Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 17

Thread: ILDA cruise summary

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,147,488,805

    Smile ILDA cruise summary

    Hey folks;

    Well, I'm back, and though I'm still busy as hell, I am working through my backlog of messages and e-mails. (Of course, I'm headed back to that damn Superfund site later this week, so once again I'll have intermittent Internet access for a week or more...) Still, I wanted to share some of my experiences on the ILDA cruise with you guys.

    First off, let me say that if you ever get a chance to go to an ILDA conference, DO IT! You just can't imagine how much knowledge you'll soak up! It's a lot like SELEM (complete with some of the chaos even!), but with more industry professionals than hobbyists. It's a ton of fun!

    Tim Walsh (current ILDA president) posted a nice summary of the events that took place during the cruise on his blog, so rather than repeat all that stuff I'll just link to his summary and let you read that. But I did want to comment on a couple key items...

    First, I have to talk about Matt Polak and Chuck Rau and their new laser show software, "Digisyth". Holy crap is this stuff cool! It started out as an abstract generator, but they plan to grow it into a full-fledged laser show editor, complete with a timeline and a live player.

    At the heart, it's a digital representation of the old-school analog abstract effects synthesizers that you used to see in planetariums 20 years ago. Basically you have a workspace that you can drop virtual oscillators and other devices that need to be "patched" (that is, connected to each other) to create various effects. You do this by dragging virtual wires to connect the boxes, and then you can click on the boxes to adjust various parameters. (If you've ever used Propellerhead's "Reason", this concept of connecting boxes together will be familiar to you.)

    In a way it's a lot like those analog synths of 20 years ago, except that when you get something you like, you can save it (with all the settings) and come back to it later. Also, there are a lot more effects than you'd ever find in a planetarium! (Shitloads more, even...) For example, this software can do masked abstracts (where one pattern is in front of the other, and the background pattern doesn't show through or interfere with the one in the foreground). It can also do rasters, amazing color effects, and it even supports motorized midi controllers so you can alter settings on the fly. (The motorized midi board allows you to call up previous "patches" and the sliders will be set to the correct positions for you!) Try that with your old-school analog synth!

    They gave a short talk about the software during one of the Advanced Technology Workshops, but they also did a 2 hour demo of the software later on the cruise. Plus they used it at the lase-off, and they also won a shitload of ILDA awards this year with the software! It's serious software, even though it's still being developed.

    The best part was the fact that I got to sit with Matt and Chuck for several nights during dinner, so I was able to talk to them in depth about their backgrounds, the software itself, and their plans for the future. All in all, it was some very stimulating conversation. (I gotta say, Matt Polak is a friggin' genius! Wish he would have been able to make it to SELEM this year.)

    One other cool thing about DigiSynth is the output device. The software is designed to output to digital light-pipe, and that signal is then sent to their proprietary transcoder box, which converts the light pipe signals to analog and puts them out on a standard ILDA DB-25 connector. The idea behind this is two-fold: First, you can run light pipe over extreme distances (miles, with the proper repeaters) and have zero signal loss. And second, once you have the show created, you can record it to a hard disc array and play it back without the computer. Since this software is primarily aimed at Planetariums, that's a big selling point.

    The transcoder hardware itself is pretty expensive (around $1700), but it has a lot of extra features inside, including gain controls, color speed adjustments, geometric correction for X and Y, and so on. And yeah, this is something that might be overkill for the hobbyist, but it's ideal for a fixed installation.

    For the future, they are planning to release a "lite" version of the software that will be more suitable for the hobbyist market, and they might also include a USB-to ILDA output device that would work in lieu of the more expensive transcoder. (That would also eliminate the need to have a sound card installed with a light pipe output port.)

    Both Chuck and Matt plan to be in attendance at SELEM next year, and I'll be very interested to see what they've added to DigiSynth by then. Trust me when I say that it's *really* cool. It can create some of the most incredible abstracts you've ever seen. (Yeah, though I hate to admit it, even better than what I've seen from the LD-2000!)

