Going thru the process of projecting custom images and designs.
Design and Production
The first thing to ask your client is what they would like projected and where. Let us just say they want their initials project, similar to what is in the picture above. You can either get the image printed in a printer (if your fixture runs cool enough), cut out of steel, printed with cool-ink or printed on glass. Each of these has pluses and negatives, I will go over them later. To begin, you must make your design and save it at super high resolution and save it as a PNG. This format seems to work the best for gobo's. At this point you either print it yourself or have it sent away to be made.
Printing it yourself -You may find the image to be not as clean when projected long distances, can only be used in low wattage fixtures 25 watts or less, and they do not hold up well over time.
Steel Cut - most common form, runs under $100, holds up well to high heat, holds up over repeated uses. can't project color unless you have a gel in front of the fixture.
cool ink - Can be printed in any color needed, runs around $100, can only be used in low wattage fixtures. Can be used repeatedly.
Glass Gobo - Very expensive, can be any color needed, any wattage fixture and holds up well over time if taken care of.
Battery powered projectors - only about 10 watts, but can be used if needed in areas without power or tight spaces. bonus - good for disco ball lights!
Small fixtures <25 - Can be good in dark rooms, don't use on super dark or reflective surfaces (such as dance floors). You can use any style gobo you would like
Large fixtures >25 - These can be used for any need, but can only use steel or glass gobo's, so make sure you charge accordingly. Some fixtures have built in rotation (I don't find it useful) or built in color wheels which is something I use regularly.
Digital projectors - Make sure it is above 4000 Lumens. You can make your designs without getting them cut or printed. Mounting options are kind of limited but you can get around this limitation with special brackets or stands.
If you need to project onto a dance floor, you need the projector high enough up to not distort the image. If it is projected on a wall, you need to find a location opposite of it to put a stand high enough to not get disturbed or blocked by foot traffic. Make sure to put some scrim on your stand so it isn't an eye sore. If you are far from your projection placement, make sure you have enough zoom in your fixture so the image doesn't end up HUGE.
Always have a bright enough fixture to be able to back it off if needed rather than be left wanting more and making excuses to angry brides. Know your space and where you can mount things. Again, you don't want to explain why the image so larger than the wall, or unreadable on the dance floor. Get things created ahead of time to make sure you are prepared. Make sure you cover yourself cost wise.