Posted in practice on July 30, 2014 10:35 am EDT

Designing for Visual Impact

Seven key points to consider for excellent video projection and environmental graphics.

Natural light is a wonderful thing, but of course it competes with reflected light from projectors and emitted light from video screens.


 

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TAGS: design, graphics, projection, video, visual,

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By Christian Doering

Centuries ago, when light sources meant candles, wood fires and the sun, stained glass windows told Biblical stories and displayed symbols of the faith. During daylight hours, they also provided a constantly changing visual field, as beams of colored light moved slowly and steadily across the worship space.

Natural light is a wonderful thing, but of course it competes with reflected light from projectors and emitted light from video screens.

Today, colored light beams are more likely to come from video projectors and displays, but the intent is the same—to reinforce the message and meaning of a worship service, or to educate and instruct a congregation or study group. Environmental projection and large-scale displays can serve groups of thousands—provided both the building and the system have been properly designed. Here are some useful points to keep in mind during the programming and design phases of your next large-scale projection or video wall project.

Now that we have 4k projectors and processors delivering 4,000 pixels horizontal resolution, maximum image size has increased.

1. Walls and ceilings are now the canvas, no longer the painting

Frescos, mosaics and other decorative surfaces are renowned as artistic expressions of religious intent. But today’s digital electronics allow a huge range of choices, so potential projection surfaces should be designed as blank canvases that will complement the technology, not obscure it. That may, for instance, affect the location of openings and any required structures that would break up a smooth surface. When LED walls are not powered on, they’re black (or at least, charcoal grey). Curtains may be an option here.

2. Ambient light needs to be controlled

Natural light is a wonderful thing, but of course it competes with reflected light from projectors and emitted light from video screens. The more ambient light, the farther from true black your system’s “black” is going to be: this is expressed as a contrast ratio. If you’re displaying abstract images or textures, contrast ratio is not so critical. But adequate contrast is essential for conveying information. Basic PowerPoint slides become visible at a contrast ratio of 5:1, but text and more complex images require higher contrast. Experts recommend a contrast ratio of at least 10:1, and 20:1 if you want to make sure that ambient light and contrast ratio will never be a concern for content producers. That means controlling both natural light and “spill” from your lighting system as tightly as possible. Of course, the brighter your screen and/or projector, the easier it is to achieve your contrast ratio target.

3. Plan sightlines and viewing angles

While the general recommendation is for ±45 degrees (a total of 90 degrees) horizontal and ±30 degrees (60 degrees total) vertical, you need to consult with the owners during the programming phase about sightlines and viewing angles. Where will the audience be located? Does all of the audience need to see the entire image all the time? Will there be “main” elements that demand full visibility, and “supporting” elements that can be partially obscured at some locations?  continued >>

 

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