New to projection displays?
It's easy in principle but can be tricky in practice. Of course you can play these on your TV and dress them up by putting together and editing your own program. For a party that's probably best, but a projector will give you more versatility. The brighter the better, but any video projector will work. Most will plug into a computer or a DVD player. Because of size and portability, a laptop is often preferred for display work, but any computer that can play mp4 video files can be used. Although 720p files will play fine on most modern computers, playing 1080p requires more CPU horsepower - around a 3GHz CPU or faster. Some computers, notably some netbooks and tablets, are designed for 1080p playback. A DVD player will also work just fine, but remember that the resolution of a DVD player is not as good as an HD picture from a computer or Blu-Ray player. Whichever way you play it, if you are using it as part of your display, remember to set it to "auto-repeat" or "loop" so that it starts over at the end.
With a projector, you can front project or rear project. Rear projection is preferred because you end up with a brighter image and someone in front will not cast a shadow, but it requires a translucent screen and enough space behind it to do the projection. You can use a white sheet, shower curtain liner, or sheer curtains for a rear projection screen. Just attach it to the inside of your window or door. Make sure you stretch it flat! Front projection works on any surface but remember that the surface color, texture, and angle to the projector will modify the image. Either way requires some planning and work but the results can be stunning!
The idea is to just project what you want were you want it. Not always so simple! Finding the right surface and a good place from which to project that is secure, has safe power, and is at a good location can be daunting. Once you get it working, though, you won't regret it! There is a lot of help out there.
Don't forget to add sound! If the neighbors don't complain it can add a lot!
You might also want to start with seeing what others have done. For example, check out:
Bates Haunt 2010 Projection Mapping Show
to see some excellent examples and to get some ideas. Look around and you can find a lot more.
For a detailed introduction and tutorial on how to do precise projection mapping check out:
Hopefully this will get you started. Whatever you do will utlimately be uniquely yours and we hope you share it!
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