The Rotary Club of Longreach in Queensland’s outback has been very successful in providing community events to the small villages around Longreach. Longreach has been the centre of a 7 year drought which has caused much stress and anxiety in the farming community. The club goes out to these communities and provides a great barbecue followed by a movie. The event brings the communities together and provides social interaction so needed for mental health. The very interesting Longreach story is shown in the video below:
Smart Digital is now supporting Rotary Clubs in outback Australia with a grant of up to 10 movie systems including the inflatable outdoor movie screens. The total grant is valued at a massive $66,000. The clubs just need to demonstrate how they would use the system in their communities if they were successful with a grant. Applications close on 31st August 2021. Applications should be made to [email protected]. James Cunningham is a past president of the Rotary Club of Templestowe in Melbourne.
Recently we gave a demonstration of big screen cinema to the wonderful folk at Three Springs in Western Australia. Three Springs is the wildflower capital of WA and in the centre of the wheat belt. It is 3 ½ hours north of Perth.
The wheat silos are 45 metres wide. We used a long throw lens on a Barco projector utilising its special video warping functions. Video warping allows the picture to be in focus even around curves as with the silos. We understand that this is the largest movie screen in Western Australia. The projector we used was 4K and with 22,000 ANSI lumens. The image quality was stunning.
Video warping is becoming very popular to screen creative images onto interesting buildings such as the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
Is projection for dark rooms only?
Most of us think projection screens can only be used in the dark spaces. Therefore our home needs a dedicated dark room for a home theatre, while businesses using projectors are bound to hold their meetings in the dark. We know projection and ambient light in the room do not go together well.
Ultra-bright, ultra-short throw and ultra-expensive projectors can improve the situation, allowing using projection screens in ambient light conditions, but at what expense!
That’s how it has always been – till the invention of ALR projection screens. ALR stands for ambient light rejection. It means the screen reflects the light coming to it from the projector back to the audience, while all other light is rejected (reflected in other directions).
One of the characteristics of projection screens is gain, which is the ratio of light reflected back from the screen surface. ALR projection screens have high gain (more than 1), and therefore give the viewers brighter image. The bigger the gain, the brighter is the image.
The biggest problem of ALR screens is a hot spot, which is simply the reflection of projector lens. Sometimes you don’t see a hot spot, but if you are looking at the screen and your eyes hurt, the screen is still hot-spotting.
ALR projection screen outperforming the rest
ALR projection screen with ultra-high gain and yet minimal hot spotting has been invented in Korea by MocomTech. Thanks to the specially designed, precise, lens-like curvature, this amazing screen delivers stunning image both in the dark and in the well-lit room.
Mocom Solstice ALR projection screen is 18 times brighter than conventional matte white projection screens, without hot spotting. Mocom Solstice screens are characterized by high contrast and graduation. Moreover, they are ready to project not only ultra-high definition 4K video, but 8K and beyond.
The screen delivers amazingly bright and sharp images with standard or long throw projector. Moreover, Mocom Solstice outperforms other ALR projection screens, also providing outstanding performance in 3D images.
You need to see it to believe it. Ultra-high gain ALR optical projection screen Solstice is a true miracle!
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:
- 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.
- Entertainment books have movie coupons and Evouchers’ helping you save per ticket.
- 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).
- Find an online deal (Groupon, Scoopon and the likes offer movie night deals and vouchers on a regular basis)
- 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:
- 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-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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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!
Do you have a classroom too bright for projection screens?
Is there too much natural light in your auditorium?
Does your hall have too many windows or skylights to use a projector?
The solution is the new MOCOM Solstice™ ambient light rejecting screens distributed in Australia by Smart Digital.
Known as a Solstice™ projection screen, this brand new technology cuts out any worry for ambient light (ambient light is any light source other than your projector), that may distort your image or weaken its visual aesthetics. On a standard screen, high levels of ambient light will wash out the image.
The Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screen differs in many ways to standard projection screens. A standard screen will reflect incoming light in all directions, whereas an ALR screen reflects light directly back at the viewer, creating better clarity and a far superior and brighter image.
