In a recent photoshoot for Beyond Yoga at Small Green Door, a model stood in a sea of glaciers. Thirty minutes later, she twirled amongst Milky Way nebulas before arching into a pose in front of dusty pink sand dunes. She ended the day in a sunset-stained canyon.
Some might call it that. But for Eddy Vajarakitipongse, that’s just his every day. Eddy is a creative technologist and founder of Ya Know Like Studios, a full-service experiential creative agency. He teamed up with our own photographer Dunja Dumanski to work on the latest Beyond Yoga shoot.
The results are pretty magical.
Traditional projection involves turning a flat wall or screen into a surface for an image. Think of movie theaters.
Projection mapping is like normal projection’s way cooler cousin. It turns irregular shapes and objects into surfaces for videos, images, and animation. As Eddy puts it, this allows for real-time augmented reality.
Basically, we’re becoming The Matrix over here at Small Green Door. Except, the technologies we offer aren’t science fiction.
The name “projection mapping” might be new, but the technique is old. The first known use of it was in 1969 at the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland. It then became the realm of video artists, popping up in a variety of museums and installations.
In 2003, Eddy and fellow artists created LAVA (Los Angeles Video Artists), a monthly get together of video artists, circuit benders, software programmers, and developers interested in exploring nonlinear approaches to projection. Fellow LAVA member Tommy Etkin also worked on the Beyond Yoga shoot.
As the Technical Director of Exhibitions at LACMA, Eddy noticed an increasing number of video artists using the same gear as professional videographers. That boundary between the artistic and the commercial continued to blur as projection mapping has gained popularity in the marketing world. In addition to Beyond Yoga, Eddy has worked on projects with Pepsi, Samsung, and KCRW, among others.
The technique has many advantages for commercial photoshoots. Here are just a few:
I’ll be anything you want, baby
Projection mapping allows for greater versatility. The projected content can be swapped out immediately, allowing for on-shoot experimentation.
During the Beyond Yoga shoot, we weren’t quite … starry-eyed enough over our celestial backdrop. But since we were projection mapping, Eddy was able to easily add an animated moon last-minute.
Thanks to Small Green Door’s unique studio set-up, Eddy was also able to use a 3D sensor. This meant the model could move freely within the projected space, which allowed for ultimate flexibility during the shoot.
The shoot ran even smoother than normal because most of the work was done on a pre-lighting day with the projection. This saved money by reducing the time the model was needed on set.
Speaking of, projection mapping isn’t just for models. It can be a great tool for still-life shoots as well. And our very own Dunja just happens to be an expert flat-lay photographer (which you can read all about here). Isn’t that convenient?
Lifestyle brands sell … lifestyles
Take Beyond Yoga for example. They go above and beyond their super cute yoga clothes to promote body positivity, female empowerment, and inclusivity. To do this, none of the model shots are ever retouched. Projection mapping allowed us to explore new creative directions (you know, like shooting a yoga model in space) while still maintaining perfect lighting.
Projection mapping creates a richer viewer experience by providing additional context. With Beyond Yoga, this meant projecting gorgeous nature content onto the model, evoking the beauty and serenity yoga brings to consumers’ lives.
Most of all, projection mapping just looks awesome. And customers think so too.
Interested in working with Small Green Door on a projection mapping project? Shoot us an email or DM us on Instagram and we’ll turn your vision into (augmented) reality. Eddy can also be contacted at YKLstudios@gmail.com.