All things projection

Epson 3D Mapping Lights the Runway at Silicon Valley Fashion Week

SVFW Image for Blog

Earlier this year, Silicon Valley staked its claim in the fashion industry with its first technology-focused fashion event. The Silicon Valley Fashion Week, as you should expect, was no traditional runway show. Due to the anticipation and location-hype, this show had to meet “The Valley’s” extraordinary expectations. And it did by using drones, flying pants, and bike aerial acrobatics of course. And to help set the stage – literally – were Epson’s projectors with 3D mapping technology, which engaged attendees in the introduction of new wearable and tech-oriented fashion for the startup crowd.

Dramatic and interactive projection set the mood for the forward-looking technology-based fashion show. Leveraging stacked Epson® PowerLite® Pro Z large venue projectors, SF-based creative agency All of it Now lit the stage, runway, sculptures, and walls with 3D-mapped images for bright and whimsical light displays. By stacking and programming Epson projectors, the Silicon Valley Fashion Week team was able to create multiple projections that changed shapes, colors, patterns, and danced along to the music.

Danny Firpo, managing partner at All of it Now, told me, “The best part about the Epson projectors is that they cut straight through the stage lighting that the camera crews need without overexposing the cameras.”

Danny and his team utilized SDI inputs on the stacked projectors so IMAG could be integrated into the mapping. All of the geometric correction was done right on the projector, which made for simple mapping and only one output from the mapping computer, instead of two. By using one output, Danny and his team were able to reduce the amount of time spent creating the mapping effect and amount of video processing required.

While you probably won’t see me in some of the outfits that graced the stage at the first Silicon Valley Fashion Week, I was excited to see how our Pro Z projectors with 3D mapping helped to set the tone and bring originality, excitement, and sophistication to the show.

balloons copy

All Brightness is Not Created Equal


Over the weekend, my wife and I went to our local consumer electronics store – we are in the market for a new washer and dryer. Unable to decide on a model, we took a break and wandered over to the projector section. Sounds weird, I know, but as someone who works very closely with projectors, I’m always curious about how they’re displayed on shelves and talked about by store employees. Just my luck, a customer was asking about the differences between a few projectors (DLP-based models), and as the employee was going through the specs he stated that one model offered 2,700 lumens, implying that the projector is very bright.

I shook my head. What the employee didn’t tell the potential customer was that 2,700 lumens for that particular model only covered the projector’s white brightness, not color brightness. According to testing by an independent lab, the color brightness performance for this particular DLP-based projector was only 700 lumens1.

What does this mean? While the projector might very well look bright when projecting white, the color projected would be much darker and muddier. Click on the video clip below to learn how low color brightness can hurt a projector’s performance.

When buying a projector, the first and most important question should be: What are the lumen ratings for white brightness AND color brightness?

For the DLP-based projectors you’ll find in your local consumer electronics store – they use 1-chip DLP technology – you will not see a color brightness rating published by the manufacturer. Why? Because their color brightness is much lower than their white brightness. And that’s because with 1-chip technology, only one color is available at a time, giving you colors that are less bright.

One of the biggest advantages Epson projectors provide over these DLP projectors is that Epson projectors utilize 3LCD technology, which results in equal ratings for color and white brightness, for projected colors that are rich and bright. 3LCD projectors are 3-chip, which means the engines send light continuously, not sequentially, so all colors are available all the time, resulting in brighter, better colors.

In fact, Epson projectors have up to 3x higher color brightness than competing 1-chip DLP projectors2. In a recent study, it was also found that 9 out of 10 respondents prefer images from Epson 3LCD projectors3.

So next time you’re at your local consumer electronics store, or even researching projectors online, make sure you look for BOTH color and white brightness ratings. If you’re in the store and don’t see a manufacturer’s color brightness rating for its projector, you can even tell the store employee that color brightness is so important, it is now an industry standard, courtesy of the International Committee for Display Metrology (ICDM). You can learn more about the science behind color and white brightness on our Color Brightness website.

