How to enjoy cheap movie nights

We all love movies, but a family night out can be a very expensive one. Did you know the average Australian movie ticket price has risen 31% over the past ten years, from $10.57 in 2007 to $13.80 in 2016? The most expensive tickets grew in price from $13.50 to $25 over the past years – that’s almost double compared to the price we paid back in 2000. The bad news is though – movie tickets costs will be growing further, and much faster than our salaries. A family night at the movies costs close to $100 dollars, which is not viable for many families.

However, there are always ways to enjoy cheap movie nights.

When buying movie tickets:
movie night on the cheap

  1. Choose the matinee sessions or off peak days / times – this option is for you only if you are not at work 9 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday.
  2. Entertainment books have movie coupons and Evouchers’ helping you save per ticket.
  3. Check your memberships – RACV, Telstra, Bupa and the lot offer cheaper tickets to their members (don’t forget to read the small print though – some offers are only valid on weekdays).
  4.  Find an online deal (Groupon, Scoopon and the likes offer movie night deals and vouchers on a regular basis)
  5.  Independent cinemas may have cheaper tickets compared to cinema chains. If you are in Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, for example, check Boronia Metro or Croydon Cinemas.

When planning your movie night:
Is popcorn a must when going to the movies?

  • Feed your family before going to the movie, and finish the meal with some popcorn and ice-cream in hope they won’t insist on having them again at the movie theatre.
  • Give your children a practical lesson in math. Explain them that it is better to go to the movies twice during the school holidays, rather than spending your entire budget on confectionary and snacks at one event.

Consider alternatives to the movie theatre:

drive-in cinema with inflatable projection screen

Old style drive-in cinema

community cinema

Community movie nights

  1. Drive-ins are still alive and kicking, and keep bringing lots of fun to people of all ages. They revive old memories in parents, and create new memories in children. Drive-ins are almost always cheaper compared to hardtop cinema, and are very romantic. The problem though you may not have a drive-in near you.
  2. Many Local Councils run series of outdoor cinema events during summer season. Find out if your local council offers movies under the stars – these events are either free or very affordable. They are also the best choice for families with small kids, as children will have an opportunity to run around before the movie. Moreover, you could leave the movie grounds at any time, if the little one gets scared or tired without much hassle. This is far better than trying to leave the movie theatre in the middle of the movie with a crying child in your arms.
  3. movie night at a Big4 holiday park

    Movies at a holiday park

    backyard home cinema

    Movies in your backyard

  4. Take your family camping at one of the holiday parks offering cinema nights for their patrons. Many holiday parks run movie nights; some are indoors, while others are outdoors. Most parks are using big inflatable cinema screens – children get very excited watching a big screen being set up.
  5. Watch movies at home. TV panels became bigger, but if you want to make your home movie night special, use a projection screen and a projector. Turn off the lights, bring the beanbag, and serve pizza, popcorn and sweets. These cheap movie nights can be full of warmth and love, which is far more precious than watching the latest blockbuster movie.
  6. Make your movie night even more special, moving your own home cinema right into your backyard. All you need to show movies in your backyard is an inflatable cinema screen, a projector, and sound (not too loud – you don’t want to turn your neighbours into your enemies). All this equipment and complete packages are available at Smart Digital.

Why backyard cinema is better than ten cheap movie nights?

The good thing about backyard home cinema is that it is an investment which can be used in so many different ways:

  • Watch movies with family and friends
  • Have kids birthday parties and sleepovers
  • Play console games
  • Indoor use for big family gatherings

Another great thing about portable cinema is its price – with recommended retail price of $1399 it equals to just 14 family visits to the movies. For this money, you could have a movie night every weekend, outdoors in summer time, and indoors in winter. Moreover, quality equipment will last for many years in a row.

Finally, you can get your own portable cinema solution even cheaper! How?

AV equipment and projectors for sale

  • The entry level portable cinema is only $899 – with a screen bigger than your TV, yet so compact when packed that you could take it with you on your camping trip!
  • Our summer sale will help you save $200 off HandiTheatre Home inflatable cinema – that’s down from $1399 to $1119.
  • Some items available ex demo, and that’s where you could save big – some equipment is 50% down its retail price.With portable cinema form Smart Digital Australia, you could have many fabulous many nights with family and friends, which in long run will be cheaper than going to the movies!

