by Emily Giunta, CLE, Inc.
• Versatile event technology
• Make your event space your canvas
• Consider your goals, wants, and needs
One technology we’re hearing more about is projection mapping. You may have seen online videos showing projection mapping projects on the sides of European castles or in blockbuster movies. But the technology of projection mapping can be accessible and useful in a variety of ways.
Projection mapping is still a developing field, but one with a few industry experts already at the forefront. DWP Live is one of those experts. Since DWP Live was founded in 2007 by Danny Whetstone, their expert team of programmers, projectionists, and technicians has helped produce shows all over the globe.
“It’s completely scalable, from a city block all the way down to the size of a product like an athletic shoe,” said Whetstone, DWP Live’s President. Mapping can be used in a multitude of ways on a small scale or large scale for a conference or event. If you can imagine it, projection mapping can create it. When you are exploring using any technology, you should consider how it will achieve the goal of your attendees walking away from the event feeling, thinking, and saying what you want.
Mapping can be done, on a small scale, with one projector or by using multiple elements including LED tiles & 3D mapping for the ultimate WOW factor. With mapping it doesn’t necessarily have to be a flat surface to project on. For example, a pharmaceutical company uses set mold pieces in shapes that can be projected on with 3D elements. Projection mapping also allows ‘tracking,’ where a surface can move without losing the projected image. As an example, someone could pick up a box and walk across a stage with it and the 3D images will continue being projected as it is being moved. It is important to look at what is appropriate for the venue and create your content and design from there.
Content creation is a key element to the success of projection mapping. The complexity of your project is how you determine whether your in-house graphics or marketing department can create the content, or if you need to bring in a more experienced company for content development.
However, once content is created, the act of mapping it can help create different looks. DWP Live recently worked on a project that used the same content in five cities around the world, but in each location, they applied it to different surfaces to create a totally different look and feel.
Projection mapping could be the most memorable and impactful item your attendees walk away with. People don’t tend to remember all of the talking heads, but they will remember and talk about the rolling cube that caught on fire and turned into an ice cube right before their eyes.
Which brings us to the topic of value. What kind of potential value can projection mapping bring? It is primarily entertainment value – sales, clients, and attendees experience something that is beyond anything they have encountered before. It is an intangible value that creates excitement and will keep your attendees engaged and looking for more.
You may have seen projection mapping at Walt Disney World, projecting on smoke and mist at Treasure Island, Olympic events, and Super Bowl halftime shows.
We asked DWP Live what changes they’ve seen in usership of mapping over the years — increased numbers of smaller companies and churches are inquiring, investing, and utilizing. On the other end of the spectrum those with high-end budgets have the challenge to continually outdo themselves. With the infinite possibilities of mapping, the sky’s the limit.
Future trends point to projection mapping growing and being more widely used. Large conferences using mapping technology really need to raise the bar year after year to continually attract attendees and push engagement. Advertisers and retailers are taking advantage of the technology as a marketing tool by projecting engaging images on the sides of buildings or on their products.
As technology changes, it will become easier for more people to access projection mapping. Laser projectors are now being used more frequently and are quieter, smaller, and produce less heat than their predecessors.
The projection mapping industry is growing. With only the tip of the iceberg exposed, it is an exciting time to be part of this industry.