Now, can anyone offer a recommendation on a washer and dryer?


1 Data obtained from independent third party laboratory testing of a unit according to the international standard for measuring color brightness, IDMS 15.4.

2 Color Brightness (Color Light Output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color Brightness will vary depending on usage conditions. The projectors used by a third-party lab for measuring Color Brightness were leading Epson projectors and leading 1-chip DLP projectors based on NPD sales data for June 2013 through May 2014 and PMA Research sales data for Q1 through Q3 2013.

3 Leading business and education projectors vs. leading 1-chip DLP projectors, selected according to NPD data as of July 2015. Based on U.S. research conducted by Radius Research.

Game BIG or Go Home


CablesA few months ago, I attended the Press Start Gaming competition at UC Irvine, one of the largest free-play LAN events in the U.S. With almost 500 registered gamers, it was pretty much two days of gaming mayhem… and I loved it!

As part of the event, organizers set up four large screens in the arena to show different game feeds as well as player stats, interviews and commentators. At the center stage, two stacked Epson PowerLite Pro Z 10,000 lumen, WUXGA resolution projectors created a huge 25’ image. But getting to that point is always the fun part.

Event setup started at 1 a.m. Nine hours of tables and chairs, power and network cables, and projectors and screens later, I stepped out of the event center and into the light to a sea of people crowding the doors, anxiously waiting to come in. To the right, there was a BYOC (bring your own computer) line where hardcore gamers clutched their computers, monitors and gaming consoles waiting to get a badge, get inside, and set up. Several people brought their rather large CRT monitors – which weigh significantly more than the average LCD panel, but deliver zero lag. Lower lagtime can mean slower reaction time, and when the stakes are high – $30,000 in prizes – folks don’t mess around.

The games went on for 36 hours, and while at the end everyone was tired, the event crushed it! I love gaming, and walking around the venue hearing people say, “This is amazing – I’ve never seen so many projectors and screens set up.” That makes the long hours of set up totally worth it.

See you at the next event!


A New Day Dawns on a University Campus—With New Tech


Bright orange vest: Check. Yellow hard hat: Check. Safety goggles: Check. Earplugs: Check. But thankfully I didn’t need them, because the fire alarms were tested the day prior to my tour of the new business and information technology (BIT) building at California State University, Monterey Bay.


I hadn’t had a chance to see the military buildings that this new facility was replacing, but from what Kurt Henne had told me in our first interview, I knew that they hadn’t been the most IT-friendly buildings. Actually, he called them his “worst nightmare,” due to concrete walls and floors that block signals, contain asbestos and are nowhere near up to the earthquake codes.

But this new building was a thing of beauty, even in its current state of construction, with wall-to-wall windows reflecting the blue Monterey skies, clean lines and wide hallways. I skirted large rolls of cable and ducked through plastic barriers while my guide, Dave McKinnon of Integrated Communication Systems, led me into the partially completed classrooms.

“These short-throw projectors have been very popular,” McKinnon commented as we moved into the first classroom. “The last three jobs I’ve worked on have all used Epson projectors.”


McKinnon and his team were in the process of installing Da-Lite IDEA™ screens and Epson BrightLink Pro and PowerLite Pro projectors in several classrooms and an auditorium. Setting up the calibration, edges and touch sensing is just part of the installation—Epson’s wide projection area means that the white boards have to be positioned carefully.

“When you get an image that big, there’s no play,” explained McKinnon. “It’s got to be exactly right.”

But the installations for the eight single-projector classrooms and the six dual-projector classrooms aren’t as daunting as the auditorium. McKinnon and his crew will install a panoramic Da-Lite white board along with two PowerLite Pro projectors that will be calibrated with edge-blending for a single, extremely large image. How large? About 10 feet high and 27 feet wide. That should be big enough for every one of the 90 auditorium seats to have an incredible visual experience.


