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Five tips for executing large-scale projection

AV Concepts' Daniel Roth advises to go big or go home.

AV Concepts’ Daniel Roth advises to go big or go home.

With short attention spans and information overload from countless brands vying for consumer attention, capturing mindshare and spurring measurable actions from audiences is more difficult than ever.

However, high-definition content creation and projection is one of the best ways to captivate an audience. You can make an impact on your audience through the adaptation and inspired implementation of large-scale projection mapping with these five tips for success.

Surprise the Viewer: Most people have never seen large-scale projection mapping live. To maximise the impact to your audience, leverage the element of surprise by not giving away the full scope of the projection surface until the show begins. Disguise elements to appear as the existing walls and decorations, so that once the show begins, the viewer is startled to see the grand scope of the experience.

Bring depth to your content imagery by having them move through a virtual three-dimensional space you create. This deepens their emotional connection to the experience as they are transformed from the venue into your virtual reality.

Own the Architecture: People will naturally assume the structure of the building, including support columns, wall areas, beams, and more, are not part of the experience. Capitalise on this to build upon the element of surprise. Make these a part of your projection with specific imagery that makes it seem you selected this space because the architecture was necessary to the overall show effect.

Columns become conduits for energy waves. Alcoves become windows to another world. Ceiling soffits transform into whatever your imagination can dream up.

Always conduct site visits and take accurate measurements of the entire space, including the architectural elements, to ensure you use it all. Understand the materials, light sources, rigging, building restrictions and the ease of access to determine what will make the most visually stunning projection.

Hide the Technology: Bewilder the audience with cleverly disguised technology. Hide the projectors, block rigging from view and bury cords under carpets. Leave no trace of how the image is being rendered on screen, so that it appears as simply magic.

Ensure your projection blends are spot on. Subtle miss-matches on screen edge blends and differences in colour temperature are perceived by people on an unconscious level and tell the brain “something isn’t right here”, and their ability to suspend disbelief is disrupted.

The signal of success is when the audience is looking all around trying to determine where the projection is coming from, or looking over their shoulder to where sound is emanating from.

Control the Audiovisual Footprint: Understand the ideal angles of view to experience your projection and ensure your audience is properly positioned for maximum experience. Chairs should only be placed where you want them, and any seating or standing zones that will be partially blocked by architecture or other elements should be avoided.

Consider how you will allow sound to move through the space and plan for this before you begin content development. This is especially important for your audience. Make sure seating gives the maximum visual and audio experience.

Keep the Eyes Moving: Audiences have the most positive reactions to large-scale projection displays when images and corresponding sound travel from one end of the ‘screen’ to the other, causing them to turn their heads with the motion. The back and forth movement of eyes and heads confirms for the viewer this is an immersive environment, and not just a movie where they sit and stare motionless. They have to move to experience everything, which makes it even more exciting.

Whether it’s an intimate gala, a gigantic corporate expo, or an important permanent installation in the community, playing to the audience’s sense of wonder is one of the best routes to an experience, and a message, they won’t soon forget.

Daniel Roth is creative account manager at San Diego-based AV Concepts, which specialises in high-definition content creation and projection.