October 15, 2020 Kei Onishi

Immersion Rooms for Property Displays

Thinking of building an immersion room for your next sales display? Here are 3 things you should know.

In the last couple of years, immersion rooms have become a popular feature in high-end property sales displays. The immersion room is a dedicated theatre inside a display where potential buyers get to experience a highly immersive film or virtual walkthrough of the project.

At Vantage Interactive, we’ve been fortunate enough to team up with Harvey Norman Commercial Division and Epson Australia to bring this unique space to life for multiple developers. Below are some things we’ve learnt along the way and some common questions we get asked.

1. Projection Types

There are many different types of projections that are possible. The choice really depends on the room that you have available, the experience you want to create for your visitors and your budget. There are pros and cons with each type. Below are some typical projections that work in most sales suites.

Box Projection

The box projection consists of 3 or 4 projectors. Each projector covers a wall to create an immersive experience that fills the whole room.

    • Space Requirements: For best results, we recommend a room with minimum 5m (length) x 5m (width) x 3m (height).
    • Pros: Easy to set up. Most commercial projectors come with built in functionality to precisely align and ‘fit’ the image to each wall.
    • Cons: Seams may be visible on the edges of the room where the walls meet

Curved Wall

This is basically the same as the box projection method, but by rounding off the edges of the walls we can eliminate the seams that would have been visible. However, now we have to blend and warp each projector so that it looks correct. This doesn’t happen automatically and it can get tricky depending on the radius and the smoothness of the curve.

Some high end projectors have functionality (built into the hardware) to solve this problem but from our experience, using a software solution like Immersaview is more reliable and can achieve better results.

    • Space Requirements: For best results, we recommend a room with minimum 5m (length) x 5m (width) x 3m (height).
    • Pros: Seamless image leading to a better display of immersive content
    • Cons: More difficult to set up. Needs additional time and budget for blending/warping software calibration.

Cylindrical

A cylindrical screen will allow you to take the immersion room experience to the next level, thanks to its geometric shape and how our eyes perceive the projected image. Unlike the box projection method where the side walls will be perpendicular to the viewer, the cylindrical screen will wrap around the viewer more evenly, making the peripheral areas easier to see. For most sales displays, half a cylinder (180°) should do the trick but it’s also possible to put in a full 360° cylindrical screen if desired.

    • Space Requirements: For best results, we recommend a room with minimum 6m (length) x 6m (width) x 3m (height).
    • Pros: Seamless image. Less distortion, leading to better immersion.
    • Cons: Need additional time and budget for blending/warping software calibration. Will typically require more space and potentially more projectors depending on the size.

Panoramic Projection

This type of projection is used to display long panoramic content on a flat wall. Great for showcasing viewlines or cinematic films in the display.

    • Pros: Easy to set up. Projectors can be blended in hardware or software.
    • Cons: Not as immersive as other options.

There are also other projection types that aren’t discussed in this article. Get in touch if you would like to find out more!

2. The Room

One of the key factors that will determine the type of immersion room that can be built is the space that is available in the display.

  • Size – For best results, you need a room with at least 5mx5m of open space. This should allow up to about 5 people to occupy the space comfortably. With the advent of ultra short throw lenses, the projectors can be mounted much closer to the walls, reducing the amount of shadows that may get cast by the people in the room.
  • Location – Most immersion rooms are strategically placed near the entrance of the display so that it is one of the first things that the visitor experiences. When done right, the immersion room should leave the visitor excited and set the stage for the rest of the display visit.
  • Ambient Light – The theatre needs to be as dark as possible while it is being used. The more ambient light that is present in the room, the brighter the projector will need to be. The ambient light also affects the black level of the projector.
  • Screen/Wall – Unless you are doing 3D stereoscopic projection, the walls can be coated with non-reflective projector paint or screen. Keep in mind that too much reflection on the walls will increase the ambient light in the room and hence affect the experience. The colour should either be white or grey depending on the projector’s brightness, ambient light of the room and the content that is being shown.
  • Soundproofing – Make sure that the room has enough soundproofing so sound doesn’t leak out of the immersion room to other areas of the display.
  • Server Room – We recommend having a separate room where all the computer, networking and audio equipment are stored.
  • Air Conditioning – With multiple projectors running at the same time and people in the room, it can get warm quickly. We definitely recommend having an aircon in the room!

3. Control Device

An important and often overlooked component of an immersion room build is the control mechanism. How does the sales agent guide the visitor into the room and start the experience? Nothing looks clunkier than the salesperson using a keyboard/mouse to manually start the presentation. Having the video loop endlessly in the room isn’t ideal as well, as the visitor will most likely walk into the room at the wrong timing.

At Vantage Interactive, we develop custom iPad apps for our clients to make this process as seamless as possible. The app can be integrated with other smart devices in the display, where with a press of a button, the display staff can open/close the immersion room door, dim the lights and start the experience.

Thanks for reading! Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to learn more.

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