18 SPECIAL REPORT: PROJECTION
Key Points There is an important distinction between the image manipulation of which many projectors are capable and true ‘projection mapping’
Picture, picture on the wall…
Projection mapping is a partnership between powerful projectors, advanced media server technologies – and great creative minds Projectors with 4K resolution and solid state illumination are transforming what’s possible, changing the projection mapping landscape Projection mapping can bring an immersive reality that transcends the experience achievable with 3D, VR or AR
Projection mapping can’t be described as a mission-critical AV application – but it does show the industry at its brilliant best. To kick off this special report, Ian McMurray ﬁnds out the directions in which mapping is headed
n the UK at least, the world seems to divide into two: those who arrange their entire lives around watching Game of Thrones on TV – and those who have never seen a single one of the 68 episodes broadcast to date. Season 7 premiered on 16 July – an event marked, in true Hollywood style, by a projection mapping extravaganza which saw Panasonic projectors provide a backdrop to the party, delivering scenes from the series onto the exterior of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. A simple deﬁnition of projection mapping is that it’s a combination of technologies that are used to turn objects that are often irregularly shaped into display surfaces. As Hans Stucken, global marketing manager of media and control systems company AV Stumpﬂ points out, it’s something of which many projectors are now, in theory, capable to a certain degree. “A number of projector manufacturers are adding features to their projectors that allow for simple projection mapping set-ups,” he says. “However, we have to make a distinction between simple geometry adjustments for creating softedge panoramas on uneven surfaces on the one hand and, on the other, fully blown and highly intricate mapping projects featuring 3D ﬁles and physical objects with surfaces that are very detailed and uneven. Both scenarios, and everything in between, can be called projection mapping.”
For the majority of the industry, the latter description more accurately deﬁnes what is meant by projection mapping, and involves a combination, in most cases, of high-end projectors with powerful media servers and software. It’s developments in both that are driving the projection mapping market to new heights – driven by the creative vision and technical expertise of its exponents.
‘Without doubt the stability and longevity that laser projection technology brings has been one of the most signiﬁcant developments’ Mark Wadsworth, Digital Projection
Transformative According to Mark Wadsworth, international marketing manager at Digital Projection, the advent of 4K SSI (solid state illumination) projectors has been transformative. “The large majority of high-end projectors include warp functionality that is the cornerstone of any projection mapping installation,” he believes, “Without doubt, however, the stability and longevity that laser projection technology brings has been one of the most signiﬁcant
developments. We’re now seeing projectors in the market, capable of up to 30,000 lumens, that are perfectly suited to large projection mappings on all kinds of irregular surfaces in almost any environment. Coupled with the ability to mount laser phosphor projectors in any orientation, mind-blowing mapping solutions have become exponentially more accessible and achievable than ever before.” Wadsworth also points out that the advanced features required in a projector to support mapping are becoming more accessible and easier to use – and that ease of use is further enhanced by the ability to control multiple projectors and access all their features from a central location. Carl Rijsbrack, VP, events at Barco, sees other advantages for the new generation of projectors. “Use of high-brightness laser phosphor projectors allows long-term installations for projection mapping without lamp change and with a much longer service interval,” he notes. “Beyond that, availability of more pixels with 4K resolution gives more detail on larger surfaces from a single video projector, as well as providing overall lower set-up time. The advent of both laser-based light sources and 4K resolution is bringing new dimensions to projection mapping.” Paul Wigﬁeld, director of projection mapping and 3D projection specialists QED, sees those advantages from a user perspective.
AV integration in a networked world