How to Do Projection Mapping on a Budget

By Brandt Krueger, November 14, 2017

When most people think about projection mapping, their minds often go to jaw-dropping animated effects against unconventional backdrops, such as the side of a hotel or grand structures like the Hoover Dam. Specifically for events, planners have visions of lavish stage sets. These types of installations can be, and usually are, incredibly expensive. Let’s take a step back and look to see how we can do more with less in projection mapping.

Let the past be your guide.

Projection mapping wasn’t always a multimillion-dollar affair. Modern projection mapping was a result of the European DJ scene of the early 2000s, when people simply played around with off-the-shelf projectors and a laptop. In other words, they got creative without breaking their wallets. Let’s go back to that time and use planners’ No. 1 budget-busting tool: creativity.

Stick to flat surfaces.

One of the most expensive parts of projection mapping is when the object you’re projecting on has multiple angles. This is where true mapping comes in and requires special software and connected projectors. The flatter the object you’re projecting on, the more traditional setup of projectors you can use, allowing for less-expensive technology designed for panoramic projection screens.

Think small.

We don’t always have to use projectors on the side of a building—why not a cake, a buffet or an ice sculpture instead? Most white objects or surfaces can be turned into a canvas for you to project upon. I’ve even seen projectors mounted under modified high-top tables so the surfaces became backlit displays with event photos sliding across.

Go for simple, yet eye-catching graphics.

One of the big expenses with projection mapping is developing the content. Those mind-blowing animations don’t come cheap. Subtlety, however, is often underrated. Instead of flashy animations, why not use low-key textures and images of grass, water or fire? These types of photos and videos can be purchased from stock libraries for very little money. Drop them into a looping PowerPoint and away you go!

 

Brandt Krueger Projection Mapping With 20 years experience in the meetings and events industry, Brandt Krueger has spoken at numerous industry events and seminars all over the world, been published in many industry magazines and websites, and teaches public and private classes on event technology. He provides freelance technical production services and is owner of Event Technology Consulting.

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