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Thread: Announcing DigiSynth!

  1. #1
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    Default Announcing DigiSynth!

    Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, laserists of all ages...

    I am pleased to announce a new product becoming available for lasershow production. DigiSynth made a splash at the ILDA cruise, where we were proud to gain recognition as Silver Sponsors, and earned six ILDA Artistic Awards for some of the content I produced with DigiSynth. We are excited to have swept the abstract category, and the timing with the release couldn't have been better.

    People are talking about DigiSynth, asking what it is and how they can make shows with it. I'm going to keep this brief, but you can go to www.digisynth.com to see for yourself. There is already a vast collection of information there, but I'll be updating the site soon with even more info, including videos of how to use the software to create a wide range of abstracts and beam effects, and show you how to import your favorite frames.

    Anyone interested should take advantage of our intro pricing which is nearly $1000 off of our normal rate.

    Check out the website and drop me a line if you have any questions. you can also view some videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/DigiSynthLaser


    -Chuck

    Chuck Rau
    DigiSynth

  2. #2
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    since your application has been designed around outputting to lightpipe would it be possible to use DigiSynth with a modified soundcard based dac?

    If your not sure I would be happy to test it out for you

    although I guess if you can afford $4000 for this app a lightpipe interface and a transcoder would be chump change lol

    I will definitely put this on my "things to buy when I hit the lotto" list lol

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by flecom View Post

    although I guess if you can afford $4000 for this app a lightpipe interface and a transcoder would be chump change lol

    I will definitely put this on my "things to buy when I hit the lotto" list lol
    Yes, VERY pricey. I's be interested in seeing a demo though.

  4. #4
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    Hi Chuck

    I have seen some interesting discussions and images , looks rather creative but it is professional software of course with a professional price tag , its possible that quite a few hobbyist would spend less than the cost of your software on their enitre projector.

    Anyway in case you were not aware ,the UK holds laser meets called UKLEMs , theres one in just over a week

    http://www.photonlexicon.com/forums/...f-October-2010

    Its a long way to come over to demo :-) but im sure you can organise something with one of the attendees to offer a demonstration and of course when about 50 of the UK laserist ( albeit a lot of hobbyist ) they will know what its all about / talk and publicise your product naturally for you.

    If you are interested in providing a demo , maybe start with a chap called JEM , i think this product would be a lot of interest to him as he has a love of Abstracts.

    Paul
    In the beginning there was none. Then came the light - #1 UKLEM - 2007
    BUY UK LEGAL LASER POINTER :: NEW - Blue 460nm Laser Pointers

  5. #5
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    Great observation flecom, you are entirely correct! We describe DigiSynth as being 'IO hardware agnostic' as it will use any compliant ASIO multi-channel audio device for realtime input/output, and most higher-end soundcards usually ship with an ASIO driver these days. (It also gives us the option to cross-compile for other operating systems as well in the future, as DigiSynth is not written as a Windows-specific application)

    For a down-and-dirty solution, a modified soundcard would absolutely work and be a very inexpensive route to go. The motivation for Lightpipe I/O primarily stems from the software being built around very high end internal show authoring needs over the past few years when it was an in-house tool. For many installations the content is specifically required to be running multiple scanners played back from a stand-alone hard-drive deck such as the Alesis HD24, and thus the preference was to keep all production entirely digital through the authoring pipeline up until the final stage of playback. Doing the Lightpipe connections allow for this and many other cool possibilities such as multi-km fiber signal distribution, which we use on many larger installs. Your average user just doesn't need that kind of stuff, though!

    To date Digisynth has been used near-exclusively with our Optical Showlink Transcoder product series, which was designed from the ground up to provide very precise response for high-speed color modulation and signal processing, as well as proper differential ILDA input/output, all in a separate box far away from on-board computer system noise. It allows for a lot of additional functionality you will not get from a sound card conversion: full soft-patch channel mappings, calibration outputs, level control, geometry correction, DMX/MIDI/Shutter, sub-encoding, additional ILDA signal lines (for controlling things like intensity, beam-brush, additional colors, etc) and the ability to handle bidirectional ILDA signal conversion (yes, DS can work with live analog inputs as a source!) simultaneously all in a 1U package.

