Behind The Scenes

The images below are from Geoff’s archive – dating back to the late 1970s. For those interested in a career with theater, live concerts/events, physical special effects or anything with a creative/technical storytelling focus, we hope these historical images serve to inspire and encourage you to take a road less travelled.

 

Programming a LaserDreams laser light show in San Diego, CA around 1980 (above). The electronic controls inside the console were hand-wired by Geoff’s mentors Gary Stadler and Ron Quillin. The hand-made circuit boards were laid out by Ron, using narrow rolls of adhesive tape applied to copper-coated fiberglass panels which were then chemically etched, ‘stuffed’ with resistors, diodes, capacitors, integrated circuits (aka: ICs), etc. and hand soldered. The console was analog, which meant the internal oscillators constantly drifted – causing projected images to slightly/frustratingly change during a programming session. The projected image in this photo was known as “lumia”, a refractive effect often applied as a background behind scanned patterns.

 

Gary Stadler forged a relationship with Santa Monica, CA-based Laser Media, whose credits included Electric Light Orchestra and Earth, Wind & Fire live laser shows. Geoff incorporated early laser computer graphics into his LaserDreams performances at several San Diego movie theaters. The equipment in this photo is a prototype Imagen CP/M computer outputting a series of vector frames to create a flying/galloping Pegasus horse. Frame sequences were burned to EPROM chips since the computer had no internal hard drive to update or save data.

 

A backstage “multimedia” setup for an NCR corporate sales presentation – staged in San Diego, CA by Fred Ashman and his MultiImage Productions team. This was around the time early video projectors, such as the cumbersome three-lens Eidophor, were being introduced. A cost-effective means of creating simple animated media sequences was to gang dozens of Kodak Carousel 35mm slide projectors as shown here. Projector groups were programmed with rudimentary Dove computers to cycle through thousands of slides during each ‘module’ (still + animated show segment). Precision screen image alignment was critical so all projectors visually registered on their respective rear projection screens. If a single slide was out of sequence, a very noticeable screen glitch would appear, so reams of paperwork charts had to be precisely monitored as last-minute production changes occurred. Notice the laser effect projector centered on the scaffold platform beneath the slide projectors.

More to come…