A self-confessed Epson geek, Henne favorite part of the new BIT building—besides it not being a military bunker—is obvious. “I’m looking forward to seeing the edge blending working with the two projectors and the custom white boards in the new lecture hall.” And, frankly, so am I. I’ll be visiting the campus again when the teachers and students move in and can’t wait to see the results.

In the meantime, Dave and his crew have the difficult and important task of installing the oversized white board. But from the quality of work I saw on my tour of the new building, he’s got it all under control.

Epson Robotic Imaging Mapping at InfoComm 2015

Summary: 12 projectors, two high-precision robots and 88,000 lumens create futuristic projection display at InfoComm 2015.

Epson Robotic Imaging Mapping at InfoComm 2015Imagine being able to project images on a moving surface. Well that is exactly what Epson did at this year’s InfoComm 2015. Attendees had the opportunity to see a range of image mapping applications executed at the show, but few booths had image mapping in motion!

In collaboration with AV Concepts, Epson integrated a projection mapping display with its very own robots and the Epson PowerLite® Pro Z and Pro G-Series large venue projectors for edge-blending on different levels of platforms. A total of 12 projector models projecting 88,000 lumens worked together to create a futuristic cityscape projection mapping display.

Factories throughout the world rely on Epson robots every day and integrating the robots into the projector mapping solution was an impressive feat, highlighting the high-precision of the Epson robots and innovative display capabilities of Epson projectors that truly stopped attendees in their tracks.

Epson Robotic Imaging Mapping at InfoComm 2015Another attraction for attendees was the BrightLink® Pro 1430Wi, which utilizes any standard flat surface for touch annotation and display. Attendees were intrigued to see the BrightLink Pro attached to a Conen Interactive table that seamlessly transformed from a motorized table into a drafting board.

unInfoComm 2015 was a great success, showcasing the next generation of projector mapping and collaboration technology.

Check out the Epson projection mapping display here:

Summertime Celebration under the Stars: Tips for Hosting Backyard Movie Night


With summer breezing in, it’s the perfect time to start planning the quintessential backyard movie night to enjoy the best seat in the house – under the stars. Whether it’s the patio, rooftop or backyard, there’s something magical about an outdoor movie on a warm summer evening with friends and family.

My kids and I recently hosted a sports night for the neighborhood kids, complete with a movie screening and a sports game tournament on the Xbox. The kids had a blast. To be honest, the parents had just as much fun as the kids. And I am now not only the reigning FIFA champion of the Woodland’s neighborhood dads, but I’m also the father of the decade. When the kids went to sleep and the neighbors went home, my wife and I dropped in a classic into the Blu-ray and relived 1985 all over again.

Following are some tips to help you set the stage for your very own spectacular outdoor cinema:

  1. Location, Location, Location: Scout out the perfect spot – the patio, side yard, porch or rooftop. It’s important to think about how far from the screen your guests will be sitting in relation to your screen size for movie night. Check out this nifty throw distance calculator from the experts at Projector Central to determine how much throw distance you need to host your movie night. Aside from the location of the screen, the next most important element to consider is proximity to power and ensuring you have a heavy-duty extension cord and power strip handy.
  1. Equipment Checklist: Essentials include a projector, screen and a source for content. A High Definition, bright projector with an HDMI input (for a Blu-ray player or laptop) and built-in sound is the best bet, such as the Epson Home Cinema 730HD. For bigger sound, you can set up an external audio system. While there are a range of weatherproof screens available, you can also project onto a white sheet, shower curtain or create a DIY screen with a few basic supplies.
  1. Creative Invitations: Add a personal touch to movie night with invitations. You can pick a genre for the night and use pre-made templates created by Epson’s creative team for an 80s inspired eventfamily-friendly bash or movies that got big game.
  1. Movie Picks: Consider the crowd and choose accordingly. If you need some inspiration, there are several sources online to help pick the evening’s featured flick. Check out Apartment Therapy’s list of Best Summertime Movies or Rotten Tomato’s Best Summer Movies list.
  1. Mood Lighting: Soft lighting – candles, string lights, garden stake lights and lanterns – can help set the mood for the evening. However, too much ambient light can be an ambiance killer. Whenever possible, plan out your movie viewing layout to avoid nearby house lighting and street lights. When it’s time for the movie to start, make sure your lighting can be dimmed.
  1. Comfortable Seating: From cozy throws and oversized pillows to lawn chairs and hay bales, seating can make or break movie night. You can mix and match seating options to cater to guest’s viewing preferences as long as you position seating so that guests in chairs aren’t blocking the view for those who prefer to lay out on the ground. And, there’s no need to fret about wet grass with this waterproof blanket tutorial from
  1. Movie Bites: Movie-watching is synonymous with snacking. While a great gourmet popcorn recipe is a surefire hit, prepping cuisine from the featured film is also a nice touch. It’s also fun to involve your guests in the food planning, inviting them to bring candy or savory snacks for a DIY snack bar. Guests can create their own “movie mix” of treats in personalized containers that match your movie-night theme.

