I had the opportunity to work on a projection mapping project last weekend at Calvary Church in Greensboro, NC for their Immerse worship event. One of my coworkers, Myron Surber, approached me and told me about the textured back wall they were setting up on their stage and how they wanted to use LED ribbon tape to light the wall. I shared some of my thoughts with Myron:
- It's going to take a while to mount all of the LED Strips, and solder them to their appropriate control boards
- Then they'd have to be programmed/sequenced etc
I asked Myron, "Why don't you guys use some media server software, geometry correction software, and projectors to mask and map the wall?" Myron asked me to give Phil Stringer, the worship leader at Calvary a call to talk about it, and then we decided to pursue that path. To be totally honest, I wish I could say we grabbed some projectors off of the shelf, loaded the software on the computer, and sprinted off to the races. Sometimes it's just not that simple.
So What Are We Doing Here?
Sometimes you'll hear the term "environmental projection." Honestly, I've only heard this term in the house of worship market. Typically it's the application of video and imagery to walls other architectural surfaces to create an immersive environment. An example of this might be projecting stained glass on walls in a more modern building. I don't like using the term because it almost seems church specific. If you do a Google search for Environmental Projection, VS Projection Mapping, mapping wins hands down with more search hits. So I'll always use the term projection mapping.
Projection mapping is the process of applying projected images or video content to a complex surface. There are usually two components to this. Masking either blocks video imagery from surfaces or allows it. Masking would be similar to using a metal gobo in an ellipsoidal lighting instrument, (ETC Source 4 or Leko) or like the searchlight in Batman. The Bat-logo blocked out light. The second component would be geometry correction. In many mapping projects, the projectors might not be in direct line with the surface that we're trying to project on. So we'll use software to warp the output of the projector so that it is square and on the same plane with the surface.
My next few blog writings will cover some of the challenges we ran across and how we solved them. As I complete the various sections, I'll turn the points below into links.
Projection Mapping for Worship Pt 4: Final Thoughts (To Be Written)
Stay Tuned for More!