Video Mapping: Projector Night

IMG_20170420_201551330 My experience of projector night was very positive. I enjoyed getting to display my work as well as see the work of my classmates projected all over the walls and ceilings of Heimbold. I especially liked seeing how much variety there was in the different work that people had created, despite it all originating from the same software. I enjoyed how our projections temporarily transformed the building.

At first, having never been to a projection show before, I had a hard time envisioning what it would entail. Walking around Heimbold and seeing the different spaces available for projection, as well as seeing what my classmates tried during rehearsals, helped me to get a clearer understanding. To plan for projector night, I first thought about which of my videos would make the most sense displayed in 3D space.

I chose one conference video, “My Never Sunshine,” which has a consistent theme of a blue sky with clouds, a rainbow and birds. I decided to project it onto an uneven surface of a ceiling in Heimbold so that the pipes on the ceiling would create interesting angles and shapes when combined with the projected image. This video also has song lyrics in the form of kinetic text. If I repeated this projection now I would get a speaker to play the song audio as well.


The second video that I chose to project is a shape motion video with morphing outlines on a background that changes color.


The third video I worked with was one I called “Geometric Outer Space,” which involves shapes and lines with repeaters moving across a background of tiny points that appear like stars in space. Although the star background unfortunately did not show up in the projection, I thought that the lines with repeaters looked interesting on the ceiling.


I think that my geometric shapes video was probably subconsciously influenced by Yayoi Kusama’s infinity rooms, especially those that are reminiscent of outer space, such as Aftermath of the Obliteration of Eternity, and her infinity nets, which inspired the star-like points in the background of my piece.



The main problem I had while preparing for projector night was that I had technical issues, first setting up the Video Projection Tool software and then getting the computer I was using to communicate properly with a projector. After figuring out these issues with the help of a classmate and our professor, the rest of our rehearsal time went much more smoothly. I played around with different shapes for my projection, and tried matching the keystones to various angles in the architecture of the building. I also tried out mapping on various surfaces, including through a doorway onto a ceiling inside the room, on a flat wall and on a ceiling. In the end, I decided to map onto a ceiling with spillover onto the walls on either side, because I thought it was an interesting use of space and worked particularly well with my sky-themed video, creating a kind of immersive experience for someone underneath it and looking up.


Prior to our rehearsals, I thought that video mapping for an audience would be more of a stressful experience than it turned out to be. By the time projector night rolled around, I felt fairly confident in my ability to set up my projector and my VPT map, and overall the experience was quite fun. It was gratifying to be able to show my friends some of my work displayed in an interesting way, as well as to see everyone else’s projections.

I expect my maps to be experienced as fun, cheery and lighthearted, due to the use of bright colors and nature themes. I think that the kinetic text in one video also added an element of intrigue, since people would have to stop under the projection and concentrate to read the words.


I was surprised by how much projection can change the appearance of a video, making simpler images look more complex as they interact with the building, toning down brighter colors, and hiding small details. If I understood these effects when I first started making videos, I would have included more saturated colors and made my shapes take up more of the space in my videos. For the geometric shapes video in particular, I would have made the lines longer and narrower, and made them move across the screen more quickly. I would have increased the size of the stars in the background so that they would have been visible. Overall, I was pleased with how my work looked, and how it worked in the space I chose.