The Proper Storage of Your Projector
The movie has faded to black. The final lines of credits, all the official seals and Roman numerals have rolled past and up out of sight. The crowd is starting to lurch upright and shake out the pins and needles in their legs. From the sleepy smiles on the faces that pass you, it would seem that everyone had a textbook enchanting evening of outdoor cinema. Congratulations: Your backyard Superbowl party/outdoor video game competition/ Movie in the Park was a rousing success. But don't start polishing your laurels just yet. You have to make sure all of this outdoor cinema equipment is properly broken down and stored away for next time - in particular, that precious projector.
Don't Be Too Hasty
If you're too hasty when packing, your projector could sustain long-term damage and break down much sooner than you want. So, the first thing you want to do is take a step back and let the thing cool down. When the machine is actively projecting, it can reach some pretty hot temperatures. That's why projectors come with fans. If you just yank the plug out of the wall and completely shut the thing down before the fans have time to do their job, then the components in your projector will get warped or otherwise damaged from the heat. It could even cause the lamp filaments in your light source, or the wiring in your console to break. You want to let the fans cool the projector down for at least two minutes. Since you're going to be waiting anyway, you might as well use this time to stay useful - help people pick up trash or deflate the screen or something.
Once the projector has had time to properly cool down, you can start unplugging the cables. Remember that all of your AV cables have sensitive electronics inside them. AV cables typically have a central conductor within them and a braided shield around that conductor, both of which need to be coiled a in their own direction in order to maintain longevity of function. You can't simply coil an AV cable tight around your elbow like you would an extension cord. When it comes to speaker cables, power cables, or any cable you plug into your projector, you want to use the over/under wrapping method, which will allow the cord's interior components to coil around in a proper figure-8 pattern. Just lay the cable out completely flat, pick up one end and make a loop. Make the loop in the direction of the cable's natural coil. Then, before you make your second loop, twist the remaining line of cable with your fingers. This will ensure that the inner wiring of the cable is going in the correct direction. Repeat these steps until the cable is completely wrapped up.
If you're regularly putting on outdoor cinema events, it's recommended that you have some kind of carrying case for your projector and all of your cables. Some people recommend holding on to the original box that the console comes in, complete with the styrofoam. But, cardboard tears easily, and styrofoam pieces can be lost or accidentally thrown away. Moreover, anyone who has ever tried to repack something the way the manufacturer originally had it knows that such endeavors are a fool's errand. Get yourself a nice foam-padded carrying case - one that has clear compartments for your projector, your cables, and anything else you might need at hand to make your event run smoothly. It's true that a big part of running a successful outdoor cinema event is preparation. But, what many people will not tell you is that proper preparation for an event begins at the end of the previous event. If you don't take down your equipment and store it properly, you're only putting a hitch in your set-up for next time. Do your future self and your future events a favor, and remember to store everything away the right way.