Getting Started with Projection Backdrops

Getting Started with Projection Backdrops, an online workshop to help theatre, ballet, and dance directors and beyond to begin using scenic projections in their shows.

Projections are the wave of the future in theatre, ballet, dance, magic and beyond. Technology has evolved to a point where not only are the tools affordable and available, but they are intuitive enough to get started using projections without needing to be a tech genius.

Below is an online workshop I gave with William Radar of WellAttended. In it, I walk through many of the tips and tricks to getting started with digital projection backdrops in your shows and performances.

Also, below the video, I’ve broken down the topics we discussed so you can more easily jump to the things on your mind as you’re exploring projection design as an artform for your next event.

(:44) What we’ve been up to at Theatre Avenue

(2:00) How we got started at Theatre Ave

(2:53) How the projection art gets made

(4:12) Explaining what digital projection is (using Broadway images)

(6:15) How projections are becoming more of a centerpiece in scenic design

(7:02) Why use projection backdrops instead of traditional backdrops?

(12:04) The affordability of digital projections

(14:20) What do you need to make projections work?

(16:02) What type of projector do you need to get started?

(19:20) Ways to project, the first being FRONT PROJECTION

(23:17) All about REAR PROJECTION

(26:13) CREATIVE TIPS for using projections in your show

(33:12) Question from chat room – what is a cyc? 

(34:25) Using your side walls for projections

(35:42) How to make your screen not look like a screen

(36:53) Using remote controls to advance projection slides

(38:03) Examples of projections and how they can be used in shows

(41:23) Type of material being used to project on (in example)

(42:25) HD (High Definition) images important for projections?

(43:32) Example of animated projection design for “Charlotte’s Web” musical

(45:10) Projection backdrop example for “Little Mermaid” palace

(46:24) Scenic projection example for “Annie the Musical”

(47:02) More theatre projection examples

(47:25) The range of projection styles, from cartoonish to photo-realistic.

(48:15) How projections can save you time and resources

(48:59) A creative way to make a screen for rear projection (story)

(50:27) How to reach out to Theatre Avenue and learn more

(51:50) Q&A — Can you discuss your custom packages?

(55:30) Q&A — For custom work, do you need to know if it’s front or rear projection?

(56:18) Q&A — Should a screen or cyclorama be slightly transparent for rear projection?

(58:04) Q&A — For moving elements in projection like fire, is that a piece of video?

(59:25) Q&A — Is the projection file a GIF, or how do you make it repeat?

(1:01:05) How to get in touch with Mitch