The summer is in full swing. Beaches are packed, ice cream vans have been stripped of stock and everyone’s looking to make the most of the great outdoors.

But what if you’re attending or organising a get together and you need everyone gathered around a video or a set of images? Wedding venues, local bands and even pub gardens all face this dilemma in the summer months with guests desperate to make the most of any outdoor space available, but reluctant to miss out on viewing a photo reel, watching a film or catching the latest sports game.

Even friendship groups are at it; watching a film with friends suddenly becomes a whole lot more exciting if it’s done outdoors in the warm evenings.

So is this dream even possible? We’ve taken a look at some of the best projectors for small outdoor events to help you decide if your own outdoor dreams are a possibility.

Understanding the outdoors

Whatever your outdoor event, there are two questions you need to answer before you can set about choosing a projector.

  1. What will the ambient light levels be like?
  2. What image size do you hope to project?

Each of these factors individually affects the level of brightness you require from your projector, making brightness the key variable when it comes to choosing a device.

The higher the ambient light, the higher the projector brightness needs to be. Equally, the larger the screen size, the higher the projector brightness needs to be.

If you’re hosting an outdoor event during the day (high ambient light) using a 5 metre screen you’ll require between 13,000 and 18,000 lumens of brightness – that’s already a lot to ask of a projector. Increase your screen size to 5.9 metres and you could need up to 24,000 lumens to keep the image vibrant and clear.

However, if you decrease the level of ambient light and project at twilight or even better at night, then even with a 5 metre screen you might be able to get away with a brightness level around the 8,000 - 9,000 lumen mark. The key is in the details.

Choosing your projector

Now that you’ve got the basics in mind, let’s take a look at some of the projectors on the market that could be up to the job this summer.

Outdoor film night

If you’re hosting an outdoor cinema night with friends or pulling together a film night on behalf of your local pub or park, brightness is going to be key to giving your audience a good show.


  • Often hosted in the evening or at night reducing the ambient light levels
  • No additional lighting
  • Screen size is variable

Pulling together an outdoor film event is no mean feat. Taking centre stage will be your projector and you need something that’s really up to the task, like the Panasonic PT-DZ870ELKJ.

Boasting 8,500 lumens and Full HD resolution, this device is ideal for an evening outdoor cinema event where ambient light is likely to be low. This incredible staging projector also offers enough brightness to allow for varied screen sizes and comes complete with System Daylight View 2 technology to ensure comfortable viewing if the movie begins before the sun goes down.

Outdoor gigs

Big or small, a summer outdoor gig is hard to beat but the need to create an environment that takes light, screens and potentially filming into account mean it’s important to choose the right projector.


  • Often hosted in the evening, reducing ambient light
  • Lighting means brightness of at least 8,000 lumens is necessary
  • Stage-side screens variable in size

Just to be clear, we’re assuming you’re organising an outdoor gig on a small scale, for example at your local pub or community space, as opposed to booking out Wembley.

Your projector is less likely to take centre stage in a gig setup than in a film screening, but if you’re looking to make an impression, visuals to accompany the band can make a real impact.

Again, a projector with around 8,000 lumens of brightness is the minimum you can get away with here. We’d recommend the NEC PA803U. This powerful device can cope with both temporary and permanent installations, making it flexible enough for different locations or uses in the future.

It also uses LCD display technology, which makes it perfect for settings where there’s likely to be filming due to the reduced chance of screen flickering.

Daytime music events

Evening gatherings in the pub are great, but there’s nothing quite like dancing in the sun to some of your favourite music. But nothing could be more challenging to a projector than sunlight, varying levels of stage lighting and a big screen space to fill.


  • Held during the day or at least starting during daylight hours
  • Varied lighting
  • Large screens regularly used behind stages

If you’re organising a daytime gig with a mini-festival vibe then take a look at the Optoma WU1500.

Built for demanding professional environments, this top quality installation projector delivers an impressive 12,000 lumens of brightness, ensuring it’s capable of dealing with variable ambient light levels. The projector also delivers 24/7 operation thanks to a lamp relay system, resulting in continuous projection that never fails to captivate.

But even this impressive piece of equipment might not be up to the job, depending on how ambitious your event is. It’s well worth talking to a professional before buying a projector for outdoor daytime usage in an event like this as projection as a solution may not be right for your event.

If the above aren’t quite up to your requirements, keep in mind that Projectorpoint also supply Christie and Panasonic installation projectors for those in need of higher end devices, as well as ex-demo and clearance install projectors ideal for lower budget events.

If you’d like to speak to our experts about our range of outdoor-friendly installation projectors, please call us today on 0808 274 7510 or get in touch.