When the sun sets, the magic begins. All that’s left is to sit back, relax and enjoy the show. Make sure to take a photo of your summer movie celebration and share your personal touches using #backyardmovie.


*Illustration by Epson 2015

Little Church Boasts Big and Bright Projection

God said, “Let there be light.” Applewood Community Church agreed, and set out to find that light through a major renovation.

Applewood Community Church’s humble beginnings consisted of a small building nestled in the outskirts of Golden, Colorado, created for its community in 2005. However, as the community grew, so did the congregation. By 2011, the congregation had grown by more than 20 percent, mostly with kids. And one thing became certain – it was time for a renovation.

From July 2011 to August 2012, Applewood Community Church underwent a major renovation consisting of a complete renovation of the downstairs classroom space, an addition with new office space for the staff, a larger kitchen, updated landscaping, and a facelift of the sanctuary.

The result was nothing short of a miracle:

Applewood Church Before+After

But as church patrons filed in for services in their beautiful new space, they quickly noticed a critical piece of equipment for worship that failed to be upgraded – the sanctuary’s projector.

“Our old projector was 14 years old, not bright enough for the space and had very low resolution,” said Andy Platt, the leader of the church’s audio visual team.

It didn’t help that the new sanctuary was filled with light from its newly-installed bordering windows, making it nearly impossible for the projected images and videos to be seen.

“We had rebuilt the old projector once, maybe twice, and determined that even rebuilt, the projector was not going to meet our sanctuary’s needs,” Platt continued. “Our projector also had color and quality issues; the red was also shifted by two pixels to the left so sharpness to the image was impossible.”

The solution? The Epson PowerLite Pro G6750WU – and what a difference it made.

Applewood Church Worship 1

The words and images that were once hard to read and see were now bright and crisp. Patrons were wowed by the quality and brightness of the projected song lyrics, scripture and videos which had a huge impact on the worship experience.

The church also hosts a myriad of community activities, from classes to movie nights, and all experience the benefits of the PowerLite Pro G6750WU.

“The difference has been night and day. We can read the words on the screen in any lighting environment, and our movie nights are now better than ever,” professed Steve Seybold, one of the church’s technology consultants.

Applewood Church Worship 2

And the biggest difference between the old projector and the new PowerLite Pro G? It works within the bright light of the sanctuary.

“We can now leave the curtains up and lights on while watching a video. This was never previously possible,” said Seybold.

Applewood Church Worship 3

Be it through song lyrics, scripture, images, or videos, Applewood Church patrons are finally able to see their messages clearly, and the final piece of the renovation is complete, thanks to Epson and very dedicated members of the congregation.


*Photos courtesy of Justin LeVett Photography

Planes, Trains and Collaborative Selling


I’ve always loved maps. From the tattered AAA map of California my dad kept in his car glove box, to the maps of the world that were on the walls of just about every elementary school classroom I can remember. The idea that I could map out a route from Los Angeles to some remote and exotic destination was super cool. Made me think I was a modern day Francis Drake trying to circumnavigate my block.

