Rental FAQ's

How much work is involved in planning an outdoor movie event?

Most of your work is planning and promoting the event. Great Lakes Outdoor Cinema takes care of almost everything on the event day. You are free to relax and enjoy the movie with the audience.

How big is the screen?

We rent four different screen sizes depending on your needs. The size ranges from 16 feet wide to 40 feet wide. For more details and pricing see our screen rental information page

What movies can I show?

See our movie selection page for more information.

What equipment is included?

  • 1  Inflatable Movie Screen (widescreen)
  • 1  Professional Outdoor Audio System (2 -10 speakers)
  • 1  High Definition DLP Digital Projector
  • DVD Players (standard or Blu-ray)
  • Microphone for announcements/sponsors
  • Generator (for rental of screens larger than 16 x 9)
  • 1 to 4 Event Technicians for set-up and media presentation

What types of clients book with Great Lakes Outdoor Cinema?

Most of our clients consist of municipalities, resorts, festivals, community associations, colleges and businesses. We’ve worked with larger corporations and small businesses to host staff/client appreciation nights.  We’ve worked with Hotels, Resorts, Shopping Malls, Ski Resorts, Car Dealerships, Churches and Golf Courses to host promotional events. Advertising agencies have used our screens for billboard advertising. Private individuals have hired us for that special birthday party, wedding or bar mitzvah. Some book us just to have the boys over to play video games or watch the big game.  Great Lakes Outdoor Cinema will work with your organization to design any type of event you can dream up.

What types of venues can you set up in?

Our inflatable movie screens are extremely durable and versatile. We can set up almost anywhere including streets, beaches, tops of parking ramps and even barges on lakes. The most common venues are parks, football fields and golf courses. The selected location need only have suitable space for the screen, projection station and seating/parking area.  Stay clear of trees, lamp posts or anything else that may obstruct the movie projection or audience sight lines.

Since no two venues are exactly alike, please allow us to help you make this important decision. Narrow your choices down to sites that have ample space and free of ambient lighting. If the venue happens to have underground obstacles (irrigation, gas or electric lines), we will ask you to call locaters to come and mark them with spray paint or flags. This should be done no more than 72 hours before the event so that the paint is still visible when our crew arrives. 

Grass venues allow us to drive 3 foot stakes into the ground for the purpose of securing the screen. If we are setting up in a location that does not allow us to stake into the ground we will need to coordinate with you for an alternative anchoring system.  The most common types of anchors for hard surfaces are street lights, concrete blocks, golf carts and water barrels. We will need four anchor points.

Other factors that should be taken into consideration are the proximity to residential areas with respect to noise the level. Make sure city officials are notified of the event if you are in Public Park. Sometimes a permit is needed to occupy the park after curfew. It is also important to choose a venue that has ample parking and restroom facilities.

How much power do we need?

We supply power for events in remote locations. We will use standard outlets if they are available. Two dedicated 20 amp circuits may be necessary to power an outdoor movie event without using our generator.

What time can the movies begin?

We usually start as soon as the sun goes down. Don't worry though, as we arrive early enough to play music for your crowd as they gather and get settled in. Usually by the time we start the movie the audience has been up dancing to our music.

On the longest day of the year (June 21st) movies typically start around 9:45pm. During the spring and fall movies can start as early as 8:15pm. For sunset times in your community, enter a specific date into the calculator found on the following web page:

What is the proposed event timeline?


  • Three hours before dusk  -  Technicians arrive and begin set-up
  • One hour before dusk  -  Screen is inflated / Audio system is tested
  • One hour before dusk - All ages appropriate music is playing.
  • 30 minutes before dusk  -  Optional pre-show entertainment begins
  • 10 minutes before dusk  -  Announcements and host greeting
  • Dusk  -  Sponsor commercials and movie begins
  • 10 minutes after completion of movie  -  Movie screen is deflated
  • One hour after completion of movie  -  Equipment is packed for departure

What about pre-show entertainment?

Some of our clients like to provide emcees that interact with the crowd before the movie starts. You are welcome to tap into our PA system to play trivia games or conduct audience interviews. Clients with larger budgets hire live bands, comedians or magicians to keep the crowd engaged. Most of our clients simply ask us to play family friendly music while the audience gets settled in.

Do the inflatable screens kill the grass?

No, the screens will not kill the grass.  They are designed to equally distribute the weight over their large surface areas.  Plus, the movie screens are only in contact with the grass for five or six hours.

How powerful is the sound system? Are any there noise concerns?

The sound system package depends on how many viewers are expected to attend the movie event. The larger the audience the more powerful the system required. If there are potential noise issues with your venue, we can minimize the sound level without compromising the quality of the show.

For our events we use speakers placed on each side of the screen facing the audience. We will help you determine the ideal location for the screen and speakers to minimize the audio level that would descend on local neighborhoods or businesses.

Do we have to sign a contract?

Yes, we do require that a contract be signed by all parties. This is to ensure that all parties are protected and everyone has a clear understanding of the expectations.  Our contracts are custom designed to meet the needs of our clients.

Does Great Lakes Outdoor Cinema have insurance?

We carry a policy of insurance not less than one million dollars. This policy covers the operation of our equipment, our independent contractors plus general and product liability for the period of the event.

Your organization can request to be added as additional insured on our policy for a specific event date and location. Please give us 30 days notice if you wish to be listed on a Certificate of Insurance.

What format will the movies be in?

We recommend that you request a wide screen format standard DVD or Blu Ray from the film licensing company. The size of the projected image will be maximized because all of our screens are wide screen (16:9 ratio).  We utilize up-scaling DVD and Blu Ray players as well as HD projectors to produce high definition movie events.