Check what’s on sale today!

Backyard Home Cinema Review

What do mums think about inflatable home cinema?

We asked three prominent Australian bloggers to review HandiTheatre® backyard home cinema, and to tell us what they think about it.

We were lucky to have our HandiTheatre® reviewed by Retro Mummy Corrie, a mum of a big family, who does it all – home schooling, baking, crafts. She also writes fabulous stories on her blog – we find her posts on home schooling especially interesting.

Oh So Busy Mum Cheree found some time in her busy schedule to take fabulous photos of the outdoor home cinema. (Check her awesome recipes which will make a great treat during the movie night!)

Maraya knows stuff mums like, and she writes very funny and engaging stories. Take her Elf on the Shelf story – if you are good, he will tell Santa to bring HandiTheatre® to your family! We also love her travel blogs with useful tips on travelling with kids.

We asked these mum bloggers the following questions:
Who would need an outdoor theatre? Is backyard cinema easy to setup? Can any mum do it? Would they use HandiTheatre® more than just for an occasional movie night? What would be their practical advice if you decide to buy one?

That’s what we found out:

Why you would need an outdoor home cinema:

  • Going out to watch movies with your big family costs an arm and a leg. With backyard home cinema, you can enjoy the big screen outdoors….without leaving home.
  • With backyard home cinema, you can get much more out of living in a sunny Queensland (and many other sunny places all over Australia)
  • HandiTheatre® is a Great Christmas gift for the whole family, far better than plastic toys
  • It is a perfect way to entertain the kids every night when going camping
  • You can connect games console and play Mario using your old PlayStation or your kids Xbox

Is backyard cinema easy to setup?

“Setup is SO easy! I was dreading it, but I managed to do it entirely by myself, even with kids bugging me – yes it’s THAT easy!” – That’s what Oh So Busy Mum thinks.
“It also helps to have a handy husband on hand (or a techhead son) to tell you to turn the sound bar on when you can’t work out why there is no sound coming out.” – comments Retro Mummy.

There’s nothing better than involving children in setting up the outdoor cinema – This experience teaches them responsibility, and allows them to grow their self-esteem. Yes, there are things they can do better than their mums!

Would they use HandiTheatre® more than just for an occasional movie night?

Connect playstation to play games on a big screenAbsolutely. We have seen plenty of ideas, from parties by the pool to home schooling.

“I also have big plans for some mums’ night in movie nights with all my friends on the deck over the summer. We will start the evening off with a swim in the pool and then head off to the movies! It’s the perfect way to hang out!” – That’s definitely the Stuff Mums Like.

“it’s great for big families, extended families, having the neighbours over, birthday parties, homeschool groups, class movie nights and more. I’m also thinking it might be the way I can get some of my homeschoolers to watch some more documentaries and interesting movies as part of our studies. You can also play computer games on it so I’m thinking Just Dance will be even more fun outside and on the huge screen. Once you have an outdoor cinema the kids find lots of reasons to get outside and watch a movie and it’s a nice way to spend the night.” – shares Retro Mummy.

All in all, both mums and kids loved outdoor cinema experience. You can enjoy it too – prices start from $749 for complete entertainment package. HandiTheatre® is a Christmas present which will bring your family together and will give you the gift of many fabulous family nights to remember for years to come.

Hear the Roar of State of Origin – on a budget!

So you can’t make it to the State of Origin games, but the games can make it to you!
Be the State of Origin hero and invite your mates over to the leagues series of the year! All in the comfort of your own backyard!
Cold one in hand, and mates pushing for the best view, you will thrill at the big screen images of the live games, and the cheer of the crowds. Watching the battle between the reigning Queensland Maroons against New South Wales Blues has never been more fun, and convenient.

Let’s start with the big screen. These high quality inflatable screens are taking the sporting world by storm, as they are fully portable, set up in 10 minutes and are just like your own outdoor cinema system! Complete with projector and speakers, connect to live sport TV and you are set.

