The Magic Lantern, credited to both Athanasius Kircher and Christiaan Huygens in the early 17th Century, was perhaps the first use of projection mapping, enthralling audiences across Europe, conjuring visions of deceased relatives and demons in dark parlours and dirty alley ways. However, in 1802 Humphry Davy created the first iridescent light by passing a current through a thin strip of platinum and from light bulb to overhead projector, the magic lamp became something very magical indeed.
Today, Netherlands based NuFormer are perfecting and utilising their own developments in 3D projection mapping, recently adapting the technology to include motion capture capabilities. This, the latest in a long line of pioneering advances for one of the world's leading 3D projection mapping companies for the company, who are confident these new advances will see the face of public marketing change forever...
|The Tower prior to the projection|
Picasso: What was the inspiration behind this new Mo-Cap tech you've developed? Was it demand, or was it the next obvious step?
NuFormer: Mocap Mapping was Rob’s (NuFormer’s MD) innovative idea to combine a real-time motion capture setup with a 3D video mapping projection setup. On-site an actor in a motion capture suit impersonates the 3D character in the video mapping in real-time. The actor can see and hear the audience and talk to them directly, creating spontaneous and live interaction.
This combination is extremely versatile because every separate element of the show is custom-designed, from the 3D character, to the smaller pre-rendered animations (such as the elevator in our test) and the ‘environment’ (the time machine). For the test we created ‘Perry Dox’, a stranded time traveller from the year 2525.
Mocap Mapping can take very many forms. A brand can for example use it to launch its new product in a unique way. But the 3D character can also be a brand’s mascot, a dinosaur or a soda bottle; anything really. The essence of Mocap Mapping is that it offers an original, inspirational and highly interactive experience for the audience.
|The crowd stare up in wonder|
P: How long did it take to develop this until it was ready to test live?
NF: The idea for Mocap Mapping had been around for a while. In 2011 research was done to see how and if we could make all the different systems and techniques come together. Also we put together the best possible team for the test. In January an official start was made with the preparations for the test in March.
P: Is there more for you explore and develop in the 3d projection world?
NF: We are continually searching for new ways to integrate interactivity in 3D video mapping projection. We are very keen on developing new innovative approaches in-house. Continuous research and development is highly important for us, it is after all one of the reasons our clients come to us. We believe that 3D video mapping still has a big future ahead of it. 3D video mapping has potential for so many different industries, from the entertainment industry, such as theme parks and the marketing and PR industry to name just a few.
|The crowd turned up to see this new technology in action|
P: What would be your dream location to use this technique?
NF: We would love to surprise an impressive square filled with people with a spectacular Mocap Mapping projection on a large monumental building. It would show the next level in Mocap Mapping with multiple 3D characters in it that all interact with each other and of course with the audience.