Implementing Environmental Projection this Easter on a Budget
If you have ever thought about implementing environmental projection in your space, now is a great time to complete the project. Easter gives you a unique opportunity to narrow the gap between your platform and your audience.
Environmental projection is one of the most immersive multiscreen setups as the content literally wraps around the congregation. Being able to take your congregation to a 16th century cathedral and then to the cosmos; to take in the majesty of a vast landscape or overlook the pacific ocean can bring about a sense of awe and wonder. I love taking people on a journey and I believe that environmental projection can be the tool to take them on that journey.
Easter is the perfect time to add environmental projection to your room. It doesn’t have to break the bank either. There are a few items you’ll need to have to make it effective, but even with those you can stay within a relatively small budget. We’ll take a quick look at what those are and get you on your way to creating a great experience through environmental projection.
- Software – depending on your needs; a single window, dual window (most popular), or multi-layer mixing application (this assumes you have a robust computer capable of running large video files)
- Projection – obviously you’ll need projectors. The greatest part of EP is that you don’t necessarily need the biggest, brightest projectors. We want it to feel like paint on the walls not an LED wall at full brightness. If you have a small enough canvas, you can look at using some 3k Ultra Short Throw projectors. Cost-effective and a great option for a smaller space!
- A Multiscreen Processor – not to be confused with a distribution amp; a multiscreen processor allows you to take one image or motion graphic and distribute it across multiple outputs to create a massive image. Essentially, you’ll be able to take the single output from your computer and split it up into 2, 3, 4, or more outputs (depending on the level you need – 3 is the most popular choice.) For example, a TripleHead2Go will run you about $450 with connectors, etc.
- Content – finally, content is what brings EP together. Spend some time curating great content that will illustrate the story you are telling you congregation. Test it on your walls and make sure it translates well on the massive surface. We’ll get into this in a minute, but keep costs low but using still images only. Plus, you won’t have to worry about your computer keeping up with motion files.
- Bonus Ingredient #5 – Training and Education
- Since you’re here, you’ve already started your training and education. But, you really need to dig deeper. Hire a consultant, attend a conference or seminar, read up on books/blogs and talk to friends who have gone before you. Always keep learning and honing your craft!
Tips to Make it Perfect
Environmental Projection is only as effective as the details you put into the setup. One of the most important keys to great EP is masking. Masking is where you want to avoid your projection hitting. Examples are ceilings, speakers, choirs, etc. A mask eliminates the projected image from hitting those spots. So, here’s the quick sheet guide to your mapping….oh wait. I wish there was a one-size-fits all mask, but there’s not. Every room is different, therefore every mask is going to be different. There are some great tools out there to help including the masking abilities within ProPresenter and a great tool from our friends at crowdcontrolgames.com; MaskeR-Aid
There’s a few other big items to consider when setting up and fine-tuning your EP. We see and experience these 5 mistakes all the time.
- Too Dark – as much as we want it to be paint on the walls, it needs to be visible. Ambient light, house lighting, windows, stage lighting, and other projection/video elements can cause major issues with people seeing your EP. Dim EP can be as much, if not bigger, distraction than EP that’s too bright.
- Bad Mask – remember how important masking is to the setup. Not taking the time to mask or improperly masking can cause it to look sloppy and unfinished. It should feel natural.
- Too Fast – one thing I haven’t mentioned yet is how speed is perceived to increase when your canvas is enlarged. A slow moving particle on your 15″ monitor will seem like a meteor crashing to the ground on EP.
- Shadows – speakers, other projectors, chandeliers, etc. can all cause shadows. The further back your EP projectors are the more objects you’ll have to deal with. We usually criss cross our outside projectors to help alleviate this problem.
- No Practice – as much as your worship team spends practicing songs for your services, you need to practice running EP for your services. Practice makes perfect – kind of cliche, but super important!
It All Comes Down to Content
Start EP simply. Just use still images. Still images give you an opportunity to test the waters of EP without creating a massive distraction. EP is distracting, until it’s implemented properly. Starting with still images also gives you the ability to add energy at different points in your service using motions. Many of our motions right here at TripleWide Media have corresponding still images. So you can simply start with the still and transition to the motion. Subtle, simple, and effective.
There is a bunch of great content for EP on the site. Here are some of our go-to categories.
We hope you’ll consider implementing Environmental Projection this Easter. If you need any help, please reach out to us! We’d love to dream with you and get you going!