Fast forward a few decades: Just two months ago, I heard about Mapcargo, a global logistics company that manages the transportation of products and materials around the world in trucks, trains, planes, and on ships. They installed an Epson BrightLink Pro, our collaborative whiteboarding solution, to take their sales process to a new level.

When I first heard the company’s name, Mapcargo, it seemed pretty self explanatory, or so I thought. However, Jarry Sessions, Mapcargo’s general manager, shared that this is a complex international operation combining advanced logistics technology with a wide range of what seems to be less-than-high-tech business processes and services. He also discussed the extremely competitive nature of today’s global logistics market. For Mapcargo this means getting things – from computers and golf clubs to first releases of major motion pictures – from where they are to where they need to be faster and safer than anyone else can. No simple task.

The company’s success over the past 20 years, and its planned growth moving forward, stems from the priority it places on working closely with its customers to develop logistics strategies that provide a real bottom-line advantage. Mapcargo’s approach is that one solution rarely fits all; in the logistics business, the logistics provider needs to develop unique solutions that best meet each customer’s individual needs. And this is generally best achieved through a collaborative and interactive process that allows the customer to be more involved in developing their own strategy.

According to Sessions, the hardest part of presenting solutions to new or existing clients is when their initial recommendations are off target because of issues or information that Mapcargo didn’t have in advance.  And often, going back to the drawing board and revising a proposal can take time that clients don’t have.

Enter the BrightLink Pro. Sessions said that BrightLink Pro’s interactive whiteboarding capabilities has changed their sales process, helping to close deals faster. Customers can literally walk up to the whiteboard and make changes to the proposal. This not only ensures customers thoroughly understand the game plan, but also gives them more control over the process itself, ultimately leading to increased satisfaction and trust in the Mapcargo solution.

Every day, we see how information technology is changing virtually everything. This couldn’t be truer than when it comes to maps and moving cargo. From the old clipper ships used by the East India Trading Company to today’s most advanced Triple E class container ships; and from the first Lloyd’s of London contracts to Mapcargo’s advanced logistic planning. And on a personal level, advancements in GPS systems, whether handheld, built in to cars or on our smartphones, help us get where we need to go. At the end of the day, nothing beats the rustle of a AAA map as it is expanded and folded crisply into its original form.



Interacting with an Interactive Projector

comic strip image revisedIn my professional life I help educate people on the benefits of interactivity and projection, something that comes naturally for me because of my past experience teaching elementary school students. While the underlying principles are the same – opening doors to help discover new abilities and cultivating an appreciation for learning in new ways – I’ve learned that teaching kids can be an easier undertaking than teaching adults.

Kids are a blank slate, open to discovery, while adults are often set in their ways, particularly if they have been following the same process for a long time. This is similar to the dilemma that Fabien Bourdon, technology specialist at Citrix, faced when tasked with structuring the company’s “Classroom of the Future.”

He needed to create a learning environment that was conducive to teaching students how to use Citrix mobile workspaces and virtual tools, whether located onsite or participating remotely.   Beyond installing collaborative technology tools, Bourdon also needed to motivate Citrix instructors to hone their teaching techniques to incorporate the new technology, a challenge in itself.

Bourdon installed two Epson BrightLink Pro interactive projectors into the Classroom to create an inclusive environment that would allow the instruction team to demonstrate the power of Citrix mobile workspace solutions. The projectors are interactive; enabling the instructor and the students to walk up to the projected image and use their fingers to “write” on the projected image. In addition, students participating in the class remotely can see the projected image on their mobile device and annotate on the shared display, creating a collaborative training session.

While the new interactivity offered a vast improvement over existing teaching methods, Bourdon knew it would be difficult to teach instructors how to use the interactive projector. “Instructors generally don’t like to change the way they run their classes, so one of the things I wanted to highlight is how to have fun with the projector,” he said. “People see their screen projected on a wall and don’t give it a second thought. It’s neither new nor compelling to them. It’s not the most effective way to use these new projectors.”

