From Ghosts to Shoes to Railway Stations - A Brief History of Projection Mapping

July 24, 2014

As we wrote last week, The Grand Hall Experience at St. Louis’ Union Station incorporates projection mapping to transform an historic venue.  So, we at JRA + blog thought it fitting to step back in time to chronicle the history and mechanics of this increasingly used technology. 

First of all, we need to define what projection mapping (previously known as “video mapping” and “spatial augmented reality”) actually is and how it works.  Simply put, the technology creates projection surfaces from three-dimensional objects.  First, the artist creates a exact virtual replica of the projected surface (be it a building, a car, a bridge, or even just a shoe).  Once the images and video for the projection are chosen, the model is “masked” with the chosen media to map out exactly where and in what sequence the images will be projected onto the surface.   The correct distance between the projector and the object is determined, and the projector orientation, position and lenses are specified.  Finally, it’s showtime!

According to PhD candidate and Projection Mapping Central curator, Brett Jones, the history of projection mapping dates back to 1969.  As with so many breakthroughs in our industry, the new technology sprang from Disney, as the “Grimm Grinning Ghosts” and the disembodied Madame Leota sent chills down the spines of guests to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.  To accomplish the effect, singers were filmed with 16 mm film, and then the images were projected onto busts of their faces, coordinated with the ghosts’ singing.

Flash forward to 1980, and the film installation "Displacements", by Michael Niemark.  As you can tell by the video, Niemark makes it appear as though people are actually walking through the living room and interacting with the objects.  Eleven years later, Disney raises the bar again, securing the first patent for projection mapping, which described the technology as projecting an image onto “a contoured, three-dimensional object.”  General Electric would follow in 1994 with a patent of its own.

Projection mapping received “academic legitimacy” in 1998, when University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill professors Ramesh Raskar, Greg Welch et al published a paper entitled The Office of the Future.   The document foretold the ubiquity of projection technology, rendering anyone capable of experiencing “spatial augmented reality” right from their desks.  According to Jones, the UNC paper predicted that “we could Skype with life-size versions of our office mates, [via] life-size virtual 3D models.”  Throughout the next decade, a variety of scientists would all make their mark in honing the technology, from specialized bulbs and lamps to moveable projectors.  As the technology developed, companies like Nokia, Samsung and BMW adopted projection mapping to advertise their products, and DJs created mapped, synced visuals to accompany their beats. 

  In the last five years, urban environments around the world have incorporated projection mapping to breathe new life into (and onto) their buildings, though mostly through temporary installations.  Since 2010, the Fete des Lumieres in Lyon, France has offered exquisite installations, blanketing its Theatre des Celestins with fanciful masks, twinkling nightscapes and colorful animated characters. In 2012, this blogger had the great pleasure of witnessing a projection mapping show on the façade of the famed Sagrada Familia during Barcelona’s annual La Merce festival.  The show, produced by Canadian multimedia company Moment Factory, exploded Gaudi’s iconic building in a kaleidoscope of color, carefully choreographing the projections to a recorded soundtrack.

One of the most successful urban projection mapping (and community building) experiments in recent years occurred just a few blocks from JRA’s home offices.  Last year, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO), Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati May Festival Chorus worked with local firm Landor to design a one-of-a-kind, 40-minute projection mapping experience against the front façade of Cincinnati Music Hall, a National Historic Landmark and local treasure.  The event, Lumenocity, came together in just six months as a way of welcoming incoming CSO conductor, Louis Langree, and was funded entirely by local corporations and foundations.  While roughly 20,000 guests were expected to attend the two free nights of performances, over 35,000 people flocked to Washington Park to witness the multi-sensory event, jamming the park and surrounding streets with awestruck revelers.  This year, to better control capacity, the CSO offered reserved (but still free) tickets via Ticketmaster.  Within 12 minutes of release, tickets were already completely sold out, and scalpers were (illegally) offering tickets for hundreds of dollars on eBay.  The overwhelming demand forced the CSO to offer tickets to its dress rehearsal and satellite locations where the spectacle could be broadcast via closed circuit TV.  Here’s a look at the last year’s blockbuster “Bolero” finale:

The Grand Hall Experience at Union Station is one of the few permanent projection mapping installations in the world (and the first of its kind in the US).  But with leaps and bounds in technology, along with a commitment to compelling storytelling, this history of projection mapping is only just beginning.


