While it is not a recent innovation, projection mapping has evolved considerably over the decades thanks to the evolution in projection and 3D technology. Even though this immensely creative art form, which gained worldwide popularity as a guerrilla marketing tool, is now a staple in every audio visual company’s portfolio, it has lost none of its appeal.
In short, projection mapping is “a video projection technique that creates the optical illusion of 3D effects on an object or building“*. It is a versatile tool that can be used for indoor as well as outdoor events, the only common denominator in every type of use is the necessity of darkness, natural or otherwise. Whether it is a product launch, a stunning stage design, a sports game, a music awards ceremony, the expression of a cultural or political statement, or a celebration of an occasion or an establishment, projection mapping is the perfect tool to create something so memorable that it will likely be talked about for years to come.
Our AV Alliance members collectively have hundreds, if not thousands of mesmerizing projection mapping jobs under their belts. In the spirit of providing you with great video content, in this post we collected their most memorable mapping projects over the years, categorized by the different types of events and purposes they were used for! Before we dive into the subject any further, however, here is a short glossary that can help you better understand the difference in projection mapping technologies:
- Projection: also known as video projection, it is a well-known and common meeting feature where content – static image, video, or presentation – is projected onto a flat screen.
- Projection mapping: also referred to as video mapping, this technique uses video projectors to transform any surface – such as architectural features, buildings, walls, etc. – or object into an interactive display by projecting animated content or video onto it.
- 3D projection mapping: this type of projection mapping allows you to spatially map – project – images or videos onto any non-flat surface. This includes any object with an odd shape, such as a vehicle, a landmark, or even a building with unusual architectural features. 3D mapping requires the use of a software that renders the surface and fits the content onto it without distortion.
- Immersive projection mapping: an art form on its own, immersive projection utilizes all surface types in a venue to take you on a journey through a spellbinding experience with the use of virtual reality (VR). It is increasingly popular, for instance, when creating immersive exhibitions for museums.
As AV Alliance we are partnered with two of the best manufacturers and technology suppliers in the field of projection and immersive mapping, Barco and Panasonic, as well as disguise (formerly d3), whose software and solutions are used by the most prominent 3D projection mapping designers and technologists in the world.
Without further ado, let us jump in an see what projection mapping can do for your event through some spectacular examples created by our members, in many cases in cooperation with our technology partners!
1. Facade mapping behind the scenes
The most common and most popular form of outdoor projection mapping is done on the facades – or in some cases, all sides – of buildings. For instance, these projects can commemorate a building’s history on an anniversary, a season’s beginning at a theater or an opera house, serve as a gift to the public for the Christmas holiday, or become part of a festival program or a multi-day event spanning an entire city. In this section we give you some stunning examples from our AV Alliance members not only of projection mapping done on buildings, but also behind-the-scenes glimpses into the setup process and the design work and preparation of the projectionists.
AVFX – Lights of Boston
Habegger Austria – Gewista Poster Party
Our Vienna-based member company, together with MediaApparat, created, developed, and implemented a 3D projection mapping project for the Gewista Poster Party in 2016 that hosted 2000 guests. They used 3D mapping projection in the arcade courtyard of the Vienna City Hall that created a beautiful and seamless integration with the architectural elements of the building.
Novatech – Vivid Sydney 2019
Our Adelaide-based member has been a long time partner of the annual, five-week long Vivid Sydney event (organized by the Willoughby City Council). In 2019 Novatech supplied projection mapping and media server capabilities for the occasion. They used a fleet of high powered Barco projectors across the Concourse building that was to be the centerpiece of the event, deployed across the site for an even distribution onto the large canvas, while the content streaming was scheduled with disguise Pro 4×4 media servers for the entire 5-week period.
Dorier Group – Grand Théâtre de Genève 140th Anniversary
To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Grand Théâtre de Genève and its reopening after a 3-year renovation in March 2019, Dorier Group – along with visual design agency Le Truc – was commissioned to carry out a mesmerizing projection mapping show over the façade of the building . The project took two months of production and preparation for Dorier, and they used 4 x Barco UDX-4K32 video-projectors, as well as Modulo Pi media servers to create a spellbinding visual experience.
Neumann&Müller – Opening of Breuninger Department Store
For the grand opening event of the new Breuninger department store in Düsseldorf in 2013, Neumann&Müller turned the illuminated facade of the lifestyle department store into a screen. They had to utilize the unique architecture of the building and the massive amount of glass surfaces when programming the multimedia content, so that the visual elements and the messages were all clearly visible during the projection mapping. The project involved the 3D mapping and double soft-edge projection of both 2D and 3D animations.