The Solstice™ projection screen is the world’s first concave lens-type screen. The Solstice™ screen has multiple layers of diffusion material which further removes the washout effects of ambient light. Sharp image clarity and the superb colour are also enhanced.
What does it mean for your school?
Presentations Anytime, Anywhere
Mocom Solstice™ projection screen gives you freedom to deliver presentations anytime, anywhere. The choice of the space for presentations won’t be limited by classes with block out blinds, while the choice of time for presentations won’t be limited by the hours when the sun is not shining in your windows. No matter how many skylights or windows there are in the venue – the image will be brighter than a flat panel TV.
Presentations at Big Events
Schools need big projection screens to cater for hundreds of children simultaneously. Big events like assemblies, open nights, presentations, or celebrations, call for big screens. Mocom Solstice™ projection screens are available in sizes up to 250” in diagonal – that’s over 6 metres, and can be used for several hundreds of viewers.
Large LED/LCD screens are very expensive and have high maintenance costs. Moreover, they are notorious for high energy consumption. MOCOM ALR projection screens are much more affordable than any LED solutions available, are low maintenance, and do not consume power.
Furthermore, Mocom Solstice™ screens do not require expensive projectors with high brightness, costing several thousands of dollars.
Use the standard business projector (1500-3500 Lumen, standard or long throw) to project to a big screen (up to 250” in diagonal), in any room, auditorium, or hall.
It is believed 3D should play a great role in education and learning, bringing deeper engagement, and helping students grasp difficult concepts with ease. The projection screen with 3D capabilities would be a perfect tool for a modern class.
The Mocom Solstice™ screen is brighter than your average 3D screens. Use it both for passive and active 3D viewing. Furthermore, this screen has no polarization and is very gentle to the eyes of children, with minimal eye fatigue and enhanced 3D effect.
With the Mocom Solstice™ screen, your presentation is not a one-way message sent to the dark space. You can leave the lights on and see the faces of your students. No more guessing the feedback from your audience. No more sleepy faces in the dark corners. The ALR projection screen allows for constant engagement with your audience and getting instant feedback.
Advantages of the Solstice Projection Screen
Ambient light allows us to see things clearly, from sunlight to flickering candles, car headlights to light bulbs and warm bedside lamps. Ambient light assists us in our everyday lives but becomes a problem when trying to view a clear picture on a big screen. This is where a Solstice™ ALR screen comes into its own:
- Ability to display on a screen with ambient light;
- Higher gain than other screens (18 times brighter than standard matte white screen);
- Wider viewing angle; with the curved screen giving clear images over the entire viewing angle;
- Depth simulation; the visual ability to perceive the world in three dimensions (3D) and the distance of an object;
- Improved image resolution and better colour accuracy.
Controlled lighting has always been a problem when setting up a projection system, until the introduction of the Solstice™ projection screen. The brightness and clarity of this screen allows for excellent image quality on the big screen, which is far better than what you’ve ever seen before.
For a full demo, or to find out more on this amazing new technology, feel free to reach out to us today. Contact Smart Digital Australia for more details or call 03 9729 6300.
Your quick guide to the lingo of projection systems, screens and visual displays
Talking about screens and visual displays
Aspect ratio is the width to height dimensions of a projection screen. The earlier tube type televisions have a ratio of 4:3, the common DVD today is 16:9 (1.77:1) otherwise known as wide screen. 16:9 is the standard for most flat panel TVs today. The cinema business is a different story with a number of different aspect ratios used. The most common today is 1.85:1 and 2.39:1.
The screen gain is the brightness factor compared to white. So a neutral white screen will have a gain of 1.0. The higher the screen gain number the brighter the image. This is measured at the centre. The number will normally decrease when measured away from the centre. This is called the Viewing Angle and is measured in degrees.
Contrast ratio simply put is the ratio of white to black. The higher the number the better, or as the industry says, blacker blacks! Better blacks gives a better viewing experience or a better picture.
