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Laser Show News

Arctic Night Comes Alive
Omagica Mixes Lasers, Pyro and More
By David Lytle

It was a love story set among the Nordic Gods, brought to life on a stage made of ice and snow. Seen by 4,000 people, including King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, The Saga of Skade was a rare outdoor laser display specifically designed for a winter environment, where artists used lasers, lighting and pyrotechnics to tell an ancient tale of love and rejection.

Created by Sweden’s Omagica, the 20-minute show was the highlight of the 2002 Swedish Ski Championships held earlier this year in Vassaara Square, Gallivare. The show itself was built around animated laser graphics, shafts of laser light piercing the cold winter air and sculptures carved from ice that were dramatically illuminated with laser beams. “A brilliant laser performance. Fun!” the Swedish King was quoted as saying after the show.

The stage was designed to create the illusion of a cave from an arctic fairy tale, with six-meter long icicles, ice sculptures and large blocks of ice framing the action. Full-color laser graphics were projected on a 30- x 10-meter screen at the rear of the stage. The visual story was reinforced by narration, dialogue, music and sound effects. Adding to the impact was the extensive use of moving theatrical lights and a finale of pyrotechnics.

Omagica’s Jan Kriland, one of Scandinavia’s leading laser animators, said the winter environment posed special challenges for artists and technicians. Atmospheric effects, for example, were barely visible in the dry arctic air. “Effects needed to be very focused, short and exact,” he said. On the other hand, the show often used static and moving beams to strike blocks of ice, causing the entire piece of ice to instantly light up from within.

“This was a strong effect that made it easier for the audience to follow the beam when it moved from the ice to the sky,” said Kriland. Because laser effects looked especially cold and sharp in the arctic climate, theatrical lights were used to produce warm red and orange colors on the projection screen and ice sculptures. A host of effect wheels and gobos were used with the moving theatrical lights, which took more time to fine tune than the laser projections, said Kriland.

Keeping everything show-ready in such a cold climate took some extraordinary measures. Because of the below-freezing conditions (-10° to -25° C), DPSS and copper-vapor lasers were used instead of water-cooled lasers for all beam effects. Although two mixed-gas ion lasers were used to create full-color graphics, the water-cooled Spectra-Physics Chroma-5 units were kept inside a heated container. Hoses delivering water to the lasers were equipped with heating wires to keep the water from freezing.

Before the show began, crews used portable heaters and fans to warm up the lasers used for beam effects, which were located outside. But the warm air from the heaters caused snow to melt, so crews had to keep alert to prevent melting water from shorting out electronic systems. Cables strung outside soon froze into “iron snakes,” said Kriland. Instead of attempting to move a frozen-solid cable, a new cable stored inside a room temperature would be brought out and used in place of the frozen one.

The arctic setting was essential to the story, a Romeo and Juliet fable about the invention of the ski. The legendary tale revolves around Skade, whose father was killed by the Nordic Gods. She demands to marry one of the Gods as compensation, and Odin grants her wish. But Skade is unhappy with her new husband, Njord, God of the Sea, and smashes their marriage bed to pieces. She takes two of the broken wooden boards, puts them under her feet, and returns to her home in the mountains. The ski is thus invented.

To create the multimedia production team for The Saga of Skade, consisted of Erling Johansson, an internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker from Gallivare, Hakan Rudehill, a writer, composer and festival producer, laser animator Jan Kriland, and Adela Kriland, who produced the non-laser light effects and pyrotechnics.

Omagica is the result of the merging in 1999 of Diseño Laser of Mexico City, Mexico, and Obscura Magica of Stockholm, Sweden. Omagica is based in Stockholm with representation in Mexico. The group’s main markets are Scandinavia and Latin America, but it has also performed shows in, Austria, Germany, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica, China and Australia.

The group’s next project, to be launched later summer this year, will combine sound, laser, sculpture, video and other media in landscape installations. Called AnderssonKrilandSpour, the audiovisual landscape installations are designed to explore encounters between high technology and traditional art forms in new settings.

Omagica: (+46) 8-590 712 02;



An audience of thousands gathered in frigid temperatures to celebrate the multi-media Saga of Skade presentation.

Full-color graphics, above, demanded special steps to insure that water-cooled lasers functioned in the below-freezing weather.

Ice sculpture glows like a beacon when illuminated with a single YAG beam.

Snow surrounds the stage prior to the show's opening.

Setting up in the snow required plenty of warm clothes and hot soup.

Munich Queen Show Draws Thousands;
Latest LOBO Equipment Used

Munich’s Forum der Technik planetarium has become a magnet for fans of the rock band Queen, drawing 60,000 visitors over the last six months to a special laser show produced in close cooperation with Queen cofounder Brian May. The attendance figures are even more impressive in light of the planetarium’s small capacity (269 seats) and the fact that the show runs just 9 times per week.

The show, directed by Markus Steblei, was produced by an experienced planetarium staff that had already crated 22 music-laser shows using equipment by
LOBO electronics. For their newest production, the planetarium used LOBO’s newest multimedia workstation , the Lacon-5, with many special features added specifically for the Queen show by LOBO engineer Werner Most. The switch to LOBOs’ latest platform was accomplished after just one day of installation and three days of training, with the planetarium keeping all of its existing shows running during the transition, said LOBO art director Alex Hennig.