Share the Love!

Get your mates to chip in $30 each to cover pizza and the big screen event, with only 20 mates you can come close to paying off your cinema system over the series. A far cry from the cost of tickets and interstate flights right.

Inflatable screens come in any sizes, but for the backyard party go for the 3m screen, depending on your crowd and the size of your backyard. While choosing a movie projector, brightness comes first, and resolution – second. As for the sound, a powerful soundbar would do the job, but if you don’t want to compromise on quality of your outdoor home theatre, check this package.

Feed the Troops!

Keep the troops warm and order pizza – it is always a hit, or add hot meat pies, or hot dogs to bring the stadium feel to your backyard – without the insane prices!

For those who like it sweet, order or bake a themed cake or cupcakes. Decorate chocolate Easter eggs to resemble rugby balls, and use them as cake toppers!
But if you really want to stand out, we dare you to make a good bowl of hearty soup. Here is a recipe of State of Origin pumpkin soup  which does have the flavour of Queensland. As a bold alternative, try Italian minestrone, Russian Borscht, German style eintopf or Loaded Bacon Split Pea Soup.

Selection of drinks is obvious – beer is the traditional rugby man’s drink.

Keep the Chills at Bay

Consider having an infrared outdoor heater to keep your mates warm, and prepare a pile of blue and maroon blankets.
Prepare comfortable outdoor seating – use camping chairs if you don’t have enough of outdoor furniture for the big night.


It does not matter if all your friends support one team or go for the rivals. What matters is the atmosphere created both by the host and by the guests. We hope you don’t have to ask your guests come dressed in their team jerseys. To have more fun, offer the prize for the best home-made wig or have a session of face painting set up in your backyard prior to the big game.

Hey, we think you can do it. And we want you to have an absolutely fantastic State of Origin party this year. If you liked the idea of having a big inflatable screen on your backyard, order it online from Smart Digital Australia  – we guarantee it will be the drawing card of the night.

How to select an outdoor projection screen?

Have you invested in a quality outdoor projector and are planning an outdoor movie party?
Don’t before you read this post. You need an outdoor projection screen as well!

Many people think all they need for an outdoor cinema is a good projector, a Bluetooth speaker and a media player. The image can be projected to any white wall.
Well, it’s true, but…. Using a bright outdoor projector which costs several hundred dollars to project to the garage door, to the external wall of your house, or to a hanging bedsheet is like serving Pacific oysters with a $3 wine. Don’t!

All you will get is the washed out image, hardly seen through the uneven surface, just like in these pictures:

projecting to the walldon't project to the bedsheethanding bedsheet is a poor projection screen

If you are crafty, do the screen yourself. The same white sheet, when ironed, stretched, and attached to the poles, would do the job. Depending on how good you are, after a several hours of hard work you’ll get something like this:

DIY screen with white bedsheetDIY screen

There is one problem, though – with a bit of wind, these screens can easily fall down and hurt someone.

Using a blockout cloth will give you better results. Still a bit wrinkly, blockout cloth is more dense then linen, and will give you a brighter image. Check this very good tutorial on how to make a good DIY outdoor cinema screen.

The minus with this type of the screen – you can only use it for front projection. It means you cannot place the projector behind the screen, which is a safer option when you’ve got small kids or a swimming pool.

Ready-made outdoor projection screens available on the market come in the following varieties:

– Portable outdoor cinema screens

They can be fixed frame or foldable. They are nice and compact, but still not very wind proof. Some portable screens come with front projection surface only, while others can be used for rear projection as well. They take a bit of time to setup, and some models are quite heavy.

– Inflatable movie screens

Inflatable screens can be constant flow screens – they require the blower constantly running and filling the screen with air; and sealed screens. Sealed screens are inflated before the show and stay inflated for long periods of time. They are silent – there’s no blower noise during the movie!

What to look for when buying an outdoor projection screen:

1. Aspect Ratio

The white screen surface should have 16:9 aspect ratio, which is a modern HDTV format. This screen has got it wrong:

wrong aspect ratio

It means that the image won’t fill the whole screen surface, and everybody will see the white stripes above and below the image. Not professional at all.

