Goodbye, squares and rectangular projection screens; hello, curves and angles. What magic makes lighting so exciting today? Projection mapping.

“Projection mapping is a new tool that allows for curved video walls and 3D video structures,” explains Jake Jorgovan, marketing director for Nashville, Tenn.-based Rabbit Hole Creative. “Mapping can turn any physical surface into a canvas for video.”

Guests at L.A.'s Getty Center for the kickoff party for the big “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980” exhibit last fall saw the power of projection mapping in action. The lights dimmed, then burst into a massive logo and illuminated five Getty Center buildings; the buildings became the canvas for a collage of art from 1945 to 1980.

“We had every building you could see immersed in a seven-minute sensory show,” says Greg Christy, CEO of Brite Ideas in Foothill Ranch, Calif. “You'd hear the planes flying and see imagery moving from building to building to tell the story of art and life at that time.”

For the Getty Center event, Christy's team used a digital cinema projector similar to those in high-end movie theaters. From mounts on rooftops and façades, the team designed the opening for the show to be completely seamless. Christy says he shot at “crazy angles” including 40 degrees and 50 degrees on curved linear buildings; setup alone took seven nights from sundown to sun-up.

The complete version of this article appears in the November-December issue of Special Events. The magazine is free to ISES members; subscriptions can also be ordered here.