Large-Scale Landscape Projections

March 31, 2017 R&D

Obscura works on a wide variety of projects, to say the least. From permanent architectural installations to stage shows, art installations and live events large and small, we kinda do a little of everything. In our latest project, we’ve taken on a cool new creative tact: large-scale landscape projections.

We’d been invited to create the artistic centerpiece for Starry Nites, a music festival at a rustic Santa Barbara campground focused on environmental consciousness, creativity and human connection through music and art. Turns out, the folks running the festival are childhood friends of Obscura’s Chief Creative Officer Travis Threlkel, hence the connection.

Cat projection on oak tree

Photo credit: Josh Brott

Travis came up with the idea to raise awareness of humankind’s impact on the environment by projecting video of endangered species on two large live oak trees in the festival’s village center, the highlight of which would be a startling hyperrealistic illusion of the trees going up in flames — a commentary on humankind’s burning up the environment. The tree mapping really turned out stunning, in particular because the physical dimensionality of the trees lend an unexpectedly rich canvas for the animations.

Eye projection on oak tree

Photo credit: Josh Brott

Because engagement makes for more of a powerful experience, we added an interactive component. Obscura designed and built a steel kiosk that invited attendees to become participants, allowing them to insert themselves into the projections.

Fire projection on oak tree

Photo credit: Josh Brott

Travis wanted to create a stir, make a splash, get some attention. His goal (we probably shouldn’t say this, but …) was to make it look so realistic that people would freak. And, well, it turned out better than we could have even imagined, and so when the flames went up, the fire department rolled up in a panic (sorry guys). They were pleasantly surprised to learn it was a mere illusion.

As with most of Obscura’s work, pictures can’t do it justice … so check out the video  …

We’re excited for the next opportunity to create some large-scale projection mapping in the natural environment — and to take this idea to the next level.

By Will Chase