Planning a projection event


    Planning Your Event

Deciding on the best projection effect for your event

Using mapping in projection events

If you’ve looked at examples of projection mapping events, you’re probably more familiar with those on a larger scale, that create an immersive experience. But, there are alternative ways of thinking about creative uses of projection. In terms of creating an experience for your event, you don’t always need to think about what’s on offer at the top end of price and size.

Working with your events team, you can often create an impact that’s unique and relevant to your event, without the need for a huge custom built 3-dimensional projection of video. In fact, projecting onto a non-traditional, but flat surface is possible with off-the-shelf products. Let’s take a closer look at the aspects you should consider when finding the right creative use of projection for your event.

  • Wow factor for improved engagement
  • Adds a memorable feature to your event
  • Is imminently shareable on social media
  • Can provide an element of interactivity
  • Can give an impressive return on investment in terms of publicity

Deciding what projection effect is best

So you’re convinced on projection mapping for your events, but you don’t know where to begin? Ask yourself these questions to gain a better understanding of how you can incorporate creative uses of projection in your event:

1. Do you have a budget? If so, what is it?

Stay true to your budget by being realistic with your goals, being creative with your resources, and maximizing the use of space. Although you may perceive projection mapping in events to be expensive, it can be done affordably.

If your budget is limited, it can be a good idea to consult with your Audio Visual (AV) specialist before you have your heart set on an exact projection idea. They will be able to advise what is within the realm of possibility in terms of the types and scale of projection so you can ensure you achieve the best value for your investment. We'd be happy to help if you don't yet have an AV specialist.

2. How large is your venue space?

The larger the space, the more projectors you will need, and the higher the cost of projection mapping in events. Remember that you don’t need to create an entirely new environment with a projection for your audience to have a great experience. So, try and focus on the focal points of your venue – those that draw the eye. Another important factor is to think about what surface has non-reflective properties so that the image displays accurately.

3. What will you be projecting?

The imagery size and complexity of detail, that you project, will have a direct correlation to the cost. Try to focus on smaller details that will catch the viewer’s attention to stay within budget. For example, guests might enjoy smaller or interactive video projections at their tables rather than a giant wall montage.

4. How far along are you in planning your desired event?

Is it still possible to use projection mapping if the planning process for your event has already begun? To maximize cost, creativity and collaboration, try to plan your projection mapping as far in advance as possible.

Creative uses of projection that are small or simple in design should be planned at least eight weeks before your event. And for those that are more complex, start consulting with your projection specialist as soon as you are able. Giving a longer lead time will help to bring the price down and ensure the finished product has time for revisions if needed.

Working with the event costs of projection mapping

Like with most event technology, you can spend a lot, but the good news is, you don’t have to. One of the main questions we get asked about using projection mapping in events is: what will it cost? If you’re looking for something on the lower end of your budget and for a smaller venue, you could consider projecting the brand logo and altering the colour throughout the event. Or, using PowerPoint to create textured slides that are projected onto a plain surface.

True 3D projection mapping, particularly that incorporating video will be at the high end of the cost spectrum. Especially those that include live feeds. A note about video: pre-recording is preferred wherever possible or at least having a recorded background to ensure fewer glitches occur during your event.

Now, let’s take a closer look at factors to consider to keep within your budget.

In-house vs. outsourced

Does someone on your team have the capability to provide creative uses of projection? If so, it may be cost effective to purchase the latest projection mapping video software and create in-house. Or, as we mentioned earlier – see what fun can be had with PowerPoint. Additionally, you will have to rent any equipment you don’t already have. For example projectors, a server, and a hard drive for the day of the event.

In-house Benefits

  • Maximum customization
  • Clear scope of the project
  • Potentially lower initial costs

Outsourced Benefits

  • Projections will be created, tested and tweaked well before your event
  • Access to specialized resources
  • Creative input from industry experts
  • Professional outcome at crunch time

Many event professionals will of course not have a team that has the skills and the time to undertake it themselves. And, it may cost more in training than to outsource.

2D vs. 3D

Why choose full-scale 3D projection mapping in events if you don’t have to? 3D is much more expensive than 2D and requires a lot more time and preparation when creating the video or imagery.

Projection mapping at events can be just as impressive if you decide to incorporate 2D images projected onto a flat surface. It’s all about choosing the right location for your projection. If you opt for 2D, try and incorporate it strategically onto surfaces and in places that will showcase the effect.

Mapping Mill have incorporated both 2D and 3D mapping techniques in the same production. This is an excellent way to reduce some costs in creating content for the side of a building. The structure and details of the building itself help provide the illusion and often 3D is not required at all.

Examples which incorporate 2D mapping.

Potential cost reduction elsewhere

If you decide to incorporate projection mapping into your event, you could find that you don’t require as many physical props and décor that you might previously have planned for. This could reduce the costs of storage, transportation, setup and ultimately, the cost of the props themselves.

If you’ve traditionally used gobos in your events, i.e., specialised spot lights incorporating your logo, then using a projected logo can actually be a cost-effective alternative. Keep these ideas in mind, because it allows more space in the budget for projection elements.

Where to look for inspiration

There is an abundance of inspiration available for projection mapping, and if you’re particularly interested in video projection, then YouTube and Vimeo are great places to start. You’ll be able to find examples of projections used worldwide. Look also at the articles in Projection Works to view some of our past projects.

An interesting idea to explore if you’re looking for something more manageable:
Using projectors to light up a sculpture or other object. Don’t get hung up on the content having to be video. Instead, try stills where you fade one graphic to another over the object to create a sense of texture. There are no limits to where creativity can take you when incorporating projection into your events.

Summary: what you need to know

You should have some, if not a complete understanding of what you want before approaching a specialist such as Mapping Mill. By that, we mean using the right terminology to help us provide an accurate quote and finished proposal of what you have in mind. For example, if you ask for a quote on 3D projection mapping, it could result in a quote that incorporates way more features than you initially had in mind. It’s ok if you don’t know all the details of what you want, but be as precise as you can when explaining it.

You can use our Where to begin help questionaire found in our support pages.

Pretty much anything that can be projected can be projection mapped so don’t be afraid to ask. Even live feeds can be projected if your budget permits.

Don’t be afraid of it! You can add a splash to your event without it costing a lot of money. You don’t only need to think big. Try making more concentrated, fun experiences for your audience.

Make sure your projection effect is going to be cohesive with your event. Don’t do it just for the sake of it, but make sure it elevates the entire impression of the event. You don’t want projection mapping to be the only thing your event is remembered and valued for.

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