2. Courtside experience
You do not need a building facade to create a stunning projection mapping show, a basketball or netball court will do just as nicely. Below we give you two examples of how you can transform a game into a visual experience that you audience will not forget. Whether it is a “simple” video mapping or a 3D projection, the end result is incredible either way, even if you are not watching it from a courtside seat.
LMG – Orlando Magic Season Opener
LMG provided projection mapping onto the basketball court at the Orlando Magic Season Opener game in December 2011. Using the Coolux Pandora media server, our Orlando-headquartered member company created a clean and beautiful projection mapping of the players’ images and names onto the court surface as they were introduced for the lineup.
Novatech – Netball World Cup Sydney
Novatech was the AV supplier of the Netball World Cup Sydney 2015 for the entire event, including the preliminary and qualifying games, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies and other related events. They created an incredible projection mapping show on the netball court itself for the 17,000 spectators of the Sydney Allphones Arena. The cherry on top was the Australian Women’s Netball team winning their 11th World Cup campaign at the same event!
3. A dinner to remember
Just like facades or basketball courts, tables are also an ideal surface for projection mapping, and while done less frequently than mapping buildings, this kind of visual show can turn into any event – a gala dinner, a product launch, or even an opera ball – into a magical experience for the guests and clients alike. Let us just hope that not all the food served was merely a projection in these two examples that our Polish and Czech member companies created!
Brill AV Media – Table mapping
For their workshop that aimed to educate about technical even equipment capabilities in August 2017, Brill AV Media went all-out in stunning their hundreds of attendees with a live display of their projection mapping technology – done with their Panasonic 4K resolution laser projector (PT-RQ32K) and a Christie Pandoras Box (Coolux) server as well as AirScan (a position detector that creates an invisible surface in which objects are detected in two dimensions).
AV Media Events – Table mapping for Nespresso
Brill’s mother company AV Media Events partnered with Nespresso in 2019 to create a fantastic table mapping show in the baroque hall of the Church of St Giles. The massive table, sized 18 x 2 meters, was enlightened by 6 laser projectors, operated by a Resolume system, while the mapped content was provided by Nausus. Interestingly, the show was the result of executing a last-minute idea, the stunning quality and visual experience could have fooled anyone into believing that preparations took a long time to achieve this result.
4. Interactive projection mapping
Video mapping is a visual feat in and of itself, but let us imagine that an event’s attendees can be the creators of what is being projected onto a certain surface! Actually, it is not something that exists only in imagination – these two video mapping projects carried out by our Stuttgart-based member company prove that taking the extra step to make mapping an interactive experience adds immense value to any event.
Neumann&Müller – Projection at the MS Dockville Festival 2018
Neumann&Müller created an interactive projection program for the 3-day MS Dockville music and art festival held in Hamburg in 2018. Content was projected onto the 25 x 44 metres Rethespeicher grain terminal close to the festival location. They used face-tracking to map any participant’s face in real-time with a Kinect camera, and the image was then transferred onto the surface of the building with ten projectors, each with an output of 20,000 ANSI lumens over a distance of 190 metres.
Visitors could have their whole body tracked for the “Dance Cam” and projected in real-time with different pre-defined looks that implemented the dancers’ movements as effects. An additional activity called “Brüll-Tennis” (shout tennis) was created for two players at a time, positioned themselves in front of a webcam with a microphone. They could play the classic game “Pong” and shoot the virtual ball by by shouting loudly into the microphone. Needless to say, the 3-day projection mapping show and these games were extremely well-received by festival-goers!
Read more about the project here.
Neumann&Müller – ‘The Edge of Government’ interactive experience
“The Edge of Government” was a temporary exhibition held during the annual World Government Summit in Dubai in 2019. Neumann&Müller was contracted by the production company DesignLab Experience to carry out the technical planning and implementation of a state-of-the-art projection mapping, along with the event’s audio, video, lighting and rigging systems.
The exhibition’s setting was made to look and feel like an outer space scenery, with abstract lighting elements in various colors being projected onto the floor and ceiling. These particles were connected to motion detectors and programmed in such a way as to move away as soon as someone stepped on them. The mapping project’s direction and design was carried out by Nohlab, and they collaborated with Decol on the interaction area design. The projection mapping involved – among other things – video floor and ceiling projection, a multi-directional projection system, and interactive lighting.
