PMC’s Interview Series continues! This week we chatted with Scott Riley and Mark Stewart from Pure Dezign in Winter Park, FL. The interview focuses on an event for the hair care product company Paul Mitchell. For the 2014 event, Pure Dezign was tasked with projection mapping the entire stage along with the three standard screens split by two partial cylinders into a single canvas.
Can you describe your workflow?
We’ve created a process we call a multi-perspective workflow. This allows us to capture the content from different angles simultaneously and then stitch them together into an image that allows for full pixel depth for all surfaces. This approach solves the problem of having too few captured pixels for a given area that has a significant area of depth and provides much higher pixel data for those surfaces. In our case, we had horizontal stage surfaces that would have only been about 100 pixels over a distance of 16 feet from a single perspective but we attained a over 1000 allowing for spectacular Jib shots of the stage surface.
When working with surfaces at 90 degree angles, you can get a lot of bounced light which washes out the content. How did you deal with this?
This is definitely a problem we faced and couldn’t be avoided due to the staging design. While we were not able to completely avoid the problem we were able to minimize it with exaggerating the contrast of the mapped content and boosting the gamma where possible.
You mapped the floor of the stage, which most people don’t attempt. What challenges did this create? How were the projectors hung?
We’ve done this a couple of times now and there are quite a few challenges. To meet budgetary constraints, we covered all the surfaces of the stage with as few projection zones as possible. Since our stage consisted of both horizontal and vertical surfaces, the projectors were mounted at a near 45º angle to cover both with a total of 5 zones. The steps were especially tricky just by the number of vertices this added to the model. We converged projection stacks for each zone and due to the complexity of the model, we had to send a uniquely mapped feed to each projector to achieve the best convergence.
What was the most challenging part of the project?
Designing the overall workflow was perhaps the most challenging. With the amount of content we developed for this project, we needed an approach that would be relatively fast and flexible. Capturing every scene for several perspectives can be very time consuming and so we limited our use of that approach to primarily stills and animations only when necessary. There are some great UV plugins for After Effects that allow us to offload a fair amount of the 3D rending straight into the compositing phase dropping overall render times and making changes a bit easier. We used that approach for the majority of our scene transitions.
We’ve just completed another Paul Mitchell project in Spain as well, here’s a shot from that event.