Projection Mapping for Events

Projection mapping isn’t a new technology, but it is becoming increasingly popular for high visual impact and shareability at a wide range of events. We take a look at the requirements and weigh up the value of whether projection mapping could be right for your corporate event.

If you’ve previously heard of projection mapping, but are not completely sure what it is; it is simply the use of video projection to bring an ‘object’ to life. What makes projection mapping different to standard projection is that the object being projected onto is often an unexpected one, or the visual effects produced as part of the animation are so effective they almost become an optical illusion (e.g. in a building projection it can be made to appear that the building is falling down). As part of an event, the object being projected onto could be anything from a basic conference set or wall to a three dimensional object (cube, car or shoe) for more visually effective results. This is normally achieved with the use of creative video animation, designed to map around the object being projected onto.

Whilst projection mapping is not entirely new to the industry, it is more often used in an outdoor setting, such as a dramatic projection onto buildings (a step on from the static memorable projected image of Gail Porter in 1999!)  When paired together with the well-timed audio and intricate animation, the effects can be breathtaking. This example of large scale projection mapping in 2010, features the famous clock tower in Old Town Square in the centre of Prague, as part of the clocks’ 600 years anniversary;

This kind of impressive mapping obviously requires a high level of production and is excellent for projects where the budget is higher, allowing maximum impact (the cost of the clock tower project would have been well over £100K for 10 minutes). As the whole production is created in advance specifically for the event, one of the downsides is that everything needs to be prepared for and approved well in advance. Also, not everyone has this kind of budget available, nor is this kind of project quite right for most events.

So, how can we bring the effectiveness of projection mapping into an affordable solution for corporate events?

To properly map at an event, there are a few things that need to be considered before attempting to do so;

– Firstly, the amount of space that is required is key. Most projection mapping uses the front projection method, so to effectively map a set or part of a set, there needs to be enough room and ceiling height available for the projectors’ light path to clear obstructions (most importantly people on stage!)

– Being able to control the lights within a room is essential, as the stray light (especially sun light!) landing on the set can completely ruin the effect.

– It’s important to get the software right, whether it’s being mapped with a high end hardware media server like the Hippotizer, or an Apple-based software mix of VDMX and MadMapper.

– Most importantly though, how effective the finished result looks is down to a well-planned and creative set design and high-quality creative use of video content.

If the budget allows, the effects can be stunning, creative an immersive and 3D-effect for the audience to draw them in and really help them engage with the subject, such as this video experience created by Disney Event Group;

So, what do you do if you want the projection mapped-effect without the price tag?

The good news is that there is an alternative that will still be effective for a corporate event, creating a look that is unique and different. For example, by replacing expensive hardware media servers with a software-based mapping solution and by tailoring freely available video loops (instead of custom made video content), an impressive effect can still be created. Corporate branding can be incorporated and, when layered over well-chosen HD video loops, the effect can be impressive. By supplying the audio visual technician with an intuitive iPad control interface, a more dynamically interactive look can be achieved with, what might appear, the simplest of sets. This also allows maximum flexibility on the day, for a wide variety of scenes to be set. For example, it is quick and effective to change the look and feel from classy corporate conference during the day to a fun awards ceremony in the evening. It also means that there is a stack of video loops ready to play, so each presenter, or award winner can have a completely different look.

 

For now, whether your budget is large of small, projection mapping can make an event look completely unique! As for the future… the video below shows what can be done with two robots and a couple pieces of wood painted white… enjoy!

 

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Author

Mathew Cook – Technical Director,  Insight Presentation Systems