How did he do it? By using a method close to my heart – gaming. Knowing that most people are comfortable playing online games on mobile devices where your fingers control game play, Bourdon created an “Interactive Acclimation Guide” for instructors, working in popular mobile device games to make the transition easier. He used one very popular mobile game that requires the use of physics and trajectory to help make the interactive functions less daunting to instructors – and, in turn, students – and make training more effective and immersive.

“I’ve been reading up on memory retention in training. Apparently a great way to retain what you’ve been taught is using manipulatives to develop the spatial memory of students while engaging them kinetically, and what better way to do that than combining gaming and a BrightLink Pro? This popular game works extremely well because it has a real time physics engine in it and the game works entirely from the mouse pad without requiring a keyboard,” said Bourdon. “With dual projection screens you can challenge students prior to the class or during their break. Add in the audio over the speaker system and the whole effect is unique, memorable and the students quickly start seeing this as a new way to learn.”

In my experience I’ve found that it’s easier for students to internalize lessons when they enjoy the subject matter. Bourdon applied that same teaching method to his Classroom of the Future, and found a way to tie a concept that both instructors and students are comfortable with to break the mental barriers surrounding projectors, and embrace the new capabilities that come with interactivity. I’m looking forward to hearing about the new discoveries Citrix instructors and students make, and sharing them with you.

Blurring the Lines between the Digital and Physical Worlds

Aliens attack

Visitors to Epson’s booth at InfoComm 2014 had the opportunity to experience a 3D-projection mapping exhibit set to the soundtrack of electronic dance music. The video demonstrated the versatility of three-dimensional storytelling with a Las Vegas-inspired cityscape illuminated by 12 high-lumen Epson large venue projectors. Building facades morphed while the skyline remained constant. Soon, the mood changed as a spaceship emerges from the horizon, fires a laser beam, and destroys the buildings spectacularly.

“What I liked about our exhibit is that it turned the booth into a live event…people sat there and watched the show two or three times through,” said Daniel Roth, creative account manager for AV Concepts and a key member of the team behind the creation of the 3D mapping exhibit. Roth and his team earned those repeat views through the hundreds of staff hours invested in creating it.

AV Concepts isn’t new to making visual spectacles that people want to see over and over. In 2012, I watched the late Tupac Shakur step onto the Main Stage at The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. The hologram that got me and about 45,000 other music lovers grooving was also created by AV Concepts.

Two years later, my work with Epson lead me to intersect with AV Concepts again where I got the opportunity to ask Roth the question that everyone wants to ask after seeing a 3D mapping display: “How did you do that?”

To begin, the AV Concept’s Creative team used pre-visualization software to create mock-ups that they could use to guide the creative process before starting construction. With unlimited design freedom, the team pushed themselves to do something they had never done before. That challenge resulted in intricate and complex designs that would be projected onto the surfaces of a seemingly plain set.

AV concepts then took the 3D model to a builder that created the physical set. Thanks to the accuracy of the 3D design software, the design team was able to simultaneously create the content as a separate team constructed the set.

A few weeks before the show, Roth’s team had a completed model. The next challenge was to fit an expansive pixel space into a relatively small booth. “We designed the craziest creative option we could for the scenario, then we had to work hard to make the tech work and fit it in the space we had,” Roth said.

The pixels produced by twelve projectors operating in only an 11.5 ft. x 20 ft. booth roughly compare to the number that would be used to do a mapping show on the side of a full-sized building.

After nearly 1,000 person-hours of work, the final demonstration was ready for visitors at InfoComm.

Tupac may still be gone, and aliens may be fictional, but now I know the secret to making digital projection mapping come to life—hard work, creative vision and a bit of magic. If you were at InfoComm and saw the demonstration, or have seen a similar projection mapping show, let us know what you thought in the comment section below.