Laser F/X On-line Newsletter - Special Reports
Urström at the 1999 Stockholm Water Festival
Describing a laser show in words can never do it justice. Even pictures and videos fail to convey the colours, texture and awesome scale of a show such as this. The show is so large that there is no one place you can stand to see everything! Combine that with an artistic vision that does not use a narrative form, and the experience becomes almost impossible to convey. Here is a 'best attempt' to give the reader an audience eye view of the show.
A few minutes before 23:00 each
night, the streetlights, the lights on the floating restaurants and the
lights in the vendors tents wink out. The sound from the stages and
restaurants around the square falls silent and the centre of Stockholm is
enveloped in darkness while an expectant hush comes over the thousands
gathered on almost 2 Km of roads and embankments around the site to witness
[00:00] Wind sounds come from the massive PA systems while smoke wafts
across the water and through the air adding to the expectations.
There is a brief interplay of beams and fan effects over the water leading to a moment when the sky seems to be filled with a lattice work of laser beams going in every direction.
[02:40] There is a burst of fire from both towers at the climax of this section which symbolises the ending of the ice age. The focus shifts to the massive projection screen on the face of the Opera House for the first stereoscopic 3D segment.
[03:06] Abstract shapes fill the screen and leap out towards the viewers. The fire has brought an end to the "ice age" and the oceans are coming alive. Stylized sea creatures 'swim' across the screen and towards the viewer while aqua coloured waves of laser float slowly above the audience. Green seaweed undulates on the screen seeming to sway to the music.
[06:48] The Opera screen goes blank and static beams fill the sky as the focus shifts to the 'basket' which is suspended about 2/3 of the way from the 'fire tower' over the water. Lime green beams shoot down onto the surface of the water as the basket slowly begins to move towards the fire tower.
Graphics of primitive birds are projected onto the two scrims that hang over the water, seeming to fly through a web of laser beams.
The tempo picks up as fans of beams in the sky are mimicked by the basket laser on it's stately trip over the waters ending in a cone of laser beams that comes to a point as the basket reaches the fire tower.
[07:03] The tempo of the music changes. The focus moves to the 3D projections on the Royal Palace. We have moved from the realm of the deep and the air onto the land. Abstracted dinosaur like creatures move across the screen and interplay with abstract shapes moving to a trip through a three dimensional tunnel. The stereoscopic Pani projectors kick in with a 3D image on the Palace screen.
[10:00] The tempo of the music slows and enters a darker more mysterious
phase. The facade of the Royal Palace comes alive with a series of giant
images over a city block long. The images take one on a time trip of human
history beginning with symbols from pre historic cave paintings, Viking
symbols, then progressing through ancient, renascence and nautical motifs.
[16:45] The lasers re-enter with beams scanned across the top of the
palace as the hi-tech motif fades from the Palace facade leading to bursts
of beams from the various laser positions around the site.
[19:30] The beam lasers pick up the 'cage motif' moving around the sky as if in search of butterflies of their own to capture. Suddenly lights come on over the water and a woman is revealed in mid air surrounded by smoke and laser beams as if personifying the captured butterfly.
[19:52] The woman moves in a series of slow gestures that reflect laser beams into the sky from mirrors on her arms.
[20:48] Suddenly everything goes black and the woman disappears, there are two brief flashes from the the beam lasers around the site, then the dramatic climax with smoke on the water, fire in the sky from the tops of the towers, sheets of laser descending into the water, a final brief projection on the palace facade and an ear shattering bang!
Animated .gif files
We have two animated .gif files available to help you get a sense of the dramatic nature of the show. To see these large files which will take some time to load, click HERE
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