Outdoor Movies: What Is A Projector Lumen and Why Is It Important?

As you search for an equipment provider for your outdoor movie event, you might be feeling unsure about what types of questions to ask them about their equipment. One important question you might want to ask an outdoor movie provider is about the lumens of their cinema equipment. Simply asking about the lumens will not give you a complete picture of the quality of their outdoor movie equipment, though. You need to ask about the quality of their inflatable movie screen surface as well. Here are the basics of lumen, and some information about different types of outdoor projection screens, so you can ask the right questions when interviewing potential equipment providers for your outdoor cinema event.

What is a Lumen?
Lumen measures the brightness of the bulb or bulbs in a projector. Higher lumens equals a brighter image. For outdoor movie events, where the projection screens are large, it is particularly important for the projector be a high lumen projector, so large, bright picture can be produced. Lumen is important because a bright, clear image is what will give your outdoor movie theater quality. A high lumen projector is not all that is needed for a bright, clear picture; the screen the image is projected onto matters just as much. Film projectors with a bright lumen will also allow for outdoor movie events to start around sundown, when their is still ambient light in the sky.

What is a Screen Gain?
The quality of the movie screen surface (the white part) is measured by the amount of light it reflects, or its Gain factor. As a general rule, outdoor screens with higher Gain factors produce higher quality images. This is because a transparent, or see-thru, screen will lose up to 50% of the light from the projector which will produce a duller and less bright image. A bright image on a high quality screen is particularly important in an outdoor setting, where light distractions, such as street lights, can affect the image on a low quality screen.

A high lumen projector and a screen with an appropriate Gain factor work together to produce the best quality images. It is important to ask potential audio / visual providers about both the lumen of the their equipment and the quality of their screens. You will be glad you did your homework when you can offer your guests a theater quality movie experience in an outdoor setting.

Paul B. Murray is the founder and owner of Southern Outdoor Cinema, LLC, the LARGEST producer of outdoor movie events in the United States for professional sports teams, movie studios, film festivals, marketing agencies, Fortune 500 Companies and cities. Using cutting edge outdoor cinema equipment paired with a proprietary movie event planning system, Southern Outdoor Cinema helps clients create highly successful and highly entertaining outdoor movie events. To receive daily tips about how to organize an outdoor movie event, visit


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  2. Outdoorprojector You can seen most outdoor projectors gives you an experience that is beyond imagination. Besides being used for entertainment, outdoor projectors are also used by businesses and office meeting across the world for a variety of purposes.