Having already served up expert projection mapping in the form of Le Petit Chef and Bouillabaisse (both having gone viral), Skullmapping’s Antoon Verbeeck and Filip Sterckx are back, naturally, with a dessert offering from the miniature chef.

Le Petit Chef was initially made as a demo to show restaurants and events companies what is possible using this 3D projection mapping technique.

Restaurants or events companies can license the existing content, or ask the team to develop something specifically for them.

“We were very surprised with the reaction to Le Petit Chef,” Filip 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 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.

“After the success of the original ‘Le Petit Chef’ video, we thought it would be a nice idea to create an animation which could be projected before the starters and one that could be projected before the dessert,” Antoon tells CIE.

“For the starters we created the ‘Bouillabaisse’ animation, in which the chef is in a tropical environment, so to create a contrast with this scene, we decided to go for a snowy landscape for the dessert video. From there we started to think about different ideas or actions for the chef and one thing we really liked was that the chef would roll a ball of ice-cream, as you would do when you were a kid to create a snowman.”

Antoon and Filip used a Panasonic PT-VZ570U 3 LCD projector for Le Petit Chef – Dessert, providing 4,800 Lumens, a 10000:1 Contrast and weighting 4.8 kg.

The team tell CIE that since their videos have gone viral, they are constantly being approached by restaurants and businesses wanting to invest in the technology.

“Which is really exciting,” enthuses Antoon. “Not only for restaurants, but also for marketing products. Following up on all these inquiries takes up a lot of our time nowadays, as we are just a two person studio!”

In fact, the videos of people enjoying the projection technology are not created at a restaurant, but rather in a studio.

“We shot the video on the terrace of our studio,” nods Filip. “With every new ‘Le Petit Chef’ video, we invite friends over, show them the new animation and film their reactions. In return we feed them! We then put the video online and sell licenses to events, restaurants and hotels.”

The duo explain that each time they create a new animation, they try to improve it. “We try to take it to the next level, so every time they become more complex,” says Antoon.

“In this case it was creating steps in the snow, with the melting of the ice at the end and so on. We love to fill the animation with small details that take a couple of viewings to notice.”

When asked if this kind of technology is capable of changing the restaurant industry as we know it, Filip pauses, before replying. “Changing the restaurant industry will be difficult, we believe,” he admits.

“To have a number of tables with projections is costly, since you need a projector for every table, plus an audio system, media players to send the video content, cabling and so on. So the technical installation alone comes at quite a cost. Developing the animation itself is quite intensive; we do spend a lot of time getting everything right; going from the concept to finished project can take up to six weeks. 3D animation (or animation in general) is a labour intensive work.”

How Is It Done?

“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.”

Visit the Skullmapping website here.


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