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There are a lot of different words that are used in Projection Mapping.
This should help you learn the lingo!

Ambient Light -

Light that falls on the house that is not from the projector. This most commonly refers to street lamps, neighbors lighting, and rgb lights.

ANSI-Lumens -

Lumens are a unit of measurement that quantifies the strength of a light source. ANSI is a standard evaluation method that is the one of the best ways to understand the actual light strength.

3D Projection Mapping -

The process of using computer software to alter content to projected visual effects on three-dimensional objects. This is created by mapping visuals to fit an object.

Codec -

A type of software that allows the decoding and encoding of video/audio files. H264 is the most widely supported at this point. H265 is up and coming.

Content -

The media that is being used/projected.

Contrast Ratio -

The difference between the minimum brightness and maximum brightness. The higher the ratio the whiter the whites and blacker the blacks.

Facade -

An image that is created for your house that makes it appear different. (Ex. A broken down haunted house, a circus tent, etc..)

FM-Transmitter -

A device that receives the audio and broadcasts over an FM radio band within a small area.

FPP - Falcon Pro Player -

A program that can be run on a raspberry pi or computer that automates a single or multiple display output. Very useful for syncing/stitching multiple projectors as well as RGB Lights and DMX controlled devices.

Green Screen -

A specialized background that helps isolate the subject from a background. Blue and black are also typically used.


High-Definition Multimedia Interface. A common kind of HD-ready connection and cable used in projection.

Housing / Enclosure -

A way to mount and protect your projector and other components. They can be raised or on ground level.

Keying -

An effect that removes a certain color (range) making it transparent.

Keystone -

The ability to alter the corners on the projector to account for an angled surface.

Layer(ing) -

The process of putting images and videos over top of each other while video editing.

Lens -

The part of the projector that focuses the projected light. Higher end projectors have interchangeable lenses. Most projectors used in Residential Projection Mapping have lenses built in. Short throw lenses are highly recommended so the projector can be placed close to the house.

Lumens -

A term that quantifies the projector brightness. Lumen reporting can differ. ANSI Lumens is the best standard measurement.

Mapping -

The technique of creating/manipulating projection content to a three-dimensional surface by altering it to fit the shapes on your house.

Mapping Template -

A created file that is an outline of your house or area you are going to design a show on.

Mapping Software -

A software application that you use to create projection content to fit your mapping template. After Effects and Davinci Resolve are the most commonly used mapping software.

Masks -

Files (typically PNG) that are specially created based off templates to cover certain areas of the template but leave others transparent. The video/image will be placed on a layer behind the mask and only be visible through the transparent areas. Think of it like walls and windows. If you were standing out front, you would only be able to see the inside of your house where the windows are.

Media Player -

A device that is used to play your media file without the need for a computer. Generally has a USB input and HDMI output.

Opacity -

A measurement that controls the transparency of an image/video.

Orthographic Method -

A method of projection mapping that uses a 3D model of your house to create a show. This method allows for movement of the projector if it is unable to be in a consistent spot.

Projector -

A device that projects a video/image onto a surface using a high-powered light source.

Render -

The process of using the computer to create a new video image by compiling multiple sources. This is usually referring to the last step of the video creation where the computer processes the created content into a single playable file.

Residential Projection Mapping -

The consumer version of large venue architectural mapping. The average hobbyist uses the same technique on a smaller scale projecting on their own residence.

Resolution -

The number of pixels in a display in each direction. Native resolutions can vary and it is important to build in the maximum resolution that all components can use.

Short Throw Projector -

A projector with a lens designed to be used a short distance from a projection surface. Typically creates a much larger projected image than one comparable projector at the same distance.

Stacking -

The process of using two projectors that are “stacked” vertically overlapping both outputs to match on one display. This technique is used to create a brighter image.

Throw Ratio -

A measurement of the width of a projector’s image. The lower the throw ratio, the closer a projector can be placed to a surface to create a comparable image (0.8 and lower is considered short throw, 3.0 and above is considered long throw)

Ultra-Short Throw Projector -

A projector with a lens designed to be used from a very short distance from a projection surface. These are typically not recommended.

Venting -

Creation of an airflow in your enclosure to keep the needed ambient temperature.

Video Mapping -

The same thing as “projection mapping”.

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