Why projection mapping is changing the a/v game

Projection mapping is an emerging technology that is breaking all the rules for a/v presentations. That’s because with projection mapping, the “screen” can be almost anything you can imagine.

Instead of using traditional theatrical lighting to create colors, looks and textures, projection mapping uses HD video, animation, motion graphics and images to paint any surface—of any size and shape—like a video screen.

“It’s a technological way of gaining control of projected video images, so we can still show things in high definition and not be constrained to seeing it inside of a rectangle,” says Ben Ryle, DWP Live’s chief technical officer. “We can project on a sphere or a column, or surfaces with curved edges. It’s a great way for clients to enhance and elevate their messaging and content delivery.”

That means whether you’re showing images on building facades, mannequins or football fields, high-definition video can be projected without any loss of clarity.

“It’s completely scalable, from a city block all the way down to the size of a product like an athletic shoe,” says DWP president Danny Whetstone.

What makes it work? The process hinges on both technology and technique. In terms of technology, you first need source material to display. Projection mapping can use pre-produced or live video, static images, motion video, 3D animations, graphical sources like PowerPoint, live input from cameras—all are potential content.

Next, technicians scan the surface that will serve as the “screen” to create a digital, three-dimensional topographical model of the surface. The model is sent to a media server, which stores and manages the content before distributing it to the projectors. The projection surface’s size dictates the number of projectors that are needed; larger surface areas require more projectors to cover them.

Technique is also key in eliciting the audience response you want. It takes a thoughtful, creative, integrated process that begins with storytelling, stagecraft and spectacle, and then uses the technology as a theatrical device.

Projection mapping technology is so new that the ways in which people and brands are leveraging it are still emerging. Some projects—changing building facades into living paintings, for example—are approached from a highly artistic and experimental angle. At auto show launches, projections have changed the definition of the big reveal, transforming stationary new vehicles into video canvases that cannot be ignored.

Live concerts and the Super Bowl halftime show have already adopted the technology, and interactive projections that let the audience take control of the action have crowds lining up to shoot video that turns into viral content.

It’s now possible to create a three-dimensional, totally immersive brand environment with super high-impact content and messaging on any surface, in any configuration. Projection mapping gives clients freedom to deliver their messages in amazing new ways. That’s the definition of “wow factor.”

To read the rest of the whitepaper, download it here.


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