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Audience size and your outdoor movie system

When planning an outdoor movie event it is important to figure out if your outdoor movie equipment is enough for the number of people in attendance.

The most obvious feature to consider is the outdoor movie screen size. And the major manufacturers in our industry typically mention this ratio in their marketing materials.

Interestingly, this ratio may differ from outdoor movie equipment manufacturer to manufacturer, for the same projection screen size. This can become confusing and here's how to make sense of it.

Projection screen size versus audience size

The approximate viewers count according to screen size comes from the actual experience of a given manufacturer and the marketing message that they want to convey to you as a user. But there are other considerations to keep in mind when estimating the screen and audience size ratio.

Audience proximity

How and where your audience will be seated. If your event is planned in a park and your viewers will be seated on blankets your outdoor movie screen will be comfortably entertaining fewer people than if when they are in chairs.
People on blankets watching open air cinema by the beach
Sometimes your audience may watch the content while standing. Say at a concert or a short film festival. This will accommodate many more people compared to an audience on blankets or seated in chairs.

But in reality in most cases you will get a mix of the three arrangements. Typically the outdoor movie venue managers will have a number of chairs and benches. Some people will arrive with their own blankets or folding chairs. And passers-by will stop and be watching while standing.

Screen elevation above the ground

One of the best venue types for outdoor movie screenings are amphitheaters and elevated concert stages. The higher your screen is above the ground the better is the viewing range — so more people will be able to comfortably watch the content.
Inflatable Screen on the stage. Drive-in

This is especially true when organizing a drive-in screening. You may have noticed that permanent drive-in projection screens are usually elevated. This is done to avoid the vehicles that are parked in front of you from blocking the view.

Viewing angles

Another important factor often overlooked by outdoor movie event producers is the viewing angle of your outdoor movie screen. The viewing angle depends on the brightness of your projector, ambient lighting that may dim the projected image and the projection screen gain.

Other factors to consider

Sound distribution. It's important to make sure that the audience seated far off can hear the sound clearly while the front rows don't suffer from the sound that's too loud. If the movie has subtitles you may want to use a bigger size screen and also make the subtitles bigger for the audience.


Outdoor movie events are all about the pleasant vibe and enjoy the experience. This is why it's important to make sure the comfort of your audience is maintained throughout the whole movie under the stars event. Proper screen size, comfortable spacing and good sound balance are some factors to keep in mind.

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