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Vision Quest

By Connie Jeske Crane

Until recently, most event planners viewed video projection mapping technology as mind-blowing—but out of reach. Early examples were intimidatingly grand. For instance, the shows that have danced across Canada’s Parliament Hill Centre Block building since 2010 involved Christie Digital Systems navigating around a six-storeys-high canvas.

Yet this technology is increasingly accessible, say industry players like Gavin Downey, senior product manager at Epson America. “Corporate events are actually a very hot space for projection mapping,” he says. “The key driver is laser…these brighter, smaller, lighter projectors. And then they’re starting to find their way into the hands of highly creative people.”

So what does it all mean for you? Here’s what you need to know:

1. Projection Mapping Offers Exciting Event Applications

Gemma Scott, operations director at Vancouver-based Go2 Productions Inc., says her company often does projection mapping—outdoors and indoors—at major events such as anniversary celebrations and brand launches. Around trends, Scott notes immersive 360-degree experiences, mapping in unusual places like ceilings, storytelling, plus innovation in hologram effects. “People are itching to be the first ones to do true holographic technology.” For his part, Downey sees at once bigger, brighter, bolder projects but also smaller, everyday-type mapping, for example, “mapping onto a little table or a coffee cup.”

2. There are Strong Potential Benefits

A huge buzz remains around projection mapping, says Scott, alongside some great Instagrammable moments. Altogether, she says, “You get a certain amount of earned media because people are taking photographs, and news outlets are picking up that story.” Importantly though, compared to other showstoppers like fireworks or balloon releases, projection mapping is more eco-friendly, she says.

3. You can Extend your ROI

To maximize ROI for your clients, Scott advises leveraging content to create legacy pieces. “Perhaps a brand is able to reuse some of the content afterwards, have a smaller-scale permanent installation in their corporate headquarter offices, for example.”

Scott also recommends shelling out on a professional video that can live online after your event. “Projection mapping videos are quite popular—it’s exposure for the brand after the fact.”

4. The Financial Investment is Significant

Costs range depending on the technology required (i.e., rental or purchase of laser projectors, lenses, mounts, media servers, third-party software and perhaps set pieces), as well as the services required (i.e., content creation, day-of operators). For outdoor events, Scott says costs could range from $75,000 to $200,000 and up. Indoors, she estimates $10,000 and up.

5. You Need Some Lead Time

Allow at least eight to 12 weeks for this process, says Scott—two to four weeks for creative work and the rest in production. And for outdoor projects, add in time to get municipal permits.

Finally, to make sure you deliver that wow factor, Scott says allowing space to develop goals and strategy is key. “We always ask our clients, ‘What is it you want people to think, feel and do after they experience this?’”

What is Video Projection Mapping?

At its very simplest, projection mapping is the art of making multiple projectors work together on a surface to create amazing visual displays. By playing video, animation or graphics off different shapes and textures, the practice creates a captivating experience of light and movement over previously static objects. (Source: Dataton)

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