Exactly what is it you do?
Our specialty is projecting giant images on the sides of buildings – images that are colorful, exquisitely detailed, and often in motion or rapidly changing. We do this with a technical process called Architectural Light Mapping.
What’s the difference between your projections and the work of other people who illuminate buildings?
We are uniquely able to match images to the finest details of buildings with extreme accuracy. For example, we can make the outline of every window ledge seem to stand out. Or we can highlight filigree to emphasize its ornate beauty.
Do you project video images?
No, we use specially processed slides, similar to old-fashioned color film slides, except that the slides may be up to 10 feet wide. To project them, we use a slide projector engineered specifically for this purpose. However, our images can have lots of motion. See the next FAQ.
Are the images you project static, or can you animate them?
Of course we can light a building in a “static” manner, while still highlighting and outlining every cornice, every stone, every door and window lintel. But we can also add movement and effervescence to building facades by scrolling endless pictures from left to right and then to left again, or from top to bottom, or bottom to top, or by fading in and fading out colors and images.
How long should a lighting event last to give me the most bang for my buck?
We’ve found that events lasting one to six weeks and tied to holidays or other seasonal celebrations create the biggest “wow factor.” They also tend to be the most-cost effective, especially with the kind of technology we use. Other technologies employ equipment that is more expensive than ours and require trained technicians onsite full time.
What does a light show consist of?
Here’s one example: For three years in a row we designed and produced the Christmas season light show at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Using our ability to scroll, rotate and fade, we projected festive designs in equally festive colors on the walls, ten hours a day for 30 days. The design changes were synchronized to seasonally appropriate music. The show was performed twice every hour.
Can an illumination or show stay in place permanently?
Yes, and we have done some permanent installations. These do require some relatively inexpensive maintenance on occasion, to check and replace electrical and computer elements.
What’s involved in the process besides designing and installing the show?
Early on, we need to scout your location to determine the best places to put our projectors. You can’t do this yourself, since we use special measuring equipment to account for optical phenomena such as parallax, and then to create film templates.
How long in advance do we need to plan an event?
We recommend that at the minimum, planning should begin four months in advance. Note that planning is a process during which our team and you will need to communicate on a regular basis.
Can you create any design?
Pretty much so. But depending on the shape, color and materials of your building’s façade or interior walls, some colors or designs will work better than others.
Where do you locate the projectors?
Most frequently we will use sidewalks, space in parking lots, or on roofs and terraces across the street from your building’s façade. In every case, we need a dedicated and weather resistant shelter. If the shelter is on the street level, it will have to be at least six feet tall so that people can walk in front of it.
Will the light from our projectors affect people in your building?
It’s a bit counterintuitive, but the answer is no. The light beams from the special Xenon bulbs we use can’t be seen by the people in the building on which we project images. Light from our show at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida, was projected on windows as well as masonry. Not a single hotel guest complained.
Who takes care of maintenance during an event?
The equipment needs only to be powered on and off each day. This can be programmed automatically.
However, we recommend that you find a local technician, whom we will train, as a fail-safe backup. We also provide 24/7 telephone assistance.
How can we minimize our production costs?
Since building illumination projects usually generate excitement and community spirit, companies and people in the community sometimes can be persuaded to contribute or reduce the cost of their services. For example, the local power company might be willing to help out. Or local volunteer manpower can sometimes be recruited to help construct shelters or help in other ways. Local hotels sometimes arrange to put up our technicians while they handle installations.