Step 3: CHOOSE A LOCATION
Finding a good location to project is the most important factor in getting your name up really big and really bright. You can make up for having a less powerful projector by paying close attention to the spots you pick, the lighting conditions, surface color, the distance from your car to the projections surface, every detail down to the audience that will see it. Below are suggestions for picking good projection locations:
Low Ambient Light:
Street lights, spotlights, illuminated advertisements; these are your enemy. Search for surfaces that are as far from light sources as possible. In some cases you might be able to temporarily cover certain lights with a heavy jacket or blanket, but in general fighting ambient light is a loosing battle. Don't even bother scouting for spots in the day time as you will end up getting your heart broken when you come back at night and find that your perfect spot is ruined by a single street light.
Bright Surface Color:
White surfaces will reflect much more light than dark ones. White stone, white tile, and painted white walls are ideal projection surfaces. It is possible to project on darker surfaces like brick but you will need to get the projector closer to the wall and hence not be able to get your imagery as big.
Avoid walls with a lot of windows and glass. Because light passes through glass instead of being reflected these areas of your image will appear blank.
Trees, telephone poles, and traffic signage can all pose problems with getting a clear projection path. Placing the projector on the roof of the car will at least get you above most people and automobile traffic that might interfere.
How far you are away from your target projection surface has a lot to do with how big you can get your image. At a certain distance, however, you will start to loose brightness. It's a tradeoff but usually brighter and smaller is more noticeable than big and washed out. Depending on the lighting conditions and the color of the projection surface aim to position the projector between 4 - 10 traffic lanes away from the wall.
After going through all this trouble you want people to see your stuff, so make sure to pick spots where there is a lot of automobile and/or foot traffic. Areas near bars and clubs are good bets, especially later when they start letting out for the night.
You will almost never find a legal parking spot that also meets all of the conditions listed above. The good news is, however, that once you pop your hood and start messing around with the battery most people will assume you are having car troubles and give you a break. This is accentuated if you are in a UHAUL van, then people will think you are moving and having car troubles.... “what a bad day they are having”.
I have never had a problem with people trying to mess with any of the equipment while doing a projection, but that could just be because of my generally thug-ish demeanor. It could be a good idea to bring a few friends. You should always roll deep.
I have had two encounters with police, one ended with them running my ID and letting me go, and the other ended with the cop saying, "Oh this looks cool, sorry, I had to come check it out because someone called and said there were some middle eastern looking people hanging out by the monument." This was probably because it was a city monument and because RESISTOR was crawling through the bushes with a camera wearing a ski mask. It is my understanding that it is legal to project in NYC as long as it is not over top of someone else's advertisement.
Click here to view locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn that I have found to be good projection locations.