2. Screen Surface Quality

You want your screen to be free from seams, wrinkles, and creases. Not like these:

low quality ready-made inflatable screen a screen with a seam

Unfortunately, all these defects will be seen through the projected image.
The screen surface needs to be smooth – that’s why the white wall of your house will give you below average image quality. Shiny surface is no good either as it will reflect too much light – you’ll see the reflection of the projector’s lens.

For outdoors, you would need higher contrast fabrics compared to the average home theatre one, and for big audiences, you need wide viewing angle with not too high gain. Among the vast variety of fabrics used for outdoor cinema screens, spandex (also known as lycra) and specially designed for projection quality PVC fabrics will give you the best viewing results answering these requirements.

3. Fabric density

See-through fabric makes the picture less bright – the same outcome you would get from a projector with lower lumens. Black backing is excellent if you are using the screen with front projection.

rear view of the inflatable movie screen

4. Size

The bigger the screen is, the better it looks. However, many people tend to overestimate their requirements, and think they would need an 8 m screen for a backyard party. Let me tell you, a 3m wide screen will be enough for up to 150 people. If your screen is too big, it will need more storage space, and more setup time, which can steal the fun from your movie night.

5. Ease of maintenance

You want the screen which is easy to take care of. Lycra is the easiest – one simply washes it in the washing machine on the gentle washing cycle. As for PVC screen, clean it with the damp cloth.

To conclude, a good movie projector needs a good outdoor projection screen to match. Inflatable movie screens became more affordable, but we warn you against cheap offerings which will spoil the picture.

Unusual Valentine’s Day ideas. The most romantic evening ever

It’s here again – 14th of February, Valentine’s Day.  Presents are expected – no excuses are accepted.

What to give to your loved ones this Valentine’s Day?

Chocolates – flowers – jewellery – restaurant – movies.  Dull as dishwater.

You know the stuff….Boring!!!!

We dare you to get off the beaten path and surprise your partner with a truly unique experience.

Here is one of the Unusual Valentine’s Day ideas from Smart Digital – create a very special and unusual night in your own backyard, under the stars. It can be as romantic as hot air ballooning, just much safer!

What you’ll need:

watch romantic movie on your balcony

  1. Very comfortable seating and snuggly blanket. Check for some ideas in this blog post or explore the topic on Pinterest.
  2. Something easy to snack on (and bubbly, don’t forget the bubbly!)
  3. An outdoor home theatre (choose the one that’s quick to setup, you don’t want to spend an hour stretching the screen surface on a steel frame, so go for the latest in outdoor entertainment an inflatable screen).
  4. No backyard? No problem – go for a portable movie screen which will even fit on your balcony!

Now to the best part – choose a good movie and think how you can blend it with the reality.

For a choice of a film, consider something both of you would enjoy. Feeling adventurous? Ensure the kids, if you have any, are fast asleep, and check this list.

The next step is to create the film atmosphere around you.
sushi to complement your movie night

Say, you decide to watch “Lost in translation”.  Get Japanese whisky or blend a special “Lost in translation” cocktail, mixing sakura liqueur, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice.

Serve some good quality sushi (your local take-away will help you here), and even try to convince your partner to sing karaoke in a pink wig.

I hope you got the idea – the film connects with reality via food, drinks, music, pieces of furniture or clothes. Outdoor home theatre has the capacity to create romantic atmosphere so different both to watching TV or going to a standard movie theatre. The sounds and smells of the summer night (I hope you are reading this blog in the Southern Hemisphere), bright stars above your heads, and, most of all, the comfort of a familiar place – isn’t it the best combination possible for a perfect romantic evening?

Truly, the film on a big screen just for two of you can be the best choice for your Valentine. Maybe even the best of all unusual Valentine’s Day ideas you have ever had.

To help you celebrate this Valentine’s Day, we are offering 14% off our HandiTheatre Light outdoor cinema – shop now and surprise your loved one!