Tags: Blog N Learn

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New Grand Hall Experience Transforms St. Louis' Union Station

July 17, 2014

Passengers crowd Union Station's Grand Hall.

By 1894, St. Louis had already been known as the “Gateway to the West” for over a century.  But with the construction of the impressive new Union Station, St. Louis became a gateway to the world.  On the day it opened, Union Station was the world’s largest and busiest train station, and it required a train shed with the largest roof span in the world to accommodate its 42 tracks, which served 100,000 passengers per day.  Union Station’s Grand Hall, with its 65-foot-tall, barrel-vaulted ceiling, would embrace millions of personal stories, from the revelry of visitors celebrating St. Louis’ 1904 World’s Fair to the reunion of soldiers with their families at the end of World War II.

This iconic photograph was taken at Union Station.

But with the aviation industry literally taking flight in the 1950s and 60s, Union Station and its Grand Hall began to fall into disrepair and neglect. In 2012, Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) purchased the property and were tasked with finding unique ways to drive visitation to Union Station’s new hotel, dining, and shopping options while still maintaining the Grand Hall’s historic character.

The solution to this challenge became the largest, permanently installed, indoor immersive projection mapping experience in the US, produced by Technomedia Solutions with initial concepts provided by JRA.  Projected on the Grand Hall’s ceiling, and across the entire space, this 3D presentation is comprised of 30 vignettes, taking guests from the depths of the sea to the Sistine Chapel to Busch Stadium. The 16-projector holographic light show employs 14 high-resolution projectors, digital media servers, consolidated control, 10-channel surround audio, and an LED lighting system to elevate the space and immerse the audience in the media event. Enhancing the vivid animation and music is narration provided by television and film personalities closely connected to St. Louis, including John Goodman, Jon Hamm and Bob Costas. Because the show differs slightly with every hourly evening performance, visitors have reason to experience this kaleidoscope of images again and again.

Since it's opening on May 10, 2014, the new Grand Hall Experience has generated both valuable PR as well as an increase of over 125% in attendance to the Grand Hall.  According to LHM President and COO, Steve O’Loughlin, the Grand Hall Experience has had a profound impact on both LHM’s revitalization efforts and on the historic site as a whole: “the new Grand Hall Experience has exceeded our expectations and has instantly become one of St. Louis’ most popular attractions.”

Tags: Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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Conference World Tour 2014: Chloe James Hausfeld's Asian Adventures

July 10, 2014

Chloe James Hausfeld - Your Tour Guide Through Beijing and The Philippines

Chloe James Hausfeld - Your Tour Guide Through Beijing and The Philippines

Just a few weeks ago, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) held their annual Asian Attractions Expo in Beijing, as well as a post-show "More Fun in the Philippines Tour".  JRA Executive Assistant, Chloe James Hausfeld, graciously offered to chronicle her 12-day trip, so without further ado, here's Chloe's IAAPA Asia Travelogue:


I arrived in Beijing, late in the evening...checked into the hotel, and ordered the safest meal on the "Late Night Room Service Menu": wonton soup.  Gotta be in good shape for a long trip!

Woke up ridiculously early and unpacked.  The only good thing about jet lag on this trip was there was great TV on..."HELLO WORLD CUP!"  I barely missed a game. 

I got my bearings throughout the day and made my way over to the China National Convention Center to check on the process of the booth. Met up with "old industry friend" and former JRA team, Dawn Tong for drinks and dinner. 

Made a new friend, and decided he should come home with Ping Ping has a special spot on my desk!

Ping Ping made it home. :-)

Took an early walk through Tiananmen Square, and then an incredible tour of The Forbidden City.  It truly is an amazing place.

Tiananmen Square - I still can't decide if I'm bummed about not seeing Chairman Mao, or not??

I would have definitely been okay living here!

Got dropped back off at the Convention Center to check on the booth, which looked great!

No issues with the booth = happy Chloe

COO Dan Schultz and JRA Malaysia Director Shah Azmi arrived in the felt great to have some of the JRA family with me at last (and I got to show off my new Chinese dress!). 

Dressed and ready to go!

The Opening Ceremony was a hit, with great "giveaways" as well as phenomenal entertainment.

Opening Ceremony welcome sign

Dan lookin' good in a giveaway!

Only way to open an IAAPA event...have the Chairman start it off with a song!

