Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports
Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival
Day 4 - Friday August 6 - Show day 1
We arrived on site around 10:00 and began by calling the festival production manager with our long list of problems and deficiencies in the material and equipment they had provided. The festival opened at 11:00 and the site was swarming with people making moving any equipment difficult and time consuming.
Örjan arrived with a copy of the
morning paper. There was a huge, center double page, colour picture of one
of the Pani projections on the palace facade under the headline "Throw
away your spray cans, you have never seen graffiti like this". The
article was generally positive though they listed Adela as an
"artist" so she took a lot of ribbing over this and was dubbed
"The artist formerly known as the engineer".
Jan was closeted with his DSP at
master control making final adjustments to the show. No matter how much prep
work one does in the studio for an event such as this, there is still a lot
of fine tuning that is required to match the show to the site.
A show this big takes over an hour and a half to prep for each performance. Each laser must be turned on, warmed up and tested. The screens need to be put in place as they are rolled up each night so as not to distract from the historical facades of the buildings. The smoke machines must be started and tested and wind direction ascertained so as to determine the best placement of manpower to operate them. The rigging must be carefully checked and the basket placed over the water in the correct position for the first cue. The fire effects have to be lit and tested. Radio and sound checks must be performed.
Finally, at a couple of minutes before 23:00, the streetlights and vendor lights in the tents around the area are extinguished and an expectant hush falls over the centre of Stockholm in anticipation of the performance.
The first night's performance was
problematic to say the least. The time code distribution system to the Pani
towers failed minutes before the show so the Pani operators had to manually
synchronise the show. The scrim which was to be flown from the Opera out
over the water for graphics projections of birds jammed and could not be
moved into position. The breeze, which had been blowing from the SE all day
died down half way through show and reversed directions for the last half
taking all of the smoke with it. The 3D laser projections and the facade
projections on the Royal Palace when off without a hitch but the beam
projections were less than stunning. The audience was quiet and less than
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