Credit Image Source: Daniela Krautsack/ median.newmediacaucus.org
The world of advertising and entertainment is becoming more interactive. Thanks to advances in technology, the way in which we experience games and advertising campaigns is now not only more entertaining, but more immersive.
Indeed, as virtual reality headsets start to move into the mainstream, gamers are now able to step inside 3D worlds and play games like never before. Similarly, major brands and corporations are also taking advantage of this new tech, but from a marketing perspective: they can now bring their products to life using the latest virtual reality and 3D technology.
In fact, this push towards greater realism and immersion has given rise to home-use software such as MAXON Cinema 4D, which allows users to create in-depth video experiences. Offering features which allow users manipulate the geometry of objects and fuse real-world footage with computer simulations, MAXON's software takes on-screen visuals to the next level.
Entertainment on a Different Plane
However, beyond these improved on-screen visuals, brands are now able to harness the power of virtual reality headsets to create interactive experiences. For example, Samsung recently launched Samsung Creators, which allows storytellers access to the company's virtual reality environment to create innovative content.
In line with this creative movement is 3D and 4D projection mapping. Technically defined as projection technology that turns objects around us into display surfaces, 3D projection mapping has allowed big brands to turn empty spaces into detailed advertising spaces. By creating a virtual world, companies have been able to show off their products in a more intimate and, therefore, more powerful and memorable way.
With this in mind, we've picked out three of the top 3D projection mapping companies in the world and outlined a few reasons why you should be looking out for them in the near future. Working for some of the world's top brands, these companies are at the forefront of an advertising revolution.
Based in London, Drive has handled events for major companies across a variety of industries including cars, show-business, gaming and sports.
Working with Ferrari World in Dubai, Drive has created two shows that incorporated theatrical performances with 4D projection mapping, soundscapes and bespoke lighting to engage all the senses. For example, "The Mission" takes viewers on a journey through the world of secret agent Cavallio. Essentially a James Bond movie brought to life, this show contains onscreen car chases, live action fights and projected images that all helped to blur the line between reality and fantasy.
Last year, Drive was also behind a light spectacular on the Isle of Man. Celebrating ten years of operation on the island, online gaming operator Poker Stars worked with Drive to create a 3D show that celebrated the island's history. Using the local town hall as a canvass, Drive constructed a rig that held dozens of video projectors capable of producing a beacon of more than 300,000 lumens. The 4-minute show lit up the town hall and transformed it from a pile of bricks into a ship, a clock and everything else in between. This was the first 3D mapping show ever produced on the Isle of Man, and it allowed thousands of people to see a piece of history brought to life.
Offering a similar service to Drive is another British company, Projection Artworks. Working on major events such as the Heineken Rugby World CUP IN 2015 and Bear Grylls' Escape from Hell, Projection Artworks has combined live, video and virtual elements to create some truly unique shows.
Working on the Bear Grylls project alongside the Discovery Channel, the team at Projection Artworks was tasked with creating a powerful live event that not only previewed the new series, but was also in keeping with its theme.
Drawing on Grylls' love of danger, the company used the Battersea Power Station in London as its canvass. Projecting a towering inferno on the building using HD projections, Projection Artworks then enlivened the set with live pyrotechnics and a performance from Grylls himself. The end result was an event that generated 25,000 YouTube hits in 24 hours. In fact, if there's one way to describe the experience, it's as though Grylls was able to burst out of the TV and onto the side of Battersea Power Station.
Of course, the protagonist doesn't always have to be onsite to make it an unforgettable experience. When Kanye West employed Projection Artworks to preview his single New Slaves, their projection technology was able to put his face on 66 locations around the world.
The final agency in our trio of top picks is South Korea's JônPaSang. Most noted for its Hyper-Matrix Cube, JônPaSang worked with Hyundai to construct an 8 x 45-metre enclosure using hundreds of motorized Styrofoam blocks that were each capable of independent motion.
Using these blocks in combination with the Hyper-Matrix technology which allows for 180-degree projection, JônPaSang created a spectacle where the walls around the audience appeared to come to life. By physically moving the walls while alternating the projections on them, JônPaSang was able to emboss various images on the Styrofoam blocks and show the audience Hyundai's latest creations in a dramatic new way.
Although the initial show took place back in 2012, the innovations used by JônPaSang are still being used today. In fact, this technology blazed something of a trail which design agencies like Drive and Projection Artworks have subsequently used to enliven their own products.
Beyond its Hyper-Matrix Cube, JônPaSang is also responsible for Brilliant Cube, a 6 x 6 x 6-metre structure that uses moving LED poles to represent each brilliant movement of our lives. This combination of movement, light and projections is yet another example of how kinetic entertainment can be used to create more immersion and, therefore, a more powerful message.
Interactive Experiences without the Headache
3D and 4D projection mapping is certainly taking mass-scale entertainment to a new level. While the technology might not be as interactive as virtual reality, the products do have at least on advantage: less eye strain. During his time at Siggraph, Ricky Grove found that trying multiple virtual reality headsets in a single day was both physically exhausting and slightly claustrophobic.
While this is to be expected from an experience as intense as virtual reality, this isn't something people want to endure for any length of time. In contrast, events using 3D and 4D projection mapping are a lot more accessible as they don't require the user to wear any fancy equipment or dive into a world of isolation (i.e. using a headset). This, in a nutshell, is one of the biggest advantages of the technology. Being able to create interactive experiences on a grand scale without the any negative impact is fantastic and the reason major brands are now harnessing the services of the leading design agencies.