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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival



Day 6 - Sunday August 8 - Show day 3

    Today we started at noon so we had the luxury of a few more hours of sleep than usual! I discovered a vendor nearby selling freshly made donuts so was able to purchase a donut and coffee for 19 SEK (about $2.30 US$ as of August 1999)!
    Örjan brought a selection of newspapers and translated the press coverage of the show which was less that enthusiastic. One paper had random comments from audience members which ranged from "Fantastic spectacle!" to "Fiasco... I expected to see a man walking on water because I have seen that on TV".

Fire and fan effects seen from the Palace side
Fire and fan effects seen from the Palace side.

    The local production company came up with another two large smoke machines. We finally obtained permission to mount a smoke machine on the floating platform below the bridge as journalists had declined the trip by boat to stand on the bobbing platform preferring the safety of the VIP viewing area on the restaurant/bar barge where beer was also readily available. The second smoke machine was mounted on the edge of one of the barges forming the floating restaurant at the Parliament end of the site. These machines were RF controlled so we were told we could control them from anywhere.
    The smoke machine in the white tower was giving us problems and would not respond to the remote control. A trip out by boat found that it worked fine under local control. Opening and examining the 5-pin XLR cable provided by the local production company discovered a soldering job that looked like it was done by a 12-year-old making their first attempt. Arvid returned to master control by boat and brought out a soldering station and tools and both ends of the cable were re-made and properly soldered. This led us to wonder about the second cable from the beam position to the barge mounted smoke machine so this was also inspected, found to be of similar low quality and missing the strain relief so was repaired. You really have to have good sea-legs to solder XLR connectors while sitting in a small rubber boat moored to a floating barge!
    Still no sign of the platform below the bridge we had requested the previous afternoon. The festival production manager still had not produced an inverter or a UPS for the fan in the second smoke boat. Apparently these are rare and difficult items to find - or so he claimed.
    We decided to ring the site with smoke machines and re-located one of the MAX5000s units under the bridge where it was sheltered from rain and would have a better effect. With 6 fixed smoke machines and one movable one in the boat, we felt that no matter which way the wind blew, we would have at least some smoke coverage. We also requested additional power drops at the NW and SW corners of the site so that if the wind changed during the show, we could radio the boat mounted smoke machine and have them change locations.

Arvid and Adela lower a smoke machine to L. Michael Roberts

Arvid and Adela lower a smoke machine to L. Michael Roberts for installation under the bridge - Photo Jan Kriland.

    In an effort to get more smoke into the area under the basket laser for the finale, Jan contacted a friend of his who owned a portable gasoline powered smoke machine. The machine was brought on site and promptly dubbed the bazooka due to it's shape and size. It was taken out in one of the boats for a trial run in the late afternoon. Unfortunately, while it made lots of smoke, it sounded like an overgrown chainsaw and was not suitable for use in the show due to the loud noise.
    Since the bazooka did not work out, Adela and the pyro crew rigged some metal containers under the laser basket to hold electrically fired chemical smoke pellets. This ensured that there was smoke around the basket even if the wind did shift directions suddenly.

Bo with the 'bazooka' smoke machine
Bo with the 'bazooka' smoke machine.

    Radios became an issue today. Adela had requested sufficient radios for each of the crew who were vital to the production. People kept taking them and we seemed to be always one or two short. To solve the problem, Adela made labels and marked each radio with the name of the person who was to use it. This cut down on problems somewhat but in the process we discovered we were still short and more phone calls had to be made to the festival production manager who came up with two more radios minutes before show time. Unfortunately they had not been charged and thus ran out half way through the show.

Jan aligns the projectors for the pre-show tests
Jan aligns the projectors for the pre-show tests.

    The time code transmission to the beam laser system on the Opera side of the site failed. Arvid had to start the DSP manually, listening to Örjan's cue over the radio.
    The newly installed smoke machine on the Parliament side would only fire in short bursts and not continuously despite holding the button on the RF remote down. Adela returned from her trip in the basket across the water swearing she would never do it again and that the festival had better find a replacement first thing in the morning!

Adela flies across the water as viewed from the Fire tower

Adela flies across the water as viewed from the Fire tower. Smoke from the chemical smoke containers is visible below her.

    The show this evening was much improved. With the breeze blowing in the usual NW direction, smoke coverage was good and the beams were more visible. Jan had added additional beams from the fiber projectors, the Palace projections were flawless and the crowd seemed to enjoy the show much more with lots of cheering and whistles throughout and at the finale.

Next Day - Monday August 9 >
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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