The “Enchanted Waters” effect is one of our all time favourite sequences and has been around for more than 150 years yet has always remained the preserve of performers with long residencies or “built in” shows as it required extensive remodelling of the stage, a 2 ton water tank strapped to the roof and millimetre perfect choreography to make the perfect illusion; it was just too much hard work and we knew there had to be a way to make it easier and more practical.
2017 saw a complete redesign of all the technology used in our enchanted fountain systems, resulting in the most technologically advanced, dependable, practical "Enchanted Fountains" system ever created; we call it Water Water.
At the heart of the new system is a new custom engineered, fully programmable computerised base station that is the brains behind your performance. Capable of controlling 16 individual jets (an unlimited mixture of performer-worn wireless & wired jets) for up to 100 scenes it uses industrial grade components to ensure that you can depend on it to perform exactly as you need yet can be re-patched and modified in seconds when you want to adjust or customise your performance. Duplex telemetry system gives the performer complete wireless control throughout the performance giving you the freedom to perform the exact same routine every time or spontaneously change the routine to incorporate the quirks of live performance and audience interaction.
You then have a choice of wired (ie built in to your stage) or wireless fountain units to give you the maximum flexibility when creating your routine. The wireless units are a little larger than a pack of playing cards, housed in a unique flat-form casing that makes them very easy to hide under your clothing yet can provide 4 separate jets controlled and synchronised by the base station (for example a jet from your left hand, a jet from your right hand, a jet out of your pocket and a jet on your shoulder) ith fully customisable jet height and assignable to any of the control channels. Up to 3 wireless can be coded to a base station offering you the opportunity to pass jets between 3 different people without any wires, pipes or tubes connecting them to the stage.
Water-Water represents 20 years of research, development and experience with the enchanted fountains concept - utilising cutting edge technology to make what was once a complicated and impractical illusion into something that any touring performer could use. With proprietary wireless telemetry systems, cutting edge control systems, high-tech components and an in-depth understanding of the real-world needs and expectations of the modern performer we are proud to offer this innovative new solution to an ancient problem.
Pre 2017 version
The first chance to re-visit this classic effect came in 1998 when a dance production show wanted to create a series of “dancing fountains” – quite literally dancers dressed as classical Greek statue fountains who wanted to dance, pass water-jets from performer to performer and culminate in a grand tableau of jets shooting from everyone and everything on the stage. It was an epic project that required a complete re-think of the effect; as a touring production we couldn’t rebuild stages or lug a water tank around, as the dancers had to move freely and had less than 20 seconds to get in to costume for the sequence the traditional methods of long hoses strapped to performers was impractical and as a piece of live theatre with an endlessly changing company it had to be flexible and adaptable to the speedy changes that would have to be made “on the fly” during the tour. Our ultimate solution consisted of 3 primary components, the “jet pack” a “base station” and the “conductor”
The Base Station formed the heart of the system and was a microprocessor controlled replay unit that held the main performance program and cues in a solid state memory and communicated with the other components thru a UHF data link. Providing perfectly synchronised control of more than 24 jets it could easily be re-programmed “on the fly” as the show evolved and offered the option for real-time control for last minute performance modifications.
The Conductor was a wireless cue-trigger unit that the Stage Manager could use to trigger each automated sequence ensuring that the performances could always adapt to the show and deliver the perfect show to the perfect time.
The Jet Pack was the single most innovative component of the entire system. Controlled via the UHF data link each jet pack contained a silent compressor pump, solenoids and all the piping wizardry to enable each one to create and control 4 separate fountains. The unit (along with a small fluid reservoir & battery pack) was so small it could be affixed directly to the performers costumes with pipes and nozzles sewn in place so that all the performer had to do was put their costume on they were ready to perform.
The system proved to be a huge success completing more than 100 performances of the tour and went on to be specified for 3 other productions.
From this original system we went on to create 2 variations on it to suit the needs of our customers. “Little Squirt” is a hybrid of the Base Station and Jet Pack: a single unit that can be easily hidden under a costume but which provides fully programmable control of up to 4 fountains in a self contained performance. The wearer can pick up a jet of water, pass it from hand to hand (at their fingertips) and even place it on their shoulder or shooting out of their pocket.
Raindance was created as a half-way house between these 2 systems. With everything hidden within a slim line stage truck / piece of rostra (which also acts as a catch-tray so there’s no mopping up afterwards) the performer can create a truly epic enchanted fountains performance with jets shooting out of chairs, tables, musical instruments and other props on the rostra, as well as being able to pass the jets from hand to hand and culminate in making a giant wall of fountain jets 2m high shoot upwards. This system has proven extremely popular with magicians as it enables them to present a classic effect without any complex set up; they just unpack the prop, fill it with water and perform! Unit’s have been used in everywhere from Las Vegas to the West End, the Magic Castle to a beach in Spain!
Check out a demo video of the performer-worn system in use at this link