HandiTheatre Light Backyard Cinema Valentine special

My movie themed birthday party

How to throw a big movie themed birthday party in a small townhouse and bring loads of fun for adults and kids

Party planning

A bit of planning leads the long way. I was planning to celebrate my big birthday, inviting 7 families to our tiny townhouse. So I decided to utilize all spaces available, including garage, front- and back- yards, as well as all indoor spaces. It was unpredictable April, so I could only hope the weather won’t let us down.

Cannes Festival themed party

We all love dress-up parties, so I announced the theme – Cannes Film Festival. Yes, it could have been a standard Hollywood party, but I love to be different. The guests had to dress up as any famous character. As examples, I mentioned in the invitation Red Riding Hood and Men in Black; Elvis, Marilyn, and James Bond, as well as Sponge Bob Square Pants and SouthPark Cartoons characters.

I announced the program of the movie themed birthday party in advance. It consisted of the following:

  • Fashionable arrival of the stars followed by light drinks and snacks
  • Official program of the festival
  • Official banquet
  • Disco
  • Night Cinema for the kids

I requested guests to bring camping chairs, blankets and sleeping bags for the kids, as night cinema was planned to be held … outdoors!


I don’t like spenFirst Prize of Cannes Film Festivalding too much time and money on décor, so I limited expenses to buying red carpet (eBay), aluminum film foil, gold ribbon and golden balloons (local party store). Together with my children, we prepared the prizes. We made Palm de Ore out of a gumtree branch, covered in gold acryl paint. I printed Cannes Lions silhouette, cut it out and glued to the piece of carton wrapped in silver foil. Other prices were more utilitarian – bottle of wine for the best actor, bottle of hot chili for the best director, and so on.decor and prizes

To feed the big company, I ordered a ready-made roast with potatoes, and two big cakes. The rest of the menu was finger foods from the local butcher and standard set of cheeses, dips and snacks from the supermarket. It’s not about food, after all, it’s about having fun!


The party started with a big surprise – guests arrived in a white limo! The driver had to do several rounds to bring everybody in, and I could only lough looking at the arriving stars. Out of the limo came: Five minions (a big family!), two Austin Powers, Lara Croft, Audrey Hepburn, and the Mask, to name just a few! Paparazzi was working hard getting the best shots of the stars.

After the photo session and snacks, the real fun started.

I split the guests into twTarantino filmso film crews and gave them the task to make a movie.
The first crew was directed by Tarantino, and the second one by Fellini. I deliberately split couples so that no one was together with their spousFellinie in the same team.

The plot for the movie was simple:
Bad guys kidnap the main character. The good guy saves him / her. Happy end.

Tarantino with the crew was filming on the front yard, while Fellini with his actors used our tiny backyard. Camera operators used smartphones to record the movie.

We suggested to the kids to do their own movie as well, but they were happy playing their own games, so we left them alone for the time being.

Outdoor Cinema

After the shooting, I invited the guests into our outdoor cinema to watch just created films on a big screen. The screen was gorgeous. It was an inflatable movie screen, which I inflated with a small air blower – same used to inflate camping airbeds. It went up in several seconds – all children got absolutely exited, seeing it go up. You can imagine how many “wows” were in the air!

The projector outdoor home theatresupplied with the outdoor cinema system (available via Smart Digital Australia) had an HDMI input, which allowed me to connect laptop with our movies and project them to the big screen. All seven families with a dozen of kids could view the show comfortably! The sound was also very descent – clear and loud, with good base.

No comedy in the world would create that much laughter we had watching ourselves acting!
Fellini used toddler’s car as a vehicle for the villains, kidnapping Red Riding Hood. Tarantino’s bad girls, on the other hand, managed to kidnap Big Bad Wolf, who was later on saved by Minions.

After the show, hot food was served.
Traditional awards ceremony of our local Cannes Festival brought loads of glee as well. The Mask had prepared witty descriptions of the nominations, everybody had a chance to deliver the acceptance speech. No wonder we had another wave of laughter.

End of the party

It was getting cold, anwatching movie in the garaged the outdoor cinema was moved to the garage, where children watched Princess Bride. They loved this improvised camping experience. They were sitting in the camping chairs, wrapped in sleeping bags, in the dark of the garage, with popcorn in their hands, watching an old movie. It was so different to watching TV, and it was so much more romantic than going to the cinema.

