DIY Tip #2: Projection Mapping Christmas Trees
One of the most recognizable symbols of Christmas is the Christmas Tree. Millions of homes, churches, event spaces, lobbies, and more have trees decorated around the world.
While this is a fairly simple idea, it can be a bit complex and take some time and lots of patience to get it right. There are three items to focus on when projection mapping Christmas trees. Masking, content, and projection adjustments.
Before those three, lets talk about projector choice and placement. First, brighter is better. You’ll be projecting on a dark surface that isn’t terribly reflective, so if you can boost your brightness with a better projector, great! Second is projector placement. You don’t want to have people walking in front of the projectors and blocking the image. You also don’t want to blind your audience. Ultra short throw projectors or lenses are a great option to place the projector close. You’ll need a decent throw distance (even with an ultra short throw) to get the full height of the tree. I’d recommend hanging your projectors* to get the best angle for creating this look. Ok, now let’s dive in!
After you get your projector(s) setup, you’ll need to begin masking. This is going to take a decent amount of time depending on how detailed you want to get. There are a few options you have including just masking for the tree, masking around ornaments to project onto, or adding gift boxes, etc. on the floor to create additional components. The mask is going to really make your mapped Christmas tree standout.
If you can use a program like Mad Mapper or MaskRAid, you’ll be able to accomplish this a lot faster than if you simply use a built-in masking function such as the one included in ProPresenter.
Feathering the edges of your mask to allow for a softer blend/focus will help keep the light on the tree and not on the wall or surfaces behind them.
Obviously you need great content to project onto your tree. Start with content that is vibrant and high contrast. We have a ton of high contrast media on the site to get you started here. The high contrast media will allow for the movement to be seen easier on the darker trees.
Do you want to digitally decorate your tree? String lights? You can do all that and more! Have some fun this Christmas with these great pieces of media!
Projection Mapping Christmas Trees Content
Now that you’ve got your projectors placed, the mask set, and your content chosen, it’s time to fine tune. The biggest adjustment to make is going to be to boost your gamma to give a faux increase of brightness. Essentially what this will do lessen your black levels a bit and boost the rest of your colors. This will give the perception of a brighter image and allow your high contrast content to pop all that much more.
Here’s a short video to show what can be accomplished with projection mapping Christmas trees. Is shows some custom content on specific ornaments and branches, where our Monday Mapping this week showcased a full tree projection setup.
*Please follow all local, state, and federal guidelines for hanging equipment over people’s heads. Please hire a professional to hang your projectors.