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Projection... but on a massive scale

June 21st, 2012 by Adam Glover

Even if you weren’t there, I’m sure you must have seen some of the footage from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert, outside Buckingham Palace. A gathering of the great and good (and perhaps the quirky, yes I’m looking at you Grace Jones) from the music industry.

Some artists got a better reaction than others, but the one performance that stood out for me was Madness, not because of the sense of nostalgia that swept over me hearing tunes from my childhood (although that did happen), but because of their use of large scale projection.

If you haven’t seen the footage of ‘Our House’, you have to check this out. The show was produced by Treatment Studio who worked with a host of incredibly talented animators and designers.



This type of projection takes an enormous amount of planning, and an equally large number of people to pull it off as successfully as this. As with any large scale projection onto buildings, the key to the success comes from both the technical design of the projection system as well as the creative design of the content. This piece makes particularly good use of the buildings features; it’s important to make the content complement the structure of the building, taking into account windows and strong architectural lines.

I also love the way the designers have taken an iconic building that is associated with wealth, luxury and grandeur; and projected scenes from an everyday house…that juxtaposition just works for me.

Another fairly recent example was the Nokia Lumia 800 launch that took place in London. The production team involved in this one produced a series of content pieces that were projected onto Millbank Tower. As with the Buckingham Palace event, meticulous planning was key; with a projection distance of 305m across the Thames, sixteen 20K lumen projectors and applying vinyl to all the windows (to act as a projection surface) of the  118m tall tower.

Again the content used for this is perfect for the building they are projecting on to; I love how they make the building look as though it is crumbling; and the moment when a giant shadow peers through the ‘shattered’ windows is genius.

Here’s the event itself, music courtesy of Canadian DJ deadmau5, real name Joel Zimmerman. The event was produced by Mission Public Relations, working closely with Drive Productions.

 
And a really interesting ‘behind the scenes';

 
The most recent example of large scale projection mapping that I’ve come across is a little different to both those above. This time it’s inside…and is in 360degrees!

An architecturally stunning building, the Halla Stulecia in Wroclaw, Poland, was re-imagined using a stunning combination of lighting, projection and music by AntiVJ and directed by Romain Tardy and Thomas Vaquie. 

The 65m wide, concrete domed building is pretty awe-inspiring before the AntiVJ installation, but what they and their production team have created is an incredible 360degree fully immersive experience.

I’ll stop talking for a moment; you have to check this out. A small warning first, the music won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it just works with the whole experience.

O (Omicron) from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

As with the Nokia event, these guys also made a ‘behind the scene’s video. Although they don’t talk too much about the technical side of producing their installation, it’s really interesting to get an insight into their thinking.

O (Omicron) / Making of from Romain Tardy (AntiVJ) on Vimeo.

Whilst there aren’t too many events that warrant the kind of expenditure that’s involved with projects like these, it’s worth taking a moment to thinking about other applications of projection mapping. 

More basic forms of this tech can be used to create a centre piece over a dancefloor...think mirror ball, but with custom animation instead of mirrors! 

Or think about how you could engage an audience with clever use of a projection mapped set; you don't have to think only in terms of one or two large screens, the whole set can come alive!

If you're considering projection mapping for your next event, one really important consideration is the content. As everyone knows content is vitally important on any event...however with projection mapping this importance is magnified. Great content, as shown in the events above, really will make your event come alive.

With the pace at which technology moves in this industry I'm really excited to think about what the next big thing might be...

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Aimee Woodley This is really cool!


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