The idea of having a home cinema might sound like something only the Cannes Film Festival guest list might have in their home, but these days it’s something we can quite easily bring into our own homes. To indulge your inner movie buff, a home cinema can be created affordably without having to miss out on any of the cinema essentials - making it easy for you to plan and host your own film festival.
Over the last few years home projectors have become brighter, more cost-effective and available in 4K UHD resolution. The increase in brightness in home entertainment projectors means they can be used with lights on rather than having to watch films, sports and TV shows with the lights down low. This is why many homeowners are choosing these as an alternative to having a TV as their main viewing device.
But if you haven’t got a projector installed in your home – don’t despair. There are many excellent portable projectors that are perfect for impromptu film nights. All you need to create your at-home film festival is a blank canvas in the form of a spare bedroom, dining room or maybe a loft space that’s being converted that has a plain, ideally white, wall. From here, you’ll simply need to add the essentials and you’re set for watching films to your heart's content.
Read on for a no-nonsense, step-by-step guide to creating your very own home film festival.
Deciding a theme
First things first: decide on a theme for your film festival. Are you creating this for your little one’s birthday or to keep the kids occupied on a rainy day, a night in with your friends or a favourite film genre you want the room to reflect? We love the idea of designing the room with a particular genre in mind, to add an extra experiential element to the movies you’ll be watching.
Once you know who the home film festival is for, you can decide on what you need to keep the audience happy. For example, if it’s a night in with friends watching your favourite films from a particular era, genre or actor, it makes sense to invest in a mini-fridge where you can store a few bottles of wine. This will provide welcome accompaniment for your Mamma Mia marathon sing-along, while you snack on an adult-friendly buffet.
Alternatively, if the room is designed for your kids to watch Disney classics back-to-back, you’ll want to make sure you’ve stocked up on Disney-inspired sweets, cakes and biscuits, and cartoon-themed cups for soft drinks galore.
Picking the projector
It’s far more exciting and immersive to watch your favourite films when they are a supersize 100” image projected on the wall rather than on the TV.
A multi-use occasional table is perfect as a platform for a short-throw projector during the film festival, or positioned at the end of the sofa for easy access to your tipple or to pop your coffee while it’s cooling down. Short throw projectors can be placed at around one metre from the wall to achieve a 100” image whereas ultra-short throw projectors can achieve a 100” from as little as 33cm!
Optoma offers a huge range of home projectors in a variety of resolutions, brightness and throw. If it’s for the kids and they’re likely to want to keep the lights on in the room, our UHD52ALV 4K UHD resolution Full 3D home projector is the ideal choice.
Creating a comfy seating area
No cinema is complete without the perfect viewing environment. Whether you’re getting comfy on the sofa in the living room or using a collection of big cushions to make a seated den area, it’s vital to make sure you and your fellow festival-goers enjoy a good level of comfort.
If you’re using the living room, think about any adjustments you could make to dial up the comfort factor. The addition of lights that can be dimmed would create a welcome cosy atmosphere, while some extra tables around the seating area for drinks and snacks will mean treats are never far from reach.
Providing a well-stocked treat station
A trip to the cinema is not complete without popcorn, sweets, nachos, fizzy drinks and other tasty treats - so it goes without saying that you’ll need to go town when it comes to your treat station. You might want to go all out if you’re having a night in with your friends and add some hot snacks to the mix, like pizzas or finger food.
Selecting a film lineup
Choosing which films you’re going to watch is an important piece of the puzzle.
You might choose to watch the films via a DVD collection you’ve stocked up on in advance, or, alternatively, you may have a list of films you’d like to stream online through an on-demand provider such as Netflix - either way, get prepared and pick what you’re watching well ahead of time so the film festival itself can be a seamless experience for all involved.
Film festivals are an ideal way to get everyone together in the name of a shared love of cinema - especially if you’re partial to a movie franchise marathon, covering an epic series such as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
To whip up the ultimate at-home event, sort out your equipment, edibles, comfy seating and, of course, the all-important viewing agenda, and you’ll be set for an unforgettable film festival in the comfort of your own home.