will ensure the success of your event. Whether it’s a small screening or a large event, your movie night will be a big hit with proper planning. Always remember that the event must be centered on the experience of your attendees.

We hope that this short guide helped you plan your first or next movie event. And if you need an expert AV provider, Rent For Event is ready to deliver the best cinema experience. 

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