NPA and OD
NPA stands for Net Picture Area which is the white area of the screen product. OD is Overall Dimension of the complete screen product. The difference typically relates to the black border and the construction of the actual screen product. The distance between the ground and the bottom of the white screen area is known as the skirt.
ALR Ambient Light Rejection
The projection screen has been specially configured to reject annoying ambient light and accept the light source from a video projector. The projection is typically angled up or down towards the screen for optimum results. A good quality ALR screen can be as bright as a LED screen, if mounted correctly. This is a very simplistic explanation with more detailed information found here.
Talking about projectors and visual display parametres
Brightness and Lumens
Every projector has a brightness factor similar to a car with horse power. The video industry measures its brightness in lumens. The standard for the industry is set by the American National Standards Institute otherwise known as ANSI lumens. Not all manufacturers use the ANSI standard and may well use their own measurement in lumens! The higher the number the brighter the picture, just like watts with audio!
High Definition Multimedia Interface is the standard for connectivity with devices such as projectors, games consoles and Blu-Ray players. HDMI carries both compressed and non-compressed data, video and audio signals.
Talking about projectors and screens
This is the distance between the projector lens and the projection screen.
The projector manufacturer will publish a number in the technical specifications. This number is the width of the screen multiplied by the published ratio. As an example if the screen width is 3 metres wide and the throw ratio is 1,5, then the throw distance will be 4.5 metres.
Front and Rear Projection
With front projection one places the projector at the front of the screen, and with rear projection it is at the rear of the screen. Front projection normally uses a white surface or a variation to the white whilst rear typically uses a dark grey screen surface. The dark grey assists with defusing the brilliance of the projector lamp. Theatrical quality stretch lycra screen surfaces are translucent white. As as result, you can use them both for front and rear projection. With this surface you need to place the projector below the screen surface to avoid projector lamp interference with the audience.
Display Resolution is the number of the total pixels or individual dots that a one frame of a video or a single photo is created with. When this number becomes higher, quality of the video becomes high and it creates a very sharp picture. So all the terms like 4K, UHD, QFHD are assigned for different number of total pixels or resolutions. Usually these resolutions are written in a format of multiplication of the number of horizontal pixels and Vertical pixels (Horizontal pixels x Vertical pixels). To get the actual number of pixels you need to multiply those two numbers.
Standard Visual Display Resolutions:
- 8K (7680×4320) Ultra High Definition (UHD)
- 4K (4096 x 2160) Ultra High Definition (UHD)
- 4K (3840 x 2160) Quad Full High Definition (QFHD) (also known as UHDTV/UHD-1, resolution of Ultra High Definition TV)
- 2K (2048 x 1080)
- 1080p (1920 x 1080) Full High Definition (FHD)
- 720p (1280 x 720) High Definition (HD)
- 480p (720 x 480) Standard Definition (SD) (resolution of DVD video)
- 480p (640 x 480) Standard Definition (SD)
We are often asked if we offer payment plan to our customers.
We are happy to announce that we now offer you equipment operating lease FlexiRent. As they say at Flexirent, “If you can plug it in, you can Flexirent it”. You may already know that outdoor cinema from Smart Digital is a plug and play package – easy to set up and operate. We made things even easier for small community organisations, rental businesses, schools, holiday parks, and others, with simple and fast finance option now available.
It takes 15 minutes to apply for a lease of a portable cinema package, which means you can bring entertainment to your community within days!
This payment plan is free from documentation fees, upfront payments, and maintenance or account keeping fees. What is more, you can stretch payments for up to 5 years!
Benefits of an equipment operating lease
- Simple access to finance – minimum paperwork!
- Keep cash flowing – avoid big cash payments and preserve your liquidity.
- Tax benefits – leasing is a fully deductible operating expense for business tax purposes. Ask your accountant or tax advisor for advice.
- Ease of budgeting – lease payments are fixed, so you can budget and plan with certainty.
- Avoid depreciation – leasing and equipment finance is an operating expense with no depreciation to account for or track.
- Bundle your solution – bundle all your equipment, accessories and installation into one single operating lease.
- Keep up to date – lease assets and equipment over their productive life then upgrade at the end of term to new and better equipment.
