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What is an Inflatable Movie Screen?

Josie Myers
Josie Myers

An inflatable movie screen is a large projection screen that is inflated with the help of an air pump. It functions very similarly to a bounce house or other outdoor inflatable entertainment device. These screens are most often used for outdoor movie parties or other events that require removable and durable screens.

An inflatable movie screen can be made of various fabric and plastic types. These include a vinyl-coated polyester or solid vinyl type, as well as a perforated vinyl. Both types have advantages and disadvantages.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The solid vinyl or coated polyester inflatable movie screen is both water- and flame-resistant. This kind is easily washable with the use of mild detergent and a soft brush or cloth. These solid screens have a clear resolution, but tend to get dirty easier and are susceptible to wind.

Perforated vinyl screens allow for breathing and have the advantage of being more wind-resistant. The tiny holes in the material give the inflatable movie screen some breathability that in turn allows it to better stand up to the wind. This kind of screen can also be rear projected, although the resolution may not be as high as front projection. The overall resolution of the perforated screens is not as high as the solid options.

Wind and the elements are always factors when dealing with an outdoor movie screen. Many screens claim to withstand winds of 20-30 miles an hour (32.1-48.2 km an hour). Most moviegoers, however, would begin to lose interest in an outdoor movie once wind reaches 7-10 miles an hour (11.2-16.1 km an hour). This can get uncomfortable for an audience and make light objects like cups and paper napkins fly away.

There is great variability in the construction of inflatable movie screens. The higher quality screens come with a frame that is made from a material like aluminum. Other versions are completely freestanding figures. This variation greatly affects the assembly time of an inflatable movie screen. The easiest setups can take as little as 7-12 minutes. Others require several assemblers and setup time is closer to 45 minutes.

When choosing a location for setup, there are a few important points to be aware of. In the best circumstances, the outdoor inflatable movie screen should be set up on soft grass. If that is not possible, a mat or tarp should be placed under the screen to avoid damage. The area must be free from obstructions both above and surrounding the screen, and from direct light sources that would distort the picture.

It is important to remember that an inflatable movie screen is not a permanent structure and should be disassembled and packed away following any use. If mud or other such nuisances make contact with the screen, it should be rinsed before folding. Inflatable movie screens need to be dried completely before folding. Most users find it convenient to roll the screen up onto a tube for storage. They can then be stored in any average storage space such as an attic or warehouse.

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