5. A journey through time
Projection mapping is a popular choice by clients to address the passage of time, commemorating historical events or making cultural statements with mesmerizing graphics, lights, and sound. We give you two prime examples for this type of use by our AV Alliance members, both focusing on highlighting regional and national history.
VIDELIO Events – Région des Lumières
The 2019 “Region of lights” project aimed to offer holidaymakers a historical experience through architectural projections on key monuments of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. This historical journey through time was supported by our French AV Alliance member VIDELIO Events, who took care of the projection mapping. The project was carried out with a system comprising more than 29 Barco UDX video projectors, 8 Modulo PI servers, 16 speakers, 6 Crestron PLCs, all supervised remotely throughout the entire summer via 4G routers.
P.C. Podimatas – Projection mapping in Attica
In 2017 our Greek AV Alliance member P.C. Podimatas Audio Visual created this stunning projection mapping show for a corporate client’s private festival in the ancient city of Elefsis (Eleusis) in Attica, Greece. The highlight of the event, which featured authentic Greek music and performances from over 70 local artists and many other elements, was the video mapping of moments of Hellenic history onto the walls of an old factory building.
6. Mapping the stage
Indoor projection mapping offers just a wide variety of options as its outdoor counterpart, especially when it comes to event staging. Pre-pandemic meetings and conferences had quickly moved from standard projection screens to staging design being fully integrated into the visual experience through projection mapping. Here we give you two examples of how stunning video mapping is possible even with a classic stage setup at your event.
JSAV Mexico – Stage mapping for Panduit
JSAV Mexico worked with Panduit on their GSIC (Grow Share Inspire Connect) 20th anniversary event at Cancún’s Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Beside supplying audio, video, and LED screens for the meeting, JSAV was also responsible for projection and creating this stunning stage design.
VCI Event Technology – Stage mapping for Ingram Micro
VCI Event Technology partnered once again with Ingram Micro in 2019 to deliver AV services, including stunning stage design and state-of-the-art projection mapping for a massive 200 ft wide wall at the company’s annual conference at the Aria in Las Vegas.
7. Painting with light
It is not always necessary to use storytelling when opting for projection mapping, a spectacular show of lights and colors can be just as spellbinding to witness as it is to watch a building crumble and then build itself up – with 3D animation, of course. In these three examples below by our AV Alliance members everything centers around colors, shapes, and lights – even the events are part of lighting festivals or happen during a lighting exhibition!
satis&fy – 4K mapping during Prolight+Sound 2014
On the occasion of the Prolight+Sound in March 2014, our German member satis&fy invited their customers, partners, and industry experts to a very special evening at the company headquarters in Karben, near Frankfurt. For the very first time in the world, a 4k projection mapping with 60 frames/second and an uncompressed image done with Barco projectors, furnished by a d3 (now disguise) media server, was showcased on their own building.
AV Media Events – Michna Palace, SIGNAL Festival 2014
For the second year running, AV Media Events partnered with Czech lighting art festival SIGNAL in 2014 and technically supported two large format video mapping shows on the facades of buildings and two lighting installations in Prague. In this video you can see their 3D E:Merge projection mapping show on the facade of the Michna Palace, on which they collaborated with Turkish experience design group Nerdworking.
Dorier Asia – iLight Marina Bay, “Celebration of Life”
In 2014 Dorier Asia participated in the iLight Marina Bay, which is Asia’s only sustainable light art festival that showcases innovative content, the intelligent use of lighting as well as an international line-up of creative talents. That year Dorier created a beautiful projection mapping show with artist Justin Lee called “Celebration of Life”, in collaboration with Marina Bay Sands and Panasonic Systems Asia Pacific. “Celebration of Life” is a playful commentary on the role and value of traditional culture in today’s society, and the images were projected onto the Marina Bay Sands resort’s iconic flower-shaped ArtScience Museum, one of the largest and most prominent structures of Singapore. 16 Panasonic PT-DZ21K, 20,000lm 3-Chip DLP projectors were used in bringing the installation to life.
8. Planes, (trains) and automobiles
In the beginning of this article we spoke about irregularly shaped objects, and how 3D projection mapping is the perfect solution to use on them, as the software it is done with spatially maps the object and then molds the image seamlessly to the actual shape of the surface with all of its nooks and crevices. In the following examples we will show you how our AV Alliance members carried out 3D projection mapping on vehicles of different shapes and sizes!
