Projection Mapping Advice - Denver, CO - ImageAV

How to Do Video Projection Mapping Like a Pro

There’s nothing like seeing spectacular projection mapping on the world’s most iconic architecture. It’s awe-inspiring and leaves you wondering how it’s all possible. With Image Audiovisuals leading the production of your next event, you can rest assured that your video projection mapping will look professional and world-class.

If you’re interested in how to do video mapping yourself, getting started might not be as complicated as you might think.

Picking a Projector

Depending on the scale of your project, you may need several projectors. But in most cases, one will suffice.

Here are some factors you’ll want to consider when buying a projector:

  • Throw Ratio: This ratio will determine how large your image will appear depending on the distance from your target object. For instance, if the the ratio is 1:1, the image will be one foot wide for every foot of distance there is between the projector and your object. The shorter the throw ratio, the wider your image will appear with less distance.
  • Resolution: High resolution will make your images clearer. If you’re projecting onto on a large object, high resolution is a must. If your object is small, then high resolution is not as important, but still recommended. The best projectors will have 1920 x 1080, 1920 x 1200 0r 3840 x 2180 (4K)  native resolution.
  • Brightness: The brighter your projector, the more brilliant your  projection mapping will look. Dull projectors will not work adequately in large spaces or areas with high ambient lighting.  . Look for a projector with at least 7,000 ANSI lumens.

Also, be sure to choose a projector that is compatible with your computer and  projection mapping software.

Choosing the Right Surface for  Projection Mapping

The true value of projection mapping is the ability to project onto almost anything: cars, shoes, buildings, etc. But there are some components you’ll want to consider when choosing your surface:

  • Light-colored: Surfaces that are light-colored such as white work best since they will reflect more of the light back, creating a brighter, sharper image.
  • Distinct edges: Surfaces with distinct edges accentuate the 3D look of your projection mapping. Obviously, not all surfaces will have such edges, but objects that do will make a great starting point to practice on.

Finding the Perfect Projection Mapping Software

There are several projection mapping programs you can choose from, and you don’t need to drop a fortune for a good one. Although many programs can look complex when you first open them, a few moments of fiddling around will reveal they’re pretty simple to use.

While there is a lot to learn about projection mapping software (since there’s so much that can be done with the medium), we’ve included some helpful links to get you started.

Here are three highly recommended software programs you can choose from depending on your budget:

    • VPT 7 (Free): VPT 7 is the best free projection mapping software available. It’s perfect for beginners who want something for personal use and small-scale projects. Here’s a tutorial on how to use VPT 7.


  • MadMapper ($450): MadMapper is another great software with more features than VPT 7, and is great for projecting on architecture, stage design, and shows. This will cost around $450 for the full version and is well-suited for professionals. If you have a Mac OS, then this is your best choice. Here’s some tutorials on how to use MadMapper.
  • TouchDesigner ($600): Highly-skilled professionals and their crews use TouchDesigner for its wide breadth of features and applications. But that shouldn’t deter novices from giving it a try; if you can learn to use it, you can become a top of the line professional. While it’s better suited for PC users, a Mac version is also available. It’s a steep cost with the cheapest version available at $600. Here are some tutorials on how to use TouchDesigner.


Now you can build your own brilliant projection mapping designs, inspiring and impressing everyone who gets to experience your creativity.

ImageAV is a nationally recognized audio visual company with nearly three decades of experience helping customers run successful and memorable events. Contact ImageAV today to learn how an experienced AV team can help you produce a world-class event.