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Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports

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Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival



Day 7 - Monday August 9 - Show day 4

    The day dawned with an annoyingly steady cold, miserable rain. During the night, the scrim flown from the Opera House had been ripped from it's wire by the wind and had to be rescued from the water and dried out. The rescuers jokingly complained that there were no fish caught in it!
    When Jan and Adela arrived on the site, they discovered that the scaffolding provided by the festival was leaking and there were a couple of centimeters of water in the DSP computer. The system had to be disassembled, dried with towels and then put in a hastily constructed "drying chamber". This consisted of the inverted lid from one of the laser road cases covered with towels and a tarp and equipped with a small electrical space heater.

The hastily constructed drying chamber
The hastily constructed drying chamber full of control equipment.

    A larger heater was brought in to dry out the master control area. Jan had to spend some time with a screwdriver and hairdryer disassembling the DSP and drying out the boards. He jokingly suggested that future models should be made waterproof.

Jan applies a hairdryer to the DSP computer
Jan applies a hairdryer to the DSP computer.

    The crew all worked double time to cover everything within the supposedly waterproof scaffolding with extra tarps and plastic sheets. A second layer of tarps was installed under the roof tarps provided by the festival and crew members had to take turns going around the area and lifting the tarps to drain the puddles that formed every few minutes.
The time code cable to the beam laser position was tediously tested section by section and it was discovered that the local production company providing it had secured it to the barge without any slack. The Movement of the barge on the water had ripped the XLR connector from the cable, and the cable had fallen into the water.
    Adela, Arvid and myself then formed a brigade to lay a new cable in the drizzle and cold winds. While Adela paid out each new section along the bridge, Arvid tested it and I followed up securing the cable to the railings with cable ties and taping the connections in an attempt to keep the water out of them. The time code was now working properly to the relief of all.
    During the afternoon, the drizzle changed to a sudden, wind driven cloudburst drenching everyone and leading to further frantic scrambling to keep water off the equipment. Everyone is wet cold and miserable and it seems we are at an "underwater festival" today.

Arvid checks for rain damage after the downpour
Arvid checks for rain damage after the downpour.

    Nobody with the guts to ride the basket had been found to replace Adela. A meeting with Jan, Adela and the festival producers ensued in which they convinced Adela to continue her nightly daredevil act over the water and agreed to pay her for her services.
    By 21:30 the skies had started to clear and the crew was in full prep mode even though the festival organisers had told us that a go/no-go decision would not be made until 22:00. The wind dropped but pools of water were everywhere and a dry spot to sit and have a coffee was at a premium. Adela was concerned about the basket as it was very slippery when wet. She had to spend some time dangling by a safety harness with towels and a hairdryer to make sure it was safe to be used. The optics in the two MicroYAG projectors had become contaminated with moisture and the projectors had to be opened and cleaned.

A view of the 3D stereoscopic laser projection system
A view of the 3D stereoscopic laser projection system just before show time.

    The show went ahead flawlessly and was the best to date. The breeze co-operated and we had plenty of smoke. The cloud cover was so low that we could see the laser dots at the endpoints of the beams on the clouds. The smaller than usual audience was very appreciative although the maroons at the end of the show failed to fire as the ignitors had become damp.

Next Day - Tuesday August 10 >
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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