    Be that as it may, these are a lot of Transcoder features that the casual user will simply not need and would be silly (and expensive) overkill. A modified soundcard will work great for many casual users, but for an adjustable ILDA plug 'n play solution the Transcoder fits the bill for a lot of other permanent installations. The external conversion factor also allows running DigiSynth from a laptop or other portable system where a soundcard modification simply may not be possible, but a USB or Firewire connection is.

    We are always working on ways to reduce cost, and the modified sound-card route is an excellent suggestion for this. We are also kicking around the idea of an extremely inexpensive USB->ILDA device that would take the place of a normal soundcard modification, but would maintain the same quality of signal output from the Showlink as well as provide dedicated audio output channels.

    Like most things, there are a lot of tradeoffs! I'm a big fan of using the most appropriate tool for the job. Then again, I've been known to use my best flat-head screwdriver for prying open paint-cans because it was handy and 'just works' without going and digging for a proper paint-can opener.

    -- Matt

    Quote Originally Posted by flecom View Post
    since your application has been designed around outputting to lightpipe would it be possible to use DigiSynth with a modified soundcard based dac?

    If your not sure I would be happy to test it out for you

    although I guess if you can afford $4000 for this app a lightpipe interface and a transcoder would be chump change lol

    I will definitely put this on my "things to buy when I hit the lotto" list lol

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpolak View Post
    Great observation flecom, you are entirely correct! We describe DigiSynth as being 'IO hardware agnostic' as it will use any compliant ASIO multi-channel audio device for realtime input/output, and most higher-end soundcards usually ship with an ASIO driver these days. (It also gives us the option to cross-compile for other operating systems as well in the future, as DigiSynth is not written as a Windows-specific application)

    For a down-and-dirty solution, a modified soundcard would absolutely work and be a very inexpensive route to go. The motivation for Lightpipe I/O primarily stems from the software being built around very high end internal show authoring needs over the past few years when it was an in-house tool. For many installations the content is specifically required to be running multiple scanners played back from a stand-alone hard-drive deck such as the Alesis HD24, and thus the preference was to keep all production entirely digital through the authoring pipeline up until the final stage of playback. Doing the Lightpipe connections allow for this and many other cool possibilities such as multi-km fiber signal distribution, which we use on many larger installs. Your average user just doesn't need that kind of stuff, though!

    To date Digisynth has been used near-exclusively with our Optical Showlink Transcoder product series, which was designed from the ground up to provide very precise response for high-speed color modulation and signal processing, as well as proper differential ILDA input/output, all in a separate box far away from on-board computer system noise. It allows for a lot of additional functionality you will not get from a sound card conversion: full soft-patch channel mappings, calibration outputs, level control, geometry correction, DMX/MIDI/Shutter, sub-encoding, additional ILDA signal lines (for controlling things like intensity, beam-brush, additional colors, etc) and the ability to handle bidirectional ILDA signal conversion (yes, DS can work with live analog inputs as a source!) simultaneously all in a 1U package.

    Be that as it may, these are a lot of Transcoder features that the casual user will simply not need and would be silly (and expensive) overkill. A modified soundcard will work great for many casual users, but for an adjustable ILDA plug 'n play solution the Transcoder fits the bill for a lot of other permanent installations. The external conversion factor also allows running DigiSynth from a laptop or other portable system where a soundcard modification simply may not be possible, but a USB or Firewire connection is.

    We are always working on ways to reduce cost, and the modified sound-card route is an excellent suggestion for this. We are also kicking around the idea of an extremely inexpensive USB->ILDA device that would take the place of a normal soundcard modification, but would maintain the same quality of signal output from the Showlink as well as provide dedicated audio output channels.

    Like most things, there are a lot of tradeoffs! I'm a big fan of using the most appropriate tool for the job. Then again, I've been known to use my best flat-head screwdriver for prying open paint-cans because it was handy and 'just works' without going and digging for a proper paint-can opener.

    -- Matt
    Very cool, we use the showlink transcoder to go from an HD24 to the projector at the Miami Museum of Science... it is indeed a powerful box... it has a few quirks but its been very reliable...

