Video Mapping Softwares – Onionlab
30-9-20

Video Mapping Softwares

There is a key element that is essential for video mapping  to work, that at times, forgets to be mentioned. It is the video mapping software that is used when playing the content to be projected on a certain facade or surface. MadMapper, Resolume, WATCHOUT and Disguise are the most common and popular softwares to be used during the video mapping events.

We would like to talk about these softwares and explain when and why we use them.

MadMapper

Thanks to its simplicity, MadMapper is a popular software used for video and light mapping. The application is quite powerful, yet versatile, which makes it the ultimate video mapping tool. With MadMapper, you can map unlimited number of videos on any real life surface with as many projectors your graphic card can handle.

Moreover, MadMapper comes with a set of professional features such as masking, mesh warping, 3D lighting, spatial scanner and many more

Configurable precise Bezier Warping grids, in perspective
Configurable precise Bezier Warping grids, in perspective

You can also control LED arrays when light mapping, in real-time, and feed these with video content or generative materials, plus control moving lights with pixel content.

Control array of LED bars, matrices or isolated pixels. In any shape or any arrangement
Control array of LED bars, matrices or isolated pixels. In any shape or any arrangement

You can use MadMapper software for architectural video mapping, art installation, stage design and live shows.

MiniMad is the hardware companion of MadMapper. It was designed to play back the MadMapper setups with automatic network synchronization for multi-projection and DMX/ Artnet output to control lighting and LED equipment. MiniMad is a cheaper and useful option for the permanent installations and light mappings.

MiniMad
MiniMad

Resolume

At first Resolume Arena started as an essential tool for VJs and now it has turned into almost a media server. It is a performance suite that caters for video artists, VJs and designers because it has video playback, live editing, VJing and multiple sources which support video mapping as well.

Intuitive interface
Intuitive interface

It is more expensive than other video mapping softwares but it is a powerful, smart and easy to use platform with layer based mixing software, and other brilliant features such as faster deck switching, a flexible interface with crisp high-resolution screens. With the advanced output tool, you can project video on any type of surface such as complex geometrical structures or whole buildings.

Resolume also lets you send out colors which will be in sync with your visuals, with real time rendering meaning everything happens on the spot. The effects that can be rendered in real time are infinite.

In this link you can find and install more plugins that contain different effects.

Moreover, Resolume can be controlled in many different ways and it can control other things through midi, OSC and DMX.

Onionlab is very familiar with Resolume. We have used it plenty of times especially when we worked with more than one projector during various gigs and filmings. We like Resolume for its versatility and ability to change things instantly, which is necessary, for instance during filmings, where the director or the DOP usually demands to modify things. In one of our previous projects, a commercial for Canon, we had to map a piano in real time. The piano keyboard had to be lit up at the same time as the main character played the piano. 

On a set of Canon comercial using Resolume
On a set of Canon comercial using Resolume

WATCHOUT

Here we would like to talk about more professional media servers, established softwares that can handle very complex projects. WATCHOUT is one of them, a high standard and professional media server. It is one of the first original media servers founded in 1973. WATCHOUT is a multi-display software that helps to create spectacular shows. It is used to compose and manage all the different media elements in a show – video, still images, animations, graphics, live feeds, sound – and then play it back on multiple displays. It is one of the most popular softwares that professionals use worldwide. 

The way WATCHOUT works is quite straightforward. You need a production laptop where all the contents are created and a media server to deliver the content. The media server then connects to a display device such as projectors, led screens and video walls that can each have various outputs which are controlled through the main computer and are all connected through the laptop.The system is fully scalable, there are no limits on the number of channels. You just have to add displays to have and control more video outputs. 

An image illustrating how WATCHOUT works
An image illustrating how WATCHOUT works

WATCHOUT is used in live events, 3D mapping, broadcast, digital signage, museums, show rooms, visitor attractions and experience centers. In other words – virtually any market or application where you want multiple display devices and maximum impact.

We have been using WATCHOUT for the majority of our 3D projection mappings, its great quality and reasonable price works really well for us. 

Also the fact that many people in our industry use WATCHOUT and know how it works, is a big advantage. Our trustworthy, high quality hardware supplier Block, who we have been working with for many years and who has always been providing us with the best quality and affordable services, uses WATCHOUT on daily bases.

Working with WATCHOUT during Diplopia mapping at Klanglicht Festival 2018
Working with WATCHOUT during Diplopia mapping at Klanglicht Festival 2018
Onionlab working with WATCHOUT during one of our projects
Onionlab working with WATCHOUT during one of our projects

Disguise

Disguise integrates a real-time 3D Stage Visualiser, media playback, and a timeline. It lets you model the stage, view it instantly from any angle, drop video or still content onto the timeline and play it back onto the stage, without time-consuming re-renders. It is therefore a very useful communication tool in the early stages of a project. Showing a real-time simulation of a proposed design is faster and more effective than traditional renderings. In the preproduction stage, it allows users to quickly visualise content and make artistic decisions, without having to actually build the stage design.

Disguise is a top notch media server. We enjoy working with Disguise a lot because it works as a 3D program, with which we create the content of our projects. On the top of the fact that it is the most expensive media server in the market, Disguise offers a 24 hour service with a team of technicians who can help you with anything. Their policy is to solve and fix all the problems and doubts in less than 1 hour.

Onionlab used Disguise for different calculations of our  projection mappings. Moreover we used this software while creating our very first XR set. Our experience was very positive and we were happy with the results. 

The following images show the creation of an XR set using Disguise
The following images show the creation of an XR set using Disguise

Our supplier of Disguise is Blackfish. Blackfish is a company dedicated to renting media servers. It works hand in hand with 16nou, the most important broadcast rental company in Barcelona, Spain that rents production equipment and live cameras.

As we mentioned before, the video mapping software is an essential and a vital element for video mapping, without it we wouldn’t be able to play the content that we want to project. The objective of this blog post was to mention some of the softwares we use on a daily basis and give a general overview on how they work and when and why we use them.