You know it when you see it! That’s right, without a doubt, projection mapping stops people in their tracks. Every time you roll into an event that took the time to take a big, blank canvas and express a larger-than-life story, the effect is one of awe and wonder. Originally called “spatial augmented reality” this category has gained much steam and notoriety with advances in technology and multi-media visualization.
But as an event planner, the pressing questions on the back of your mind are, “amazing…how difficult is that to do, how did they get started, and how much did that cost? The answer may surprise you, in both directions. Here are a few ideas from our time in the trenches that we think might help you through the decision-making.
First, the projection mapping market is not as niche as you might think. 2021 revenues totaled $652M when you consider that the market is basically comprised of projectors, projection surfaces, and corresponding services. What you need to know is that projection technology is in plentiful supply and readily available. LED technology has allowed projectors to be brighter and last longer. This tech shift has accelerated in the last 5 years. What does this mean for you? Current supply can match demand and get started may be easier than you think. Not all projects are the same and budgets follow. But if you consider these tips, your path to adding a serious wow factor to your event is within reach.
Plan the “Big” Content Story
Projection Mapping is a pretty basic concept. Take content, push it to a projector, and place it on another surface. Sometimes, event planners get distracted by a complex projection story and the intricacies of the mapping surface. We recommend getting started with a simple story prioritization process. This can help you decide how big or small you might want to go. Your audience needs the beginning, middle, and end of the story. Complex stories in this world are best expressed in multi-media and digital art imagery over words. You have a massive canvas in mapping that will provide lots of opportunities for delivering the goods.
Event Insider Tip
Here’s an exercise you might employ. Start by asking yourself what your event or brand’s top 3 attributes are. Are they words or pictures? Do they need to be animated or can they more easily be expressed in a few words or colors? The easiest content may sometimes simply be an amplified word. Imagine a 100ft tall, “JUST DO IT,” in Nike’s Futura Condensed Extra Black. There would be no question about what the story is and how it trying to be conveyed. Go big with your simple story.
Establish an Immersive Experience Budget Early
As was previously referenced, the complexity of your story will establish the cost of content. Projection Mapping artists plan in, “minutes,” of animated content. The average projection show will last between 5-15 minutes. Starting as low as $500 to as much as $100,000, we recommend setting a budgetary target in the $8,000 to $10,000 per minute range for the kind of content you would expect at a 1st class event. Impactful experiences range accordingly.
Event Insider Tip
To help guide you in planning your show, consider how long you would expect an event patron to stay engaged in your story. One big mistake many event planners make relates directly to not planning enough or over-planning because they lacked a realistic budgetary line of site.
Match the Right Video Technology for the Job
Here’s where things get interesting for many event planners. You are bought off on the idea of projection mapping but just don’t have a sense of how much or what tech is required. Indoors vs. outdoor settings will affect what tech is used. The size of the projection canvas being a wall or side of the building will also dictate how many projectors are used. The adage holds true…anything is possible. But beware of the extremes of under and overdoing the tech.
Event Insider Tip
Our suggestion here is to pick a qualified and experienced tech partner to help you scope it. Something to consider is to get a 2nd and 3rd quote, if necessary, on your idea. Better yet, when you can plan the content at the same time as considering the tech to be used, you will be sure to maximize and extend your event dollar. Projection Mapping is an art form. When you use an artist’s eye in the process you will definitely hit the mark.
We hope these suggestions have you set in the right direction. There is no doubt that projection mapping is a cool way to express a big story in a highly effective way. Getting started is easier than you think. Because this form of event communication can be used indoors as well as outdoors, your possibilities are endless.
Want to get inspired? Check out https://skullmapping.com/ for some of the coolest projects on the planet.
Ready to talk about your next event? Looking for some insider tips on projection mapping? Give us a call.