Family movie night under the stars

by DaniGirl on August 17, 2013 · 2 comments

in Ottawa Family Fun, Reviews, promotions and giveaways

The very same week we were having our new treehouse built, the fine folks at Epson sent an e-mail out of the blue wondering if I’d like to test drive a neat new home theatre projector. I immediately imagined a big white bedsheet tacked to the treehouse, friends and neighbours gathered ’round on lawnchairs on a warm summer night, crickets chirping and kids sitting on blankets munching popcorn under the stars. It was the vision of a perfect summer night – and for once in my life, that’s exactly how it played out!

A backyard movie night and tree-house-warming party for just our family and my visiting brother’s family would have been awesome on its own, but I thought it would be a great way for us to get to know our neighbours a little better. Although there are quite a few kids similar in age to the boys on our street, they go to a different school and it drives me a little crazy that even though I know the adults well enough to say hi and chat, the kids on the street don’t know each other like they did when we were kids. Movie night seemed like a great icebreaker. To round out the crowd, we invited a few of the families of the boys’ friends from school and a few family friends, too. I’d say we had probably a dozen or 15 adults and maybe 20 kids. Way too many people for the inside of my house, but perfect for the sprawling yard!

We had room for kids to run and play, for a picnic dinner for some early arrivals, space to set up the projector, and more than enough space for a campfire and marshmallows. And, as it turned out, roasted gummy spiders. (Not part of my original vision, I must admit.)

photo of kids roasting marshmallows

The projector itself is way cool and dead easy to use. It’s the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD and it is truly plug and play. We could have plugged it in to our BluRay player, or even the Wii console, to watch the movie that way, but we decided to plug it in to my Macbook so we’d also have access to iTunes while we were waiting for it to get dark. An HDMI cable and an extension cord and we were good to go! Here’s how Epson describes this fun home theatre projector on their site:

Get ready for a standing ovation from family and friends when you share brilliant 2D and 3D entertainment using the Home Cinema 750HD projector. Transform the game room, garage or even your backyard into an incredible big-screen experience — all at an affordable price. 3000 lumens of colour brightness and 3000 lumens of white brightness1 and 720p resolution ensure images are bright, sharp and clear. Quick and easy HDMI connectivity lets you jump into the middle of any 2D or 3D adventure, from movies to live sporting events and even video games. Get the total package with rechargeable RF 3D glasses and an internal speaker — all included, so you’re ready for larger-than-life, immersive, 3D adventures — anytime. Epson’s exclusive 3LCD technology delivers rich, vivid images up to 300 inches — perfect for projecting on a blank wall or portable screen.

(imagine a photo of the projector plugged in to my computer sitting on our old diaper table out in the middle of the yard here. I forgot to take that photo!)

The forecast for Friday had been perfect, then sketchy with a 40% chance of thunderstorms, but if there’s anything the summer of 2013 has taught me, it’s to ignore the forecast entirely. As it turned out, the night was clear and perfect and the only real problem was the skeeters.

I was worried we’d have to wait until full dark to be able to see anything. (We saw the original Batman at the drive-in back in 1989 or so, and I remember not being able to see anything for the first half of the movie because it’s such a dim movie to begin with, and in the ambient light of the setting sun, we couldn’t make out any of the details.) I was really impressed at the power and clarity of the Epson projector, though. It was just as the sun was setting that we started up the movie, and it was crystal clear.

outdoor photo of families watching a movie in backyard

Of course, the effect was better as we approached full dark. Look how crisp the image on the screen is! I was so impressed!

outdoor photo of families watching a movie in backyard

We didn’t get the chance to try out the 3D mode yet, but we’ll still have the projector for a few days before we have to return it, so we may have to try that out tonight. Beloved is completely in love with it. He leaned over to me half way through the movie and said, “We so need one of these. I want to watch all my favourite TV shows like this!” I laughed imagining Survivor and Survivorman projected on the treehouse, but I think what he had in mind was setting it up on a shelf over the bed and projecting the full size of the bedroom wall!

(I was seriously tempted to look into purchasing one when we turned off the movie — remember, we were using my Macbook to play the DVD — and the photo I’d been editing earlier in Photoshop appeared on the projection screen. Photo editing on a four foot by six foot screen? Hells yes!!)

Thanks to the kind folks at Epson for letting us borrow this amazing projector. Thanks, too, to MediaProfile, who arranged the loan of the projector and threw in a complimentary copy of Hotel Transylvania courtesy of Sony Entertainment as well. It’s a charming movie and the kids seemed to enjoy it almost as much as the grownups did! (Yes I’m looking at you, Julie!)

Everyone agreed it was a great night. Huh, lookit that — some of my crazy schemes actually play out exactly as I imagined them. Who would have guessed it?


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Steve August 19, 2013 at 10:00 am

That’s awesome!

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