Screen shot form Bot & Dolly video, "The Box"

Is it real? Or is it… virtual? Projection mapping is one of the most spectacular trends in live event video. Amusement parks use projection mapping to highlight their structures and to bring their characters to life. Branded content marketers partner with cities and corporations to place amazing displays of innovative animation across their famed architecture. Projection mapping is when technical artists create video animations and composites that, when projected onto a structure, appear to blend perfectly with the structure’s surface and create an illusion. It makes the viewer question if what they’re observing is real or virtual.

Robotic projection mapping

Projection mapping by itself is pretty amazing. Robots are also amazing, especially when they’re utilized to do something other than manufacturing. When they’re manufacturing an integrated performance that involves projection mapping it becomes a technical spectacle that’s a downright magical illusion. It just so happens that production house Bot & Dolly used some manufacturing robots to assist in their film The Box.

Bot & Dolly

One thing that sets The Box apart from other projection mapping projects is that Bot & Dolly crafted their animations to project onto moving surfaces. They also included a live element with a performer and scripted the robotic movements, incorporating the robots themselves as elements in the overall production. The performance was all captured in camera on one take, no post production trickery to create the effect. The result is a mind blowing integration of the real and the virtual. Bot & Dolly specializes in the use of robotics for automation and motion control as a creative medium for filmmaking.

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Chris Ace Gates
Chris "Ace" Gates is a four time Emmy Award-winning writer and producer. He is a big fan of animation and transmedia storytelling.