Projection setup, alignment, and lens calculations can be tricky. Depending on what your environment is, screen surface, sight line, distance, etc. you may run into several obstacles to overcome.
There are three keys to getting the projection right for your event.
Plan Prepare and Adjust
Obviously planning is key to determining what projection setup you’ll need for your next event. But more than just planning based on brightness, content, or setup style. You’ll need to take into account room configuration, site lines, stage setup, and lighting.
Next comes the prep work. Pulling off a successful live event means prepping your gear before you walk into the event space. Label each of your projectors and the corresponding cabling with each based on your signal flow diagram. This will keep your stress level down and enable the use of any stage hands, volunteers, or other team members working with you on the setup. Additionally, it will keep everything in it’s place and help to ensure that a piece of equipment you’re needing doesn’t get reassigned to another use.
The last part is to be flexible and adjust. We’re going to look at 2 setups today and in both we had to adjust our plans in order to execute the event with excellence.
Orange Thread Live (our sister company) is a full service service production based in Nashville, TN, specializing in Corporate, Non-Profit, Entertainment and worship environments. We got the inside scoop on a couple of very different events in both size and scope utilizing projection.
Project 1 – Environmental Projection for Christmas
Sometimes a plan doesn’t pan out.
Do you ever get everything perfect on paper, feel like all your ducks are in a row, and when it comes time for execution the wheels fall off the track? In the live event world, you know just how often this happens.
The team had the opportunity to work with a church outside of Indianapolis on their annual Christmas event. As you can see from the setup above, it’s a great room and ended up a great setup. Fortunately it worked out in the end, but it took a while to come together. After careful planning, budgeting, and rendering project concepts, the plan was finalized. See the diagram: Stage panels
When the team arrived on site, a couple of the plans were a bit off. We realized that the 5 center panels weren’t on the same place, so double stacking was going to be impossible. Alas, it was time to adjust. Fortunately, the original setup called for four projectors which provided some flexibility in looking at alternative solutions. Working with the church production team, the decision was made to add environmental projection to the side walls. This still allowed the event to keep it’s original plan (projecting on the center 5 panels) but also cleaned up some of the other issues faced with double stacking and edge-blending.
Don’t be afraid to make a change on the fly. Take the time to bring the whole team together, address the issues, present the alternatives, choose a solution and move on. More than likely your audience will never know the difference and you’ll still get to pull off a successful event.
Project 2 – Dove Awards After Party
Not every project has to be large in scale. You can create great vibes and memorable environments in smaller spaces using lighting and projection creatively. The ability to create environments using technology, teamwork, planning, and other resources is what makes live events so much fun.
The plan for the after party was to create a lounge atmosphere using projection and lighting to add energy and ambience to a great room. Situated in an old factory style building with wood floors, wood beams, and brick walls it wouldn’t take much to make the room stand out. The client wanted to project graphics on one wall and then a faux rotating picture frame wall on the other side of the room.
The prep work for this space was mostly in design and spacial usage. There weren’t a lot of options for hanging projectors, so measurements and site visits were an integral part of the process. It was determined to create truss bridges on each side of the room for projection and lighting. This was the cleanest look in a space where you can’t rig from the ceiling.
Even with site visits, drawings, and extensive planning, adjustments still had to be made on site. The biggest was moving the trussing to the opposite side of the center aisle as planned in order to get the projection to land just right on the wall. We were able to adjust the lensing on the projectors to frame in the furniture and other design elements of the space perfectly.
All aspects of live events require flexibility, none more than the video elements. Be sure you have a solid plan mapped out, your gear labeled, and ready for the show. But at the end of the day, make the necessary adjustments and corrections to achieve the end result. More often than not, these adjustments become happy mistakes that create a better environment and look than what was originally planned.
Whether we’re helping you (as Orange Thread Live) or you’re preparing your own events, take the time to transform the visual look and feel of your next production and transform it from an event to an experience.