To top off an extremely successful first show day, I attended the Opening Reception with "The 3 Amigos" for a few cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

My dates for the week - Dan, VP of Marketing & Business Development Shawn McCoy, and Sr. Project Director Matthew Wheeler

We were lucky to be able to enjoy a nice, relaxing dinner with fellow members of the JRA family, Art Director David Ferguson and Senior Project Manager Heather Witt.  They were in town working on the Lao Niu Discovery Museum of CNCC.


Day Two of the show started off with a successful breakfast project meeting at the hotel, followed by another busy day at the booth.  As a member of the IAAPA Young Professionals Subcommittee, I attended the YP Forum, led by Shaun McKeogh of Management Resources, and fellow subcommittee member, Doug Akers of Sentosa

Members of IAAPA's Board of Directors share their stories

The evening was filled with great events such as the TEA Party, as well as the Kingsmen's "Chill Out"...although, I don't believe it is possible to "chill out" in Beijing in June.

JRA's COO, Dan Schultz, along with TEA's Asia Board Members Shahryn Azmi of JRA, Peter Sanderson of The Sanderson Group and Chris Yoshi of AECOM

Proud to see The Mind Museum's Thea Award recognition on the reel at the TEA party

Neat sculptures at the Kingsmen event

Kingsmen welcome sign


Day Three of the Expo began with a panel presentation involving none other than our own Shawn McCoy.

"Protecting Your Intellectual Property"

Always a great speaker!

The day ended, and I had the booth packed up in record time, looking forward to a delicious dinner on the 56th floor of the Grand Hyatt.

Great view, with great people

I was then happy to spend a night on the town with former JRA team member (and Rovio's current Director of Location Based Entertainment and Development), Eric Lee.

Great to see old friends!

World Cup, and ....MUCH NEEDED REST!!  Enough said.

 I found this cutout the previous evening with Eric, but believe it is better suited for this day of events...

I enjoyed my last breakfast in Beijing, ready to head to the Philippines for the IAAPA Post Tour.  Little did I know that we would spend 4 hours sitting on the plane at the gate. When we FINALLY reached the Philippines, we were immediately taken to a warm welcome reception at Enchanted Kingdom.

We FINALLY made it!!!

Welcome sign

Best entertainers around!

The group decided that a nightcap was necessary after our journey, and were happy to find that Raffles' Longbar was open 24/7 due to the World Cup...looks like I knew where I was headed for the USA game in a few hours time. 

After watching the first half of the USA Game, I decided my neighbors probably didn't appreciate the volume levels of yells that were coming from my room.  After taking a three-minute shower, in the dark no less (figured out where the light switch was later...again, it was very early), I rushed down to catch the second half of the heartbreaking game at Raffles.  I think it's safe to say that the 7 people in the bar (including employees) thought that I had lost my mind by the 95th minute.  Needless to say, that was not how I wanted to begin my day. 


After Dan consoled me over breakfast, I was determined to begin the rest of the day on a more positive note.  What better way than to step on US soil at the breathtaking American Cemetery and War Memorial.  They are truly no words for how moving that place is. 

Walls and walls of the names of brave men


The JRA crew, Dan, Matthew and I, were thrilled for our next stop...The Mind Museum.  They really "threw out all the stops" for the IAAPA group, and we were proud to have been a part of that incredible project. 

Adorably themed table decor for lunch at The Mind Museum

Checking out the whale shark with Megan Noland

The tour continued to Bonifacio High Street, Fort Santiago and the Walled City of Itramuros. 

Fort Santiago

Making new friends

Beautiful old church


We finished our tour with a Filipino barrio fiesta filled with great food, music and dancing.

A fantastic welcome

The evening was then topped off with an outing by way of a Jeepsie with great friends! 

As if I weren't already craving American/Cincinnati food enough, they had to have a Frisch's Big Boy...think they have the IP licensing for that??


Our last day in the Philippines started with a scenic journey to the beautiful Taal Lake & Volcano in Tagaytay, Cavite.  I could have taken in that view all day. It was truly a site to behold.

I told you it was beautiful!

Can anyone say, "new profile pic"??

Couldn't leave without taking a selfie

Taking in the view

JRA family portrait

On the way back to Manila, we stopped at Zamperla Asia Pacific Inc., known as "ZAP", which is Antonio Zamperla's manufacturing company in the Philippines. 


