Imagine seeing a waterfall gush down the side of a tower block, or an alien spaceship attacking the side of a cathedral. This is the exciting world of projection mapping, where computer generated and animated content can be projected and scaled onto large surfaces.
Projection mapping redefines the notion of a screen – it could be an exterior brick wall, the dome of a church or a statue. By feeding specialist software with detailed images of the surface, the content is not only projected onto, but works with the landscape.
Last year I saw a nice example on the side of the Brighton Pavilion. Those who have visited Brighton may know that the pavilion was built as a royal holiday home in 1823 by George IV; but lesser known was the pavilion’s role in World War I as a military hospital. 720 beds were set up inside, and in just over a year, over 2,300 wounded soldiers from the Indian Army were cared for in Brighton’s most famous building.
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this unusual re-purposing of the pavilion, projection mapping was used to tell the story. Here around 12-13 projectors would have been used, with some hefty speakers to create an encompassing soundscape to transport the audience back to a time of war ships landing on Brighton beach.
So how does projection work? Well the trick is to make sure the projection aligns with your building’s features precisely. To do this you need to accurately measure the surface on which the projection will be cast. Architectural measurements are requested and photographs are taken of the site. More intricate buildings also require laser measurements so that every curve and crevice of a structure can be made use of.
With so many possibilities, the animation and the concept itself can be daunting which is why you need a solid production team to rely on. At Giggle we have heaps of experience and creativity so we can help explore an existing idea or come up with a new one. Anything is possible and we love being pushed into finding out how far we can push an idea.
“Good projection mapped animation should be as intricate, colorful and daring as possible.”
Our process is usually:
- Mood boards,
- Draft animation/ test videos,
- The animation itself with our in-house team of animators,
- And a scrupulous rendering and checking phase.
So you’ve got your bespoke animation courtesy of Giggle. Now to run it. You need a server running on a Windows computer or iMac with a powerful graphics card. This is again where we are the experts and can recommend the correct server and put the right team in place to remove the risks of a large projection mapped event.
Once you have your animation you need to turn up on site with plenty of time for setup and rigorous testing. During this period it is important to…
- Calibrate the projectors,
- Ensure you have a backup projector, or at least,
- Back up bulbs if you aren’t using laser projectors,
- Back-up drives with the footage to save the risk of corruption,
- An animator on hand to make any last minute tweaks,
Usually when launching the projection you will need darkness, To achieve maximum effect it will need to be night if you are projecting outdoors, this is largely down to the projector you choose.
Some projection mapping projects that we’ve worked on in the past include Game of Thrones’ premieres (seasons 4, 5 and 6)
We were the first company to project onto the side of the tower of London.
And British Airways http://thegigglegroup.co.uk/immersing-ourselves-in-ba/
An immersive dining experience put on by Tom Kerridge.
We’d be delighted to work on your projection mapping project. It’s one of our favorite types of job to work on because we can unleash our creativity and show off our expertise!