A couple of teenagers choose to sit on the other side of the screen, watching the movie as if in the mirror. The screen fabric was made of lycra, and the quality of image was equally good on both sides of the screen – so why not?

watching Princess Bride in the driveway cinema

Meanwhile, adults were having a disco party, dancing to the music of the slightly older times, when they were a bit younger, and were going out till early hours of the following day. The Birthday Party was getting to the end.

Backyard Movie Nights Bring Families Together

They say great Aussie backyard is the thing in the past. It’s not true. We just forgot how to use it.

Get together after the long day. Have a family meal outdoors – let your kids help lay the table. Create new rituals and little family events – with no particular reason, just for the joy of being together!

How about a special outdoor movie night? Get your blankets and pillows, cuddle in camping chairs if you don’t own a formal outdoor furniture set, and invite your family to join you. Swap boring TV-time to a romantic evening under the stars. Watch a good old movie in your own backyard theatre. It is a bit more work than just turning your TV on, but still very easy to organise. Most importantly, such evenings are very memorable. Share with your children the movies you enjoyed as a child. Introduce them to the classics movies (check classification beforehand!), or watch with them the record of your favourite band’s concert.

What you need for family backyard movie nights

All you need for your family backyard movie nights is a movie projector, a pair of speakers or a soundbar, and a movie screen.

And you can even DIY – there’s plenty of information available on the internet on how to build your backyard cinema on cheap! Not everyone is a big fan of spending too much time stretching white sheets on your rotary washing line, or trying to choose the right projector on eBay. In this case, there are complete ready-made solutions available as well.

There are some affordable backyard cinema systems sold in Australia, offering portable and inflatable screens and projection systems. They make backyard entertainment easy.

It is important to involve children in preparation of the movie night. While older kids can connect cables or set up your laptop, the younger ones should not stay aside. Turn the preparation for the movie night into a little game in itself. Ask your children to draw and “sell” movie tickets, decorate “movie theatre” and serve popcorn. They can even prepare a little performance on the “stage” prior to the movie!

They say the backyards became smaller, but even a tiny patch of land can bring hours of happiness.

You don’t need an acre of land to plant herbs and strawberries with your children, to have a BBQ, or to enjoy a water play. As for outdoor cinema, believe it or not, but you could have it in your driveway, in a garage, on a small backyard deck, or even on a big balcony! The most important is to spend quality time with your family, and to create special moments, whether they last minutes or hours. Small moments like that build a happy family. And backyard movie nights will create long lasting memories for you and your children.

This article was originally published in November edition of MamaMag.

Affordable backyard cinema package now available

We are excited to announce the launch of a new backyard cinema package – HandiTheatre® Light.

You can use HandiTheatre® Light backyard cinema package even on a balcony or driveway – so compact it is! Yet this outdoor cinema system is big enough for up to 30 people.

This backyard cinema is very easy to set up and only has 3 components – a projector, a soundbar, and a movie screen.

We have applied many years of experience in outdoor cinema business to develop this product. We have selected and combined the equipment to make quality outdoor cinema affordable. As a result, this outdoor cinema package delivers bright image and great powerful sound in the outdoor environment. The screen construction is unique. Melbourne designed, it is simple, yet stylish and durable. Moreover, you can wash the screen in the washing machine, if it gets dirty.

Use backyard cinema package HandiTheatre® Light for outdoor birthday parties, family movie nights, and teenage sleepovers. Spend more time outdoors, watching movies or playing active computer games. Make backyard cinema a Christmas present for the whole family – it will bring families together, and give joy to adults and kids alike. Finally, this model of outdoor home cinema is very affordable, so you could host your own backyard movie nights on a budget!

The backyard cinema package costs only $899.

Buy HandiTheatre® Light via our online shop and be ready for hours of outdoor summer fun!

How to add backyard movies to your successful party hire business

image courtesy Outdoor Movie Guys in Perth

Outdoor movie nights and backyard cinema for rent

Offer outdoor movie events and backyard cinema for rent – you’ll be surprised how rewarding this idea is!