    I do very much love the old "planetarium" style shows, and we still have several large (and i mean LARGE) analog boards and "image computers" that still work and make some really neat effects...

    unfortunately for me personally he planetarium style shows dont pay the bills lol

    I end up doing the ADAT and live shows for the planetarium for free since the laser shows are the only thing keeping the entire museum in the black and I love that place...

    perhaps you would consider some day making a "lite" version of your software aimed towards hobbyists... maybe put some sort of artificial limits on what you can do with it, amount of things you can "connect" or something to that effect... especially since it looks like it can be used with a common sound card dac that a lot of people already have...

    most of the sound card dacs provide separate audio channels but provide unbalanced X/Y data...

    personally I have been thinking of making a more "proper" soundcard dac and adding DRV134's from Ti to the X/Y output to give a proper balanced signal output to the scanners... and maybe a BUF634 or just an OP27 on each color channel... or maybe find some USB audio codec IC that can provide me balanced outputs and remove the DC using a pair of high speed op-amps per line... but thats way down the list of projects unfortunately lol

    I will be letting our acting planetarium director know about your software, he loves the old analog consoles and I think this would make it to the top of their list next time a grant comes around

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lasermad View Post

    If you are interested in providing a demo , maybe start with a chap called JEM , i think this product would be a lot of interest to him as he has a love of Abstracts.

    Paul

    Thanks Paul

    Yep, you're right on the money. I LOVE abstracts and Lumia effects. I've spent countless hours with the abstract generators in both LD2000 (Pro) and LivePRO - Great fun!

    I would be happy to demonstrate this at a UKLEM, feel free to PM me anytime

    Cheers

    Jem
    Quote: "There is a theory which states that if ever, for any reason, anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another that states that this has already happened.... Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001

  8. #8
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    Very cool, we use the showlink transcoder to go from an HD24 to the projector at the Miami Museum of Science... it is indeed a powerful box... it has a few quirks but its been very reliable...
    Great to hear you already have experience with it. Please feel free to drop me a line with regard to any 'quirks' you are experiencing with the unit - the firmware you have loaded is likely very out of date - there's been a number of things fixed/added in recent months and the firmware update is quite easy to perform. We will be doing a Gen4 unit at some point in the future and certainly would like to know people's experiences with the previous Gen3 units, good and bad, so we can consider redesigning where necessary! We are always striving for perfection in product design.

    I do very much love the old "planetarium" style shows, and we still have several large (and i mean LARGE) analog boards and "image computers" that still work and make some really neat effects...

    unfortunately for me personally he planetarium style shows dont pay the bills lol

    I end up doing the ADAT and live shows for the planetarium for free since the laser shows are the only thing keeping the entire museum in the black and I love that place...
    Right on! Our love for a lot of the classic style abstract graphics was actually what prompted the creation of DigiSynth (an interesting story in of itself!) - helping to bring back the feeling and excitement of classic analog live performance without all of the overhead of the traditional ways. DigiSynth is finding a lot of interesting uses, too, like doing digital remastering of old XYI live-performance content into XYRGB and even conversion of old ADAT tape material to readjust levels/gamma curves/mastering without taking an analog conversion 'hit'. We can also do interesting stuff like previewing the ADAT material live on-screen coming from a deck using Lightpipe input signals, so you can watch ADAT material in full color real-time without even turning on the laser.

    perhaps you would consider some day making a "lite" version of your software aimed towards hobbyists... maybe put some sort of artificial limits on what you can do with it, amount of things you can "connect" or something to that effect... especially since it looks like it can be used with a common sound card dac that a lot of people already have...
    We've actually talked about this exact thing quite a bit internally already, and we're very happy to see people enthusiastic about what we are working on! Our focus is getting everything up and online with DS3's full version right now, however, we are considering offering some levels of the software in the near future. This goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the USB converter plan as well, since admittedly the output solutions for the software right now ARE rather expensive. Timeframe for the "lite" version is completely indeterminate, though, but we are motivated to persue it as time permits. Ideally we'd like to get the software into many peoples hands, though, since it's just so much fun to play with! That and you don't have to be a traditional artist in order to make cool lasery stuff! (Believe me, I know! I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, let alone trying to make quality artwork with a mouse!) It works amazingly well for dynamic beam effects, too!

