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Thread: how much power do you need for beam shows?

  1. #1
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    Default how much power do you need for beam shows?

    Hello all. i am just getting into lasers the only thing i have bought is the pangolin quickshow and fb3 controller as i believe it will take awhile to learn the ins and outs of the software in the meantime i can research what i need spec wise in a laser. I do a lot of shows that are outdoors and would like to be able to have visible beam shows outdoors w/o fog. I know that it matters what color you are using. so long story short what are the minimum mw ratings on the different colors before the beams are visible at night w/o fog. namely 635 532 and 473 nm? also are those the more visible red green and blue?
    thanks for the help.
    shane

  2. #2
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    and i understand that the speed and width of the "fan" or tunnel would have an effect. i am just trying to figure out where to start. i may actually build my own. start with one color then add the other 2 as i get money. do people commonly build lasers that way? start single color then add as they get more money?
    thanks
    shane

  3. #3
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    Any laser to be used in the US has to be a CDRH/FDA Varianced projector, and the operator must also have a variance for performing laser light shows. I can sell you a Varianced projector, and get your Variance to run shows along with it. Also, with outdoor shows, you have to either terminate the beams, or file for FAA clearance for lasers in airspace, which I can also help you work out.

    Rick
    www.SLICKLASERS.com
    (206)200-2202

  4. #4
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    How about helping us out here and filling out a bit of your profile so people can see where you are roughly

    I would think at least 1 watt of any colour for outdoors without fog, and thats relying on some 'helpful atmosphere' to even see the beams, let alone anything spectacular.

    Personally, if I was going to put together a projector for outdoor work it'd have minimum 2W of 532 (better 3 to 5). Forget 473 at high powers unless you have SERIOUS amounts of cash, 445 multi diode setups at around 4W are now pocket money in comparison, even if you pay someone to build it for you.

    640 red will probably be best bang for buck, again, cheaper 1/2 watt diodes could mean a reasonable priced 2W quad isn't a bank breaker.

    But even then, if you wanted all that in one projector it will still cost a pretty penny... just nowhere near what it might've done a year or even 6 months ago.

    Maybe better to start with your budget and work whats the most bang you can get for it

  5. #5
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    Hi Shane,
    Welcome to PL

    I think Norty303 has given you some good advice here.

    I, like you bought my software first so I could learn it while I built my projector. You may be different but I found in practice that without actually having a projector to practice with I just fiddled with it and havnt made much of an attempt to learn it yet.

    I'm planing things similar to you. My target is to do rgb shows in a circus size tent at large dance parties/ festivals.
    I'm planning on using at least 2 or maybe 4 smoke and hazer with around 2-3w 445nm blue, 2-2.5w 532nm green and 3.2w of 642nm red in my rgb build.

    I'm building a mini projector ATM so I can practice live pro while I build my large projector. It will be about 350mw rgb.

    I think this is a good place to start. You can go through the build process and identify anything you would do differently for your big build and practice your software to. Also this size projector would be great for doing house parties which gives you more practice.

    There was quite an insightful thead a while back covering outdoor required power levels.
    From what I understand it takes many many watts and will cost many 10s of thousands to get an outdoor show with impact and that is with smoke.

    Have fun and good luck with you plans.

    Kit
    Last edited by kitatit; 07-22-2010 at 17:42. Reason: Typo

  6. #6
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    thanks rick. yeah i am looking into the variance stuff. there is a lot to learn and do to get going with a laser and they are pricey

    norty i am not sure what are the best colors to get. and i will add some more to my profile. i am a slacker thanks for all the tips.

    kit will be cool to see your first projector when you are done with it

    thanks for the answers guys

  7. #7
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    If you are going to start with one color. Green is what you should go for. Green is the most visable lasercolor to the human eye. 2-3watt or Moore should be needed without any smoke. Preferably Moore watt if possible.

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  9. #9
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    thanks for all the advice.

  10. #10
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    Welcome to PhotonLexicon, Shane. I'm sure you'll find lots of help here. But I have a question for you. You stated that you just bought the Pangolin FB3 controller and are learning how to use it, but then you said:
    Quote Originally Posted by shanecapps View Post
    I do a lot of shows that are outdoors
    Now, given that you already said you didn't have a variance (you said you were looking into it), then what sort of outdoor shows are you currently doing? Are you a mobile DJ doing dance gigs outside, or the lighting director for a band that holds outdoor concerts? Or are you actually doing laser shows?

    If you are, in fact, already doing laser shows, then you should know that you are taking a big risk if you don't have variances - both for your projector and for the show itself. Note that outdoor shows are especially tricky, as they fall under both CDRH and FAA jurisdiction. Both are federal agencies, and neither one has a sense of humor!

    Just thought I'd caution you on this, because from your posts above it does seem plausible that you are already performing laser shows. If that's not the case, then I apologize for being didactic.

    As far as how much power you'll need to see the beams in the air with no fog present, that depends on a lot of other factors. How large the area is, how much dust or moisture is in the air, and how much ambient light is present will all have a dramatic effect on the visibility of your lasers outside. As a general rule, it's best to have the lasers positioned in front of the audience and aimed back towards them (but overhead, obviously), to increase the visibility of the beams. And as any seasoned pro will tell you, more power is always better. "Go big or go home" is what you want to remember when trying to pull off an outdoor show.

    With regard to your other question concerning which colors are the easiest to see, there are a few rules of thumb. First, for red, the shorter wavelengths are more visible. Thus 635 nm is more visible than 650 nm, and so on. Second, for green, 532 nm is going to be optimal, because it's very close to the peak of human color vision. (It's also your only choice for solid-state green, which makes it easy.) Finally, for blue, it turns out that 445 nm is actually superior to 473 nm. And since it's recently become much cheaper than 473 nm, many people are switching to 445 nm blue.

    Note that outdoor beam shows without fog are probably the most demanding types of shows, at least from a total power requirement standpoint. Creating a convincing liquid sky effect over a crowd of, say, 1500 people is going to require *lots* of power if you don't have any fog. Even if you use green only (which has the highest apparent brightness), I would estimate you'd need a minimum of 10 watts to do it effectively.

    Adam

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