Heavy Light


Hi, I'm Graeme Walford.

My interest in psychedelic projections started later in life than many.

Nearing 40 I decided I wanted to learn how liquid Light Shows were made. A quick internet search led me down the path many have taken in recent years. I found Steve Pavlovsky's tutorial on YouTube.

After watching it several times I purchased an overhead, dyes and clock glass to do a single overhead squish plate. The projector, dyes and glass got stuck in a closet for a year before a friend found them and pushed me to get started.

A month later I was doing a single projector show for a Halloween party in the northern Vermont town of Montgomery.

It was a very rudimentary start and I was keenly aware of that. In the following weeks my friend Doug Kopacz joined the show and with him we added another projector.

Shows at local northern Vermont venues started getting booked.

I strived tirelessly to add new effects to each show, in no time we were operating three overhead projectors with color wheels, two Optikinetics Gobo-Pro projectors with oil wheels and two Kodak carousel slide projectors on a Chief stand with a dissolve control and a shared color wheel.

On the overhead projectors we would swap out squish plates, splodascopes that I made and refined in the studio, moires, and other effects.

It requires practice, speed and precision changing between effects live. My wife Jennifer Caswell has been instrumental in both being the camera woman and expediter.

Without her there to smooth transitions things would come to a halt, visually.

I have drawn a lot of influence from my peers in the Light Show world as well as the elders.

Liquid Light Lab, Brotherhood of Light, Joshua Lightshow, Single Wing Turquoise Bird, Little Princess 109, Stranger Liquids, Donovan Drummond and all the active participants on the light show Facebook group.

I love liquids mixed with concrete imagery and knew from the start that I had to get slide projectors involved. Soon I started working towards getting film loops involved but reality sunk in.

Adding film loops was just going to be too much for two operators. I abandoned the idea. I still like the eye confusing effect of moires and use them in every show as well as the slides.

Our show leans heavily on the overhead projectors, we use 3 for every show, the left and right ones are the sole responsibility of each operator and the middle is often used as a background and operated by whoever has the free hand.

We started out using 410w overheads, which are fine if you are 20 feet from the screen and the only light source.

After popping breakers at local bars we realized the need for better efficiency. I took the dive into LEDs and learned all I could.

I built three LED overhead projectors in time for our first collaboration with Liquid Light Lab at Jay Peak Resort, Vermont.

We lit Pink Talking Fish that night. The LEDs performed well and drew a fraction of the power. I'm still trying to optimize the optics in the LED overhead and am actively working with a local optical guru.

In the meantime I saw the need for bigger and brighter. I managed to get my hands on three 575w metal halide overhead projectors in time for another collaboration, this one in Connecticut with Liquid Light Lab and Marco Ferrero to light Max Creek.

Since that show I have added several more 575w metal halide projectors to the equipment list. We now have a couple screen options, a 9.5'x16' and a 10.5'x24'. Screen setup often depends on the venue, sometimes we use a truss system, sometimes we rig directly from the structure.

In the last couple years I have found the need to simplify things and travel light. I have set up a solo show based around a laptop running VJ software. I record effects in the studio and mix them live at shows. This allows me to finally have the film loops I always wanted without adding another operator to the mix. It also cuts down setup and tear-down time by more than an hour.

We will still bring out the big rig when a show asks for it. Otherwise I prefer to travel light these days. The responsiveness of the VJ software setup is excellent. I can make the screen go crazy with light in a split second, or just as quickly go to black. I know it's not as fun for the audience to watch as the analog set up, but the screen always looks great, and the liquids are never muddy.

We have worked mostly in rural northern Vermont, New York and New Hampshire as we try to build awareness of the Light Show.

The following is a partial list of venues we have worked at with bands

  • Lucid - The Strand Theatre, Plattsburg, New York
  • Beef Stu, Cole Robbie Band-North Country Community Radio, Littleton, New Hampshire
  • Max Creek - Collaboration with Liquid Light Lab and Marco Ferrero - The Stafford
  • Palace Theatre, Stafford Springs, Connecticut
  • Pink Talking Fish - Collaboration with Liquid Light Lab - Foeger Ballroom, Jay Peak Resort, Vermont
  • New Riders of the Purple Sage - Rusty Nail, Stowe, Vermont
  • Zack Nugents Fire on the Mountain - Smugglers Notch Resort- Cambridge, Vermont
  • Cats Under The Stars - Oxbow Music Festival, Morrisville, Vermont
  • Dead Set - Foeger Ballroom, Jay Peak Vermont
  • Mallett Brothers Band - Foeger Ballroom, Jay Peak, Vermont
  • Dead Sessions - Higher Ground, South Burlington Vermont
  • The Mountain Says No - Arts Riot, Burlington, Vermont
  • Mellow Yellow - Middlebury Town Hall, Middlebury, Vermont
  • Blackwolf - Belvidere , Vermont
  • The Shady Trees - the Matterhorn, Stowe, Vermont
  • Martells Red Fox, Cambridge, Vermont
  • Jonesfest, Wolcott, Vermont

There are many more, but you get the idea. Most of our shows are in Vermont, not because travel is out of the question, there just isn't the awareness of Heavy Light outside Northern Vermont.

Most recently COVID-19 has put a halt on most live music, but with vaccinations things are starting to open back up.

Heavy Light is looking at some summer shows in 2021.

I'm not quitting my day job, yet.

Web Page: https://www.heavylightvt.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Heavy-Light-Vt

The Facebook page is updated more often than the web page.

Graeme Walford - November 2017 (Updated March 2021)

Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow

Rusty Nail, Stowe, Vermont

Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow

Rusty Nail, Stowe, Vermont

Heavy Light Lightshow
Heavy Light Lightshow

Rusty Nail, Stowe, Vermont

Heavy Light Lightshow

Rusty Nail, Stowe, Vermont

Heavy Light Lightshow

Rusty Nail, Stowe, Vermont