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Getting into projection

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by porkchop, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    So I recently saw Spamalot at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach (wonderful show btw) and it took my once mild curiosity into the realm to projection to an amazing new high. What I came to realize is I have absolutely no idea how to get into it. I'm not exactly sure how most houses work things, but it seems that projection isn't really attached to lighting especially once the projection starts to get interesting. So basically what I want to know is how does one start working with projection?

    I've get a good number of years of experience in all kinds of lighting both the technical side and the design side. I am by no means ETCP certified but I feel like I have a pretty good amount of experience with intelligent light fixtures would any of that help me get in or is that one of those things where the best idea is going to school for it?
     
  2. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    I assume you're speaking of theatrical type projection rather than cinema or home theater or anything like that. There's a significant difference between working with video projection and being a projectionist.

    Lighting and projection are strongly interrelated and can directly affect one another but there are typically very different goals and considerations involved. For example, in most projection applications you are also going to be dealing with the source(s), signal distribution and processing and so forth, so some knowledge of video is usually required that has nothing to do with the projection itself.

    A lot of good general video information can be found online at sites like http://www.extron.com/technology/index.aspx. A good place to get some hands on training might be with production and rental/staging companies as many of them do a great deal of corporate and concert related productions that include theatrical style video productions and presentations. They might be a good place to learn about some of the equipment and practical considerations. They often need help with load in and out and in turn might let you hang around to learn some more. Also, InfoComm is coming up in June in Las Vegas, almost all the projector and related manufacturers will be there and there will be numerous classes that might be of interest.
     
  3. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Actually last night our SM suggested production and rental/staging companies too. I'm really gonna look into that, I just like toys too much I guess.
     
  4. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    I accidentally got into projection. I had done a stint as a manager in a movie theater where I was working with film projection (though some are going digital and you might have opportunities there). I was working in theater as a lighting technician for many years (I only had limited contact with projection, usually as the grunt). When I ran into a need for work, I went and worked for a corporate AV (in a conference resort hotel). I learned the basics of video for "breakout" rooms while doing the lights for the general session. After a year or so, I was doing the projections in the general sessions. I agree that working in that forum is the best way to go. I suggest looking into all of them in your area and shooting for the best (you will learn all you can in a very short amount of time from the smaller companies/venues). After working in the field for a few years, I chose to work for an event/staging company in their warehouse servicing all the video equipment. It was my understanding of the equipment that allowed me to pre-build the systems for the field technicians and assist them over the phone. I am now one of the lead projectionists for Cirque du Soleil.
    I highly encourage you to attend conferences like Infocomm (http://www.infocommshow.org/infocomm2008/public/enter.aspx) and NAB (http://nabshow.com/) which both happen in Las Vegas anually. While it may seem pricey, many exhibitors offer show floor passes for free (and Technologies for Worship Magazine also offers free classes to attendees). I highly encourage you to meet with the manufacturers who will be happy to tell you how their stuff works.
     
  5. mnfreelancer

    mnfreelancer Active Member

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    museav's suggesting for rental companies is right-on. I work with a company who centers around projection. I have not set a single show for them that didn't involve at least one fast-fold screen and a projector. They cater largely to the corporate crowd and thus there is a lot of "show up, set 3 projectors and a sound system in 1.5 hours" type of work. In highschool I brought a lot of multimedia to the auditorium for shows that didn't normally call for it. Flown screens, off-side screens, rear projection and who can forget the movie nights for crew only :). If you're lucky enough to work in a venue (school or pro) that has the equipment already on site, start playing with it. With your next show, think how you can add multimedia into it, always of course keeping with the themes of the rest of the show's design aspects. Video can just as easily ruin a show as make it, so you have to be tasteful.
     
  6. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Also, many good classes and educational offerings as well as chances to network. However, InfoComm is not actually in Vegas every year, it is there this year but was Anaheim last year and Orlando the year before that. It will be in Orlando again next year and then alternate between Orlando and Las Vegas through 2013.
     
  7. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Minion CB Mods Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    Oops, my bad. Now that you mention it . . . I realize now that the only time I have paid attention, it was in Vegas, but I do remember it being a travelling show.
     

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