- Be more productive – the extra productivity that the new equipment brings will help pay for the lease cost.
- Evolve with your lease – as your business needs to evolve, you can add on equipment at any stage of the lease term and include it all in one monthly payment.
- Flexibility – at the end of an agreement you can choose to upgrade the equipment, extend the agreement, pay month to month or simply return the equipment with no further obligations.
So what do you need to do?
First of all, select the portable cinema package for your community. Estimate the size of your audience, and give us a call to discuss everything in detail. We will provide you with a formal quote for the equipment you would require.
Secondly, check how much would you be paying monthly with Flexirent, using their online calculator.
Apply for FlexiRent services over the phone – 1300 340 447.
Sign the paperwork received from FlexiRent and we will send you your outdoor cinema – it’s that easy!
1. Find your place
Outdoor cinema is about the surroundings as much as about the actual event. Find the best possible landscape or landmark, and bring outdoor cinema there to create unique experience for your guests.
Here are some inspirational examples of outdoor cinema businesses which found the right place to wow their audience:
- Carved by Mother Nature Red Rocks Amphitheatre is a spectacular place near Denver, Colorado. It is used both for outdoor cinema and concerts, and has a capacity for over 9500 people.
- Barcelona’s Montjuïc Castle is a gorgeous backdrop for a movie screen. The ancient walls create both feeling of protection and connection of epochs.
- Hollywood Forever Cemetery outdoor movies use the big grassy field against a gorgeous Hollywood landmark to charm their audience.
- St George Open Air Cinema in Sydney offers majestic views over Sydney Harbor.
- Cinekamari movie theatre on the Greek island Santorini became part of the cityscape.
- Six Senses Yao Noi resort in Thailand offers guests outdoor cinema floating on the water. And the photo of the movie screen against the cliffs is quickly becoming an iconic one.
Look around and find the landmark which will give that special feeling to your outdoor cinema.
Think about streets and rooftops, waterfronts and mountains, old warehouses or even carparks, or simply choose the nearest park with the views.
2. Share your love on social media
Having a Facebook page is not enough. Do your customers go to your Facebook page to check if tonight’s show is cancelled due to the bad weather? Great beginning, but is not enough either. Know your audience and use your unique voice talking to them. Use your social media channels to create the mood of your supporters, to share with them the memories of a good evening, to intrigue and to engage them.
Check out Facebook pages of these great communicators:
Backyard Cinemas of UK talk to their friends, using their everyday language and emoticons. You could tell they are young and energetic; they are about good music, alternative cinema and good fun. Their “about us” video is also full on!
The Galileo Open Air Cinema in South Africa constantly engages their audience, asking for advice, offering prizes, involving local businesses. They also publish a lot of photos of cinema goes.
We at Smart Digital do not organise events, but we are on Facebook to inspire you to bring outdoor cinema to your community. Here we share tips and tricks on how to organise fantastic movie nights. We help you select films and tell you about outdoor cinemas around the World. And we help you bring more magic, more fun, and more entertainment to your backyard.
3. Offer beautiful combinations
Outdoor cinema is so much more than just watching a movie. It is great experience, and the more senses are engaged, the better.
Combine good food with good movie. Like matching food and wine, matching food and movie is a fine art. Family movies do not go well with wine and a plate of gourmet cheeses. Arthouse will loose it’s aroma paired with burgers.
Get your inspiration from Melbourne’s Gourmet Cinema, who matched local restaurants with the movies. They challenged the chefs to complement the movie with the equivalent cuisine.
Revive good old drive-in experience, combining it with retro auto show, live band, and a fashion show.
Offer entertainment before the movie. Dress ups are easy. Add themed photobooths the way Cinespia did, and absolutely awesome fun and great memories are guaranteed!
Don’t forget live music – invite local bands or young talents from local schools.
The examples above tickle your tastebuds, add luxury and create excitement in the participants. They will come for more!