    Speaking of SELEM, Patrick Murphy (ILDA Executive Director) asked me to give a short presentation about SELEM to the members. I had a 10 min powerpoint presentation put together, and I talked in general terms about what the event is, how it got started, what goes on, and how they can get involved next year if they're interested. There were a lot of people who expressed interest in SELEM, so I hope we'll see more ILDA members there next year. (Several people were very surprised that we had over 70 people there, especially when the ILDA cruise only drew around 30...) Of course I couldn't resist a shameless plug for PhotonLexicon too.

    And finally, let me say that I feel a little better now about the technical difficulties we experienced at SELEM this year. Why? Because they had some of the same problems on the ILDA cruise! For the Lase-off they couldn't get the three Pangolin LD-2000.net boxes to talk to the host computer. It seems the problem was related to running Windows 7 on the controlling computer. (Wrong drivers?) This delayed the start of the lase-off quite a bit, and was frankly a bit embarrassing. (The lase-off was open to all passengers, so they were watching as people fumbled with cables and software, trying to get it to work.)

    Also, during the award ceremony, they again had problems with Windows 7 and one of the LD-2000.net boxes. While running graphics shows, the output was stuttering and would cut out at times. I was told this was due to networking problems, and evidently it's a Microsoft issue. (Which makes me all the more happy that I'm still running Windows XP!!!) Still, if the pro's have issues like this, I don't feel so bad about SELEM!

    Overall the trip was very nice, and despite the fact that I came down with a cold at the very end, I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat. I met some really great folks, and had a wonderful time. I even found time to explore some of the ports we stopped at, and unlike last time (back in 2008), the weather cooperated beautifully so we were able to stick to our itinerary this time. (Pro tip: If you want to go snorkeling, do it in Grand Turk rather than at Half Moon Cay. More booze, more time in the water, and a better crew on the snorkel boat!)

    Finally, for those of you who aren't ILDA members yet, I strongly encourage you to join. ILDA is the only fighter we have in our corner. They're the ones who lobby to get lousy laws changed, and they're the only defense we have when shit hits the fan. Even if you can't make it to a conference, they are an organization worth supporting.

    Adam
    Last edited by buffo; 09-22-2010 at 04:37. Reason: Corrected spelling of Matt's last name

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    1,411

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post
    Finally, for those of you who aren't ILDA members yet, I strongly encourage you to join. ILDA is the only fighter we have in our corner. They're the ones who lobby to get lousy laws changed, and they're the only defense we have when shit hits the fan. Even if you can't make it to a conference, they are an organization worth supporting.

    Adam
    Speaking of which, some time ago new memberships were proposed here on PL.
    The thread ended in a silent death, pretty weird, because to my surprise the new memberships are already in place. (no prices though...)
    Did I miss a thread, were they announced during the cruise or is the ilda-marketing-division snoozing ?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Washington.
    Posts
    139

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post

    Also, during the award ceremony, they again had problems with Windows 7 and one of the LD-2000.net boxes. While running graphics shows, the output was stuttering and would cut out at times. I was told this was due to networking problems, and evidently it's a Microsoft issue. (Which makes me all the more happy that I'm still running Windows XP!!!) Still, if the pro's have issues like this, I don't feel so bad about SELEM!

    Adam

    hey adam. how widespread is this problem? is there anyone you know experiencing it currently>?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,147,488,805

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by -bart- View Post
    Speaking of which, some time ago new memberships were proposed here on PL.
    The thread ended in a silent death, pretty weird, because to my surprise the new memberships are already in place. (no prices though...)
    Did I miss a thread, were they announced during the cruise or is the ilda-marketing-division snoozing ?
    The ILDA board talked about the idea, and they asked me for my input at the meeting. The board has not yet decided on the "hobbyist" level of membership, but I expect that this will probably not happen. They were open to the idea of changing the rules to allow an "individual" member to perform a few commercial shows per year, even if they have their own company (not just on a freelance basis), so long as they didn't go over a certain gross sales level. ($20,000 per year was the figure that was discussed.) I expect that ILDA will release more information about this soon. (Note that the membership list you linked to has been in place for several years now.)
    Quote Originally Posted by DjHeadie View Post
    hey adam. how widespread is this problem? is there anyone you know experiencing it currently>?
    This bug with Windows 7 and the LD-2000.net boxes has been discussed a few times here on PL before. I know of a few of people that have encountered the problem, so based on my limited sample size I would guess around 30% of the people running Windows 7 have trouble with it. Most people have been able to solve the problem with aggressive investigation and driver upgrades, but there are at least a couple people I know that had to downgrade to Windows XP. If you are experiencing trouble, I suggest you contact Pangolin directly. They can probably steer you to the solution you're looking for.

