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Drive-In Everywhere | Wired Cola

Drive-In Everywhere

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...a theatre near you...

Drive-In Everywhere snuck out of the May 1 Vancouver Tweetup to surprise and delight a few onlookers:


Remember Drive-In movies? Probably not.

Today there is only one in Metro Vancouver. Go, by the way, while you still can.

But now I will show you how to democratize the drive-in. It requires equipment that you can probably get your hands on pretty easily.

1) Projector. Go digital. If you can't borrow one from work, buy one for $600 or so. This is a drive-in, so HD isn't very important, and raw lumens are fairly important but not mandatory: you're working in the dark, not a well-lit conference room. They decide how big you can go and how dark your environment has to be. Your throw, however, will define where you shoot from. There's plenty of formulas for figuring these, but a few minutes of testing is the most effective way to see what you can do with the projector you have.

2) FM transmitter for sound. Local vendor Canakit sold us this one. They have more and less expensive models, but that one works. It's about $100 with the power supply. Range is about 150m in a clear space, maybe a little more. If you're a Canadian, buy a Canada-specific model: we're allowed a little more unlicensed power on certain FM bands than our American cousins.

I haven't tested it, but spacing multiple units around your site should let you go a little bigger, at the expense of long (and potentially tricky, depending on cable quality and signal quality) cable runs to your satellite FM transmitters. Unless you're going big, one should be enough, though.

3) Somewhere to put a picture. A screen is nice. A wall will work. Drive-In movies can be anywhere.

4) Something to show. Might I recommend Sita Sings the Blues? Using a laptop is a nice, simple way to go if you know what you're doing. DVD players are even simpler. Depending on how legal you want to be and how public you want to be, you may have to be judicious in your choice of source material. When all else fails, just put up your funny dog video.

5) Power. Don't underestimate this one! A portable generator will get you there easily and anywhere, but it can be loud. An actual outlet somewhere near your projection point (or an extension cord long enough to get there) is easy and will make you very happy. Go that way if you can.

The Infiniti-class solution would be to buy a fairly skookum inverter (not a recommendation, that's just an example of a reasonable unit) and permanently mount it in your car. This is not a trivial task, since you can't power an inverter that big through your lighter. We're talking dedicated power line (plus fusing) direct to your battery, and by the way, you'll have to run the car more or less continuously because this much power draw will rapidly drain your battery. On the other hand, you then have a perfectly self-contained drive-in theatre that easily fits in a car.

If I win the Nissan Cube, I intend to build a small removable "module" for my projector, laptop, and FM transmitter. It will be a custom fit into the cargo area pointing backwards, and will make starting a DIY drive-in movie a two-step process: 1) open the Cube's easy-access rear door, 2) start the movie.

My father is an excellent woodworker, and my youngest brother is an apprentice welder. So all I need to do to get a nice module case is trade them something appropriate.

As for other uses of the DIY Drive-in movie, might I suggest gigantic video gaming? Nintendo Wii on a 20' screen! Go ahead. Be creative. It's fun!

Comments

haha, yes it is real fun! I

haha, yes it is real fun! I like your improbably creative step in movie making. Guess, I will try it once :) Regards!

I really admire the efforts

I really admire the efforts induced here to extract the exclusive extension of this version.This is a drive-in, so HD isn't very important, and raw lumens are fairly important but not mandatory: you're working in the dark, not a well-lit conference room. They decide how big you can go and how dark your environment has to be.


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