How to Reduce Blower Noise During Your Outdoor Movie Show

A topic that often comes up during our conversations with those who stage movie-under-the-stars events for the public or watch movies on an inflatable screen in the comfort of their backyards is reducing the noise produced by the air blower that keeps your unsealed screen inflated throughout the entire screening. Normally, one such blower is enough. Yet, some, especially large outdoor movie screen models, require two such devices. Most screen models require the blower to be on during the entire show. Inflatable movie screens are often made of lightweight material, which enables convenience during the setup. Such an open air cinema inflatable can be transported in the trunk of a passenger car while the smaller screen models can be handled by one person.

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Manufacturers of inflatable non-sealed screens use technologies that reduce the noise produced by the air blower. Such noise is created both by the engine of the air blower and by the air flow. Normally, such noise does not interfere with viewing experience. But when there are quiet scenes in the content shown, the sound of your air blower can cause inconvenience to some of your audience. Is there anything that can be done if this becomes the case? In general, the physics of the sounds is difficult to deceive by completely removing noise, but you can help minimize it with the help of.. physics, again.

These are some of the ways to reduce noise that our team of Big Screen Pro experts have collected from experience of personally running movie-under-the-stars shows:

-Opt for a less powerful air blower. Quite often, movie event producers choose a more powerful blower reasoning: the more powerful, the better. However, this is most of the time not the case. You rather want to pick a blower with the power recommended by your screen manufacturer. Essentially, the more powerful the air blower, the noisier it is, and using it you not only add noise, increase power consumption, but you also can harm your outdoor movie screen itself. So we rather recommend that you always use the blower that the manufacturer of your screen recommends.

 

-Use a special "air extension". We'd now like to note that this method was invented during an actual event and is not readily available from any of the screen manufacturers. Here is how air extension works: the blower is moved further from the screen. To the blower's nozzle -- the place from where the air comes out -- a corrugated thin pipe is connected and laid to the screen. Such an arrangement reduces the noise generated by the air blower by way of physically distancing the blower from the viewers. This method is a bit clunky to apply and is often used in enclosed spaces, where the blower itself, as an option, can be installed in the basement, and the outlet of the corrugated pipe is laid to the screen. Just make sure you always have the air blower in sight for safety reasons, as well as a fire extinguisher at hand when working indoors.

-Use a foam barrier between the air blower and the viewer. This method is less effective, since it reduces only a part of the overall noise and does not block the reflected noise. Plus as you can guess, such a foam wall might not look pleasing to the eye.

-Use branded noise-absorbing boxes. At the moment, this is the only major method recommended by inflatable screen manufacturers. The solution is in the placement of the air blower into a special folding box. The walls of this box are made of a sound dampening material, but at the same time equipped with a special opening for air intake and sleeve for connecting the exhaust nozzle of the air blower to the screen. We recommend universal sound dampening boxes by Open Air Cinema. You can buy them from us here.

The Utah-based manufacturer offers three sizes of such boxes: S, M and L -- depending on the size of your air blower. 

A number of companies in the AV market are currently looking for various solutions to reduce noise from air blowers. We will continue to update you about the latest developments in this area.

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