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Lyon light festival videomapping showcases colour pigments and flowers

New PIXERA media server helps create award-winning projection mapping show at prestigious city light festival

Picture: @OCUBO 2019

Portuguese creative studio and multimedia company OCUBO delivered a videomapping spectacular at the world-renowned Fête des Lumières in Lyon (5-8 December 2018), utilising Christie laser projection and AV Stumpfl PIXERA media servers.

The Fête des Lumières is a light festival that features an innovative programme of spectaculars and artistry. Having first participated in the festival in 2017 with the show Guignol Sur La Colline presented on the facade of the Collège Jean Moulin, OCUBO returned in 2018 but this time took centre stage – engaged to deliver on the façade of the Saint-Jean Cathedral in the heart of the old city. The company came up with Pigments de Lumière, which was the recipient of the prestigious Trophée des Partenaires awarded each year by the festival’s partners to the best artistic showcase.

Inspired by a quote from famous author Goethe, who said: “colours are actions from light”, Pigments de Lumière was conceived as an abstract tribute to and celebration of all the colours that make up light, represented one by one through an exciting succession of different effects. The story is told through flowers – which react to interaction with elements of nature such as wind, water and ice. Starting from a point of reflection – that we always try to create realistic images digitally, but there is nothing more real than reality itself – OCUBO controversially decided on an artisanal approach working in analogue, whereby all the images projected onto the façade were filmed, as opposed to generated digitally.

Nuno Maya, CEO, artistic director and co-founder of OCUBO explained: “We knew that creating a show for such an iconic site was a great responsibility and that the project had to be extraordinary, which is what inspired a departure from the classic scheme of our projects down the analogue route. What unfolded is an experimental show with videomapping techniques that explore the aesthetics of two beautiful elements of nature – colour pigments and flowers. Throughout the centuries, flowers have taken on many meanings – symbols of friendship, love, vitality, revolution and freedom for example – with many still holding these symbolic connotations today. The history of pigments can also be traced back to prehistoric times and linked to the need of human beings to express themselves, their stories and their creativity.

Picture: @OCUBO 2019

“Using the forces of water and gravity and inspired by colour, movement and fusion of elements, the everyday images of flowers and pigments are transformed into something emotional, poetical and magical. Abstract colours and forms envelop each flower creating dynamic sculptures that enhance the beauty of the flowers themselves while interacting with the building architecture through analogue visual effects and experiments.”

The technical set up which delivered this powerful creative concept featured 12 Christie 20,000 lumens WUXGA laser projectors, with three new AV Stumpfl PIXERA one quad server clients controlled by a fourth one acting as a master. Calibration was ensured by VIOSO’s camera based system, while an RME Fireface UC external audio interface was used for audio playout and to send SMPTE LTC time code to control and sync a laser plus a number of small lights. Two-line arrays each consisting of three T12 active speakers from dB Technologies coupled with a SB30 sub ensured the audio delivery to the crowd.

“This project gave us the opportunity to prove our revolutionary graphical user interface concept, which is built around the key theme of usability, and show that it works as part of a complex and prestigious project such as this,” said AV Stumpfl’s project manager and trainer, Florian Eder. “The feedback from international projection mapping experts like OCUBO is of great importance as we are committed to a roadmap of continuous development – their input helped us to understand better which additional features should be prioritised.”

Maya added: “I believe that PIXERA really is a game changer for us and indeed the industry – a revolution in the media server market with huge potential. It gives us the means with which to recreate an accurate show of any size, even in our studio, and ensure we have the best set up possible for every eventuality. With PIXERA, we can quickly set the event up on location and react quickly to any unforeseen real world changes or adaptations which need making to a project.

“One of the most important features is that the software can show the project using 3D objects, and allows to adapt the film according to the 3D building and the position of the projectors in the space. I also can’t speak highly enough of its ease of use and how intuitive it is. With six shows to deliver every hour, over the four-day duration of the festival, we needed to have 100% confidence that our technical set up was robust and flexible enough to cope with those demands. Having worked alongside the AV Stumpfl team and with its products for some time now, there was never any doubt they were right for this job.”

The festival organisers were also suitably impressed with the show. Emma Violy, production assistant for the Fête des Lumières commented: “The show had incredible feedback, from the public, press and fellow artists. Saint-Jean is one of the key locations in the festival programme with high expectations attached to it. In my opinion, this project not only met but exceeded those expectations. It was extremely impressive, both technically and artistically.”

Maya concluded: “Participating in a world-renowned festival like the Fête des Lumières, and being recognised on this level, is a very rewarding experience for the whole team. It is thanks to AV Stumpfl’s PIXERA that we could deliver at this level. We really enjoyed working with them and with the new suite, and we’re excited to use this new system on future projects so that together we can continue to push the boundaries when it comes to projection mapping.”