How to Use a Projector Outside and During the Day

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One of the first lessons many of us learn about outdoor movie screenings is that you simply can’t show a film in the daytime. If you do, you will find your audience squinting, shielding their eyes from the sun. For any movie-goer, watching a film with bright sunlight in your eyes can be a bit of a drag. Of course, you can avoid this problem by scheduling your film screening for the nighttime. However, if you have a daytime outdoor film screening in mind, you don’t have to let the bright sun be a deterrent to you and your audience.

Wait for the right weather

Cloudy weather is your friend when projecting outside, as there is no glare to interfere. Needless to say, stormy weather should be avoided for several reasons: it's not recommended to keep your equipment in such a humid environment, and it's not fun at all to have a soaking-wet movie session.

Pick the right time of day

Before you set up your projector, you'll want to decide on the time of day to watch your movie. That will depend on how bright it is outside. What you don’t want to happen is to set up your projector, and then realize that your projector screen is washed out, due to the bright sun.

The brightness of the sun is measured in lumens. On a bright sunny day in the middle of summer, you will have an average sun lumen output of about 5,000 to 10,000 lumens. That can be way too bright for an outdoor movie. You want your projector to generate a high-quality, visible picture, and this might not happen in these conditions.

However, if you're projecting during the middle of the day in the summer when it's really hot, you'll want to avoid using the highest screen brightness setting. This will ensure that the sun isn't too bright and washing out your projector screen.

You should also consider setting up your projector screen a little bit away from the house to ensure optimal shielding against the sun.

If you're planning to throw a backyard movie night, you're in luck. There is virtually no ambient light during the evening. As long as it's not raining or windy, you won't have to worry about how much ambient light is in the sky.

Use a screen with a strong reflective display

The main thing that matters when using your projector during the day is its reflectivity. If you are running a standard projector you will want the screen to be bright and reflective. Remember, just like it's ideal to have as much sunlight as possible to watch your favorite TV show, daytime viewing for a projector is dependent on there being as reflective as possible. Luckily there are a few things you can do to increase the amount of reflection.

Use a projector with at least 5,000 lumen

You can project with a projector during the daytime if you get a model that's compatible with a daylight bulb. A typical projector emits 2000 to 10000 lumens. Starting at 3,500 lumens it will allow you to use it outside during the day, even in direct sunlight. But if your projector emits a lower number of lumens, it'll be difficult to see the image and get a quality picture on your screen. So make sure to get one that supports daylight.

Consider your screen type

The key to using a projector outside is to get the image large and bright enough to be seen from a distance and to prevent the image from getting blown out by the sun.

When you purchase a projector, it should come typically with a storage case with a screen that comes with it that folds into thirds. Screw that screen into a standard tripod. You'll be able to expand and collapse the tripod base to adjust how high or low you want the tripod to be.

The next thing you need to decide is how you will angle the screen towards the area where the crowd will be. If the screen is completely vertical, most of the time, people will have to look upward to see the image, since the sun is usually not directly overhead.

If you angle the screen to the side, people will have to tilt their heads to the side to see the image. This can be disconcerting if they don't know why the image is sideways.

The best way to get the image out there without having to deal with the sun directly shining on the screen is to point the screen back at the projector. This way you'll get the image slightly downward, not too much so people will have to tilt their heads, but enough to keep the image from being blown out by the sun.

Inflatable screens

Inflatable Projector Screen provides you the best way to project your home videos, movies, powerpoints, and more. The screen will be inflated with a regular electric air pump, and it will be positioned in a location with good ambient light, like an open field. An inflatable projector screen will give you razor-sharp images anywhere outside. You can also put it inside for different uses.

As you like to have a clean environment, you should clean the inflatable projector screen after you use it. You can easily wash the screen with soap and water to remove dust and other materials.

Tripod screens

A tripod projector is ideal for both indoor or outdoor usage. Its adjustable height makes a big advantage on bright sunny days, as you can place it at a comfortable height to avoid having it in full sunlight.

Hung screens

If you're having a movie night outside and you're stuck without a projector shade, you can hang a flat white screen and use it to reflect the sunlight. They are normally used for setting up a projector at a work event. But other than that, they lay flat on the floor or a low table. They may fold out to stand firm and are usually lightweight.

Hanging a white screen will work only if the sun is low in the sky, like in the evening. A flat white screen placed in the sun will reflect the sunlight away from the viewer, and the shadows that may be projecting on the white screen will make it appear as if nothing is wrong.

Get a good viewing angle

The size of the projection screen is another key factor to take into consideration. If you want to be able to watch the outside screen from multiple positions, make sure to buy a screen that offers a viewing angle of at least 160°.

Since you’ll be using the projector outside, the ambient light is going to play a big role in determining the size of the screen you’re able to comfortably view.

You can also consider the “gain” of the screen. If the light reflection is a problem for you, you may want to get a projection screen with high “gain”. A high-gain screen will have a lower viewing angle, but the screen surface will keep light in and reduce light reflection.

Shade is your friend

If you have a projector or a big screen, you can take advantage of its light and set it up outside for movies night anytime you want. It’s a common misconception that if you are using a projector in the evening that you can’t use it during the day. If you want to have fun and watch movies while it’s sunny you can do it!

Ensure that you hang up a curtain or screen to block the light coming from the sun. This will hide the blinding sunlight and make it easy for your viewers to watch and enjoy the film.

Add a good sound system

Add an adequate sound system using a soundbar remote. These are becoming increasingly popular due to how easy they are to set up and program, without requiring a master's degree in electronics. So you can enjoy the great sound quality and keep a nice relaxing atmosphere for your outdoor party.

If you want to keep your soundbar outside, you have to be sure that the soundbar doesn't get damaged by moisture and that it could stay in a consistent condition overnight. There are cases where the remote stops working after the device has been left outdoors for a while. And since it is all up to the quality of the remote, this is the main risk you may have to prevent.


When you use a projector outside, it is better to limit its use to the early morning or late evening. This is the best way to gain the very best results. These all depend upon what you are projecting and what you are projecting it on.