There are hundreds of party hire businesses in Australia, and their services are in demand. Mums love throwing parties for their kids’ birthdays; companies organise Christmas parties for their employees. On top of that, weddings, big family gatherings, or other special occasions for different groups of people need to rent equipment for their events.

There is a standard list of offerings available from party hirers, from chairs and marquees, to jumping castles, balloons and party decorations. However, successful party hire business is the one which finds unique ideas to stand out from the crowd. Photobooths, slushy machines, dance floors are some examples of the unique offerings. One of the exciting yet easy to implement ideas is to offer outdoor movie events and to organise backyard movie parties.

What do you need to have a successful outdoor cinema party hire business?

1. Know your audience and their pain points; offer solutions to their problems

Mums hosting a big birthday party would appreciate if they don’t have to spend time setting up the equipment. Set up everything for them. Ensure cabling is safely tucparty by the poolked away and the projector is placed behind the screen for safety of little viewers.

Pool parties are fun, but you need to protect the equipment from splashes of water. As pool parties are great for warm summer nights, package your outdoor cinema system with refreshments (slushy machine could be a good option!)

Companies organising corporate events need more than just equipment – they need complete entertainment package. Prepare games and prizes and offer catering.

Sport supporters need live TV – check if the party place has good TV signal.  Offer set top box to connect to the projector so that they could watch their favourite game live.

2. Find your marketing channels

Every market has the best promotional channels to reach them. Reach mums and dads of school kids via adverts in school newsletters. Use Facebook ads to target the neighbouring suburbs. In addition, leverage the search engine optimisation power of Gumtree.

Regularly update your website and be seen on Google local and Google maps. Don’t be shy and ask your clients to review your party hire business on social media. Reviews on directories like Yelp, Truelocal, WOMO and HotFrog are also very important – social proof helps others make decision to rent outdoor cinema from you.

3. Get your equipment right

3 packages for portable cinema

Outdoor cinema packed in 3 carry cases

Quality product will last longer and won’t disappoint. Poor quality inflatable screens can have problems with air leakage; stretch screens take ages to erect; low quality screen fabric will give nothing but disappointment. Moreover, cheap projectors will not provide decent quality image – do your homework and find out actual resolution and brightness of the projector in ANSI lumen before buying.

If you are planning to ship your equipment to customer, you would need as few packages as possible. The equipment needs to be simple to set up and operate. In other words, you need fail-safe equipment, supplied with clear instructions. A good instructional video is always a plus.

Size matters. Smaller screens can be taken indoors if the weather turns for the worse. Bigger screens create bigger WOW-reaction. However, the most important is the size of the audience – 2.5 metre screen is enough for a group of up to 50 people, while 4 m wide screen is enough for 350 people. Smart Digital Australia offers special packages for party hire business – contact us for pricing and more details.

4. Make a packaged offer

offer popcorn machine for hire

popcorn and movies

Having big variety of party hire equipment can be very daunting, especially, if you are just starting a new business. Consider to cooperate with other small businesses specialising, for example, on catering, bean bags, or popcorn / slushy machines. This will allow you to offer complete packaged experience for your clients.

If you are an established business, package your equipment to match the needs of different market segments.

5. Develop clear procedures and policies

Have rental fees, terms, conditions and penalties available on your website. Have a documented plan for weather cancellations. Prepare a check list documenting all equipment provided to the customer, including small items like cables. Also, if you are shipping the package to the customer, provide return shipping label for their convenience.

6. Put effort and time into your business

Be reliable, punctual, and pleasant to deal with. Dedicate time to promote your business online, but most importantly, provide good quality services – people will talk about you and recommend to their friends and neighbours.

Backyard movie nights bring lots of fun, and can have many entertainment options and ideas within.

  • Offer themed movie parties with dress-ups. Add Photobooth to take photos of the guests in costumes.
  • Consider adding popcorn machine and beanbags to make the backyard movie night both comfortable and catered for.
  • Suggest backyard sleepovers and console game competitions on a big screen, on fresh air.
  • Rent out a complete outdoor disco package – offer lights, decorations and accessories. Project music videos to a big inflatable screen, and maybe add microphones for karaoke!