MAXI Audio Luz Imagem – Aircraft projection mapping for LATAM
One of our Brazilian members, MAXI, partnered with LATAM, South America’s largest airline to create projection mapping on a LATAM aircraft that marked the company’s launch of its new services. While the hangar’s lighting conditions were not ideal for this purpose, MAXI still delivered the perfect mapping experience.
Limelight Veranstaltungstechnik – Volkswagen Golf launch
The Volkswagen Product Experience in 2013 took place at the Expo site in Zaragoza, where the new Golf 7 was launched over the course of 7 weeks. Limelight also took part in delivering the unforgettable brand experience with a 360° event, which included a vertical show at the symbol of the Expo, the 76- meter tall Torre del Agua that was turned into a light installation. During this show a 1: 1 model of the Golf 7, accompanied by rope artists, was lowered vertically from the tower and was animated with incredible video mapping.
9. Telling a love story
Storytelling plays a significant part in projection mapping, and it poses very few – if any – limitations for artists and designers to bring any story to life on any surface, even if that surface happens to be a building’s facade or a massive sand castle! Interactive 3D projection mapping is also a fantastic tool to incorporate into artistic performances, such as dancing, where the artists are able to interact with the 3D images and animations. Here we give you two examples – from Japan and Bulgaria, respectively – of how to tell a beautiful love story with the help of projection mapping.
Takenaka – Love Story of the Taj Mahal
SEG – ‘Love Story’ interactive dance projection
10. New heights in projection mapping
Go big or go home, as the saying says, but sometimes it is less about the size and more about elevation. In these two examples we show you how projection mapping is able to work with the architectural features of tall building blocks such as towers or skyscrapers, whether utilizing only one facade or all sides of the structure for the show.
Reynold’s – 3D projection mapping on a skyscraper
AV Media Events – Projection mapping for AC Sparta Praha
In 2017 AC Sparta Praha, Prague’s football club affectionately referred to as “the Spartans” partnered with AV Media Events to create a non-traditional launch of the their new outdoor jersey collection with a spectacular projection mapping show on the city’s iconic Old Town Astronomical Clock.
11. Immersive 3D projection mapping
Immersive projection is certainly the new talk of the town, and rightfully so: it gives you the opportunity to transform any space simply by immersing your audience in mind-blowingly realistic sound and imagery (and sometimes scenery) and transporting them to a completely different atmosphere and location. Here you will see how immersive projection mapping on walls, floors, and ceilings can create magical worlds for you to experience in real time – whether it is under the sea or in the middle of a rainforest.
VIDELIO Events – JAM Capsule
The JAM Project is a Parisian workshop dedicated to production, scenography and creation applied to the cultural sector, founded by Athem. VIDELIO Events supported Athem in the design and implementation of an immersive mapping project that involved the projection of over 2,500 m2 of floor and wall surfaces, and the installation of a spatial sound system that ultimately created a real immersive experience for the visitors in the Capsule. Ten Barco UDX 40,000 lumen video projectors were used to ensure the best image quality, while a d&b audiotechnik solution was used to design the spatial sound system that enhanced the feeling of immersion.
JSAV Mexico – Rainforest Event Theme
JSAV created a stunning rainforest theme for Fifth Third Bank’s event at the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancún in 2018, which included custom scenic design, animation, and 3D video mapping to replicate the immersive feeling of one of the earth’s oldest living ecosystems. The experience incorporated meticulously detailed scenic design, hyper-realistic video projection and immersive sound.
VIDELIO Events – Nausicaá Immersive Exhibition
The Nausicaá National Sea Center, Europe’s largest aquarium located in Boulogne sur Mer, contracted our French member company VIDELIO Events to help create a mesmerizing immersive exhibition titled “In the Eye of the Climate”, which offers visitors a real experiential journey to explore the effects of climate change in a projected area of 430 m2. VIDELIO deployed over 22 video projectors, 4 Modulo Pi servers for media broadcasting and show control, an immersive sound device, and developed a control system using touch pads and laptops.
The artistic play with light is able to turn anything into a colorful, immersive canvas. Due to the sheer size of surfaces and objects this technology can be used on, and the boundless creative opportunities it offers for designers, artists, and event professionals alike, projection mapping continues to captivate audiences all around the world.