Finding a space large enough to use a projector can be difficult in a home full of pictures and paintings. And if you are lucky enough to find an open wall, it’s not always a beige or white that works for projection. This got me thinking, where can I watch my Friday night movies? Then I realized a garage door could possibly work, but I wasn’t sure, so I dug up some info for all of us.
Will a projector work on a garage door? The answer technically is yes. But the quality of which it works depends on your standards, what type of garage you have, and external factors around you.
If your garage isn’t particularly smooth, then you can imagine that the projection won’t be either. Along with the color of the garage and whether you are projecting from inside or outside are all things that can affect how the projection works.
Qualities of a Garage Door that Works
Sure having a nice smooth projector screen would be great, but sometimes we have to adjust on the fly due to financial stresses, product malfunction, etc. It is possible to get creative and use your garage door as long as it possesses some of the most important qualities. For instance, having a flat and smooth surface is critical, along with a light color such as white or pale beiges, etc. Here are several factors you want to have in your checklist of what will work for your projector screen.
White, beige, and light grey are three colors that will benefit you if your garage is any of them. The best color may not be the color you think. Light grey over the rest is actually the best color to have because of black spots. Because you are projecting from your garage, you can’t necessarily control the lighting around you from your neighbors.
Second to that is a matte white then followed by a beige. However, when you get more beiges some of the colors won’t show up as their true selves in whatever you’re watching. Not the end of the world, but just something to keep in mind.
Something that helps fool the eye with color and too much light from outside is a black border around the screen. This really does make a big difference and makes the whites much better because of the contrast.
This is a more difficult part to get right when it comes to projecting onto a garage door. If you have windows, you can forget about the effort you’re about to put in. The door most definitely needs to be without windows, and the fewer blemishes, dents, wholes, etc., the better the experience will be—the creases along from where the garage door bends will show up easily.
Something you may not have heard about is the projector screen gain. This is a number that reflects (pun intended) how much reflection comes off of the screen or surface you are using. A matte white has a gain of 1.0 as it doesn’t reflect any more or less than it is. This is the desired gain along with a grey matte, which is a gain of 0.8. If you have a glossier finish on your garage like a semi-gloss or a gloss, the gain is going to go up, and it’s going to be tougher to see the projection.
Also, something to think about when you have a high gain or a shiny finish is that if there is other light around you, then the person sitting next to you might have a different view problem than you. Think about a reflection in a window that prohibits you from seeing what your friend is pointing out because they don’t have that same problem. But when you move into their position, you can see what they are pointing out. This is the same idea with light reflection and watching what’s on the projector from different viewpoints.
If Your Garage Door Doesn’t Work
If you’re one of those people who does, unfortunately, have windows or a garage that is colored too dark to play a projector off of, there are a number of loopholes you can try out to get your movie night going. It’s time to get creative because things such as a bed sheet, projector paint, or wrapping paper.
There are a couple of rules to follow when using a bed sheet that you will want to consider before throwing up anything. I probably don’t need to say this, but just in case it’s one of those days that we all have, no prints. The same rules apply to your garage as they do to your sheet. A clean unwrinkled white, grey, or beige sheet will do. Creases and wrinkles are particularly important here because it will be difficult enough to keep your sheet flat and tight as it’s not as sturdy as a board.
And while speaking of sturdy, it’s important to remember that if you don’t pin all four corners tightly and securely, you will deal with a few problems. You don’t want the sheet to bow in the middle a lot every time the wind blows. Also, if you just tap the sheet loosely in front of your garage, it probably won’t stay. Consider using heavy rocks, weights, or sandbags for the bottom. And for the top use, the part of the house where you can use heavy-duty push pins or some of the sort to secure it.
Some people might not go for this if they care a lot about the color of their garage. It also obviously doesn’t work if you still deal with the problem of having windows. So if you do skip to the next. However, if white is OK for your garage doors then consider buying a paint that works just like a normal projection screen would
The awesome thing about this paint is it is safe for both indoors and out, so if you are worried about rainy days then don’t! You can find projector screen paint in stores like Home Depot, Lowes, or any other kind of home improvement stores.
Once again, the same rules apply to the back of some wrapping papers that may be too glossy for you to project onto. If you are able to find one that doesn’t have too much shine on the back, then what you can do is start the top of the garage door and heavy-duty tape the wrapping paper from one end of your garage to the next.
Make sure that the paper is also not creased, ripped, or wrinkled. It also must be tight to either end as you will need multiple rows to fill the space of the garage and make a screen. If one is tight and the next row is loose, you will have different parts of the screen bowing in and out.
This is a great temporary solution for a fun night. Better to set up on less windy days and chances are this is something you don’t really need to worry about, given that you probably won’t be watching outdoor movies on gusty nights.
A Good Set Up
So now that you have the keys to what makes a good projection screen, it’s important that you get the rest right if you are going to go through the work of getting outside. Things to ensure that you and your friends or family have a good time will be making sure at least your lights around the house are as dim as they can be so you can have the best possible lighting.
Also, comfy chairs and good speakers that can combat outdoor noises without blowing your neighbors out are good things to keep in mind when having an outdoor movie night. Finally, have some popcorn and refreshments and enjoy!