    I will be letting our acting planetarium director know about your software, he loves the old analog consoles and I think this would make it to the top of their list next time a grant comes around
    Awesome! Feel free to have him get in touch with Chuck if he has any specific questions. Too bad we didn't know sooner, as we were just passing through Miami for the ILDA cruise two weeks ago and could have stopped in to do a demo! Next time perhaps!!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpolak View Post
    Great to hear you already have experience with it. Please feel free to drop me a line with regard to any 'quirks' you are experiencing with the unit - the firmware you have loaded is likely very out of date - there's been a number of things fixed/added in recent months and the firmware update is quite easy to perform. We will be doing a Gen4 unit at some point in the future and certainly would like to know people's experiences with the previous Gen3 units, good and bad, so we can consider redesigning where necessary! We are always striving for perfection in product design.
    Sometimes it seems like it gets a mind of its own, the colors get all wonky, but turning it off and back on fixes it

    is there some way of checking the firmware revision?

    Quote Originally Posted by mpolak View Post
    Right on! Our love for a lot of the classic style abstract graphics was actually what prompted the creation of DigiSynth (an interesting story in of itself!) - helping to bring back the feeling and excitement of classic analog live performance without all of the overhead of the traditional ways. DigiSynth is finding a lot of interesting uses, too, like doing digital remastering of old XYI live-performance content into XYRGB and even conversion of old ADAT tape material to readjust levels/gamma curves/mastering without taking an analog conversion 'hit'. We can also do interesting stuff like previewing the ADAT material live on-screen coming from a deck using Lightpipe input signals, so you can watch ADAT material in full color real-time without even turning on the laser.

    We've actually talked about this exact thing quite a bit internally already, and we're very happy to see people enthusiastic about what we are working on! Our focus is getting everything up and online with DS3's full version right now, however, we are considering offering some levels of the software in the near future. This goes perfectly hand-in-hand with the USB converter plan as well, since admittedly the output solutions for the software right now ARE rather expensive. Timeframe for the "lite" version is completely indeterminate, though, but we are motivated to persue it as time permits. Ideally we'd like to get the software into many peoples hands, though, since it's just so much fun to play with! That and you don't have to be a traditional artist in order to make cool lasery stuff! (Believe me, I know! I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, let alone trying to make quality artwork with a mouse!) It works amazingly well for dynamic beam effects, too!
    I look forward to it

    Quote Originally Posted by mpolak View Post
    Awesome! Feel free to have him get in touch with Chuck if he has any specific questions. Too bad we didn't know sooner, as we were just passing through Miami for the ILDA cruise two weeks ago and could have stopped in to do a demo! Next time perhaps!!
    he was on the ILDA cruise, I will ask him if he saw your demo

  10. #10
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    Sometimes it seems like it gets a mind of its own, the colors get all wonky, but turning it off and back on fixes it. Is there some way of checking the firmware revision?
    Weird! Yeah, it absolutely should NOT be doing that. We have a lot of units out in the field that (due to venue placement) never get power-cycled and run for months at a time on a single boot without issue.

    When you cycle power on the unit you should see it come up with a quick splash screen that will indicate the version of the firmware loaded. We are currently at v1.31. If you have an older version let me know and we'll hook up via email so I can get you the newer files and instructions on how to reflash.

    If the firmware update doesn't fix the problem then I would be happy to send a replacement unit down for a full swap-out if necessary; is this a new unit or have you had it for a while? Most of the sales go to vendors, so we often don't have any idea where they ultimately wind up. We've had a few (albeit rare) problems with inconsistent silicon that will cause odd problems that never manifest when we do initial test. Nothing we can do about our supply chain (beyond use different chips when alternatives are available - there's several proprietary parts in there), but we CAN always offer great customer service!

    he was on the ILDA cruise, I will ask him if he saw your demo
    Actually I seem to remember him now that you mention it, though I admit to being a bit bad with remembering names! I will mention it to Chuck, though, so we can follow up. Planetarium guys seem to magnetically cluster together, too (also being a small industry!) and perhaps that goes doubly for laserist-planetarium guys.
    Last edited by mpolak; 09-23-2010 at 10:49.

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