Imagine trudging into a convention center with expectations full of white fluorescent light and long, drawn out presentations. As you walk through the doors, you are immediately surprised to hear sweet sounds of crickets and frogs. You feel a slight breeze and the warmth of the sunshine on your skin. As you look around, you are surprised to be surrounded by the invigorating feel of life-like flowers, shrubs and a colorful forest. This “convention” turns out to be nothing more than a serene escape in the wilderness.

Now, of course, the convention described above is not really in a forest. With the help of projection mapping, guests are able to walk through an ordinary convention center feeling as if they have warped into a completely new environment. Read below to learn all that you need to know about Projection Mapping at your next event.

With the help of projection mapping, guests are able to walk through an ordinary convention center feeling as if they have warped into a completely new environment.

What is it?

Projection Mapping, simply put, is using technology to project objects onto a surface. The projections can be as simple as indoor stage effects or as complex as images onto buildings and industrial landscapes. The purpose of projection mapping in events is to stay away from flat screen projecting. The idea is to gear technology towards more lighting onto varying surface types and creating common objects into interactive, 3D displays.

Many examples of Projection Mapping can be found on Endless Entertainment’s Video Mapping Pinterest Page.

Wants vs. Needs

So you’re hooked on projection mapping in events but you don’t know where to begin? Answer the following quick questions to better understand the best projection mapping for your event:

Do you have a budget? If so, what is it? – Stay true to your budget by being realistic with your goals, being creative with your resources, and maximizing the use of space. Though projection mapping seems expensive, it can be done in an affordable manner. Stay true to your budget by being realistic with your goals, being creative with your resources, and maximizing the use of space.

How large is your venue space? – The larger space, the more projectors you will need, and the more projection mapping will cost. To save money, try and focus on the greatest focal points and surfaces of your event. First, think about the places guests visit most: the entrance, bathrooms, buffet tables and speaker podiums. Second, think about what surface will have a non-reflective design so that the image displays accurately.

What will you be projecting? – The size and complexity of detail of the images that you will be projecting will have a direct correlation to the cost. To try to stay within budget, try and focus on smaller details that will catch the viewer’s attention. For example, guests might rather see smaller/interactive video projections at their tables rather than a giant wall mirage. See the impressive dining experience here.

How far along are you in planning your desired event? – If the planning process for your event has already begun, it is still possible to use projection mapping. To maximize cost, creativity and collaboration, however, try and plan your projection mapping at least 4-6 weeks before your event.

Once you have a better idea of your wants vs. needs, you will be able to better incorporate projection mapping into your next event.

Cost

Similar to most event technology, you CAN spend a lot, but the good news is, you don’t HAVE to. One of the main concerns and questions surrounding projection mapping in events is the cost. For example, it can cost on average a whopping $5,000 to create only 30 seconds of a projection mapping video. Similar to most event technology, you can spend a lot, but the good new is, you don’t have to. Below you will find a few tips on how to maintain your budget.

In-house Vs. Outsourced

Does someone on your team have the capabilities to use projection mapping technology? If so, it may be cost efficient to purchase the latest projection mapping video software and create in house. Keep in mind this may take a longer amount of time. Additionally, you will have to rent the projectors, server, and hard drive the day of the event.

In House Benefits:

  • Maximum customization
  • Clear Scope of Project
  • Lower initial costs

If you do not have a specialized team member, it may cost more to train them than to simply hire an existing projection mapping company. Find a few companies and compare rates to find the best deal. Keep in mind you will have to plan for extra time to ensure your goals match their projections.

Outsourced Benefits:

  • Video’s created within shorter amount of time
  • Resourceful
  • Professional Appearance

2D vs. 3D

Why go 3D if you don’t have to? 3D is incredibly more expensive than 2D and requires a lot more time and preparation when creating the video. Video projection mapping at events can be just as impressive if you decide to incorporate 2D images. As mentioned above, if you opt to use 2D images, try and incorporate them strategically onto surfaces and in locations that will benefit the effect.

Reduce Costs Elsewhere

If you decide to incorporate projection mapping, you will be replacing a lot of the physical props and décor that you previously had at your event with images. This could reduce the costs of storage, transportation, setup and ultimately, the cost of the props themselves. This could allow more space in the budget for the projection mapping replacements.

Inspiration

There is an abundance of inspiration available for projection mapping with events. You could start as small as butterflies dancing along the walls to a large wall-size gorilla chasing you through the forest. Additionally, projection mapping videos can be interactive. Think about games, mind puzzles, and real-life demos. The opportunities are as great as your imagination! See below for examples of projection mapping videos in events.

When planning your next event, consider if projection mapping is right for you by understanding what it is, your wants vs. needs and your budget. When executed correctly, projection mapping videos will undoubtedly leave your guests in a state of awe and amazement.



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Author Katie Christianson

Katie has been involved in the events industry for years! When she is not working, she enjoys working out, riding motorcycles and walking her wiener dog, Holly. She is passionate about traveling and learning about new cultures and hopes to experience living in many different countries. Katie values a hard work ethic, a light-hearted personality and a good pun.

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  • Brandt Krueger

    I often break the costs down to three things- size, dimensionality (how 3D is it?), and content. Bringing the budget down on projection mapping is achieved by reducing any, or all, of those three. Sometimes people can get hung up on the full motion video we see on huge projection mapping, but REALLY nice effects can be generated using PowerPoint, some beautiful images or textures, and some creativity. And that’s another thing I recommend- if you’re on a limited budget, maybe don’t approach your AV company and say “I want to do projection mapping!” They might see dollar signs floating in front of their eyes or run away screaming. Perhaps instead, suggest you’d like to experiment with “Creative uses of projection.” I find it helps keep the conversation grounded initially.

    • I love it! That is definitely a really good thought – how can we do things creatively using other tools that might cost less? I think sometimes if a client is willing to explore an alternative way to pull off a desired effect they can save a lot of money. Sure it won’t look like the Super Bowl halftime show but it’s a start! Love that idea. Thanks Brandt!

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