Projection Mapping

Projection mapping means taking a plain object and using it’s specific shape as a surface to display a video on. The exact shape of the object is mapped virtually using a special software, and this can then be used to fit the video onto it in real life. The projector is told where to place each bit of film based on the virtual map, so everything has to be set up very precisely to make sure it all aligns.

Projection mapping is very effective when used for live events such as concerts, theatre and festivals, because not only can it be incredibly beautiful to watch, but it is also a very efficient way of decorating a set. With projection mapping, as long as you have a surface to project onto, the possibilities are endless. You can create amazing displays without the need for lots of props. For example see this live theatre performance.

That kind of effect is something that is only possible using projection mapping, and it’s far more striking than standard set design. The whole stage comes alive, moving with the actors and enhancing their performance.

This is an advanced version of projection mapping, that uses 3D rendered graphics and advanced face tracking technology. The shape of the face is mapped and tracked in real time, meaning that she is able to move as she pleases and still have the video line up with her face, instead of having to stick to pre-decided choreography. Here is a short video that explains the way face tracking works.

This example is fairly complicated and not something that we will be able to replicate, but it’s inspiring because it’s showing the potential of projection mapping and also how great the impact can be on an audience if it’s used right.

This art piece is closer to what we’ll be doing, with a simple projection map like this. In this, three canvases are used and  I think the effect of using multiple irregular shapes to project on like this is interesting, because it provides a bit more freedom. You are given more to work with because you have the option of running a different video on each shape at the same time, having a video flash up on each one one at a time, or (like in the video) connecting all the shapes by having one video playing over them all. This is relevant to our project because it’s something that we could actually replicate for our own work.

Another smaller thing I like about this projection in particular, is that the shapes they’ve used haven’t been painted completely evenly or just plain white, meaning that when a video is projected on it it gives it a mottled effect rather than block colour. I quite like the look of this, it’s sort of like adding a filter to your video and makes the visuals more interesting.

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