How do we really achieve a perfect environmental projection setup? I mean is perfect and environmental projection really possible? I believe so. Over the years of my time working on and teaching environmental projection, I’ve come to learn there are a few tricks to perfect enviornmental projection.
1. Mask out the Wrong Walls.
As I wrote in the book, environmental projection is supposed to be like digital wallpaper, not the ESPN Sportscenter set with displays everywhere. So if we’re going to try and perfect environmental projection and make it look like really good wallpaper, then we need to make sure the image doesn’t appear on the wrong walls. If we can’t fill the wall, don’t project on it. The areas I avoid are ceilings, staircases, baptistries that are too low, door way corridors, and choir lofts.
2. Have a mask for your screens.
Main screens shouldn’t always have environmental projection on them. Of course during worship, etc. there are many reasons to let your main screens just show lyrics and let environmental projection roll over top of the main screens, so that it all feels like one consistent environment. However, in order to make steps to perfect environmental projection, then we need to have a mask setting we can turn on and off when it relates to the side screens. This will allow us to take images out of those areas and not compete with brightness and pixels when we have announcements, other videos, etc.
3. Perpendicular Prepares Perfection.
That’s a lot of “P” words, but the key word is perpendicular. Whenever we’re aligning projection for environmental projection, I have found that the best place to put the projector is directly perpendicular and center to the wall or surface I’m projecting on. This eliminates the need for keystone, which will reduce resolution and brightness if we have to keystone too much. The less keystone, the better the image will look and in order to achieve less keystone, we need to place the projector directly perpendicular to the wall.
4. Boosting the Brightness.
If you’re in a situation where the projector needs just a slight bump in brightness overall and all your images are just a tad too dark (by the way, this only works a bit and messes with some content, so I don’t recommend it for everyone), You may want to explore boosting the gamma setting in your projector by one (two at absolute max). This will help make the whites a bit brighter, however it will also boost your black levels. When you boost gamma, then you will notice the projectors more when they’re in black, because the blacks become grey-like.
5. Avoid Fog/Haze.
Haze and Fog are great for lighting, but they are environmental projections’ worst enemy. Anything in the air that catches light will also reduce light. Let me put it this way: If you can see the beam in the air, it means that some of your brightness is being left in the air and it won’t transfer / reflect 100% form the wall since some light isn’t making it to the wall. Find the happy balance of no to little fog/haze in order to achieve a more perfect environmental projection.