I have been working as a projection designer for about 16 years. Throughout those years, I have become accustomed to answering a lot of questions about my work. I have also been queried about my opinion on many matters related to the execution and effect of my work. The range of questions has been impressive, bewildering and challenging.
Some have been existential:
Do you think this technology will remain part of theatre?
Do you think what you do will remain relevant to the theatre?
So-and-so has just bought this amazing new software/hardware; do you think you’ll have a job next year?
Many refer to fundamental issues, processes and relationships within the theatre design world. Some examples are “Do you think projection will replace scenery one day?” or more moderately "What place do you think projection takes up between the more established theatre disciplines?” which is often followed by my top two hits of all projection design questions: "What do you consider a successful projection design?” and “How do you think projection can be successfully integrated into a production?” However, there are also fundamental questions of a very different nature, like:
Will my projections be bright enough if I use a projector with x lumens (what are lumens anyway)?
Will my imagery look good on a stage with width x and if I use projector model y and cable z
What playback software should I use when I am on a budget?
What material would you recommend to project on?
...and the list goes on. The fact that these questions cover every aspect of the work (Artwork, Collaboration, Installation, Design Process) and range from very specific to general within each aspect, I take as evidence that there is a great need for more information. The frequency and repetitiveness of these questions also point to a general thirst for clarification about these matters and a lack of sources to quench it.
I believe projection design as stagecraft is as old as the time it took to get from the first instance somebody projected artwork onto the stage until now. Projection design as a profession is much younger. I hypothesise that it started when the first person was hired to perform the task of a projection designer.
I also believe that fundamental questions about this work should have a place where they can be shared and discussed. After all,a theatre is a collaborative art form. Basic and fundamental technology and techniques should be accessible and understandable for the curious and interested because it will lead to better work and a more established and respected profession.
As a consequence (drawn from my work as a projection designer, specifically somebody who is asked a lot of questions about his work and wishes to share the answers and inspire people who have an interest in this work), I have created this site.
Projection Design is a young profession. Little information can be gleaned from any single source about the subject, and even many exciting sources combined confuse more than they explain. Even a person with more than a casual interest will currently fail to understand what it is about or what the job entails without experience working with or around a couple of projection designers.
This site hopes to offer a common ground to change this:
- a shared history through the gathering of all instances projection has been used in theatre
- a common knowledge through the provision of the tools to create an encyclopaedia specific to projection design
- a common place where anybody involved with, interested in or just curious about projection design can find information and inspiration
- a common place offering both discussions as well as the exchange of ideas and experiences
- A common ground for everything related to projection design.
- A place where knowledge of relevant craft and technology, skills, happy accidents, artistry and design can be shared to inspire good design
- a place that promotes this field of work and the profession of the projection designer
I have not found this place yet, so maybe this will be it.
Lastly, as many other genres such as art, cinema, television, trade shows, rock'n'roll (to name a few sources) inspire the people I collaborate with and me, this is by no means a site exclusive to theatre people. It is, however; the one thing I know well and care deeply about, so I thought I would start here.