After garnering a huge amount of interest due to Le Petit Chef going viral – 3D projection mapping technology showing a miniature chef cooking a meal on a table – the Belgium-based Skullmapping team is back with a new entrée: Le Petit Chef – Bouillabaisse.
By combining 3D projection mapping techniques with artistic knowledge, Skullmapping tells stories with stunning bespoke visuals.
The team’s latest offering shows the world’s smallest chef cooking Bouillabaisse, being thwarted mid-task by a giant octopus.
The men behind the vision are Antoon Verbeeck, who has a background in fine arts painting and Filip Sterckx, with a background in directing and animation film.
The two visual artists started to work together on projection mapping projects in February 2011.
Thinking back to where Le Petit Chef began, Antoon reflects: “A client approached us since they wanted to project on a table for their event. After the meeting, we started to brainstorm and came up with the concept of having a small chef that cooks your dish on your plate. We started to do some tests and presented it to the client. The client declined in the end, but since we were so excited by our initial tests, we decided to develop this further. Once the animation was finished, we invited some friends over and shot a video with them on our terrace.”
Le Petit Chef was initially made as a demo to show restaurants and events companies what is possible using this technique. Restaurants or events companies can license the existing content, or ask the team to develop something specifically for them – “We’re open to everything,” Filip enthuses.
“We were very surprised with the reaction to Le Petit Chef,” he admits. “We hoped we could do one or two events with this concept, but when the video went viral our mailbox exploded with inquiries from all over the world. What started out as an experiment, all of a sudden became a ‘product’. Since we are first and foremost artists, not business men, we were quite overwhelmed with the amount of emails and phone calls in the beginning!”
Antoon and Filip created Le Petit Chef – Bouillabaisse with the idea of having the chef create an appetizer-type meal, then the new video could be projected before the main dish (they reveal that they are currently developing a new piece for the dessert).
“If they have a package of different videos for which they can buy a license, it is more interesting for restaurants and hotels to purchase projectors and install the technical system,” says Antoon.
How Is It Done?
Antoon and Filip create the animation together, the two of them acting out the motion capture themselves in the studio. It takes approximately four to five weeks to develop one video.
“It is difficult to create the animation and get the timing of everything right,” says Antoon. “But the video mapping itself – the actual projection on the table and the plates is not too complicated, especially if you compare it to other mapping projects where you would project on a building with complicated architecture and many projectors.
“There are just a couple of tricks you need to know and to understand what the limitations of the techniques are, and how to get the maximum effect out of it. What is very important with this project is the resolution, since spectators are really close to it and we have a lot fine detail in our animation. If the resolution is too low, pixels become very visible. This sort of breaks the illusion.”
“One thing that we did encounter is that projecting on a normal plate makes the image loose its sharpness because of the reflective coating that is on most plates,” Filip points out.
“So we ended up painting our plates white so they don’t reflect as much. Another important thing to be aware of is that you need quite a bit of room around your plate for the projection for each customer/spectator. A lot of restaurant tables are quite small and our existing content would not work so well on them.”
Antoon and Filip used two Panasonic PT-VW350 LCD portable projectors for Le Petit Chef – Bouillabaisse.
The portable projectors in this series provide a 10,000:1 contrast ratio and due to an innovative cooling system, are reportedly the lightest in their class at just 3.3 kg and 3.4 kg for network models.
Additional key features include a 5,000 lamp life (7,000 hours in Eco mode) and the fact that networked models support wireless mirroring of almost any media including video, websites and documents via Intel Pro WiDi.
Together with enhanced Miracast connection for Android devices and proprietary apps for iOS, Android and PC, these wireless solutions allow free collaboration and communication in the office and classroom.
All models include an HDMI input, monitor out and two D-sub inputs as well as an inbuilt 10W speaker. Network variants allow the addition of a memory viewer for easy media display via a USB memory stick.
The four model series comprises of the PT-VW355N (WXGA, 4,000 lm) and PT-VX425N (XGA, 4,500 lm) and two non-network variants, the PT-VW350 (WXGA, 4,000 lm) and PT-VX420 (XGA, 4,500 lm), both with similar base specification.
More innovative projection mapping at its best
Visit Skullmapping’s website here.