How I wish open-air cinemas were available all year round! But at least we are able to enjoy them throughout summer and early autumn, and the décor options are endless. Go festival-style with tipis, bright bunting and fairy lights or, my personal favourite: outdoor living room.
For the venue of your private cinema, opt for a large terrace, roof, garden or if you’re lucky enough to have land, a field. Do make sure however to have access to a power source for your lighting/projector, or alternatively choose battery operated options. For the screen, you can use a strung-up sheet, a wall or an inflatable screen.
Also make sure to host your cinema event somewhere where noise won’t be an issue for neighbours. I wouldn’t recommend wireless headphones unless you’re hosting a very large event.
I always find indoor furniture looks very effective in a garden setting: if you’ve noticed in our shoots, I always include couches/armchairs/vanity tables when I can!
My ideal open-air cinema would be cosy and all about casual comforts. As much as I love sitting on the ground, picnic-style, two hours can be a little long without back support and softer cushions. Think of rattan armchairs, sanded wood coffee tables, rugs, large cushions, standing coat racks, parasols and why not lamps or even a chest of drawers? This could work as a great surface for a buffet of food and drink, with the drawers storing extra blankets and bits and bobs, such as a small first aid kit, batteries and torches. Use lanterns throughout your chosen space: they work wonderfully as a way to light your path or as a kind of ‘fence’ to mark the limits of your private cinema.
For the buffet, make sure to have childhood classics: popcorn, sweets, cupcakes, crisps, etc. Rework them with a twist, such as cheddar popcorn and rose water marshmallows. Drinks are really down to personal preference: sugary cocktails, milkshakes, wine, whatever you prefer!
My last piece of advice for maximum effect would be to have a hamper full of props available. Make sure that they are in relation to the film you are watching, such as pink bomber jackets, hair bows, wigs, etc. for Grease for example. This will make your evening interactive and even more fun as you’ll be able to complement the film.
An open-air cinema is great with friends, but also as a special date night or anniversary. Turn it into a romantic experience and why not programme a double or triple-bill of your favourite films to watch together? A cinema date is great, but a private, outdoor cinema date is even better!