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Halloween is almost upon us and all your neighbors are doing the same old decorating they do every year – some fake cobwebs, a silly black cat in the front yard and the obligatory carved pumpkin on the porch. You want to do something really different and cool, but you don’t want to spend a ton of money or wind up with giant spiders and witches with no where to put them after the holiday is over.
Well, we have just the solution for you. All you need is a projector, some AtmosFX DVDs and some inexpensive material to project on. We’re going to tell you everything you need to make your Halloween home the talk of the neighborhood this year.
What is AtmosFX and why should I care?
You know in those scary movies, how you’ll see a silhouette of some crazy axe murderer walking past the window, or a terrifying image of a ghost looking down on you from some run-down asylum? Well, the folks over at AtmosFX have dedicated themselves to recreating all of those scary Hollywood scenes and bundling them together in video sets specifically meant for projecting onto surfaces like your windows, your walls, mesh material hanging in open spaces, and even uncarved pumpkins. The results are nothing short of amazing and must be seen to be believed.
What kind of projector do I need?
The type of projector you need depends on a few things, which I’ve listed out for you below:
Lighting conditions – the darker the environment the better, indoors and out. If you’re next to a streetlight, your best bet is to use on a window farthest away from the light or stick to indoor projection effects.
Indoor or outdoor projection – if you’re planning on projecting these Halloween effects on outdoor pumpkins or more advanced hanging mesh displays, you’ll probably want to stick to something more portable, and consider how you’re going to protect it from the elements (or naughty tricksters who might want to grab it on the go)
Will you need a zoom feature? depending on what you’re projecting onto, placement of the projector should be considered. Most projectors come with at least some zoom functionality so you can dial a smaller or larger image, but knowing how big an image you need will help you make sure you don’t get a projector that won’t work for you. (tip: use the projector calculator on our product pages for an accurate measure of each projectors throw range and zoom)
Resolution – we recommend going for a projector with HD resolution (1920 x 1080), though you probably can get away with one that is lower resolution than that if your projected image is far enough away from the viewer. We choose HD simply because we’ll be using the projector for watching movies and sports well after Halloween is over.
For projector lumens, it does depend a lot on your environmental lighting conditions. If you have total control over lighting and can make things dark or at least dim, you can get away with a projector with less than 1500 lumens. If there will be some ambient lighting around, choose a projector with a bit more power. There is probably no need to get a projector with more than 2500 lumens however, unless you plan on projecting very large images. Of course, if you have any questions, give our projector experts a call at 1-888-248-0675. They live for this stuff.
How to create an intense window projection effect
For some of the AtmosFX window projection videos, a more relaxed setup can actually create a more realistic effect (see the Axe guy in the picture above?). Loosely draping a semi-transparent screen material, like the AtmosFX window projection material, creates a great surface for silhouettes and less detailed images. From outside, it really looks like there are creatures lurking around inside your home.
If you want a more shocking and in-your-face effect, then stretch the material tighter across the areas you’re projecting onto. This will create a great canvas for more detailed projections, like witches, ghosts and zombies to pop up and scare the candy out any trick or treaters who dare enter your domain.
Projectors in space? Well, kind of…
By now, you’re probably super-psyched to get this gear and try it out for yourself. But if you’re still on the fence about it and are thinking there’s nothing that revolutionary about projecting onto a window or a wall, then consider projecting ghostly apparitions in the middle of your hallway, or out in your yard. Simply drape some holusion mesh material between a doorway, turn off the hallway lights and then project ultra-creepy videos on life-like spectres. It’s guaranteed to make even the most manly man scream and jump back in fright.
One of the best parts of working here is helping our customers realize the final visions for their projects. Whether it’s a cutting-edge conference room or a designer home theater, we love hearing about your plans and helping you pick out the equipment that will help you reach your goals.
The worst part of our jobs is hanging up the phone and knowing that we may never see the final product. Don’t get us wrong; we totally understand you’re busy with your new toys. But we love this stuff, and it makes us so happy when people send in photos of their completed AV projects.
