Ever considered the possibility of setting up your own big screen in nature?
By Clare Tinsley.
What is there not to love about camping? The fresh whip of air that hits your face as you open your tent to a glorious new day. That panoramic view of natural beauty, with varying degrees of greenery and the newly formed dew gently cleansing away all of life’s stresses. You cannot beat the feeling of utter freedom from the huge expanse of space before you from being amongst nature. Pure bliss, enriching the soul. Well, that is until the kids wake up.
Then chaos descends. They waste no time in starting the bickering. Moaning and whining about the limited options available for breakfast. Fighting with each other because they have suddenly been thrust into a bedroom far smaller than the grandeur they are accustomed to at home, and one has had their feet in the other ones face all night. Oh, the absolute joys! Any attempt at living your earthy outdoor woman dreams have been thwarted.
All you wanted to do was to create special memories and moments together. It is really hard work. It’s enough to make you want to pack up and leave. But then…just when you are about to abandon all hope…there’s a glimmer of everything you hoped this camping trip would be. The kids settle together for a moment of quiet. Comfortable in each others company, relaxed, peaceful.
You need to get ready for the day of adventure ahead, but you daren’t move in case you remind them they were enemies a short time ago. You hold your breath, unsure how long the ceasefire is going to last. A few moments more pass and you let out a deep breath. And bang! They start arguing over what to watch. In that instant the moment is gone. But, you saw it. You felt it, and you want more. That window of euphoria, no matter how fleeting, is what you are doing it for. It’s moments like those that makes the whole trip worthwhile.
As Clare Tinsley sat in her kitchen, hovering over her search for the best outdoor travel destinations, she started to reflect on these such moments. How can I get that throughout the trip? What would bring the family together, for this rare opportunity of spending time together, enjoyable? Perhaps some great outdoor activities would do the trick? That covers the daytime, but what about the evening?
As a mum of 3, these questions were challenging within themselves. How do you find something we can do together when you have different age groups and interests to accommodate for? It’s almost impossible.
It suddenly dawned on her, like an apple falling from a tree, attempting to cause concussion. We all love films. Whilst there can be some heated debates about what to watch, we love the cinema. The big screen, lighting up your face as you frantically soak in the intricate details of the scene.
The booming sound that vibrates through you and makes you feel like you are right there with the characters. The stories you’re told and the emotions your heart connects with. We love everything about what the cinema brings, the conversations it inspires as we discuss what we’ve just witnessed. It is just magical.
That’s it, Clare thought. That would be the perfect way to relax in the evenings. So, she did what most do and jumped onto Google. She spent hours sifting through the search results, collecting all of the bits she needed to get that cinema experience whilst off grid. As she flicked through the numerous items in her basket, she thought to herself ‘there must be a better way?’. As women who camp, you can appreciate that a family of 5 has a lot of stuff and it is usually up to us to make the lists to remember everything.
Clare then panicked. Where were all these items going to go? Am I going to remember all the ‘bits’, because once they were out of the postal packaging it would be a free for all? As well as all that, the equipment itself was either super complex or needed mains electricity to work. She quickly realised there wasn’t a grab and go solution. She needed something that came in one kit and was totally plug and play, no hassle.
That is when she realised, she needed to come up with the solution herself. And so, Suitcase Cinema was born. She set about researching what was needed to get as close to a cinema experience as possible. Quickly Clare realised this wasn’t an affordable way of making the kits. So, Clare set out to find a partner to help source the equivalent quality products direct from a factory. That is when she found Ketchup Communications to work with developing the kits.
After some months, it has now launched and is available for pre orders. The kit includes a 100” pop-up screen, made from quality fabric with a metal easy to assemble frame. Depending on where you are setting up there are securing ropes and water weights for added stability (if needed). No more crowding round a tiny iPad, fighting over the best view.
The projector is battery powered, with up to 2 hours of screen time. It is full HD, LED, DLP and is auto-focusing and levelling to give a perfect picture no matter where you are. There is a tripod too, should you need to fix it at an angle because there isn’t quite enough room to spread out too much. Whilst the projector has it’s own built in speaker, if you want to recreate that booming sound you get at the movies, there is a Bluetooth speaker thrown in. This has up to 12 hours of battery life.
Fancy watching a box set or the trilogy of Lord of the Rings? You absolutely can. There is a 100W power bank that will give you another 8 hours of screen time. It is also handy to charge anything else you need as it has USB A and C outputs, which we all know you cannot get enough of when camping.
Not only is there a remote control for easy scrolling, but it has a built-in keyboard to make entering any account details on your favourite streaming service, easy. When it comes to choosing what to watch there are so many options for you. The projector is preloaded with Netflix and Google Play, so you can download your favourite apps to stream through Wifi.
Totally off grid? You can still enjoy Suitcase Cinema when you want to get away from it all. There is a 32GB USB stick that is included in the kits, which you can download your movie or show to. All of this comes in one, compact, durable and waterproof case. You don’t need to remember a thousand different bits, just chuck it in the trunk and go.
Something Clare is passionate about, outside of camping, is film. She didn’t just want to create Suitcase Cinema as something for her family to do, she wanted it to bring the magic of the movies to everyone. No matter their circumstance. To achieve that, Clare will be donating kits to non-profit organisations, who work with communities that wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to experience the excitement of the big screen.
To find out more and pre-order yours, you can visit www.suitcasecinema.com.
Setting up a big screen in nature – what are your thoughts?
This is a new and innovative idea, especially at night near your tent, cabin, caravan or RV. Let us know your impressions via the comments below.