An Introduction to Projection Mapping

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Studio Giggle has quite the reputation for projection mapping where computer-generated, animated and live content can be projected and scaled onto large surfaces to create magical illusions.

Over the years our team have worked on large scale content to be projected onto all sorts of surface. Fashion shows; theatrical productions in the West End and Broadway; rock tours; hotel and product launches; premieres. We have brought our creativity, skill and technical knowledge to lots of wonderful occasions.

So how does projection work? Well, the trick is to make sure the projection aligns with the building or set precisely. To do this you need to accurately measure the surface on which the projection will be cast. Architectural measurements are requested and photographs are taken of the site. More intricate buildings also require laser measurements so that every curve and crevice of a structure can be made use of.

With so many possibilities, the animation and the concept itself can be daunting which is why you need a solid production team to rely on.  At Giggle we have heaps of experience and creativity so we can help explore an existing idea or come up with a new one. Anything is possible and we love seeing how far we can push an idea.“Good projection mapped animation should be well planned and completely appropriate for the occasion and location. Sometime less is more.”

Our process is usually:

  • Meetings and planning, why are we all doing this?
  • Recces (visiting the venue and meticulously measuring and plotting)
  • selection of most appropriate AV partner (very important)
  • 3D plans and/or set design
  • Concepts and mood-boards
  • Storyboards
  • Draft animation / testing / 3D Visualisation
  • The animation itself with our in-house team of animators
  • A scrupulous rendering and checking phase sometimes in large scale rehearsal spaces to see the animation writ large

Now to run it. You need to have planned very carefully with your programmer how you are going to deliver the content. It is imperative that you choose the right media server for the event. Every single one has different pros and cons and they all have crazy names like Hippotizer; Pandora’s Box; Catalyst; Watchout (an ironic title); Millumin; D3. Regardless of what you go for each of these tools is useless without the right operator/programmer. Over the years we have worked with scores of programmers. It is key that you get the right person for the right job. Whoever you use needs to be patient, tolerant of their system and very very experienced.

Once you have your animation you need to turn up on-site with plenty of time for setup and rigorous testing. During this period it is important to…

  • Have a great projectionist to line up the projectors,
  • Ensure you have a backup projector, or at least,
  • Back up bulbs if you aren’t using laser projectors,
  • Back-up drives with the footage to save the risk of corruption,
  • An animator on hand to make any last-minute tweaks, sometimes this is the first time you will see the animation full size rather than looking at it on a small computer screen so there are bound to be some new things that you notice.

Usually, when launching the projection you will need darkness, to achieve the maximum effect. It will need to be night-time if you are projecting outdoors. Please remember, no projector is brighter than the sun. That’s where LED comes in…

Some projection mapping projects that we’ve worked on: Game of Thrones’ premieres 4, 5 and 6 (we were the first company to project onto the moat wall of the Tower of London) and for British Airways we created an immersive dining experience conceived by Tom Kerridge.

We’d be delighted to work on your projection mapping project. It’s one of our favourite types of job to work on because we can unleash our creativity and show off our expertise! 

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