How we made the Euchronia 2010 Tesla coil poster image - a world first for steampunks!

Gosh, it's now less than a month til Euchronia! As in 2008, we've had so many compliments on our 2010 Euchronia poster we felt some information on how it was created would be of interest, even more so than last time.

(Click through to see the full size .gif on Peter's site)

Because our 2010 venue is a former power station, we felt a theme of electricity was the most obvious choice - and what better way to do it than with REAL lightning, conjured up just for our use?

While many may have assumed that the lightning in the image is solely the result of some clever Photoshop - (and yes, our first teaser flyer was indeed all digital) - while there may have been a little bit of image manipulation involved - the reality is, our lovely model Helen was in fact actually being shot with real lightning bolts from a very impressive 2 meter tall Tesla coil! In fact we believe we are the first steampunk group to have had a genuine Tesla coil photoshoot and this is something we're very proud of! To get a bit of an idea of what the shoot looked like, check out the animated gif put together by Peter Terren, as above.

If you'd just like to see some of the behind the scenes images, you can check out our Flickr set here or Peter Terren's very comprehensive set of images and amusing back-story here.

Of course the star of the show was Peter Terren of and his pride and joy, his Tesla Coil. Peter's Tesla coil adventures have been featured on TV and in print extensively all over the world, and you have almost certainly seen some of his images online, most likely at the very least his version of "The Thinker" - his website documents all his shoots and he's done some fantastic images.

Now, working with Tesla coils involves an inherent risk of injury or death - this is high voltage stuff and not for the fainthearted! Fortunately, Peter set us all at ease by trying everything himself before he put any of our models in the firing line, so we were relatively reassured.

But the reality? If any of us had dropped the prop we were holding or stepped out of the Faraday cage while the coil was running - we could have died. For serious! Safety was paramount, and you can see peter below checking the earthing wire on Helen for one of the first shots:

While we had a battery of cameras set up for the shoot (4 cameras in total) the photographer we employed specifically for the shoot was Perth photographer and tree-lover, Nonie Jekabsons, who is more likely to be found photographing more natural subject matter (her RedBubble is here). This was our first shoot with Nonie, and it went very very well. Nonie used two cameras to make sure there was a good range of images to choose from, and with Peter's and Ian's cameras as well, we had a lot of backups!

We had several models for the shoot, including Christoper, Ian, Jeremy & Cass, as well as Chris and Peter, and of course Helen, a bastion of the fledgling Perth steampunk scene, who makes wonderful steampunk artifacts that you can find on her website, Dark Nouveau.

Our lovely models provided a fantastic blunderbuss which was a key prop and we were keen to have this prop in the final poster, with just about everyone having a go:

We also did some images which were actually long exposure "trick of the eye" images, where we posed, took a flash image, then ran away while the Tesla coil was turned on:

But in the end, the image of Helen with the Faraday cage won out, with intense blue light from Peter's brightest bike light in the world. Clothing featured a gorgeous Nubia/Vodabox coat, top hat and the ubiquitous steampunk goggles all available from Wildilocks.

This image was then spliced with another of the lightning bolts, and a few other tricks, to get the finished result:

It was a very exciting and rewarding evening, and thanks so much to everyone who was involved, especially Peter and his lovely wife Jane for showing us such wonderful hospitality!

Just a last note: if you don't have your Euchronia tickets yet, check the Tickets page for all details on how and where to get them either online or in person!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.