How to host a virtual movie night

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Snacks, drinksand popcorn are all essential items for a successful movie night and/or date. However,with new health concerns due to the pandemic, will events likeamovie night ever be the same? In the times of a pandemic, a new trend that has emerged is having the option of hosting a virtual movie night by using movie streaming sites that pair with video chatting services.

Instead of gathering with friends in person and watching your favorite movie, Teleparty, formerly known as Netflix Party, creates a way for users to watch movies together in separate locations and utilize one person’s streaming service account. Their extension is free to download on the Google Chrome web store to stream on Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and HBO.

As easy as it may sound, going through the steps for having a virtual movie night have been much more difficult for people than expected.

Richana Johnson, the community service chair for CampusPlus, anorganization at Florida A&M University, explained how the process behind putting on the actual virtual movie night was more of a challenge than expected.

“The process was more complicated than I thought it would be,” Johnson said. “Those who wanted to watch themovie on Netflix would each have to download a program and those who had a phone could not watch it. You could only watch it through a computer.”

Popular streaming platformNetflix allows up to 50 people to watch anything on one account together. This only works with the installation of the Telepartyfeature. It is only accessible through specific Internet browsers, i.e. Google Chrome and/or Opera Browser.

Many other popular streaming services such as Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon have all added watch party features for their users. Just like Netflix, both Hulu and Amazon, watch party features are only accessible through computer login. Disney+ launched their watch party feature in September 2020 and made it accessible via SmartTV, mobile and web devices.

Some young people say a better alternative may be drive-in movie theatres. With the spike in COVID-19cases and the closing of movie theaters, drive-ins have made a comeback.

For 20-year-old Tallahassee native David Liburd, there are many consto having a movie night virtually with friends.

“I feel like an actual movie night is more organic and natural flowing with less complications,” Liburd said. “With the virtual movie night, you have to take into account people’s internet connection and people talking over the movie or mics not being muted.That extra commentary can either be entertaining or annoying, though.”

For individuals who have friends in different cities or states, like Shavontae Smith, virtual movie nights, while sometimes difficult to set up, can bea great way to connect with friends.

“Living away from my friends is hard and gets pretty lonely, so I enjoy the fact that I am able to hop on virtually and watch movies with my friends even though I am far from them,” Smith said.

During a pandemic, people are still adjusting to find what works for themand keeps them busy in their free time. While blockbusters are being released and continuing production, what movie will you choose to stream with your friends online?