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A Projection Mapping Story Board

The Story Board project is the story of the MTN (the largest telecommunications in Africa) and its new space, CoLab. It is all about collaboration/cooperation/co-existence. They wanted to create something visually striking, that could fill the role of telling their story, while also being visually attractive. It gives people a way to spend their time in a fun and proactive way.

Mustard helped them to bring their idea to life by creating an interactive wall, using the Touch Board and projection mapping. We caught up with Tim Apter, Producer & Director at Mustard, to find more about the story board.

The team started by researching the history of the company, with the help of the HR team at MTN, and found some great stories and landmark moments in the company from 1994 until now. Then, their in-house team illustrated the drawing as both a “base” layer – that would be applied to the wall – and an active layer, which would come alive through projection.

Although they had a few months lead time for the opening of the venue, one area where they did not have a lot of time was the physical installation of the wall. The room was only ready for them a week before the facility opened – and it was a shell. They needed to build the frame of the wall, apply the artwork and do all the wiring in just 3 or 4 days.

Initially, they planned to use conductive paint as a layer and then paint the artwork over this, but because of the project’s scale, costs and turnaround time, screen printing was not the best option. It also posed uncertainty around cleanly attaching wiring through the board, without it ruining the clean and unbroken surface.

Looking at their options, they discovered the proximity feature of the boards and decided to paint on the back of the board instead. The Story Board’s artwork could then be applied as a vinyl and sealed independently, which was much easier, cheaper and faster.

A few days before Story Board’s installation, Tim told us they realised that they could use sheet metal (in this, case copper) to pre-cut the touch points on a CNC router by the same company doing the vinyl – they would be perfectly to scale, which would make aligning them on the back side of the board easier, and meant a lot of the install could happen with just a drill and screwdriver.

The CNC team then applied a mirror image of the artwork on the back of the board, to help them get the alignment perfect with no effort at all.

Though they wanted to use conductive paint, the install was done “dry” without any paint, this helped them reduce noise on each point by reducing the sensitivity.

They used 4 Touch Boards, connected to 36 touch points that sent a signal to a server machine as a MIDI, which then triggered the video clips. The challenge at this stage was the long length of the cable between the touch point and the Touch Board, which meant the boards had to be installed permanently behind the wall, where they wouldn’t be easily accessible.

To solve this, they installed 4 boards, and the USB outputs ran out the back of the wall to a server, about 5 meters away. By keeping the USB lines as short as possible, they managed to overcome the obstacle and have the outcome they wished for; a 6.2m x 1.4m interactive Story Board, which communicated MTN’s story in an immersive and memorable way.

Images & Video: Mustard

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