    Adam

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Hey Buffo, and everyone else!

    I have 3 critical things to say in no particular order...


    1. ILDA Cruise was indeed a boatload of fun. We were proud to be Silver Sponsors for the event, and yes we had very much debated launching at SELEM.
    2. Matt's last name is Polak, and while he enjoys the feeesh, I think he prefers Salmon to Pollock, and although he is all about the abstracts, he is no Jackson Pollack. Daniel Jackson perhaps.
    3. www.digisynth.com is now up and running! Feel free to drool more, free bib with every purchase! Limited time only, while supplies last.

    Have an awesome day!

    -Chuck
    DigiSynth Excitement Department

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    Posts
    769

    Default

    Hey Chuck!
    Nice to see ya here- I hope those bibs are made from Shamwow material... holy schnikes- absolutely wicked new gizmo you got there!
    -Mike


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mikkojay View Post
    Hey Chuck!
    Nice to see ya here- I hope those bibs are made from Shamwow material... holy schnikes- absolutely wicked new gizmo you got there!
    -Mike

    Here ya go Mike...will this do? http://www.cafepress.com/+shamwow+baby-bibs


    -chuck

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,147,488,805

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by DigiSynth View Post
    ILDA Cruise was indeed a boatload of fun. We were proud to be Silver Sponsors for the event, and yes we had very much debated launching at SELEM.
    That would have been very cool. Should you guys end up being able to attend SELEM next year, we'll be sure to block out a time slot for you to run some DigiSyth shows.
    Matt's last name is Polak, and while he enjoys the feeesh, I think he prefers Salmon to Pollock, and although he is all about the abstracts, he is no Jackson Pollack.
    Oops! Sorry about that. Post edited above to reflect the correct spelling.
    www.digisynth.com is now up and running!
    I went looking for that site just a few days before I posted, and I couldn't find it. So it must have gone live in the very recent past. Still, very cool. Though I have to say that the pictures do not do these abstracts justice. You've got to see them with your own eyes to believe them.

    Glad to see you've joined up here on PL, Chuck. While I'm sure you're incredibly busy these days, it will be nice to hear from you now and again, particularly as DigiSynth progresses. I know lots of folks here will be waiting to hear news of the proposed "hobbyist" version, should that idea ever see the light of day!

    Adam

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    St Louis
    Posts
    54

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buffo View Post

    Glad to see you've joined up here on PL, Chuck. While I'm sure you're incredibly busy these days, it will be nice to hear from you now and again, particularly as DigiSynth progresses. I know lots of folks here will be waiting to hear news of the proposed "hobbyist" version, should that idea ever see the light of day!

    Adam

    Actually, I've been here as Laserchuck for some time, though I'm not very active. Mostly due to my need to keep things quiet about DigiSynth for a while.

    I'll probably do more here as Laserchuck, and keep the DS account for official DS responses and announcements. It is pretty odd for me to have both listed a junior members, when I've been a pro in the industry for the past 16 years.

    Hobiest version is something Matt and I have talked about for a while, we certainly need to get the full DigiSynth Suite released and make some sales, there are some very cool things coming up with that. DigiSynth is first and foremost a professional production tool. If we do put one out there It will be very rudimentary. Anyone interested in actually making shows with DigiSynth should get the full Suite now at the lower intro rate.

    I suppose I should probably post something on the bit level alchemy side of things.

    -chuck

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Charleston, SC
    Posts
    2,147,488,805

    Thumbs up

    Chuck;

    I had forgotten about your other account. Still, good to see you posting here. Looking forward to hearing more about your progress with DigiSynth.

    Also, for the rest of you who couldn't make it on the cruise this year, Patrick Murphy has just put up a "diary" of sorts that chronicle his experiences on the ILDA cruise, much like Tim Walsh did, also complete with more pictures. So check it out here:

    http://www.laserspectacles.com/2010/...nference-2010/

    Adam

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •