Visual media is one of the biggest draws of an event experience and can help define how attendees perceive the event and what they recall from it. Strong visual assets are great items to support the theme of a conference, as well as useful tools in a presentation to highlight a point. Visual media also includes the signage used around the event space to direct attendees to different areas.
Traditionally, media has included printed signage and banners, video display monitors (television screens) and projection screens within a presentation space. These elements are still able to be very functional and useful and provide economical value and ease of use.
However, modern display formats allow for the use of video walls and video projection over spatial elements, rather than just projecting onto a video projection screen. These displays can then be placed in a variety of vantage points and can allow for interesting scenic elements that can incorporate movement, as well as dynamic messaging. Additionally, spatial projection allows for the re-theming of large spaces through different color palettes, graphics and sponsorship logos without having to manually replace signage. The versatility of video walls and spatial projection also allows them to be used on walls, floors and ceilings, immersing the attendees in various experiences.
The key elements that allow spatial projection and non-standard video wall shapes (i.e. not a 16:9 widescreen image) to work well is the use of video mapping software or hardware. These elements allow a video, image or signal to be transformed (zoomed or shrunk), rotated, and split among different video outputs so that they fill a space or provide a desired effect.
Previously, video walls and projection mapping were prohibitively expensive for use in all but the largest events, installations or exhibits, as they required highly specialized hardware, technical specialists with particular skills, and a lot of time to pre-plan the project. With the advent of modern and easy-to-assemble video walls, bright and efficient laser projectors and affordable software and hardware, it has become easier for your AV partner to offer these services as a value-add to use in almost any conference.
Some unique uses of video walls include the following:
- Using columns or tiles to cover a large space, such as the backdrop for a stage, and creating patterns that fill this space without the need for a single large video screen.
- Using small-format walls as facades for booths or for signage.
- Using impact-resistant walls for flooring, stages and stairs for a very visually interesting experience. When used with dynamic mapping, a person’s movement on the tiles can be reflected as a reactive pattern.
- Video walls can also be curved into circular, spherical or wave patterns, and can be assembled to be as large as necessary, with no constraints on size other than safe rigging or ground support.
Similarly, spatial projection can be used for a number of items:
- Projection can be used on an interior or exterior surface. The surface does not need to be flat or smooth, as mapping can take the surface’s irregularities and either incorporate them into the projected image, or “smooth” them over so that they are no longer a visible distraction.
- Multiple projectors can be converged to cover a larger area than a single projector could cover. They can also be stacked to provide a brighter image.
- Popular uses of projection mapping include covering the facade of buildings or creating experiential moments indoors or outdoors.
- Spatial projection can also be used on building surfaces indoors in lieu of signage, as these signs can be updated on the fly, and display motion. They can also be used in some areas where it wouldn’t be practical to set up a video wall sign, such as to place a conference graphic over a historic archway, directing attendees into the venue.
- When projected over a large backdrop and performance or presentation space, spatial projection can also be used to contain traditional 16:9 presentation screens as picture-in-picture (PIP) layers that a PowerPoint or similar presentation is fed into. Additionally, a sufficiently bright projector could also be used to create a spotlight or follow spot, removing the need for a dedicated lighting element for this purpose.
The versatility of these modern video tools, and their ease of access for use in most events, allows them to be used more extensively than ever before. By removing the constraints of space in terms of what can be shown where, the event designer and meeting planner are able to make effective use of the entire event space. AV-AMERICA is proud to offer these services, having had extensive experience in both video wall and projection mapping projects for several clients and experiential installations.