Exisdance showcases the state of motion-tracking projection art

Are you familiar with real-time projection mapping, gerbils? It's a complicated technology that uses advanced spatial sensors in combination with clever geometry mapping (read: tons of math) to project an image that moves and shifts along with the surface it's being projected on. This video from Panasonic and creative studio P.I.C.S. demonstrates the technology's current state-of-the-art. Watch it until the end because it's a little slow to show the really impressive stuff.

Pretty cool, right? If you're like me, though, you might not fully appreciate how intricate this technology is from that video alone. Shortbread baker and BBQ host Colton Westrate offered up two other impressive videos showing off similar tech. This first one demonstrates how dynamic projection works in a less-orchestrated environment—and onto a deforming surface, no less.

Just watching a video, it's easy to dismiss the technology because its effects can be accomplished much more simply using CGI post-processing. However, these techniques are meant to be used in real time in live shows. As an example, check out this video from Wired showing the technology being put to use in world-record-setting fashion to advertise the MTV Video Music Awards last year:

Rather impressive stuff, huh? Expect projection mapping to come to more live shows around you.

Comments closed
    • ozzuneoj
    • 3 years ago

    How do they project shadows onto white surfaces? Do they just project a bright white light on everything else but the area that they want to be appear shaded? If so, the effect was amazingly convincing in the part with the small cube floating in front of his chest.

      • Wirko
      • 3 years ago

      The dancer’s dress was made from projection canvas, that’s how.

      • dyrdak
      • 3 years ago

      From what I’ve noticed (watched it only once, 4 minutes is lots of time;) they’ve used multiple beams. Seems like the canvas behind the dancer was lighted from behind, likely there was a top beam projecting onto the floor and obviously there was the main beam streaming onto the dancer. They tracked the dancer by the reflective dot on his chest (possibly using the light outside visible spectrum). Likely there was another dot on his back (again, I didn’t bother to “rewind”) and maybe other dots that didn’t stood out so much being off the main axle. As much tracking as the system had to do, it’s really the dancer that deserves most credit for staying within limits of projection system (at few spots you’ll notice the main beam skimming past the dancer and onto the background screen) and reacting to picture to appear as it was him who triggered changes. I bet they spent hundreds x 4 minutes rehearsing the show.

    • Delta9
    • 3 years ago

    I must have one. It needs to permanently project six pack abs and sculpted pecs so my fat looks ripped 24/7. And maybe a perfect orange tan as well. Yes, I am from NJ.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 3 years ago

    I see MTV continuing to have more to do with television than music.

    • Kharnellius
    • 3 years ago

    That was really cool. Super impressed by the tech and the fine motor skills that dancer had. An impressive combination for sure. Could imagine this becoming a show in Vegas….just bigger and more…naturally.

      • davidbowser
      • 3 years ago

      LOVE stuff like this. It’s just crazy stuff that people don’t think is real until it’s real. Awesome.

      Next up: Active camouflage, but like the SHIELD helicarrier.

      • Mr Bill
      • 3 years ago

      That first bit looked like Shorin Ryu kata moves. I’m thinking how cool this would look on a dance floor where all the patrons can be painted with their own choosen design while dancing; for a small fee, of course.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Lady Gaga 2016 Grammy Performance.

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