The 20-meter diameter dome hosts an array of advanced audiovisual equipment, including seven fiber-fed laser projectors. Three of the projectors are mounted on moving pneumatic platforms; two are on articulating “robot arms.” Additional visual stimulation is provided by six video projectors, 82 slide projectors and a Zeiss Model VII star projector.

Visitor surveys found that 95 percent of the spectators judged the program good or very good; 95% were enthusiastic about the laser effects; and 95% would recommended the show to friends. The Queen show is scheduled to being at a second, yet to be announced, large-dome planetarium this fall.

LOBO’s success with the Queen installation comes as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary. LOBO was founded as a one-man company by 19-year-old Lothar Bopp, who remains today as the company’s chief executive. With an upswing in business that started a the end of the fourth quarter of 2002, the company says it looks forward to a strong 2002.

LOBO electronic: (+49) 7361 96 87-0;



Scenes from the Queen show at Munich's Forum der Technick planetarium.

Scooby-Doo Gets Lasers on Coaster

Visitors to the Warner Bros. Movie World theme park on Australia’s Gold Coast are being treated to spectacular laser effects in a new AUS $13 million indoor roller coaster ride inspired by the Scooby-Doo movie. The laser effects, created by Australia’s Laservision Macro-Media, envelop riders in a tunnel of laser light that appears after the riders have experienced a seven-meter fee-fall drop.

The laser effects in the Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster were made possible by integrating two 40-watt Laservision Stella-Ray systems. One system drives three remote fiber-optic scanning heads; the second Stella-Ray drives two remote heads and one direct head. These two laser systems are complemented by the installation of a Mini-Ray 100 mW diode laser system in another part of the ride that creates special effects in an area of the coaster called the “Ring of Fire.”

The multimillion dollar movie, Scooby-Doo, was filmed at Warner Roadshow Movie World Studios on the Gold Coast in 2000-2001 and is the highest budget production ever filmed in Queensland to date.
Laservision Macro-Media: (+61) 2 9658 1000; www.laservision.com.au



Scooby-Doo Coaster: click on pictures for larger images.

Nintendo Shines at Industry Show

Nintendo of America, looking to add some extra pizzazz to their display at the recent Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, hired Laser Fantasy International (LFI) to add special laser effects to their trade show booth. E3 is the premier event for the electronic entertainment industry, drawing thousands of visitors to sample the newest computer gaming and on-line entertainment products.

Paul Torgeson, Senior Designer at LFI, accented Nintendo’s booth with laser graphics from 3-watt Infinity YAG 1000 Laser. Laser beams and graphics were used to enhance Nintendo’s unveiling of their latest video games and controllers during and eight-minute show loop that featured animations of the GameCube and GameBoy Advance as well as imagery of Mario, Pokemon and Donkey Kong.

LFI: (+1) 425-644-2777;


Hollywood Laser Lights

The hottest address in Hollywood is the intersection of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. The site of the new Kodak Theatre, which hosted the Academy Awards Oscar presentations, the new Hollywood & Highland retail and hotel complex is the first major development in the urban renaissance of the Hollywood area. To make the location even hotter, a free nightly laser show has been added to attract crowds to the five-story high open-air Babylon Court.

Precision Projection Systems (PPS) of Cerritos, Calif. is providing the laser effects, using a 40-watt Infinity YAG laser to unleash a moving web of aerial beams and an argon/krypton laser to provide full-color projected graphics. “We wanted to present something new and different this summer that our local customers would enjoy as well as tourist visitors,” said LeeAnee Sables, chief marketing officer for Hollywood & Highland. “As the major entertainment and event center right in the heart of Hollywood, combining a big visual show with the latest laser technology with our nightly live entertainment seemed like the perfect fit.”

The show runs four nights a week, and features song modules with music from such popular artists as Moby, Missing Persons and Harry Connick Jr. PPS subcontracted most of the laser graphics work to Lightspeed Design of Bellevue, Wash., which used the new Pangolin CD2000 player to control music and laser graphics playback. Beam effects emanate from four different locations in the courtyard. Each location has a fiber-fed scanner to produce moving beams plus two stationary mirrors for static beams. Jim Hannigan of PPS said that while some beams exit the courtyard and cross Hollywood Blvd., all beams are terminated on buildings to avoid exposing the numerous helicopters that dot the skies of Los Angeles.The show runs through Labor Day and starts at dusk each night.

Precision Projection Systems: (+1) 562 865-8552; www.ppsfx.com


Egyptian Media Center Opens with Lasers

Laseronics Design Interstellar in Egypt recently completed a production in Cairo for the opening of the Egyptian Media Production City, the largest media production site in the Arab world and Africa. The opening ceremony for the facility, which provides programming for some 500 million Arabic- speaking viewers, included fireworks, moving lights, video, 200 dancers from the Cairo Opera, and laser graphics projected onto a 35-foot wide water screen.

The ceremonies were broadcast over 22 television stations in 16 countries and were attended by Egyptian President Murbark and a host of dignitaries from around the Arab world.

Laseronics Design Interstellar Egypt Branch: (+20) 00202 304 82 61; www.laseronics.50megs.com