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A Hi-Tech Twist on Halloween

A Hi-Tech Twist on Halloween

It can be heard before you actually see it. As you get closer, it looks like a series of different colored flashing lights, but the closer you get, you realize that what looked like flashing lights is really flashing images. First, spiders crawl down the house, then skulls with blood-red eyes, and finally, skeletons and evil pumpkins make their way down the side of the home. The sound you heard before isn’t just eerie music, but voices too. No, it’s really just one voice, intoning, “Welcome foolish mortals to the haunted mansion. I am your host, your ghost host….” This is no ordinary Halloween display as it’s different than almost any other Halloween display you’ve ever seen at a person’s house, especially in Santa Clara.

What you’re watching and enjoying is the work of long-time Santa Clara resident, Terry Estioko, a VJ/visuals artist. Estioko has created art in a combination of music, sounds and images, all projected onto his Santa Clara house. “This is a new digital-style video projection system that most people might not have seen,” said Estioko. “I used to live in a secluded court in 95054 with [a Home Owner’s Association] so this is technically the first time [I’ve done this] on my house.”


“The correct term for what I do is “VJ”. In San Francisco [and other major metropolitan areas around the world], this art form is fairly common and has been exploding in recent years. There’s a pretty active scene in the Bay Area. It’s just the South Bay [and to a greater extent Santa Clara], doesn’t get exposed to this type of creative stuff. So in that regard, my system is not particularly special. It’s three – 4,000 lumen video projectors utilizing a Matrox TripleHead2Go processor to stitch three projected images into one super-wide image onto the house. I’m using a MacBook Pro running Modul8 as VJ software, which allows me to composite the video in real-time using layers and other special effects. The video content is a mash-up of stuff I’ve either created, purchased from stock video companies, or manipulated as found footage. I own a fairly large video library and most everything for this particular display is Halloween-themed. Almost everything takes a ride into Adobe After Effects [software] for some creative treatment, tweaking and/or processing. The final output resolution is 1920×480 [pixels], so almost as pixel-dense as HD [in between 720p and 1080p] but in a super-wide format.”

“I’ve been doing large-scale artistic video projection displays for over 15 years,” said Estioko of his reason for creating the display. “It’s something I do on the side, but truly a labor of love. Usually though it’s an event like a nightclub, music festival, art show, fashion show, or something like that. In recent years I’ve been getting more involved with TEDx events, which are more academic but still require large-scale video projection.”

When asked what his neighbors thought about the idea of using his house as the centerpiece display for a Halloween themed video projection, Estioko replied, “They were great. They came out and wanted to see the work and were glad to know I was doing this. It’s interesting and creative. It’s artistic, and it’s not offensive or disruptive. It only goes on for a few hours after the sun goes down, once a year, unless I catch the bug again this Christmas.

Estioko’s display can only be seen on Halloween evening – weather permitting – and on the Saturday before Halloween as a test run at 1660 Nobili Avenue between 7 and 9 p.m. It attracted curious onlookers and everyone who came by on Saturday appreciated the display.


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