Video Mapping versus Son et Lumiere

Video Mapping Prague Astronomical Tower - 2011

Video Projection Mapping is an exciting new projection technique that can turn almost any surface into a dynamic video display. Specialized software is used to warp and mask the projected image to make it fit perfectly on irregularly shaped screens. When done right, the end result is a dynamic projection installation that transcends ordinary video projection.

The 600 Years… whatever that means | DesignDosage.

Wikipedia offers a slightly more down to earth description and states that …Special lighting effects are projected onto the façade of a building or ruin and synchronized with recorded or live narration and music to dramatize the history of the place. The invention of the concept is credited to Paul Robert-Houdin, who was the curator of the Château de Chambord in France, which hosted the world’s first son et lumière in 1952. Another was established in the early 1960s at the site of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

In other words, for those that have been around for a while on this planet – its the new version of what used to entertain us when we where being tourists some eons ago – Son et Lumierè. These were impressive displays of Light and Sound that tried to instill in us some of the passion and history of whatever building we were seated in front of, waiting, willing and ready, to be entertained. It also cost to enter the “arena” so we were far more stimulated to listen.

I remember seeing Son et Lumiere at the Acropolis in Greece, the Colosseum in Rome, and several French Castles, but this nighttime medium naturally lends itself to ecclesiastical buildings, stately homes and ruins, and became very popular in France where about 50 annual productions took place,principally in the Loire Valley, at the Palace of Versailles and at Les Invalides in Paris. In England it was popular in churches and cathedrals, often indoors rather than out, given the vagarities of the English weather.

Video Mapping Duomo di Milan - 2012

Video Mapping has taken its place. I watched last week the display offered by the Diocese of Milan to mark the opening of Lent, projected on the facade of the Duomo of Milan. Absolutely stunning, even if the overall effect was slightly marred by too much surrounding light taking away the dramatic emphasis on the building itself. In many ways it is more impressive seen in video! I offer a You tube version for your enjoyment.

Looking through other videos on line I came across a comment that made me think..” other words Playstation 3 on real life buildings”. Have we indeed reduced everything to online gaming, or do these 3D Light shows and video Mapping enhance the beauty of buildings that perhaps we take for granted?



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