We've seen incredible pieces of art that have used projection mapping, but when Bot & Dolly showed the world its video entitled Box, it really hit home how this technique could be used in feature filmmaking. But because the vast majority of us don't have access to robotic arms and other expensive tools, DIY practical effects master Joey Shanks is here to show us how to pull off these effects with equipment that you either have at home or can buy cheaply and easily.
If you're unfamiliar with what Joey Shanks does, he creates visual effects practically using inexpensive tools and equipment -- stuff you probably have lying around your house. Creating effects using a projector might not seem like it fits into that cheap DIY category, but as Shanks shows us in the video, you can definitely get some great inexpensive effects, all in-camera, using the technology.
First of all, he uses MadMapper, which you can try out for free by downloading the demo, as well as an iPhone app called PRSPCTV for some of the effects. PRSPCTV costs $3.99 in the App Store and allows you to map image/movie textures from your Library onto any surface. Both of these programs allow you to project images onto things without having to know a whole lot about projection mapping (and it'll save you a lot of money, too). Shanks walks you through the process of using MadMapper in the first video, since it's undoubtedly more complicated than a simple iPhone app like PRSPCTV.
In the second installment of his projection mapping series, Shanks infuses some of his practical effects know-how into teaching us about projection mapping by showing us how to pull off the "beam of light" effect. You know this effect when you see it -- it was used a lot in Metropolis back in the 20s -- it was used to represent a tractor beam pulling up an unlucky human during an alien abduction, or someone getting pulled up into heaven by a divine light. Shanks shows us how to do this using a one-way mirror, a projector, and carefully angled cameras.
You don't have to be an expert at visual effects or CGI to create cool effects for your films. Many times you can get some pretty impressive results using everyday objects and capturing them in-camera. If you're curious about Shanks' other tutorials, be sure to check out his channel on YouTube.
Link: Shanks FX -- YouTube