Projecting a square peg onto a round hole
On the front cover of this issue we feature another exciting example of something the AV industry, and the Australian AV industry in particular, has become very good at – mapped projection.
In the time-honoured tradition of audiovisual applications, the family of technologies involved with mapped projection has developed from a handful of inappropriately-applied CAD, graphic design, surveying, photographic and mechanical disciplines into its own fully-fledged application area with an ecosystem of designers, creative, suppliers, application specialists, consultants, hardware and software vendors, project managers and marketing jargon.
In a similar development, blended multi-image panoramic projection was until quite recently a black art, practiced only by highly skilled artisans. However, today it’s available in a selection of hands-off automated and semi-automated forms from several vendors.
Now we’re seeing a similar transition beginning with mapped projection. As more elements of the survey, mapping, distribution and projection processes are becoming standardised, or at least repeatable, the likelihood of an image mapping project being brought in within a reasonable budget is increasing. Day by day more 3D information about existing buildings is released into the public domain while at the same time, I expect the rapidly-rising interest in 3D printing and the associated object scanning processes will lead to consumer-priced automated building scanners very soon. Naturally, everybody who previously aspired to supply or use the technology but couldn’t afford the price of entry is looking at it again and salivating. Thus begins another race to the bottom.
While projects like the dodecahedron on the closing of the Sydney Olympics, the record-setting Moscow Day show on the façade of Moscow State University and the Christmas projection on the façade of Melbourne Town Hall continue to be complex, and thus expensive to produce, only organisations with big budgets will have the money to spend on such projects. More importantly, along with such budgets come PR agencies anxious to protect the clients’ ‘brand’, expenditure oversight committees, auditors and various forms of corporate governance to ensure the organisation gets a decent bang for its mapped projection buck. There’s been a general client and community interest in doing an impressive job at a high standard.
However, once mapped projection is released into the wild and Jim’s Mapped Projection franchises are operating across our cities and towns, you can expect to see every pub and club being transformed into a jackpot-spouting pokie machine with coins tumbling through every window, and every telephone shop (yes, all those video rental stores have re-opened as phone shops or Thai restaurants) being mapped into smartphones, with monthly model updates as part of the bundle.
Making a technology widely available only ever puts it in the hands of the under-skilled and the under-talented. At that point the 99 per cent rule invariably applies.
Andy Ciddor, Editor: firstname.lastname@example.org