Projection on Water was fairly new to me until I got to Expo 92 in Sevilla and this was truly jumping in at the deep end and really getting a baptism into large outdoor shows.
Months before, I remember driving past a fire station in Hammersmith with Chris Matthews, From Laser Creations, and seeing the water screen that they used to protect themselves as they got close to the fire, and I guess Chris and I both had an "AHA" moment as we looked at each other with one of those "I have had an idea" type of looks.
We drove over to the fire station and spoke to the firemen and they let us take a lok at the water screen head and we took the idea and played around for some time creating our own water screen.
This was in about 1991 and although I do not claim we made the first water screen for projection on water, we were involved in the very exciting early day development of the water screen projection technology.
So 6 or 7 months later, it seemed fitting that I was standing on the side of one of the biggest sites for a water screen show in the world - Expo 92 in Sevilla.
Expo 92 - Sevilla
This was an absolutely massive show and as one of my first really large shows, I remember standing on the side of the lake, thinking to myself "what have I gotten myself into this time!"
But I really need not have worried as I was part of a massive team of people, some who would come to be some of my best friends for life and together we created an absolutely amazing show that was witnessed by literally millions around the world.
We had 6 water screens placed around a central projection room in a full 360 degree display, so that no matter where you stood on the side of the lake, you could see one of the water projections.
The central projection room was sunken into the lake and we had a tunnel under the lake connecting us to the main control room and I have no idea how many times I walked that tunnel, but it was a lot!
Installed in the projection room were:
- 6 Units of 70mm film projectors
- 3 laser tables with 6 units of 30 watt I400 coherent lasers
- 12 units of large format slide projectors with scrolling film slides as well as rotating slide wheels
All the computer control stations as well as a whole host of other equipment.
The lasers, for which I was responsible for, projected onto 2 screens at the same time. So even though we only had 3 laser stations, we could project onto all 6 water screens and create some really awesome laser light shows.
There were actually 3 different films being projected onto the water at the same time. One film reel would show the monsters head appearing on one screen and it would run from one screen to another, using the other film reels, so the monster looked huge.
The water screen systems (there were 6 in total) each had 3 submersible 125hp pumps and as they came on, you could hear the crack as the water hit the water screen head and rose in majesty to it's total height of about 20 meters.
The film projections which filled the central area of the water screen, was surrounded by slide images, some static and some scrolling, so that almost no part of the screen was left blank.
Incorporating multicolored laser animation and a huge amount of fireworks each night, the show was a 15 minute (including the intro music) spectacle of awe and amazement that was watched by literally millions of people both live and on TV around the world.
This was, until today, one of the greatest moments of my life and will go down as one of the shows that touched me the most and strangely it would come to feature in my future life in Manila to mark the incoming Millennium
Watch the video above to discover the sheer beauty of a projection on water and you will also get to experience the awesomeness of the size of this show.
I still think that the Expo 92 show in Seville was one of the greatest shows that has ever been and it included a whole host of technicians, producers and suppliers from all over the world and together we collected some memorable moments, stories and adventures in life that will stay with us forever.
This was probably one of the only opportunities ever to see 6 water screens of this kind with it's amazing Projection On Water.
Tim Bennett was one of a massive team that produced this show and was in the employ of Laser Creations at the time and he used this incredible training to travel the world in later years and begin his own company providing lasers called Argon Animation Inc.