​​​​​​​​Moellers Projection Light Show and Projection Mapping

What is Projection Mapping?

Projection mapping, similar to video mapping and spatial augmented reality, is a projection technique used to turn objects, often irregularly shaped, into display surfaces for video projection. The objects may be complex industrial landscapes, such as buildings, small indoor objects, or theatrical stages. Using specialized software, a two- or three-dimensional object is spatially mapped on the virtual program which mimics the real environment it is to be projected on. The software can then interact with a projector to fit any desired image onto the surface of that object. The technique is used by artists and advertisers who can add extra dimensions, optical illusions, and notions of movement onto previously static objects. The video is commonly combined with or triggered by audio to create an audiovisual narrative.

Does the color of my house affect how the video looks?  
The lighter your house color is, the more reflective it is making the video brighter. Dark greens, browns and black absorb the light the most and cause the video to not look as bright but it still will show.    

Will the projection video show up on my windows?  
Our recommendation would be to put a white poster board or a sheet in the window, so the video reflects better and turns out brighter.    

What if my front yard isn't deep enough for a short throw projector to cover the whole house?  
 Even though projecting on the whole house is awesome, sometimes just doing a portion is better in certain situations.    
If I have a streetlight out in front of my house, will it wash out the video? 
Even though it does slightly wash out the projections on the house, it isn't as bad as you would think.    

What if I have a bunch of bushes or trees in front of my house?  
Try to position the projector and angle it a bit to get past a tree or bush. If it is too close to the house, sometimes there isn't much you can do other than just mask that part out, or just project directly on it. If there are way too many bushes/trees in front, maybe consider just focusing the projections on the garage portion of your house.    

Once I'm done outlining the house through the computer, do I have to keep my computer out by the projector to play the show?  
No that's what the USB media player is for. Simply put the video on a USB, plug that into your media player and connect that media player to your projector via a HDMI cable. Set the media player to loop and your all set.  Type your paragraph here.

How To Choose A Projector For House Projection Mapping

You need to pay attention to 3 main things: throw ratio, resolution, and brightness.

Throw Ratio: Go For Short Throw

Throw ratio is simply how big the projected image will be based on how far away your projector is from your house. Most projectors have about a 1.5:1 throw ratio which means for every 1.5 feet of distance the image will be about 1 foot wide.

Let’s say you plan on putting your projector on the sidewalk in front of your house and your sidewalk is 30 feet away. At that distance, a standard throw projector will produce an image about 20 feet wide. Unless you have a very small house, that is probably not big enough. You will need a lot more distance to get an image large enough to cover your whole house. If you have a large property or your neighbors across the street don’t mind you projecting from there, it is possible that you could get enough distance to make it work.

However, most people will want to use a short throw projector instead. A typical short throw projector has a throw ratio of about .5:1. That means for every half foot of distance the image will be about 1 foot wide. 30 feet of distance with a short throw projector will get you an image about 60 feet wide! That will definitely work for the majority of houses.

Short throw projectors tend to be more expensive because it costs more to make the lenses. As you might expect, they are also a bit harder to find. Unfortunately, the exact throw ratio is often left out of the projector specifications which can be confusing. However, the term “short throw” is an important feature, so it will definitely be mentioned if the projector has it. On the other hand, if the description of the projector does not mention “short throw”, then it almost certainly is standard throw because that is most common.

You may also see “ultra-short throw” projectors. They will produce an even larger image with less distance (.25:1 throw ratio), but for projection mapping, that can be bad. You will be forced to put the projector so close to the house that it will produce strange shadows since a house is not flat like a screen. They are also difficult to protect in a box since they use a mirror on the top rather than a lens in the front.

Resolution: Higher Is Better

The resolution of the projector determines how sharp the projected image will be. Since we are blowing up the image big enough to cover a house, it makes quite a bit of difference in the final look. A projected image is made up of thousands of tiny little squares or pixels. The more squares there are, the sharper the image. Naturally, you will want the most pixels you can possibly get, but the more squares, the greater the expense.

It isn’t always easy to tell exactly what the resolution of a projector is. Some manufacturers will call their product an HD projector, but they are referring to the resolution of the video input rather than the output. That is misleading because almost any projector can accept HD video input, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the image the projector produces.

When checking the resolution of a projector, the term you want to look for is “native resolution”. Native resolution is the highest resolution the projector can produce. The industry has established acronyms for certain projector native resolutions, and you will often see these when projector shopping. Below are the most common:

SVGA = 800 x 600 (800 squares across and 600 squares down)
XGA = 1024 x 768
WXGA = 1280 x 800
WUXGA = 1920 x 1080

There are also three types of HDTV resolutions you will see:

720p = 1280 x 720
1080p = 1920 x 1080
4k or Ultra HD = 3840 x 2160

1080p or WUXGA is what we recommend. 1920 x 1080 is the default resolution at which we provide the videos. I currently use a 1080p projector on my house. My first house projections almost 10 years ago were done with an XGA (1024 x 768) projector, and it worked OK, but the image wasn’t super sharp. SVGA (800 x 600) resolution is just not sharp enough for a house projection. 4k projectors are awesome and gradually becoming more affordable, but it is difficult to find short throw models. Hopefully we will see some available in the next few years. 4k resolution videos are available from us on special request.

Brightness: Brighter Is Always Better!

A bright projector will make the difference between a murky, dark image, and a crisp clear one. If your home has a lot of ambient light from streetlamps or other lights, then you will definitely need a bright projector to overcome that.

Brightness is measured in “lumens”. One lumen is approximately equal to the amount of light a lit candle will produce. A standardized procedure for testing projectors for brightness has been established by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The best measurement of brightness for a projector will always be ANSI lumens, so that is something to look for. Some projectors claim to be brighter than they really are because they are using a different method for measuring brightness.

We recommend that your projector produces about 3,000 ANSI lumens or even better, if possible. You might be able to get by on 2000 lumens if the area around your house is very dark, but we wouldn’t recommend going any lower than that.