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Old 12-30-2009, 07:31 PM #1
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Default How versatile are laser systems?

So, I was wondering, how versatile are laser systems in what they can do? What are the limitations? I know people use computers and software to program in effects to use in shows, but is there any way to control the system directly? And if not, would it be possible?

The idea comes from my want to be able to control a light/laser system with my finger tips and be able to put on a show that expresses what's happening in the music, without the need to fully pre-program and know what music the DJ is going to play. I know there's sound activated controllers, but obviously, they don't cut it.

Would it be possible to create a set up where you could have the system recognise things like BPM, and then have a controller (I don't know, switches, chaos pad, I really have no idea on the technology that would be used) in which you could interperate the music and pull off a kick ass show (much like a light form, of the way a musician would use an instrument to create music).


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Old 12-31-2009, 06:40 AM #2
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Default Re: How versatile are laser systems?

There are a few ways to do this.

Most of the Pangolin software has audio input and a BPM timer, so you can set frames to the beat. THey also have live players, so you just click on a cue and it shows that, so you can change them to the beat etc.

If you want, the FB3 is DMX controllable, so you can load frames onto it's XD card and control the size, colours, rotation etc via a DMX controller.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:16 AM #3
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Default Re: How versatile are laser systems?

I guess this would be mainly limited by the software, like explained above with the certain limitations of pangolin.

A laser's power can be controlled through using a variable pot, which would allow more or less current to get to the diode meaning a bright or dimmer beam. Laser shows are created through using a set of galvo's, which control the beam direction along a y and x aixiz.

So the limitations would really be held with the laser, but with the galvo's and software, it would be very cool to have some sort of tracking system on a touch pad which would allow you to control the direction of the beam
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:01 PM #4
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Default Re: How versatile are laser systems?

Not to sound like a salesman or anything, but the Pangolin software has live drawing. ie, the laser follows you as you draw.

If you wanted to make some kind of a manual control desk, you can do as Asherz says and use a potentiometer to control the laser, and then maybe some kind of 555 + opamp setup to control the galvo's.
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:11 PM #5
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Default Re: How versatile are laser systems?

In the old days it was all manual. No computers. Oscillators, lumia wheels, etc. Those planetarium shows blow any of the present day "graphic" shows away. They can't touch today's beam shows, though.
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Old 01-02-2010, 01:07 AM #6
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Default Re: How versatile are laser systems?

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Originally Posted by carmangary View Post
In the old days it was all manual. No computers. Oscillators, lumia wheels, etc. Those planetarium shows blow any of the present day "graphic" shows away. They can't touch today's beam shows, though.
It depends, the older stuff relied heavily on simple optical effects or abstracts with relatively slow scanners. It looked awesome, however you were somewhat limited with what you could do.

Todays graphic show quality depends on who's making them. You can have a guy with the worlds best software create a show that's worthless compaired to a guy who's using home brew software. If you want to see an amazing graphics show, you need to find a planetarium that has an Omniscan installed, and watch the shows that were created by AVI. Many of thier shows were created by former Disney cell animators.

One of the things that I'd like to see in the industry is bringing back some of the old optical effects. Particularly scan-thru. Adds a bit of "old fashion" to the newer high speed scanning.
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Old 04-04-2010, 05:26 PM #7
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Default Re: How versatile are laser systems?

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Originally Posted by DJZ View Post
It depends, the older stuff relied heavily on simple optical effects or abstracts with relatively slow scanners. It looked awesome, however you were somewhat limited with what you could do.

Todays graphic show quality depends on who's making them. You can have a guy with the worlds best software create a show that's worthless compaired to a guy who's using home brew software. If you want to see an amazing graphics show, you need to find a planetarium that has an Omniscan installed, and watch the shows that were created by AVI. Many of thier shows were created by former Disney cell animators.

One of the things that I'd like to see in the industry is bringing back some of the old optical effects. Particularly scan-thru. Adds a bit of "old fashion" to the newer high speed scanning.
The old school planetarium laser shows (i.e. Laserium) used G-124 galvos which are slow by today’s standards, but they had 4 x,y scan pairs in each projector. Each scan pair had 3 scan glasses allowing 4 different scan thru effects AT THE SAME TIME. (That means six scan through permutations per scan pair.) Since you didn’t have to multiplex a single scanner to do multiple images, it was easy to work with low frequency waveforms in interesting ways. Quadrilateral symmetry works. The idea that replacing 4 slow scan pairs with one fast scan pair is somehow a super set of the previous capability is laughable. There were 19 lumia effects on the old Laserium Mark VI projectors, and btw those lumia effects could be cross-faded. So, “somewhat limited” - of course we were – but great shows aren’t about how much technology you have – Great shows are about how you use what you’ve got…
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