ShowTex is a worldwide leader in inventing, manufacturing and installing innovative flame retardant fabrics, tracks and motion control systems for achieving the creative vision of theatre, event and entertainment professionals.
Amazing Stage Fabrics in Motion
This article is part of our series: projection screen buyer guides.
As video and animation are becoming ever more important in live events, the materials that are used to project on are an integral part of the effect these days.
Video designers are exploring their options and look far beyond the traditional flat projection screens to realise their ideas. The technology of video-mapping and video-tracking allows projection on all kinds of surfaces, including 3D shapes and moving objects.
The most traditional projection screens are made of PVC and designed to achieve a perfect resolution and light reflection. Use our PVC mesh screen to benefit from the high image quality that is typical for this type of material, while still adding a touch of transparency to the projection surface. Since PVC can be welded, ShowTex can create extra-large screens with nearly invisible seams. On top of this, we are also able to produce amazing inflatable spheres that can be lit from both the inside and the outside.
In live events, however, the versatility of a screen is often the most important thing.
Depending on the result you would like to obtain, every material can be projected on, even black fabrics. Be creative and combine different materials, use various layers, add motion or light effects, laser, 3D projections and video mapping. The possibilities are endless and the effects will always be unique. ShowTex even offers a phosphorescent projection foil that can capture the light and hold onto it for several minutes, for amazing glow-in-the-dark-effects!
For certain applications, a simple cyclorama cloth can already be sufficient as a front projection surface. Cyclo is an affordable canvas material that is very easy to work with and available in seamless widths up to 12 meters. On top of this, it features a projection quality that matches that of a PVC cinema screen! Especially when there's a live artist in front of the screen who needs to be lit as well, Cyclo is a great idea.
Stretch materials such as PolyStretch P8 CS and StretchTulle are very popular to project on. They reflect the light very well and can be used to wrap objects, preparing them for video mapping.
By covering a space completely with textiles, you can achieve a 360-degree projection setup and put your audience in the middle of the action. A building wrapped in StretchTulle is an ideal surface for stunning laser and 3D projections, while tailor-made car covers combined with projections can make for spectacular reveals. In short, stretch fabrics provide the perfect fabric base for all sorts of projections and special effects.
Being the perfect material to create astounding optical illusions, mesh and sheer fabrics are more and more used as alternative projection surfaces. They can make performers appear and disappear like magic or create holograms and all kinds of 3D effects. There’s nothing more impressive than an image that suddenly appears out of thin air!
Achieving the perfect floating image or virtual object can be a huge challenge though, but fortunately, ShowTex knows how.
For a powerful projection image, you either choose a strong projector, a lighter scrim, a very tight mesh structure or a combination of all these parameters. When transparency is the most important factor, carefully avoid lighting up the scrim itself but light the scene behind it. Use a dark scrim or a projection surface with an open structure, meaning a larger mesh size or a very thin and delicate gauze.
ShowTex PepperScrim is currently at the forefront of the transparent projection technology. While being a highly transparent material, it has really good reflective abilities as well. The combination of these two opposite properties makes this light metallic scrim very unique, to say the least.
But why only use a scrim? With the laser-cut technique, any CAD drawing can be cut out of practically any fabric with great detail. This way, opaque and transparent materials can be combined into one single backdrop. Just add colourful light effects or video projection to make the drape really stand out.
Another great projection surface is ShowTex AluShape. This thick aluminium foil covered with Cyclo 200 is very flexible and can be moulded in any shape!
Use AluShape to quickly create 3D structures of any size and add video projection or light effects to completely transform the atmosphere of your set. A fashion show in Milan put this into practice when it immersed its audience in a virtual underwater world and used AluShape as a live projectable rock formation.
White Spaghetti string curtains are not only perfect for decoration or as a creative partition wall, they also reflect light very well. By combining them with video projection or colourful lights, they can add depth and dynamics to a set and create a unique fairylike effect.
As you can see, the possibilities are endless when projecting on textiles. To obtain a spot-on result, it is therefore key to choose the right material and to understand the parameters that determine the quality of the projection. Luckily, you can always turn to ShowTex to assist you with that!