4. Quality equipment
Great night is only possible if you got your hardware right. Movie screen should first of all withstand strong winds, and also have 16:9 aspect ratio. Secure it to the ground and ensure safety of your guests. Get the right size screen for your event. Movie screen should be big enough both to wow the audience and to fit the outdoor space. It also needs to be compact enough to be portable and easy to handle. The easier it is to organise the show, the more events you’ll be able to run!
Choosing the movie screen think whether you will be using rear or front projection. Small and medium inflatable movie screens often use lycra as a screen surface – but they are not created equal. Cheap screens bought on eBay can turn out to be of poor quality, too transparent to deliver bright picture. Seams and wrinkles do not improve the situation either.
Select adequate speaker power. There is no point going for surround sound – there are no walls to reflect it! Yet, there should be enough grant and power in the speakers so that everybody could feel comfortable and emerged in the movie.
Finally, choose bright movie projector and place it on the correct distance from the screen, so that it fills the white screening area completely. And if you want smooth and easy operation, consider investing in a proper audio video control system.
Serious outdoor cinema businesses select quality equipment to provide the best viewing experience to the audience.
5. Find your USP. Be unpredictable.
USP, or unique selling preposition, makes your business stand out from the crowd. Hot tub cinema, invented by Asher Charman in London, is a great example of fantastic USP. It is talked about, copied around the world, totally crazy and successful.
Think about something unusual. It does not have to be commercially successful in 100% of times. Screen made of snow may not have gathered large crowds, but it has been much talked about.
Winter movie nights proved to be popular in cold climates, like that in Norway. Christmas movie season was full on in London, and the cold did not hinder the audience from enjoying a good movie night.
Hailing from sunny Adelaide and first run on Halloween of 2015,is another unique event, travelling all over Australia. If your nervous system is strong enough, and you are craving some adrenaline, that’s an event not to be missed!
Know your audience and be able to surprise it.
Melbourne’s Underground Cinema took the concept of surprise to the highest level, keeping secret both the film title and the location of the movie session!
Selection of movies will help you find your segment in the outdoor cinema business, and find your audience. Family movies are mainstream and highly popular. You won’t get it wrong showing popular cartoons and PG rated family films.
Are you competing with other outdoor cinema businesses in a big city? Find your style to be heard. Show classical movies, creating atmosphere of bygone epoch. Appeal to audiophiles – organise live concerts and show films dedicated to music legends and cultural icons. Be provocative. Go for cult or underground movies, or organise thematic nights dedicated to famous movie directors. Try different ideas and don’t be afraid to fail – you’ll find successful outdoor cinema model only via trial and error!
Your challenge now is to find something not yet invented! However, just combining different ideas and implementing them at high standards is enough to become one of the successful outdoor cinema businesses.
We are often asked if we supply outdoor cinema packages to other countries.
Here is the answer:
Smart Digital Australia sells its outdoor movie systems all over the world. We have developed special outdoor cinema packages suitable for international sales. Normally projectors and loudspeakers have warranty only in the country of original purchase. Our solution is to supply everything else and give the customer the recommended brand names and model numbers for local supply and purchase. The other big advantage, particularly with the speakers, is the saving on the freight.
We have a special arrangement withfor airfreight shipment to almost any country in the world. This saves money and ensures fast delivery.
The electrical equipment is 110 – 240 volts for use everywhere. The electrical connectors used with our unique SmartBox® are all international standard IEC connectors. This makes it for easy access in the unlikely event that service may be required.
We offer inflatable movie screens of the highest quality. The screen surfaces on the ParkView® and HandiTheatre® models are made of theatrical quality stretch lycra fabric. Remove the screen surface for washing, if required. The stretch lycra material ensures a completely flat, wrinkle free surface, imperative for screening great movies.
The outdoor movie systems from Smart Digital Australia have all been designed and assembled in Australia, sourced from local and imported suppliers. They are of the highest quality and meet international standards. To survive the Australian conditions all the equipment must be robust and strong. In Australia, we love outdoor entertainment!
We want to bring the magic of outdoor cinema to your community, whether you are in England or Canada, Saudi Arabia or France.
Need more information or a quote to suit your application? Contact us on line, send us an e-mail or phone + 61 3 9729 6300.