Extremely impressive manufacturing factory, filled with wonderful people

What would a trip be like without a little ethnic shopping?  To fill that void, we were then brought to Makati City to do some shopping. Then, to end IAAPA's More Fun in the Philippines tour, we were treated to another enjoyable evening of dinner, music and dancing.  Karaoke might have been involved...

An Italian serenade with a little Filipino flare

We had a ride to the airport at 3:30 a.m. the next morning, so sleep was not a good option for me.  Therefore, I consoled the Zamperla crew while we watched Italy play in their final World Cup match. 


Dan, Matthew and I were en route home!!!  I spent the next 24 hours in cars, planes, and airport lounges, enjoying naps, food, and movies (Despicable Me 1 & 2, Memphis Belle & The Heat). 

HOME SWEET HOME...with Skyline for dinner, or course.  After all, this is Cincinnati. :)


Thanks, Chloe! Next week, we'll be making yet another new project announcement!  It's been a busy summer here at JRA...


Tags: JRA Journeys , JRA Team , Outside the Studio

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PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT: Dubai Summer Surprises 2014 to Host Angry Birds Universe World Premiere

June 30, 2014

The Angry Birds are landing in Dubai next month.

The Angry Birds are landing in Dubai next month.

Travelling exhibit for all ages to kick-off global tour in UAE

Dubai Summer Surprises, the leading summer festival in the region, is proud to host the world premiere of the travelling exhibition “Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind a Global Phenomenon.”

Dubai Summer Surprises, organised by Dubai Festivals & Retail Establishment (DFRE), runs from 2 August to 5 September and promises a month-long festival of great shopping deals and fun-filled, family-oriented entertainment throughout the city.

Imagine Exhibitions, Inc., in partnership with Rovio Entertainment Ltd., and Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), developed this unique exhibition to present, in partnership with Live Nation Middle East, an educational and highly interactive attraction unlike any other on the market.

Angry Birds Universe will open on 28 July at Modhesh World, one of the region’s most popular indoor family edutainment destinations, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Based on the popular Angry Birds games, fans of all ages will have fun learning a wide variety of educational concepts in an extremely hands-on environment. Fans will also have the chance to “be the bird” in a unique, full-body demonstration of Angry Birds physics!

H.E. Laila Mohd Suhail, DFRE CEO, said: “We are extremely pleased to offer our Dubai visitors and residents a unique entertainment experience that would take them to a whole new level of interactive fun. Furthermore, this step comes in line with DFRE’s endeavour to create strategic partnerships with leading global entertainment entities, which has resulted in bringing a world premiere of a game concept that has millions of fans across the world. This will surely cement Dubai’s position as a leading hub for world class events.”

Throughout the immersive experience, families will be introduced to the beloved Angry Birds characters like never before in an interactive adventure with approximately 30 hands-on activities including 10 simple machine bird launching stations, 4 full body experiences, 6 map stamping stations, 20 iPad gaming stations, and 12 opportunities for personal creativity and hands-on creation! These hands-on activities seamlessly teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) concepts and will delight guests of all ages!

The exhibition’s most thrilling attraction is a one-of-a-kind “be the bird” experience: safely propelling guests on zip lines to knock over enormous foam structures, just like the Angry Birds!  In addition, other full-body attractions include a Laser Maze, Climbing Wall, Planetarium, and oversized Sling Shot activity.

Angry Birds Universe features numerous opportunities for families to work together, building creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial skills. For example, parents and children are able to build and test a variety of structures against the impact of Angry Birds launched by other guests. Additionally, guests of all ages can utilize a state-of-the-art design studio to explore their creative side through experiments with character design, animation and sound production related to the Angry Birds games. These exhibits give young visitors an idea of what it’s like to pursue careers in science and technology – all while having fun!

Tom Zaller, President & CEO of Imagine Exhibitions, Inc. commented: “The Angry Birds games and characters are both recognized and loved throughout the world. Combining this worldwide passion for the games with hands on discovery in a 3 dimensional setting allows our visitors to truly engage with the Angry Birds characters like never before.” 

