Guide To Guerrilla Projections
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ABOUT THIS TRAINING
This training provides some basic information about guerrilla projections and projectors. This guide was written by NooWorld and the video was created in collaboration with Extinction Rebellion Los Angeles.
This training is a 5 Minute read.
Guerrilla projections have become a popular, practical, and sometimes spectacular way to put forward a political or environmental message. Projections are an effective and often inexpensive way to broadcast inspirational ideas and enhance planned actions.
INTRODUCTION TO PROJECTORS
A projector’s brightness is measured in lumens. The more lumens, the brighter the projector. Typically for outdoor projection, a projector should have at least 6000 lumens. The brightness of a projection will be diminished by ambient light on the projection surface. The Protect The Arctic image in the video was projected via one 6000 lumen and one 8000 lumen projector. Less powerful projectors can still have a terrific impact under the right conditions. The brightness and size of a projection depend on the projector’s distance from the projection surface, and the projector’s “lens throw ratio.”
High Contrast imagery is ideal for projection. Imagery can be provided by a laptop, a camera, or another source plugged into your projector.
Gobos are custom metal plates with your message. Depending on your projector and the message you project, you’ll need to find a metal shop to cut your gobo, or order one online.
Laws vary from state to state, and even city to city, so we can’t tell you what may get you in trouble and under what circumstances. We strongly suggest that you give a local lawyer a call if you have concerns or questions.
If you’re legally inside an apartment, projecting onto a building, the authorities either need a warrant or knowledge of a crime in progress to enter the apartment. Some cities have statutes that prohibit advertising on someone else’s property, but other than projecting is not illegal.
If you’re on the street with a generator, there may be laws about flammable material, about using generators, or noise statutes (but you should use a quiet generator anyway).
If you’re on a roof without permission you could be charged with trespassing. If someone asks you to turn off the projector, cooperation is the best way to avoid confiscation of equipment or legal repercussions.
POWER OPTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
A projector can be powered by a plug-in power source, a car, a generator, or a big battery. Using a generator is simpler, but considering the noise and exhaust that a generator creates, as well as legal issues regarding public use of generators, we think battery power is a favorable option.
Different projectors draw different levels of power, so make sure to check that your power source can support the power requirements of your projector. Older projectors tend to draw more power for fewer lumens.
BATTERY POWER REQUIREMENTS
- Pure sine wave inverter (we used the Power Bright APS600-12 Pure Sine Wave Power for about $180)
- Deep-cycle (“marine”) battery
100AH batteries can power a 4-600 watt load safely for just under 2 hours. Most deep cycle batteries come with an AH (amp-hour) rating. To calculate the appropriate size battery for your setup, you can check out this tool.
PURE SINE INVERTER
You need an inverter strong enough to start the projector, but not one that’s so big that it will drain the battery just by running it. When an inverter’s not supplying power it draws low amperage from the battery and can be left connected to the battery for up to three hours. However, we recommend the inverter always be disconnected when not in use.
PROJECTOR HAND CARTS
Projectors can be propped up in various ways, including car trunks or easily maneuverable, battery-powered projection hand carts outfitted with a projector shelf made from 3/4” plywood and vertical plank for weighting the projector shelf and mounting the inverter. The battery is ratchet-strapped to the base of the cart.
- Projector Power Source
- Source material – (Gobos)
- Cable to connect laptop or smartphone to Projector
- Rain Gear
- A partner
- Camera for documentation
DO’S AND DON’TS OF PROJECTIONS
- DO test everything before going out.
- DO keep the battery charging as much as possible.
- DON'T knock or bump a projector while it’s on, as non-LED projectors, which is most, is the easiest way to kill a bulb.
The filament inside the projector is very hot and fragile. Jarring movements can easily break the filament.
- DO use the voltmeter to test the battery. If the battery drops below 11.2 volts (roughly), it’s time to use the remaining power to cool the projector. Turn it off, let it cool down.
- DO recharge your batteries ASAP once drained.
- DO recycle dead batteries. Lead-acid batteries die quickly, especially when not used regularly or left uncharged for long.
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