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What is Inflatable Screen? - Everything You Need to Know

An inflatable movie screen is a rectangular structure made of fabric or vinyl and inflated with a high-pressure air blower.

What is an inflatable screen used for?

The main purpose of an inflatable screen is to provide an easily transportable projection surface to show your video content to audiences up to 3,000 people or 300 cars. Inflatable screens are used for outdoor movie screenings, live sports broadcasts, pop-up drive-in movie theaters.
Open Air Cinema Elite 25' Screen Drive-in
A lot of people can use inflatable screens to enjoy movies under the stars, in the comfort of their backyard. Typical sizes of inflatable screens range from 9' to 40'.

What types of inflatable screens are there?

There are two main structure types of inflatable movie screens: 

  1. non-sealed screens that need an air blower to run constantly during the screening.
  2. Sealed inflatables. Those maintain air pressure thanks to the welded seams. The sealed inflatables are exclusively made of vinyl.

See our article about pros and cons of sealed and non-sealed inflatable movie screen types.

Which inflatable screen brands are there?

There are several leading companies that manufacture inflatable screens in the world.

  • The Germany-based AirScreen claims that they made their first sealed inflatable in 1994.
  • The Utah-based Open Air Cinema in the US has been making their screens since 2001 -- and is considered to be the longest operating inflatable screen maker in the United States.

What is the most important part of an inflatable screen?

The most important part of an inflatable screen is a projection surface. Some inflatable screens are made with a detachable projection surface. This allows for easier maintenance and replacement, if necessary.

Consumer and professional media projectors are used to project an image onto a projection surface of an inflatable movie screen.

Shop for outdoor movie projectors from Big Screen Pro

Quality inflatable screens are resistant to harsh weather conditions, including high wind speeds up to 35 MPH. 

Read our guide: what are the best practices to deal with wind if you have an inflatable screen?

When can I project content on an inflatable screen?

Assuming that the projection technology is involved, the image on an inflatable screen can be viewed at least 20 minutes after sunset. For more details see our article.

How are inflatable screens set up at a screening location?

Some inflatable screens are capable of rear projection when your projector is placed behind the screen. It allows for more space to place your audience and it's valuable for the limited-space area.

For an inflatable screen to stand straight and in-place a system of tethers and anchors is used. Some of the inflatable screens benefit from an A-frame structure, with inflatable supporting legs.

Note that any inflatable screen needs to be anchored for safe operation.

How can I tell a quality inflatable screen from a lousy one?

The key properties of quality inflatable screens are quality materials used, the stable projection surface geometry, wrinkle-free projection surface, a seamless projection surface made of a single piece of material.

The key benefits of inflatable screens are that they take little space when stored and can be installed on any solid surface in a matter of 60 minutes or less.


These days, inflatable screens can be seen in the backyards as well community parks. Many businesses offer them for rental as one of the most affordable options to entertain large crowds.

Expect to pay $3,000 on average for a quality mid-sized inflatable screen. The good news is it will last you for about a decade, if treated well.


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