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.