Multi-surface, Multiple Projectors Guide

There are many reasons and examples of using multiple surfaces and/or projectors for a production. This guide will serve to educate and inform you about the different methods of integration for digital scenery. Broadway Media's recommendations for these setups are included in each section.

Knitting/Edge-Blending Output - multiple projectors, one surface
Setup: Two or three projectors are installed next to or on top of each other. Small portions of the output image are overlapped and mapping hardware or third-party software are used to knit the image together.
Goal: To achieve a wider or taller output image.
Broadway Media's recommendation: Possible with the Standard License and two computer output ports or an output splitter.

Blending two projectors together to create a single, larger projection was a very popular solution a couple of years ago. Many theaters had restrictive budgets and many high-quality projectors were prohibitively expensive which resulted in using two pieces of equipment to create an image the size that worked best with theatre stages. 
Broadway Media recommends that you rethink a double-projector system because of the possibility of system failure and video latency, and use a single, short-throw projector or LED wall to achieve an immersive experience for your digital scenery. Read our suggestions for increasing the impact of your image size here.

Stacking Output - multiple projectors, one surface
Setup:  Two projectors are installed next to or on top of each other. The output images completely overlap.
Goal: To achieve a brighter output image.
Broadway Media's recommendation: Possible with the Standard License and two computer output ports or an output splitter.

Using multiple projectors to create a brighter projection is a solution for some theaters, but Broadway Media recommends that you rethink a double-projector system because of the possibility of system failure and video latency, and use a single, short-throw projector or LED wall to achieve an immersive experience for your digital scenery. Read our suggestions for increasing the impact of your image brightness here.

Downstage and Upstage Surfaces - multiple projectors, multiple surfaces
Setup:  Two projectors, each being run by its own computer or iPad, are installed. One projector and computer/iPad are projecting on an upstage surface and serve as a backdrop replacement for most scenes. A second projector and computer/iPad are set up to either rear-project onto a downstage scrim, or front-project on the downstage traveler. 
Goal:  To have two separate acting areas in which certain scenes can take place.
Broadway Media's recommendation: Encouraged and possible with the Standard License. By contacting Broadway Media we will ensure you have a second license for your secondary system.

Using both a downstage and upstage projection surface can add to the production value of your show. Especially critical in productions where there are long scene changes, or when the impact from title graphics or a more intimate downstage acting area can be felt, the two surface system can be a very effective way to integrate projections.

Upstage Surface and projection as a prop - multiple projectors, multiple surfaces
Setup:  Two projectors, each being run by its own computer or iPad, are installed. One projector and computer/iPad are projecting on an upstage surface and serve as a backdrop replacement for most scenes. A second projector and computer/iPad are set up to project on a specific set piece or prop. 
Goal:  To add magical elements or animation to a set piece or prop.
Broadway Media's recommendation: Encouraged and possible with the Standard License. By contacting Broadway Media we will ensure you have a second license for your secondary system.

An upstage projection surface will serve as the backdrop replacement and add the overall feeling to the show. A secondary system can be used for a specific set piece or prop to add magical elements or atmospheric effects. For example, an interior of a classroom can be projected as the backdrop replacement and a prop like a chalkboard can be rolled on and the teacher can appear to be writing on the chalkboard. For a scene that takes place in an interior with a window, you can use a piece of translucent fabric and rear project the scene that would be outside the window (snowy weather, car headlights, Santa flying in his sleigh). 

Projection Mapping - multiple projectors, multiple surfaces
Setup:  Two or more projectors run by a high-powered media server or computer. 
Goal:  To achieve an immersive environment with projection design.
Broadway Media's recommendation:  Encouraged and possible with the Professional License.

Projection mapping can be an incredible way to integrate digital scenery into your production. Typically reserved for theatres with projectionist or for shows in which projections can play a critical role in the production, projection mapping is a highly advanced setup. Projection mapping can be as simple as multiple surfaces (upstage cyc, legs, proscenium arch, stage floor, auditorium walls) or as complicated as manipulating the output image to envelop a set piece or prop.

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