08 Feb Projection mapping is cheap
Projection mapping is considerably more cost effective than traditional alternatives. You can use an existing building or object as a surface for projection, rather than revamping a building at the structural level or constructing a new artifice. Mapping saves time, money, and energy by concentrating labor in a few choice individuals who can get the job done efficiently.
For example, you can quickly convert a building downtown into street art by using projection instead of painting the whole structure. You can use projection to display restaurant menus that can be adjusted easily for daily specials. Properly mapping your house for Christmas can be more cost effective and energy efficient than the usual string of lights. Even your local theater could use an overhaul: mapping can save you the time, supplies, and effort involved in painting multiple different sets.
With all of that said, most of the time when people look at a projection mapping budget, they don’t understand the gravity of what they are looking at and the time required to execute it. Many people think that you can shine a projector at a building with some video and call that projection mapping. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The building has to be mapped and a pre-render of the actual surface needs to be produced before you can even begin to create the content that will be projected.
The process of projection mapping involves identifying its purpose and intention and then planning for its content. Having the right people to write, build, and execute your content is the essential piece to successful projection mapping. As we mentioned in our last blog post, content matters. The substance of the show is far more important than the resolution. There are times when a lower resolution device might be the best tool for a job based on the object that you are mapping. Depending on which building you’re using, you might need to go old school in order to maximize your light output onto the surface. You need professionals on your team who can make these calls.
The idea of mapping takes into account the unique features of the building or object in question and makes them a key component of the performance. Instead of overlaying the same image across all of it and treating the building as a flat surface, content creators seek to understand and enhance the building’s character. The creators see all aspects as assets rather than obstacles. Their mantra is: if you can’t fix it, feature it.
An excellent example of execution of both content and planning is the celebration of the Apollo 11 mission at the Washington Monument. Our friends at DWP in Nashville executed their specific purpose and intent on a grand scale to create a magnificent experience. We loved watching their successful use of projection mapping and took notes for future mapping opportunities of our own.
To put it plainly, projection mapping does cost money if you’re going to do it right. When you craft an experience for people, you have to understand that creating that experience requires the expertise of professionals. It is never “cheap” to use professionals, but the result will repay your investment with interest. Hire people who don’t just throw light.