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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival



    A show this large and complex, using an entire city square and a lake as a stage, can not be expected to go without a hitch no matter how much pre-production work is done. This is especially true when so many different production elements and technologies are combined. Difficulties are also to be expected when one has to reply on sub-contractors, who are unfamiliar with the technology and the artistic vision of the show, for essential infrastructure and services.
    What follows is a day to day show diary with my impressions and report of the event. This is a "warts and all" account that does not gloss over the technical problems encountered. From an audience perspective, the show went off without problems each night and they were unaware of the issues the crew faced in bringing them this nightly performance.

    In order to present as many pictures as possible, this diary has been broken down into a page per day format. To follow the diary, click on the links at the bottom of each day. Quick links to other report pages are provided at the end of each page.


Day 1 - Tuesday August 3 - Set-up day 1

    The flight from Canada arrived at Heathrow Airport in London on time only to have to circle until we could get a landing slot. Once on the ground, a mad dash ensued to get to the connecting flight to Stockholm which left from another terminal. On arrival at Stockholm's Arlanda airport, the luggage was missing as it had not made the connection in time. After doing some paperwork, British Airways provided me with a toiletries kit and agreed to deliver the luggage as soon as it arrived. Jan Kriland met me at the airport and we were off to the studio of Obscura Magica located in nearby Sollentuna.

Jourgen Kleine and Herrick Türzer assembling one of the Chroma 5 systems

Jourgen Kleine and Herrick Türzer assembling one of the Chroma 5 systems used for the 3D projections at the Obscura Magica studio.

    At the studio Jan and his staff, along with Adela Lopez-Bago, Herrick Türzer and Jourgen Kleine from Germany were busy with the final assembly and packing details as a truck was due in a few hours to transport all of the equipment to the show site in the centre of Stockholm. When the truck arrived, Jan woke me from my attempt to sleep off the jetlag on the office couch and we packed the equipment according to the location it was to go to at the show site.

Adela and Arvid packing the 200 meter power and control cable

Adela and Arvid packing the 200 meter power and control cable for the 'basket' laser.

Loading the truck
Loading the truck for the trip to Stockholm

    Once the loaded truck had departed, we gathered our personal things and drove the 35 Km or so to Stockholm to unload the equipment. On my arrival, I was struck by the large size of the show site. The site itself is massive consisting of an area of water in the centre of Stockholm about 300 meters on a side. The "Riksdagshuset" (Swedish Parliament) building at the west end is flanked by the Opera house on the north side, the Royal Palace on the south side and a long bridge connecting two of the islands Stockholm is built on east side (see The Site page for details).

The Master Control scaffolding under construction

The Master Control scaffolding under construction. The site was closed to all but festival vehicles however pedestrians occasionally got underfoot.
One of the Chroma 5 lasers is carefully placed on the forks before being hoisted
One of the Chroma 5 lasers is carefully placed on the forks before being hoisted up to Master Control.

    When we arrived at the location of the master control, across the street from the Royal Palace, the scaffolding was still under construction. Here we met up with Fredric Förster and Chris Griesemann from Germany who were in charge of an impressive bank of Pani projectors which were to project images onto the facade of the Royal Palace.

One of two Pani projector towers
One of two Pani projector towers.

    Once the scaffolding was finished, we began the task of placing the equipment and arranging the details of power and water for the laser systems. Europeans seem to be much more used to the idea that people will need power in temporary locations. As a result, small free-standing power panels with a variety of 3 phase and single phase connections, complete with breakers, plug into strategically located power feeds. Most of these power distribution panels were provided by NCC the major Swedish construction company. Since the construction industry is closed for the national holidays, this does not interfere with their projects in progress.

One of the portable power panels at Master Control
One of the two portable power panels at Master Control

    By the end of the day we had all of the equipment in place, and the two Chroma 5 lasers had been powered up and were tested - one at a time since there was only one water supply available today. Herrick then began the complex task of installing the scanning systems for the 3D laser projections. By midnight we were all pretty much exhausted and quit for the day.

Next day - Wednesday August 4 >
Day 1 - Tuesday August 3 - Set-up day 1 Day 8 - Tuesday August 10 - Show Day 5
Day 2 - Wednesday August 4 - Set-up day 2 Day 9- Wednesday August 11- Show day 6
Day 3 - Thursday August 5 - Set-up day 3 Day 10- Thursday August 12 - Show day 7
Day 4 - Friday August 6 - Show day 1 Day 11- Friday August 13 - Show day 8
Day 5 - Saturday August 7 - Show day 2 Day 12 - Saturday August 14 - Show day 9
Day 6 - Sunday August 8 - Show day 3 Day 13 - Sunday August 15
Day 7 - Monday August 9 - Show day 4  

Quick Links to Report Pages

Stockholm Water Festival Report - Introduction
Sweden and Stockholm - Background and general information
The Site - Orientation to the show area and the challenges it presented
The Crew - The people who put it all together
Tech Specs - The equipment used in the presentation
The Music - An interview with the composer and MP3 file of the soundtrack
Smoke on the water - Covering a lake with smoke for beam effects
The Show - A description with many pictures
Animated Gifs - Gifs showing Palace projections and climatic beam effects
Stadshuset - Stockholm City Hall tour (very large page)
Show Diary - Day-to-day coverage of the trials and triumphs


DISCLAIMER: Some of the information in the Backstage area is provided by the persons or companies named on the relevant page(s). Laser F/X does NOT endorse or recommend any products/services and is NOT responsible for the technical accuracy of the information provided.  We provide this information as a service to laserists using the Backstage area. 

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