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Naval Air Station Jacksonville Goes Larger than Life with Outdoor Movies and Video Gaming
por Michael Maltsev
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One of the most consistent challenges faced by those involved with the Navy's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) is providing creative, engaging and entertaining recreation opportunities for military personnel to help them stay ready and refreshed.
The Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation's (MWR) Liberty program at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville has addressed the need for exciting events by getting creative in a big, really big way.
Mack Cooper, Liberty Program Manager, has deployed an Open Air Cinema system, which includes sound and projector equipment and a large inflatable 16-foot movie screen for Liberty Program events. They also have a giant 30-foot inflatable movie screen for larger events.
Movies under the stars
At least once or twice a month, we pop up the outdoor cinema system in the barrack
courtyardwe call it вЂMovies in the Yard'and do a showing with films from the Navy Motion Pictures' 8 millimeter program, Cooper said. Usually, about 200 people attend these shows and we provide free popcorn and other refreshments.
The Navy Entertainment Movie Program Ashore program is so important to the Navy's morale support effort, it has been designated "Mission Essential" by Congress. Cooper and his team have taken their movie viewing equipment to the next level.
Showing the Navy Motion Pictures movies privately in quarters is "private use" and is not authorized, which is the opposite policy for videos rented from the local video store. As such a public venue is required and it is hard to find a more public place to watch a movie than the central courtyard or field in an open air cinema.
Cooper and his team have also hosted movies-under-the-stars events for the community where they welcome all MWR patrons, rather than just the single service members in the Liberty program. For these events, they have come to expect upwards of 600 attendees.
The bigger the better
These giant screens have definitely had an impact on our MWR program, Cooper said. This is a resource we use to enhance our programs and make them more excitingand, at the same time, be different than anything they can do in town. We use them in numerous ways that go way beyond movies.
The 16-foot screens inflate in seconds so they can easily use them often. Cooper says in the moderate Florida climate, they can use them 80 percent of the time throughout the year. The giant Open Air Cinema screens with the audio and projection equipment were purchased through the GSA schedule.
These screens are so easy to set up and use, when we have special events such as concerts, we get them out, Cooper said. We set up a stage in front of the screen for the concerts then while the band is playing we shoot their image onto the huge movie screen behind the stage this makes a really nice visual enhancement for the show.
Cooper also hosts loud and large video game tournaments on all the popular game consoles such as the PlayStation 3В®, Xbox 360В®, WiiВ® and Guitar HeroВ®.
Our video game tournaments are a huge draw in the Liberty program, Cooper explained. We have people run through the tournament on normal TVs until the final four. Then we really work to make these a big production. We take the final four and put them outside on the screens to transform a simple competition into a huge event where the games are larger than life.
Being able to have an ultra-portable outdoor cinema system allows us to definitely get very creative. Once you add in the gaming factor on top of the movies, it adds a really fun and exciting element that helps us accomplish the missions of the MMR program.
Contact Open Air Cinema at 866-802-8202 to order your outdoor theater system today.В We look forward to speaking to you soon.