Projection mapping on moving objects

Use of projections and video playback devices continues to grow in nearly all forms of entertainment. What started as simple playback of videos or slides in a theatre or house of worship has quickly moved into concerts and beyond. Ranging from small events (high school productions) to global scale productions (Olympic opening ceremonies, Super Bowl), projections and video will continue to become a major part of our experiences.

Avicii Projection MappingSome of the most advanced applications are projection mapping projects. Expecially for EDM (electronic dance music) as DJ’s become VJ’s, projection mapping onto complex surfaces is becoming common, but still remains a complex task.  For example, the large “head” setpiece that Avicii used for his shows a few years back was considered cutting edge in projection mapping on a complex shape.

Today there are many tools to do this, but are often out of reach for small productions and small shows. Here in our shop, we have been looking at modestly priced video playback tools for VJ and theatre work.  Among the list are Resolume (nice, expensive, our favorite), VVVV (complex w/steep learning curve, our friend Jeremy likes it), ArKaos GrandVJ (expensive), Cell (affordable/buggy), Screen Monkey (super simple, limited display capability), and VLC Avicii Projection Mapping 2Player (simple, decodes anything, limited display capability).  Others on the list were MAC only, and since we use PC’s here in our shop, the Mac tools were not able to be tested.  On the Mac list that we’ve seen favorably reviewed were: VDMX5, Module8, Q-Lab, and CoGe.  Maybe our friend Max will test some of these MAC offerings for VJ work.  Getting back to PCs, of the richly featured,  Resolume was the easiest to “just start using”, followed by ArKaos Grand VJ.  We will continue to explore Resolume and hopefully blog about it in the future.  There’s a free trial download available, so give it a try.

Add motion tracking to the complexity of mapping to complex surfaces and you indeed have a significang challenge for the modern time.  The video below shows projection mapping onto a quickly moving screen, with the screen pivoting and changing apparent geometry.  This is from Bot & Dolly (Autofuss) and shows off some impressive motion tracking of projections.

Bot video link contributed by KevinW.

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