4 Parts of a Great Drive-In Movie System for a Covid Safe Gathering

How do you know if you are contracting a great Drive-In Movie system?

The old adage “You Pay for What you Get” applies. So what do you need to look for?

Movie nights are a safe way for communities to gather. There are essentially four parts:

1) Movie Screens
2) Projectors
3) Sound Systems
4) FM Transmitters

Providing clients with choice – many equipment options – is a great way to judge a program along with how long a company has been in business and speaking directly with past clients.

Movie Screens  inflatable movie screen IMG 0483 dimensions chittychitty

Options include 1) Inflatable Screens, 2) LED Jumbotrons, 3) Standard indoor AV screens, 4) Spandex Stretch Screens.  Larger screens require larger projectors for clarity and full-screen image.

School Spandex drape


How can I compare one projector to another?  Professional Projector sizes are measured in Lumens which is a measure of “brightness”.  Systems used in Hotels for corporate events are usually in the 5000-6000 Lumens ranges.  The next jump is 10,000 to 20,000 Lumens which are convention center systems for large screens.  Brighter projector more expensive projectors also come with better lenses and give a bigger image with better quality. Conversely, projectors in the 400-600 lumen range are personal projects that a salesperson would take to a presentation.  These are not bright enough to fill the full screen of a large outdoor system, especially at dusk.

L 16 MobileSound Systems

Speaker systems are additive.  Look for quality brands such as EV, JBL, EAW, and a number of Concert rated brands.  The smallest systems with 2 speakers on stands can accommodate localize sound close to the screen in outdoor settings.  Flying speakers higher on speak towers improve sound quality.  Increasing from 1 speaker per tower to 2 for a total of 4 speakers is a big step forward.  

Adding in Fill in Speakers will improve the overall quality and the next step is a concert sound array.  Working outdoors with sound is much different than indoor sound systems. Land topography and features such as trees have a dramatic effect on the sound.  It is always best to over-engineer the sound system as we do for our political candidate events.  Ask the vendor what types of events over the past 5 years have they provided sound and AV.  At Ampa, these systems are used for political Stump Stops, Corp Events, Government Events and Universities to name a few, and for a variety of event types

FM Transmitters  

Rated based on how far they transmit the signal.  Most are less than 200 ft.  Ampa has 2 systems with one in the 200-300 range and a second in the 300 to 500 range.  Signal boosters are available if needed, and we assess very large open fields to consider technical needs before contracting.

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Not all companies are alike.  At Ampa, we are committed to quality, designing the “right” program for each client, and providing the friendly customer service we are known for.  Consider adding a theme to a movie system or Dinner and a Movie.  We will make all the catering arrangements as needed.

Ampa Events has a huge inventory of event equipment rentals, theme props, and decorative rentals, party rentals, and special event equipment for any occasion. For safe distancing Ampa provides one of the largest and most diverse inventories in VA, Washington DC, Maryland, North Carolina, and throughout the east coast including colorful cafe tables and chairs, event decorating for safe distancing, stage rentals for galas, fundraisers, ceremonies, concerts and so much more.

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