OSCAR TESTÓN: “THE SECRET OF MAPPING IS THAT WE HAVE BROKEN THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL SCREEN”

We are accompanied in Fluge by one of the referents of visual realization, recognized worldwide, and leading the creation of content for multimedia shows. We are talking about Óscar Testón.

Could you tell us your beginnings and what have been your main references?

Since I was a little boy I’ve been immensely attracted by  the audiovisual world and I was lucky because with 14 years of age or so, the MTV program came into my life. So, I said to myself, I want to do what I saw there on TV, the seed was planted. Then when I could come to Madrid to study a little, I continued to advance and in the year 2000 was when I introduced myself into this world. I started playing video in real time and that gave me a lot of knowledge and temperament. You start creating a small niche with customers, you start growing slowly, you start managing bigger orders and you do not know how you end up executing important shows.

How do you deal with technological evolution from a creative point of view?

The market at a technological level is emerging new products every 6 months or each year.  The customer has access to see what is done in other markets through you-tube or other networks. They have access to see the creations that are being made where before they did not have these input of ideas.

Before you carried out a good pyro-musical show and that was enough. Now we have to combine the video with the most powerful sound, the lighting, now I think. We are heading towards the creation of a good audiovisual team, where you don’t only think to yourself  to just make a good video programing. You create good video but you have a person next to you for a program of lights as well, you have an artistic director beside you who has the whole idea. That is what really makes a show be great.

How do you see the audiovisual contribution of Fluge in the projects?

The last big project has been the 360º mapping of the Plaza Mayor. Working with a single technical provider is very comfortable. It is very comfortable to know that you have machinery and a human team to support you. Then you are less hesitant to get involved in big projects because you know you are backed up.

What processes do you follow when facing a new project?

Well the first phase is the concept of the idea that you want to do. Once the customer says “I want to do this…” or you go to a client to offer “you can do that…”, the next step is to see the viability of that project. Then it is where we have to always meet with our technical specialists. Then I have to meet my creative team and we see the conjunction of what we have in mind; what the client has in mind. Then we begin to study it technically. Above all that, technical feasibility and possibilities because in our mind it is very easy to visualize that a façade falls or that we paint colors, but there has to be a response behind the thought, real viability.

What is the secret behind the attractiveness of video mapping?

The secret of mapping is that we have broken through the traditional screen. Before you went to a convention and as you entered, even if it was off, you knew where the projection was going to be, because structures had been built for that projection. Now with video mapping what we have done is that we can project, thanks to power and programs that allow us to adjust the video, we can project practically on any surface or any volume. So I think that’s what surprises people and the video is made for this or that architecture or in this or that volume. Before it was a standard screen more or less then they made videos on flat videos. Now we deal a lot with 3D, thought to generate something, believe something, that something happens in that scenario.

In this sense, a 360º video mapping has been one of the central acts of the 400th Anniversary of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The success has been resounding with great reviews … We spoke with Delia Piccirilli a few months ago about the program that had designed for this anniversary and we would like you to tell us your experience in this work in which Fluge carried out the whole technical part.

The 400th anniversary of the Plaza Mayor is the largest project I’ve done to date, both technologically and creatively, because normally a mapping is a facade, here we had four facades. Normally a mapping is like a soundtrack in which the sound comes from a façade. Here, there were 8 sound towers with a 360º sound as well. Everything was a challenge, multiplied by four. At a technical level, it was also another step forward for all of us because we had never faced a big square like this one of Madrid which so perfectly closed. we had to perfectly adjust the projection, filling it with light with enough power. Another challenge was the short time we had to do the whole process. We are talking about a total of 6 or 8 weeks since we started until the public could see it on February 18th.

We took off this project with so much desire. Once you get to work you see the possibility of working 4 facades and 8 soundtracks. We wanted the people to turn. If we are selling a 360º show and the public does not turn two or three times on its axis to see what is happening in different facades, for us it would have been a failure. I think we nailed it and we wanted the audience to enjoy more of that moment of having to look for where the projection comes from or where the sound comes from or where the story is.

From a technical point of view, what are your technical tools?

The part that I most exercise is the creation of audiovisuals. In recent years what we do is create content from scratch. We do mostly mapping, then we work a lot of 3D with software like 3dStudio or Maya , and with other postproduction software like After Effects and in postproduction of sound we work with ProTools and also generating sounds.

Do you work with storyboards?

The first thing we do at the time of starting a project, is to meet  as a team of three people, among them is Miguel who is the person who draws the storyboard. Right now without storyboard you cannot go to any clients because they cannot visualize it. Not only storyboard to use as drawn sketches, we also already do animated storyboards or small animations for the client to see, what we call renders. Renders are like a few big frames of how the production will be, then accompanied by a video of a minute or a minute and a half with animation of spotlights;  an animation of how the projection will be. Customers are becoming more demanding in that sense, they want to see how the project evolves, they want to see it with the soundtrack; they want to visualize it. They want to understand it well.

How do you see the evolution of the audiovisual show?

In the short term mapping shows will continue on facades.  I imagine there will be a technological advance although now you can do almost everything at a level of projection equipment. I also see a potential on the LED screen to do shows, which we used to do in indoor projection, which we are now starting to develop  with LED screens. The rental costs are decreasing and on the other hand they are already giving a resolution that previously was a little hard to reach. All at a level of light power that is very comfortable when designing visual proposals.

What projects do you have in your hands?

Right now we are completely immersed in two projects that are going to come out in a month and will be held in Madrid. I have been saying that I rarely get projects in Madrid. I have done projects around Spain and outside Spain but very little has been done in Madrid. Yet, it seems this year my guardian angel was whispering to me, “Wait its coming.”  Well we are doing two projects, a mapping on trees that I think is going to be very interesting and different because we are going to have the trees speak and send a speech during the mapping. The other project is in the Puerta de Alcalá where we are going to line up LED on the arches of the Puerta de Alcala. These projects are carried out  with Fluge, we are now detailing and producing to carry out.
This year  we are counting on you for the II Edition of Fluge Understanding – Fluge Understanding which is open door days, will be celebrated from the 20th to the 23rd of November in which you will hold a conference on audiovisual mapping…Can you give us an advance of the lecture you will exhibit in this event?

I’ve been carrying out conferences for years, but right this year has been the year where my projects have been more varied.  I usually do outdoor mapping in large format, but this year I have 4 or 5 projects that have given me a head start. So I have remove the idea of my typical conferences, and with these new experienced concepts I will create a vision of what these 11 months in the audiovisual world have been for me.

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