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  • Shine Team

Drive-In Cinema Tips

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

Need to know information for your Drive-In Cinema event.

Due to recent Covid-19 (Coronavirus) many venues and event organisers are exploring Drive-In Cinemas as a way of hosting a safe event adhering to social distancing and contact rules. Below are a few key points you may want to consider.

LED video screens for drive-in cinema hire
Drive-In Cinema Hire (Day Use)

How many cars can you cater for and how much space will you need?

Cars take up much more space than people sat down on deck chairs or with a picnic. A Standard UK parking space is 2.4m wide by 4.8m long however you need additional space to allow distancing between cars and cars to exit without interference. 100 cars will need approx 2,400 sqm of space (40m wide by 60m deep). In comparison you could fit approx 1700 people on deck chairs in the same amount of space.

Larger drive-In cinemas of 150 to 300 cars will require extremely large open spaces.

You also will need to consider the type of ground surface available. Although grass maybe suitable on a dry Summers day, if it rains and with continues traffic this can soon change and cars could get stuck. We always recommend hard surface or a contingency to remove cars if the weather does affect the surface quality,

Drive In Cinema Hire
Drive In Cinema Hire (Night Use)

Screen Size?

This consideration leads on nicely from the above question. You will need a screen large enough to cater for the number of cars, however you also need to consider budget and setup / de-rig time. As screens get larger cost and setup times increase.

What we Recommend

Although bigger is usually better...... it's not alway the case. By using a slightly smaller screen you can keep costs and setup times to a minimum whiles not needing such a large open space for parking cars.

Showing multiple film screenings in a single day or across multiple days will require less space however still allow the same amount of traffic (if not more) to pass through your event providing better ROI. Screening multiple films also allows you to target a larger demographic with different films including family screenings during the day.

100 cars per screening is usually a good balance between cost, space and screen size.


Film Licencing

To show a film in public you will need a licence. We can provide further advise regarding this and even organise and book the licence on your behalf. You can screen almost any film available to buy on DVD, Blu-Ray or Digital Download.

In Brief:

If you are selling tickets - The license amount will be around 40% of your basic ticket price.

If the screening is free of charge - The license will be based on your estimate audience size and starts from £139 Ex Vat per screening

Event Licence

Subject to your venue and event size you will need either a temporary event notice or venue license. You local authority / venue will be able to advise you further and it may already be in place. If not a temporary event notice is a simple process with minimum cost (Around £30)

Audio Broadcast Licence

If you want to broadcast the audio to car stereos via FM radio you will need a licence from Ofcom. This is not our recommended method as it can be costly, time consuming and no guarantee you will have your licence granted.

Be cautious of companies who say they can provide this service and make sure you have proof of licence. Licences are location specific so you need to have one granted for your specific event location and date (Not just the company). You also need equipment certified by Ofcom to do the transmission. If any of the above are not followed you could be hit by a £5000 fine.

What we recommend

Event Licensing is straight forwards and your local authority / venue will be able to help.

Film Licensing will require some preparation time however we can provide advice and organise this on your behalf if you wish.

Instead of FM radio broadcast we can provide a in-car solution whereby each car is given a small receiver box which they place on their dashboard and either plug into their car's Aux port or a small speaker we supply. We can then transmit the audio using a 'Licence Free' frequency to all cars avoiding all licence fees and applications.


As you can see drive-in cinemas have a number of key points that need to be considered for a successful event. When implemented correctly drive-in cinemas can provide a exciting, enjoyable, unique experience for all ages.

Hopefully our crash course has given you some pointers and if your looking to hire a outdoor cinema or drive-in cinema and would like more information don't hesitate to get in touch ay


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