Take the two home theaters below. These turned out even better than the customers expected.
Super Bowl Home Theater
Christian from Texas wanted a deluxe home theater in time for the Super Bowl. We hooked him up with the Panasonic AE8000U and the Dalite Cinema Contour 133” diagonal screen with the Da-mat surface.
He got his home theater set up in less than a week, in plenty of time for the big game.
There was only one problem: he was rooting for the Broncos.
Living Room Revamp
Nolan doesn’t have a dedicated home theater, but he still wanted a big screen that would provide an immersive experience for viewers as far as 16 feet from the screen.
Elite has come out with a slew of affordable outdoor projector screens recently. These are perfect for outdoor theater, weddings, picnics, fundraisers and well, any outdoor event you can imagine.
Elite’s DIY Portable Outdoor Screen features theater-grade material equipped with grommets, enabling you to instantly hang it to a garage, trees or posts. The screen’s surface provides a wide viewing angle so you can entertain all your neighbors. Its 1.1 gain matte white surface is textured to avoid hot-spotting, ensuring a more even picture.
With options starting below $100, this is the perfect upgrade from that white sheet you’ve used for the past three outdoor movie nights. It features a black matte border to absorb projector over scan and enhance visual contrast. The screen ships with rigging cords to keep it taut.
A higher-end option is the Elite Yard Master series. Unlike the DIY option above, the Yard Master is a standing option, complete with ropes and stakes. It sets up and breaks down quickly, and features a heavy-duty frame construction for whatever weather mother nature throws at your outdoor event.
Elite came by our office recently and we asked them to show us how easy the Yard Masters are to set up. Watch this video for a closer look:
Projector People customer Brian Ten of Culver City, CA called me the other day. Back in 2011, the LA Times did a feature on his outdoor theater. Did I want to see it?
Uhm, yeah. Of course!
With the help of one of our projectors, Brian’s 2,240 square-foot front yard was transformed from a small ho-hum lot into an outdoor theater that is now the talk of his neighborhood.
Brian and his family watching the projector in their front yard. Image from the LA Times.
The front yard is alive with the Sound of Music. Image care of the LA Times
Brian and his wife, Rika Houston, wanted an outdoor space where they could spend time with their three children. The spot evolved from an outdoor family room to a community hangout. Brian and his wife use their yard now for everything from homework to fundraisers, movie nights to meetings.
“During summer, a canvas goes up on the garage wall, heat lamps are put in place, the glass fire pit is lighted and the neighborhood film festival begins.” – LA Times
Want this in your yard? Brian originally bought a Panasonic PT-AX200U for his outdoor theater. That projector is no longer in production. Check out our backyard theater guide to see which of today’s models will work in your backyard.
Got questions about iPad and iPhone projectors? We have answers. Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions about iPad and iPhone projection:
How do I connect my iPad or iPhone to my projector?
An iPad or iPhone easily connects to your projector with a $29 VGA adapter, available from the Apple store. Simply plug it into the projector’s included VGA cable and you’re ready to go. The iPhone or iPad works like any other VGA peripheral.
What about wireless iPad and iPhone projection?
Currently Casio, Epson and Panasonic have free apps that allow you to project wirelessly from your iPad or iPhone over a wireless internet connection. For an up-to-the-second update on which brands have apps, call us at 1-888-248-0675.
Will the image on my projector look as good as the image on my iPad or iPhone?
Most content can be sent from your iPhone or iPad to your projector without a problem. But remember, some apps were designed exclusively for a five-inch screen and may look wonky when stretched to 10 times their original size. Also, cameras, smartphones and tablets have different methods of compressing and storing photos. This process can alter the dimensions of your pictures, causing them to look slightly different on the big screen.
What other questions do you have about projecting from the iPad? Simply ask in the comments below, or call one of our insanely-knowledgeable reps at 1-888-248-0675.