This technology turns irregularly shaped objects in a video production display surface. These objects are sometimes complicated industrial landscapes including theatrical stages, small indoor objects and buildings. Video mapping is often referred to as projection mapping. Specialized software is used to spatially map two or three-dimensional objects onto a virtual program. The projection imitates the real environment. Any image desired can be placed onto an object’s surface using the interaction between the software and the projector. Advertisers and artists use this technique to add additional notions of movement, optical illusions and dimensions to static objects. A narrative with audio and visual is usually created.
The term is still new, but the original technique goes back to the end of the 1990’s. At this time, it was called shader lamps or spatial augmented reality. Projections were displayed publicly by Disneyland in 1969 using singing busts in the Haunted Mansion ride. This was accomplished by using 16mm film to take shots of singers. These images were projected onto busts to create an animated appearance. Projection was next used in 1980 by artist Michael Naimark. He filmed interactions in a living room between people and objects. This was projected into the room so the illusion the people were still there was created. Artists started using this technique in 2001 for their artwork followed by Microsoft using the process for technological experiment advancement.
In 2013 this technology was used for the Vivid Sydney projection display at the Sydney Opera House. Once the chosen object had been projected, software was used to bring the video’s corners to the surface. The scene can be mapped using 3D to mask and project the image into the original framework. The exact positions and shapes of the elements are masked using opacity templates. 3D mapping requires the placement of the object to be defined using coordinates relating to the projector’s lens specification, the XYZ orientation and the actual projector. This creates a virtual scene. The best results are achieved with manual tweaking and adjustments.
This technique became prominent through the video jockeys used by electronic musicians and guerrilla advertising campaigns. Prominent companies started creating campaigns using video projections. This was usually to project interesting scenes onto buildings. The process can be interactive to effectively mimic people’s movements. This is effective to immerse the audience at conferences with the projection of an unusual object onto a car or chair. The most common techniques are 3D projection and 3D mapping to create specific motions or an illusion of depth.
EDM artists use projection mapping for their shows or for creative expression. This technique can enhance drawings and paintings. The most recent use of this technology has been by Walt Disney for the Disney Parks. Some excellent examples include Once Upon a Time, The Magic, Disneyland Forever, Happily Ever After, the Memories and You, Halloween Screams, Believe… In Holiday Magic, Disney Dreams! Sunset Seasons Greetings, Dreams Come True and Celebrate the Magic.