Dance combined with Jaw Dropping Facial Projection Mapping

“INORI (prayer)” is a dance performance video that uses real-time facial projection mapping to change the look of the dancer’s faces. Over the course of about one minute, the dancers are made to look like skulls with empty eye sockets, big-toothed clowns, and terrifying dolls with their jaws unhinged.

At the bleeding edge of advanced projection mapping, new techniques are aligning the virtual world ever closer to the real one. And whereas VR technology is all about putting your head inside a virtual world, mapping processes allow the world around us to become more fluid as a canvas.

The “making of” video describes how the University of Tokyo designed a high-speed projector that projects 1,000 frames per second — what they say is the world’s fastest. By using the projector alongside a 3D-mapping system and precise sensor tracking, the video creators were able to change the look of the dancers and the aesthetics of the video in real time.

The tiny glowing dots attached to the dancer’s faces allow them to be tracked in real time so that the overlays created by the projector perfectly match their movements and facial expressions. The sensors require just milliseconds to process those movements, and then warp and distort the projected images to perfectly match them, which is fast enough to hide any delays from the human eye.

INORI is a massive collaboration, bringing together choreographer Aya Soto, the visual design studio WOW inc. and its creative and technical director Nobumichi Asai, and film producers for TOKYO.