Projection Mapping (Putting video on buildings) - an introduction

Written by Patrick Jong Taylor

Santiago Cathederal/RedSharkProjection Mapping at Santiago Cathederal

Video mapping, 3D projection mapping, whatever you want to call it, the art form opens up new possibilities for video professionals.

For video professionals, it’s easy to get locked into to a set workflow. For efficiency’s sake, whether on set or in the editing bay, we constantly seek to streamline operations. While these efforts are enormously beneficial, as deadlines are concrete and resources often limited, we shouldn’t ignore the creative possibilities that lie elsewhere, beyond even the rigidly-defined constraints of a flat frame.

3D Projection Mapping

Video mapping, also referred to as 3D projection mapping, is an emerging technology that has evolved into an art form. Simply, video mapping is the process turning any irregularly-shaped object into a projection display. Geometric shapes, rooms, cars, buildings, anything can now be your ‘screen’ for real-world video creations.

The process of video mapping involves recreating the physical environment in a virtual, 3D space, then using that data to warp and mask the projected image to ‘fit’ the exact spatial dimensions of the object. The results of video mapping are best viewed from the perspective of a virtual camera, the reference point used for the warp calculations. It is at this ‘virtual camera’ position that the spectator views an ideal representation of the illusion (and, not surprisingly, the place exhibitors should place their real video cameras to record the show). To increase area for acceptable viewing, it’s desirable to increase scale of the whole system, using multiple projectors and choosing big architectural objects for projection. This increases a spectator’s ideal distance from the object, but also ensures that more of the crowd experiences the intended effect.

Hot for marketing

Video mapping is hot among marketers looking for new ways to engage a fickle buying public. As advancements in technology make the production process easier, expect video mapping to become more ubiquitous and sophisticated in its renderings, meaning more chances for the video professional to think outside the...well, to think outside.

We love Projection mapping at RedShark and we're following up this introduction to the subject with a more detailed article, coming soon.

 

Tags: Studio & Broadcast

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