"The Rovio team is very excited to have our Angry Birds Universe exhibition premiere at Modhesh World in the United Arab Emirates," said Jukka Koivu, Head of Location Based Entertainment for Rovio Entertainment. "The Dubai World Trade Center has an excellent reputation for hosting world class events, which makes it the perfect venue to bring our games, characters, and STEAM educational elements to life for the very first time in the UAE."
For more details please visit

Angry Birds Universe: The Art and Science Behind a Global Phenomenon will be open daily to the public at Modhesh World in Dubai World Trade Centre. Visit

# # #
About Imagine Exhibitions, Inc.
Imagine Exhibitions, Inc. is the global resource for all aspects of exhibitions and attractions. From design to creation, placement to presentation, marketing and operations, Imagine has the experience and inspiration to bring the best possible experience to any venue. Imagine is currently producing and touring 25 exhibitions in museums, science centers, aquariums, integrated resort properties and non traditional venues throughout the world. For more information, visit or visit the Facebook page.

About Rovio Entertainment
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the creator of Angry Birds™ is a global industry-changing entertainment media company headquartered in Finland that creatively combines digital with physical, breaking the boundaries of traditional content delivery. What started as a casual game in 2009 became an international phenomenon within a few months of its release. Today Angry Birds is not only the most downloaded game of all time, it is a worldwide known entertainment brand reaching out into publishing, licensing, animations, books and location based entertainment. Rovio's animated Angry Birds feature film is slated for July, 2016.

About JRA (Jack Rouse Associates)
JRA plans, designs and realizes exceptional visitor experiences for museums, theme parks cultural, sport and corporate clients around the world. JRA has provided design and project management services for a variety of high-profile branded projects including The Crayola Experience, World of Coca-Cola and Ferrari World Abu Dhabi. Visit

About Live Nation Entertainment
Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world's leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation & House of Blues Concerts, LN Media and Artist Nation Management. For additional information, visit:

About DSS organiser, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE)
DFRE is an agency of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and, as the pioneer organiser of events and festivals, is responsible for positioning Dubai as a world-class shopping and tourism destination. Each year it works with its retail and leisure partners to organise the internationally renowned Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises, as well as annual events such as Ramadan in Dubai, Eid in Dubai, Modhesh World, Dubai Motor Festival and Dubai Food Festival.


Tags: JRA Journeys , Outside the Studio , Project Spotlight

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The Friday Fives: Making Things Click With Josh Schwartz

June 27, 2014

Josh Schwartz

Josh Schwartz

For our final Friday Fives of the summer, we're asking five questions of JRA co-op, recent Savannah College of Art and Design graduate, and rock 'n' roller, Josh Schwartz.

My favorite part of the design process is …
To me, the most exciting moment of the design process is when a team's brainstorming and research finally come together into a great new story or idea that everyone is pumped about.  At this moment, everything seems to “click”, and it often feels as if that perfect design solution had been present all along.  I have experienced this incredible “click” many times while working on projects with my classmates, and cannot wait to begin taking part in real world projects in the themed entertainment industry. 

Best advice anyone ever gave me …
When it comes to making art, never be afraid to think too big (or too crazy).  When recording a song, play around with as many new, strange, and funky sounds and techniques as possible.  If you're planning to draw a spaceship, start with the biggest, baddest, mother ship you can possibly imagine.  If you draw a monster the size of a house, next try drawing one the size of a skyscraper… with fire breath, supersonic roar, and a laser beam attached to each of its three heads.  Whittling down a grand idea is far simpler than attempting to spice up a puny one. 

To get inspired, I go …
To my favorite films and music.  Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, or James Cameron films, I like to keep copies of my favorites close for when Iím in need of a boost in creativity or a spark of imagination.  I love epic stories that leave me in thought, as they provide me with the most substance, or inspiration, to draw from. 

My hidden talent is…
Jamming out!  I have been playing guitar for over six years, and play around on keyboards and drums as well.  I appreciate most genres of music, but am most drawn to progressive, classic rock, and the blues.  My all time favorite group is Pink Floyd, and its guitarist David Gilmour has been an idol of mine since high school.  I won't have trouble joining into a rock jam session, and if you ever need someone to play any of Gilmour's many guitar solos note for note, I'm your guy. 

Best thing about the industry... that at the end of the day, knowing the work you do will teach, inspire, and in many cases make people smile.  I am ecstatic to be stepping into an industry where we get to immerse ourselves in creating fantastic experiences that will bring joy and knowledge to people around the globe.

For more about Josh, be sure to check out his design portfolio.  Next week, we're recapping the IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo and Post-Expo Tour.  Have a wonderful weekend, and thanks for reading!

Tags: JRA Team

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