Equipment Hire

There are a few basic bits of equipment you'll need to host a cinema screening, and like most things they can vary in price. But before you rush out to buy anything, it may be worth hiring equipment to test the water.

Cinema For All logo

Cinema For All equipment hire is free for an initial test screening, and thereafter costs £15 per screening for members of Cinema For All (£25 for non-members) in the first year of hire. Visit the Cinema For All website for more details.

It's also worth downloading the Cinema For All Equipment Starter Pack, which is filled with useful advice such as how to make your venue 'cinematic'.

The Grow Your Own Cinema Equipment Guide

Written by Keith Taylor of Letham Lights, after he participated in the Grow Your Own Cinema project, this handy guide talks you through the equipment you'll need and how to use it. Click here to download it.

Case Study - Letham Lights

Based at Letham Village Hall in Letham, Fife, 'Letham Lights' was born out of the Grow Your Own Cinema project. Here, one of the organisers, Keith Taylor tells us about his experience of hiring and using equipment for their screenings:

Letham Lights"The portable kit we have been using to date is available via Cinema For All and is more than adequate for any average sized village hall or similar venue. The sound and video quality is really very impressive and we were particularly impressed to find that the screen fitted exactly into the width of the stage area in our hall, which immediately makes the venue look like a real cinema!

Typical cinema kit will include a large fabric screen with an aluminium frame, speakers, projector, amp and DVD / blueray player and all the supporting cables and stands. That is really all you need to get started, everything else is just fine tuning for your own venue. It takes three people about an hour to set up the kit, but a fair bit longer if you need to lay out chairs, blackout, sales area etc.

One early lesson that we learned is that it is worth familiarising yourself with the equipment before you start. You might want to have a test screening or simply invite a few friends to bear with you while you experiment with layout, sound and video settings. It helps to have a few bodies there so that someone can adjust lighting, sound, positioning etc with feedback from the different points in the room. Once you have done this properly once, in theory it should be easier each time afterwards and should take less time to set up. Doing this in practice will make you much more confident in front of a paying audience!

We learned a lot from our test screening. It's hard to estimate how everything works until you have a room full of people e.g. What is the right music volume if there is background chatter before the film? What is the best lighting so that people can get up and down if need be? Is sound quality equally good in all parts of the room? And so on.

You will have glitches to begin with, but you need to accept that's all part of the learning process and you will find your audience is very supportive and will want you to succeed."