Allow us to take you on a journey into an increasingly popular and cutting-edge technology —projection mapping. As experts in audio, visual, and lighting solutions, we understand the transformative power of this innovative technology and are dedicated to helping you bring your unique vision to life. Our first stop? The basics. Let’s go over the most common questions we hear about projection mapping.

What is meant by projection mapping?

Also known as video mapping, projection mapping is an advanced technique that involves projecting images or videos onto a three-dimensional surface. Unlike traditional projection methods that project onto flat screens, projection mapping allows for a much more versatile and dynamic experience by projecting onto any surface, from buildings to sculptures, and even people.

For example, take a look at our work at the Greensboro Science Center. Through projection mapping, we brought their building to life with imagery for their Winter Wonderlights holiday event. This created a visually stunning experience for visitors that helped give them a more engaged, sensory learning experience.

How is projection mapping done?

Projection mapping is made possible through sophisticated software, media server(s) and video projectors. The software is used to map the projection onto the specific surface, taking into account its unique geometry and shape. . This allows the image or video to be perfectly aligned with the surface. The process can be broken down into four main steps:

  1. Surface mapping: Map the projection onto the specific surface, taking into account its unique shape and characteristics.
  2. Content creation: Add additional elements like 2D or 3D video content, animation, or special effects to enhance the overall visuals and create a dynamic experience.
  3. Projection: The projectors are positioned and adjusted to ensure that the projection is properly aligned. If multiple projectors are used, they are blended to create a seamless image. The projections may be “warped” to compensate for field variations.
  4. Synchronization: To create a seamless and integrated experience, the projection is synchronized with other audio visual elements, such as sound, lighting, and special effects. This is done using specialized software that allows for precise timing and control.

What are the types of projection mapping?

There are several different types of projection mapping, each with its own set of capabilities and applications. Some of the most popular include:

  • Object Mapping: Projecting onto a specific object, such as a product, exhibit, or sculpture. Audiences are usually close to the object, so the visuals need to be impeccable.
  • Exterior: Transforming an exterior structure, like a building, using projections.=
  • Immersive: The audience is “immersed” in a virtual or augmented world of visuals, making them feel as if they’ve been transported to a completely different environment. This can be achieved with blended projections that can be on the walls, ceiling and floor.
  • Theatrical: Creating realistic and engrossing backdrops and scenes for theater audiences.

What do you need for projection mapping?

Projection mapping requires the following equipment and tools:

Projector: A high-quality projector with a high luminosity and resolution. Type and specifications depend on the size of the surface and the level of detail you want to achieve.

Surface: A three-dimensional surface to project your images onto. This can be anything from a building facade, a sculpture, or even a stage set.

Software: Projection mapping software is necessary to map the surface, control the projection, and synchronize it with other audio visual elements. This software requires an understanding of color calibration, alignment, and distortion correction in order to execute a project mapping project.

Computer: A powerful computer that has a high-end graphics card and processing power strong enough to handle the required calculations are necessary to run the software and project the images.

Audio visual equipment: Depending on the scale of your project, you will need equipment like speakers, lighting, and special effects that can all be synchronized to create a seamless and integrated experience.

Technical expertise: A team of experts who understand projection mapping techniques and technology. This includes technicians, designers, engineers, and project managers who can bring your vision to life and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

Projection mapping is a complex process, but with the right equipment and expertise, it can be an incredibly powerful and impactful tool for creating stunning visual experiences like this one for the Lankenau Hospital’s 150th anniversary celebration. For this event, we transformed their event space into a display of light to showcase its rich history and legacy.

If you’re interested in exploring the world of projection mapping for your next performance or project, the first step is finding the right provider. Whether you’re looking to create a one-off event or an ongoing display, Starlite can help you bring your vision to life. Our team of experts is committed to creating unique and innovative experiences that can help you turn your vision into a reality.

At Starlite, we’re dedicated to helping our clients create unforgettable audio visual experiences. Contact us today at [email protected] to discuss your next project.