If you are considering starting or improving your party hire business, check the video below sharing our experience – we hope it will help your business shine!

8 Must-Do Summer Fun Activities

Unusual and fun activities for kids and adults to do this summer

Have you started planning your summer fun yet? Are you going to fill your summertime with exciting events, or just to chill out and enjoy good weather? We dare you to try something fun and new, something you’ve never done before. Start planning your summer fun now – we hope you’ll find something to match your lifestyle from our list. Make this summer unforgettable!

1. Learn tosailing lesson sail

Catch the wind and feel the sailboat knuckles under to your hands. Feel the joy of freedom and imagine you are taking part in the regatta or may be even in the Sydney Hobart yacht race! Numerous yacht clubs offer courses both for kids and adults, or you can simply try a single lesson (great gift idea, too!).

2. See the world from above – try hot air ballooning!

What can be more exciting? Wake up before the sunrise, take in morning freshness, and drift quietly above the breathtaking landscapes or cityscapes. Most of the operators allow kids age four and over to take part, also offering reduced rates for children under 15 years old.

3. Get cultured – visit theatre in the gardens performance

Outdoor theatre events are not only more affordable than performances held in the formal theatre venues. They have special charm, with landscapes and plants creating beautiful stage, with real lakes, rivers, and trees being the part of the scene. Many Australian cities boast events of this kind. As an example, Brooklyn Community Theatre organises al-fresco events on the banks of Hawkesbury River; Big Monkey Theatre performs at Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens; and finally, Australian Shakespeare Company leverages the beauty of Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne with classical Wind in the Willows and Midsummer Night Dream performances.

4. Attend one of the free concerts in the park

Choose from classical music, jazz, carols, or entertainment. Enjoy little picnic or simply lie on your back and look up in the skies, rising moon and tree branches. Even better – get up and dance to the sound of music.

5. Unleash your creativityunleash your creativity

Get your hands busy with crafts. Attend a pottery making class or a jewellery making workshop; try welding or screen printing. Find the class to keep you busy here. The main challenge is: do something you’ve never done before – you may find the new hobby for life, or even open your own store on Etsy!

6. Travel to a cool(er) destination

swap summer to winterDon’t like it hot? Swap your house and the season of the year with help of house-swapping website, like Aussie House Swap or House Swap Holidays. Discover winter in Canada or Austria, or travel to moderately cool Spain, Italy, or even New Zealand. If you have not yet used Airbnb, give it a go – you’ll have an absolutely different experience compared to staying at standard hotels or houses for rent.

7. Destination unknown adventure

This summer activity is not for the faint-hearted, but if you’re ready for a courageous, fun adventure then jump on board…literally!
So this adventure requires: a suitcase filled with your summer essentials, a credit card with funds ready to splurge, five days approved leave away from hum-drum responsibilities such as work, kids, school etc, and most importantly, a sense of adventure.

  • Step1 – First of all, get excited!
  • Step 2 – Go the your nearest domestic airport.
  • Step 3 – Check the ‘Departure Board’ for the next available flight to ANYWHERE!
  • Step 4 – Go to the Sales Desk and book yourself on the NEXT flight!
  • Step 5 – Grab out your phone or device and book accommodation online while you wait to be called to board your flight.
  • Step 6 – Get excited and board your flight, ready for spontaneous summer fun!

This adventure is even more amazing with a friend, partner or kids and more so if you go to a new destination. Go on – we dare you!

8. Create your own backyard cinema

Backyard cinema

Outdoor home theatre

Watch movies under the stars with your friends and family. This would be your most romantic summer experience, and yet the easiest as there is no need to travel anywhere. All you need to do is to set up a movie screen, plug in your projector and turn on the sound. Then choose the movie to suit your tastes, organise comfort seating and serve simple food. Finally, invite the audience and hit play – let the movie magic combined with the wonderful summer night bring joy to your house!

Now if you are wondering where to get equipment for your outdoor cinema – visit our online store and buy a complete system which will fit in your backyard and will make everyone go “Wow!”.

Over to you now. Share with us your ideas – what’s your favourite summer fun thing to do?